Designed with agility and stability in mind while still providing a modicum of ankle support, the Salomon XA Pro Mid is a top quality lightweight tramping boot. Sitting in the same category as the Merrell Capra, the XA Pro Mid is a slightly wider fitting boot, has more padding around the ankle area and is built on Salomon’s 3D Chassis – a reasonably stiff midsole and outsole combination.
Where the Capra is a little twisty and flexible, the XA Pro Mid has a burlier feel and supports the feet on rougher terrain well, although it’s still not a boot I’d choose for rough travel with a heavy load. If you’re looking for a light boot – it weighs 950g – for day tramps and light overnight trips, it’s a good choice.
In use, I found the boots comfortable with little breaking in required. They’re stiff enough to protect the foot from stones and support the muscles well, but are flexible and padded enough to be comfortable on graded paths and roads. There’s not much of a heel on the sole, but lots of sharply angled tread blocks give the boot good bite on most surfaces. The sole rubber is on the soft side, which adds to comfort and malleability for grip on rocks, but won’t last as long as a harder rubber.
I really liked the lacing system: it’s a speed-lacing arrangement of thin, tight weave cord running through low-friction eyelets. Pull on the cord-lock to tighten the laces. It doesn’t come undone and the foot is firmly and evenly secured in the boot. The cord-grip and leftover cord can be tucked under a neoprene flap on the tongue – a nice touch.
The only thing I don’t like about these boots is the amount of stitching at a critical flex point in the boot. While I didn’t use the boots long enough to find out, it seems this will be a point of early wear, so for this they lose a few points.