The Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral (*Est. $130) made its debut in February 2011. While there are few user reviews, the model has earned much praise from top running publications as a stellar shoe that performs as well on the trail as it does on the road. At 12.7 ounces, this isn't the lightest shoe, though it is comparable to other trail-running shoes. Where this shoe shines is in its balance of cushioning (great for the road), tread (great for the trail) and protection. Reviewers universally say the XR Crossmax Neutral is ideal for runners who like trail work or must often run along transitional, en-route pavement. Triple-density molded EVA along the midsole makes for a comfortable, cushiony ride and multidirectional lugs ensure a steady foot-plant. The one drawback often mentioned is that the quick-pull laces could use some improvement; the "lace garage" is shallow. Still, this is by far the best-reviewed road-to-trail crossover shoe in recent years.
Since the Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral is very new to the market, we found virtually no user reviews. Still, the model has earned high praise from multiple running and outdoor-adventure publications. Runner's World, often considered the best source of running shoe reviews, selected the shoe as 2011's Best Trail Shoe Debut. Similarly, Running Times praised the XR Crossmax Neutral in its annual guide. National Geographic Adventure, Fitness, Women's Adventure Magazine and Outside also selected this shoe as one of the top shoes on the market for 2011.
1. Runner's World
Runner's World's annual shoe guides are deemed the gold standard in running shoe reviews, and Warren Greene and Martyn Shorten are largely considered two of the most well-versed experts in the market. Nine models are wear-tested and evaluated in the 2011 installment of trail shoes, where the Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral earns recognition as Best Debut. Testers say the shoe offers a stellar combination of both protection and comfort, and is well suited for long runs over mixed terrain.
Review: Ground Breakers, Warren Greene and Martyn Shorten, April 2011
Running Times is a strong source for running shoe reviews. Here, 12 new trail shoes are divided into four categories: barefoot-style, minimally cushioned, lightweight cushioned and protective/durable. Each shoe receives a short description and feedback by Brian Metzler, and the Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral is touted for its versatility. While testers say the shoe could be lighter, they appreciate the "reliable traction on a range of surfaces."
Review: 12 New Trail Shoes Reviewed, Brian Metzler, June 2011
3. Women's Adventure magazine
Women's Adventure Magazine provides an insightful buying guide and reviews five different trail-running shoes. The much-praised Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral is selected. Editors say the shoe is "lightweight and impact-absorbing enough" for transitioning easily between technical trails and roads.
Review: Spring Gear: Trail Shoes, Editors of Women's Adventure Magazine, March 4, 2011
4. Fitness Magazine
In this Spring 2011 guide to the best women's running shoes, Fitness editors select eight models (four winners and four runners-up) as testers' top picks. Shoes are divided into four categories: the best running shoes for mild stability, flat feet, high arches and trail running. The Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral comes in second to the Brooks Cascadia 6. Reviewers say the shoe shines in its comfortable fit and durable outsole.
Review: Spring 2011 Sneaker Guide: The Best Running Shoes, Lindsey Emery, April 2011
In Outside magazine's 2011 Summer Buyer's Guide, editors select 12 shoes as top picks for trail running shoes. Each selection is accompanied by a short editor review. The Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral earns a spot on the list thanks to its stellar outsole, which performed well on roads, dirt, gravel and boulders. Some readers note that the quick-pull laces need a bit of work.
Review: Summer Buyer's Guide, Editors of Outside, May 2011
6. National Geographic Adventure
In this annual guide, Steve Casimiro selects the must-have adventure gear of the year. Here, three styles of trail-running shoes are selected as top buys. The Salomon XR Crossmax Neutral is selected as a shoe that goes easily from "door to trail." Editors praise its balance between cushioning for the road, tread and protection.
Review: Gear of the Year 2011, Steve Casimiro, Spring/Summer 2011