Salomon’s XT Wings 2 has become one of the standards in a high-performance trail running shoe for the serious athlete
By Dan Sanchez
Among Salomon’s line of trail-running shoes, the XT Wings 2 is one of the top performers for anyone who’s getting serious about the sport. The XT Wings 2 is not new, but it’s definitely made its mark with trail-runners who want to be competitive.
One of the reasons why the XT Wings 2 is considered a high-performance shoe, is its unique construction that combines the best of a real running shoe, with advanced stability and cushioning. Salomon’s AC Muscle 2, Agile Chassis System is made up of three sections that provide control, cushioning and energy return. This gives the shoe a true suspension-like ability that’s evident when running over uneven terrain.
We experienced this while running through a dry creek beds where our foot remained flat, even though it was over various sized rocks. The more you run with the shoe, the more confidence you have with the ACS system. This in turn gave us a feeling we were improving our performance. Although we couldn’t determine if we were running any faster, it sure felt like we shaved a minute off our one-mile time because of the shoe’s light feel and stability.
The shoe incorporates a triple density EVA midsole that provides excellent cushioning and pronation control. The outsole features a true running shoe design, but with deep-set lugs that grip well and throw out mud and debris on every step. Inside, a molded EVA OrthoLite footbed cradles and provides a comfortable yet firm grip around our foot. We never felt like the XT Wings 2 was too tight or too loose, or that our foot was slipping inside the shoe at any time, even while trekking up or heading down steep hilsides.
Over the course of two months, we ran 4-6 miles every week with the XT Wings 2. At 12 ounces, it’s as light as any high-performance running shoe, and its quick drying breathable mesh uppers kept our feet cool and dry. We also liked Salomon’s Quicklace system that requires a simple pull to tighten the shoes to a perfect fit and hold it in position. While at first, the laces would get loose over the first mile we trekked, the system seemed to work better the more we used it. Tucking the laces under a lip in the tongue is just like what’s used in real racing shoes, and the rubber toe cap offered good protection over rocky terrain.
After breaking in the shoes a bit, they provided a seemless transition from dirt to pavement. Salomon’s Contragrip outsole worked well in both areas and didn’t squirm or slip when we encountered wet pavement. Our test model was a bright X Orange and Autobahn Black, which makes the shoes stand out when you fly by other runners on the trail.
The shoes have a reflective detailing on the sides that increases your visibility at night. While there weren’t too many cars on the trails we ran, some are shared by vehicles and mountain bikes. Without street lights, it’s good to to be seen where it’s dark.
The XT Wings 2 is available in both men’s and women’s sizes and retail around $110. While Salomon manufactures other trail running shoes designed for easy and mountain type trails, the XT Wings 2 is by far capable of handling most everything you might encounter from hard-packed dirt roads to high-alpine trails.