I was fortunate to attend a Salomon test day on Dartmoor based at Bellever youth hostel, where we had the opportunity to do some real world testing of their shoes and kit.
Suunto were also on hand with the Quest HRM and Ambit GPS Watch for us to play with. It was a glorious morning with not a cloud in the sky and only a cold wind reminding us that we were on the moor!
After a run down on the various technical features of the Salomon kit and the Suunto watches it was time to get out and run.
The forest at Bellever offers enough of a variety of terrain from fire tracks to muddy forest paths and we did do some river crossing’s in the afternoon when it had really warmed up as well (just to see how well the shoe’s gripped on a slimy, rock river bottom. They must be good as no-one actually went under!
The routes we used were around 2k long, which was ideal as it was enough to get a feel for the shoe before heading back and trying a different pair.
I started at the ‘stable’ end of the range and worked my up to the more race orientated light weight models.
My current trail shoe is a Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra which I find a good all rounder and works for someone like myself who’s not exactly built like a long distance runner!
I used this as my ‘control’ to compare the others against and although some would be better suited to specific conditions (Speedcross for mud, the Fellcross for pure racing)
After a day where tried several shoes I think that the XA pro will still be my shoes of choice for the mix of running that I currently do, although I think I will have to get a pair of Fell Cross at some point!
I used the Suunto Quest in the morning which is a very light watch heart rate monitor and was very intuitive to use and with us all wearing them almost started a ‘who can get the highest heart rate competion’ until we decide that was very silly!
If you didn’t want any GPS function and just need a training aid it would certainly tick the boxes.
Using the Ambit in the afternoon the extra weight was noticeable at first but not for long. It seemed to keep a good GPS signal in the trees and although we didn’t get to try its navigation functions I saw enough to think that it would be nice to add to my overflowing GPS collection!
An informative and very interesting day to find out the work and tech that goes into each shoe that we finished of with soaking tired legs in the river in place of an ice bath!
Thanks to Salomon for hosting us.
Ian M, Taunton Store.