These are another pair of shoes/boots sent to me for review as part of the “Reviews for Shoes” program at Fitness Footwear. I thought it worth mentioning that up front as it were. I did tell the guys looking after the process that I wouldn’t give a good review just because I got the shoes for free – if they’re rubbish I’m going to say just that. Unfortunately – just like the last pair of boots I was sent – I really like them, so like I said – it’s worth being up front about these things.
These are the Salomon Exit Aero shoes – I’ve got the remarkably appealing colour combination of “Swamp, Dark Clay, Moss”, but they also come in “Autobahn, Detroit and Bleu Gris” and “Autobahn, Detroit and Ciment Blue” – see all the combinations here: Salomon Trainers.
These aren’t lightweight fell running shoes (my size 11 weighed an average of 456g each) and they’re not really trainers either. They are sort of an off-road trainer. A bit like a Range Rover Vogue – perfect for posing down the high street, but also able to cut the mustard on the hills. They have a very technical sole, which provides plenty of grip on wet grass and loose stony surfaces, so I’d be more than happy to go fell walking in these (and I have done). They are probably better suited to lower level walks on good path though, because they’re not waterproof.
They have a great sole and look the business too.
Having said that, I’ve never seen the point in waterproof shoes – especially not those that are designed for the hills. If you walk in any low cut footwear on the hills, the quickest way you’re going to get wet feet is ingress over the top, not through some very expensive and sweat-inducing membrane. So these are no worse for being non-waterproof.
The fit, like all Salomon footwear I’ve had so far is a 1/2 size smaller than normal. So if you’re usually a 10.5 in a shoe or boot like I am, then you’ll probably need a size 11. They have a great feel to them, they’re solid and comfortable. They feel like they’ll last a good long time and they also feel like they’d offer some protection to toes in the event of kicking something solid – like a rock – so nothing at all like a pair of Inov-8 shoes then. The technical sole is also very protective, it buffers you from the worst of a stony track, so you don’t feel quite as punished at the end of a walk as you would in lightweight fell runners.
At first I was very aware of the arch support in these shoes – much more pronounced than my usual “about town” trainers and I’ve never had the same sensation in fell runners or boots before. However, after a few minutes the feeling goes away and it hasn’t bothered me since.
Overall, these are a comfortable pair of dual-purpose trainers/approach shoes, they are very well built, sturdy and functional and I’d be happy to recommend them to anyone. I’ll be using them on and off for the rest of the summer and they will probably get used at lot at home during the winter, so I’ll continue to post reviews as I get more use out of them.