So, City Trail is back for another year. I was disappointed that I couldn’t head to up London town last year to join in the revelry and try out some new shoes. I was pretty excited though, when the guys at Salomon sent me a pair of Mantras to try out anyway – which I love BTW.
Fast forward 12 months and the Salomon bunch got in touch again to say they’d like to send me a new pair of their door-to-trail shoes, and would I like to head to another City Trail meetup. They had expanded the list somewhat and there was now a Community Run in Guildford, so I put my name on the dotted line.
A few days later, the Salomon X-Scream turned up. The box was practically glowing, these shoes are so bright :-)
Putting the shoes on, they are comfortable, cushiony, foot-hugging goodness. But was this what I wanted from a shoe? I have previously owned the Crossmax, which I wasn’t so fond of (and which split within 60 miles), and of course the Mantra, which I love because of its streamlined nature and minimal weight etc. These shoes were very different, but I was keen to head out for a run, so I got kitted out and headed out for a door-to-trail jog as Salomon intended.
I came home and thought they felt too soft and wallowy. A bit too bulky on my feet, and maybe not sized quite right either. I could tell these were going to take some work.
Or maybe not. By the very next run, I was convinced. Maybe it was a factor of that run, or maybe there was just a little too much road and not enough trail, but the next time I took them out on the hill from work I was convinced that these were the ideal shoe.
Here you go, watch Salomon’s video about the X-Scream – though note that the man only appears to run on two preened patches of lawn rather than any actual trail.
Let’s see some of the technology inside:
The shoes have a 10mm forefoot : 19mm rearfoot leaving a 9mm stack height, which is lower than many standard road shoes, but higher than the mantras that I have enjoyed. This actually feels like a pretty good compromise for me as I am keen to work my way down the stack height ladder, but have had mixed results with shoes ranging from about 4-12mm in the last few years.
The City Trail website has a number of cities around Europe with some suggestions for routes that you can run which enable you to explore a little and see some of the scenic bits you might never have come across before. With the Community Runs lead by local running stores, Salomon are also offering the opportunity to try on a bunch of shoes and go for a run, sometimes with a top athlete.
At the Guildford City Trail event the shoes on offer were the new Mantra models, X-Scream and Fellraiser. I was keen to continue working with the X-Screams so I kept those on, but did take the opportunity to try out some Superfeet carbon insoles to see how they felt. Maybe another review on those in the future. There was also the chance to test out one of the Suunto watches on offer – but desperate as I am to purchase one, without ever having tried one, I decided it was best to steer clear in case the credit card suddenly dashed out of my pocket!
Another Salomon video:
Our guide was Mary Grace Nash, an American lady who has worked with Salomon for a while and runs some ultra distances (including NDW50 last year (8th overall)). she took us from the castle grounds down to the canal before crossing at the point the NDW crosses, before heading back to the castle. This was the biggest drawback in my view – the advertised route for the day was 5k. We did about 2.
The option was then to swap shoes and/or insoles and now that we knew the proposed route we could head out on our own.
As we had stood talking for a while before setting off (and I had a slight technical issue with not having enough parking money) I was unable to head out on another run, so I swapped my insoles out, and then dashed back to the car before the warden spotted me.
It was an enjoyable morning – and it’s always nice to hang out with new people and go for a run – especially if you are also able to try out some excellent shoes for free. So, head on over to the City Trail website, find a city near you and see if there is an event going on soon!
As for the shoes: I’ve been racking up the miles, and I rate them highly!! :-)
Have you been to a city trail? Where was it, and did you have fun?
What new shoes have you discovered?