Sunday, June 17, 2007
Salomon S-lab XA Pro 3 product review by an amateur non-runner; namely this author…
[photos by J.P. Peters]
My buddy, teaching comrade, soon-to-be-principal-bossman, local running/snowshoe racing phenom [current Snowshoe National Champion--2007 and 2006], and training maven, Greg Hexum is a top notch, sponsored athlete that from time to time gets gear from “his people” to pass out to the proletariat minions in an effect to get feed-back. Presumably they want to get a feel about what will sell from the “great unwashed.” I guess it makes good business sense for these major sports brands, as I suppose I am in the marketing segment of serious, albeit aging weekend warrior-athletes that will spend top dollar on any and every device, aid, and/or technological innovation that will allow us to think that we could beat or at least stay in sight of our younger counterparts.
So, in any event, Greg generously provided me with a pair of very fancy-pants trail running shoes made by Salomon [Note: this is not the first time he has done this for me, in fact I cannot remember the last time I bought a pair of shoes…so the least I can do is write up an honest thought-provoking analysis of this particular shoe]. They are specifically labeled “S-lab XA Pro 3” and they are bright "devil" red and they have this little gator-like wrap thang that velcros around ones ankles. First off I love the name, “S-Lab XA Pro” as it is very cryptic but in a totally “Pro” kind of way!!! Itz like, I could tell you what the XA stands for but then I'd have to kill you!
For the very important Socio-economic-environmental grade, Salomon gets a “B” for the following reasons [Note ya can‘t get an “A“ unless you manufacture the product within a 500 mile radius of Duluth, Minnesota, so a “B“ is pretty darn good, probably the best a shoe company can get in my world, for comparison purposes, My Gunnar gets an "A+"]: The company, Salomon, which published its inaugural social and environmental report in 2001 (a first for the sporting goods industry), has attracted favorable notice for its activities related to its Standards of Engagement. Folks that watch this kind of thing note that the company was ranked first in its industry on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2004, up from fourth a year earlier. "Much of this improvement is attributed to the compliance work the company is doing with its international suppliers." In 2004, adidas-Salomon ended relationships with 32 non-complying supplies worldwide." I also found that the brightness of the shoe worked well in keeping my students glued to my lectures...see above pic...
For the subjective Performance grade: “A” for durability and traction., but “D-“ for instilling elements of the Protestant work-ethic and acting against cult-like tendencies and/or activities in potential maladapted buyers.
First the performance, which is top notch: I don’t run very often as a suffer from a chronic overactive gland, but the few times that I have taken a run on the local trails in the last couple of months, these shoes did very well. They are hard to get on and off as the Velcro thingies are obtrusive, but once they are on itz a good fit. I like the fact that the DEVIL RED fabric is very very tough. And the sole is really tough and somewhat sticky. Itz a good shoe, total high quality, in fact itz too much shoe for my abilities. I have tried to abuse them...I have mowed the lawn with them on, gone hunting frogs with my kid with them on, done serious weed-eating with a full-on heavy duty weed-eater with them on, done rock wall work with them on and they still look like new. You can ask anybody that knows me and they'll tell ya that I am hard on gear, so the durablity factor is high on these shoes, and yet they seem to breathe pretty well. Also, they seem light enough and I like the flex in the fore. Seriously, they are good hard-core trail shoe...but I'll bet they cost a pretty penny. So a guy has to weigh it out...will these shoes be the difference? I don't know, but I doubt they could hurt a guyz chances...
Now for the negatives: The low grade on instilling a proper protestant work ethic stems from its visual redness which affords the potential for people to join cults and/or other counterproductive institutions: Unfortunately according to several of the young people enrolled in my study hall at school, there appears to be visual elements of the “S-lab XA Pro 3” that could potentially be used by evil-doers to brainwash cult-susceptible people. These kids, all savvy consumers, felt like that if these shoes were to fall into the hands of a Mass Manipulator, he or she could do great damage to our social infrastructure. They were kind enough to dramatically portray what could potentially happen...see above pics of actors portrayed as the infamous Jim Jones and his "fallen" flock of followers :)
On a positive note and contrary to those that felt that the shoe could be used by charismatic, albeit evil manipulators to draw both young and old people into Jim Jones-like cults; to many of the young people, the heart redness color scheme gave a sense of real love. Young love, forbidden love, the kind of love that can usurp any kind of potential cult-making or hero-worship...again refer to above pics...
Various quotes from young people that were forced to stay in a closed off room with the shoes for 50 minutes on a hot 6th hour in Mr. Farrow’s classroom in late May of 2007-
"I think itz a sweet shoe. But whatz with the ankle skirt- it scares me?”
“What sport is it for?” Erik R.
“I wouldn’t date a boy that wore those shoes, unless it was Sean.” Molly M.
“The shoe is cool, but the color reminds me of that creepy Ronald McDonald dude.” Yakki
“The ankle sleeve would be good for preventing ticks. Seems well made, like it would hold up well. ” Alex Q
Viceroy of Vice: 97 minutes on the bike today!!!!