You want controversy and really hard hitting stuff? It doesn’t get much harder hitting than this my friends, because let me tell you.. I am not particularly a big fan of Salomon (regular or forces). You might go so far as to say, I don’t like the brand.
I know lots of people think they’re great and people can get really protective of brands in this general arena, so don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here as an attempt to somehow disqualify every good experience anyone else ever had in a Salomon boot; that isn’t how I roll. However my XA Pro 3D mids have come up in my image posting queue so this felt like a good point to run through my history with this footwear.
Purchases starting around 2012, through until now:
1. A pair of non-forces trail runners that I actually picked up in a Millets if memory serves. Wore them just strolling around camp for a few days when a long stitch line along the side just totally failed creating a 3″ wide tear in the outer shell of the shoe. Resigned the pair to ‘dirty jobs’ and moved on.
2. Eskape Peak – one of the arch shaped metal eyelets right at the top of the right shoe (by the ankle) simply ripped right out one day when tightening the laces, this was after maybe a month or so of just general walking around at home and on base. I contacted Salomon UK, who’s customer service response consisted (eventually) of “we’ll send you a 20% discount on a new pair”. Then to top the shit cake with an extra turd, they never actually bothered doing so.
3. Eskape Aero – Another pair of fairly simple trail runners at the lower end of the Salomon price range that haven’t failed me in any way, been my most comfortable pair of trainers for about 4 years now. They’re the most horrendously unfashionable dad-shoes I own, but when I’m going to be on my feet a really long time I reach for them.
4. Forces XA Pro 3D Mid (as pictured) from LEAFGEAR, really great customer service from them – I took the Mids with me on a contractually obliged sunny summer get-away and alternated them each day for a couple of months with the issued Haix suede/desert boots. The Mids were wonderfully light and comfortable for sitting around and the quick lacing made them far superior for the multiple times per day I’d be changing clothes. Unfortunately the soles were the most pathetic I’ve ever encountered, even with no weight on my back I could feel the concrete floor through them, just no comfort under foot. With belt line, Glock 17 + spare mag, Osprey Mk4 with full armour compliment of armour, 4 x loaded EMAGs, pouches with med kit and other ancillary/admin items, Mk7 helmet and backpack with food, hydro and spare clothes… not a bloody chance, the material of the insoles and mid-soles absolutely caved in. I opted for the Haix and that’s not a thing I thought I’d ever have to type. I’ve kept these for using indoor at airsoft games, but that’s all. I don’t trust them for anything more serious than no/low-risk recreation.
5. Forces XA Pro 3D Mid, GTX – I had some credit with a certain ebay store and they had the gore-tex lined Mids in my size, but an older variant that feels slightly more solid. Worn for a day’s indoor skirmishing so far where they did fine so I’ve not resigned them yet, but a day running around with minimal weight on smooth surfaces isn’t exactly a thorough test. They will be tried out again on some hills and in less pleasant weather.
6. Forces XA Pro 3D (lows tops) – I wanted a super tacticool shoe that would allow me to really blend in a SHOT Show, what better? Probably literally anything else as it turned out. It may be all indoors but the expo centre is gigantic, on my feet from 9-5 covering at least a few miles each day; yet still on flat carpet so how hard could the going be? Well I certainly got the right size and as always I used all the proper foot care knowledge I’ve accumulated and practiced over the years, but at the end of day 2 the skin was just straight missing from the outside of both my little toes. Not an issue I’ve ever had with any other pair of boots or shoes I’ve ever worn in my life.
“But you haven’t tried the Quest 4Ds! The 4Ds!” you say and you are not wrong there. Many people have them, I know for a fact a few people reading this have them, my brother owns a pair and liked them so much he wore them out after very regularly using them for about 3 years. But 4 pretty bloody bad experiences out of 6 products purchased isn’t just my limit, it’s well beyond it. I kept going thinking “but so many people love them, surely I’ve just been really unlucky” but I was betting endlessly on red in vain hope and black just seemed to keep coming in.
If you’ve got Salomons and you like them, that is awesome, they do have some good ideas and designs. But I’m done buying them.