First Impressions

Salomon has long been a go-to brand in the skiing market. The company is leveraging that position, diversifying and broadening their focus with a range of trail running products. At the top end of their trail running line up is the XT Wings II.

Salomon updated the original XT Wings for 2011, making it lighter weight than the earlier generation. In addition, the company added or enhanced a number of features creating a great trail running shoe.


The XT Wings II is positioned as a stability shoe. It provides a nice amount of control thanks to the company’s proprietary Agile Chassis Skeleton. It’s designed to aid in heel-toe transition and limit side to side movement. The skeleton actually wraps onto the upper and really helps with the feeling that you’re locked into this shoe when out on the trail. Cushioning was almost road-shoe-like, definitely enough for both trail and moderate road use.

The sole of the XT Wings II provides good grip on a variety of terrain. And it has a unique three-pronged ContraGrip Tendon that is designed to collect heel-strike energy and aid in pushoff. This did seem to give the XT Wings II a more bouncy feel than other shoes in the test.

Fans of the original XT Wings will recognize the Salomon’s Quicklace system which has been retained in the new model. Instead of traditional laces, the XT Wings II uses a thin cord and a simple locking mechanism to cinch down the shoe. It works very well and the excess cord stuffs neatly into a pocket at the top of the shoes’ tongue.

The XT Wings II has a protective toe cap for protection and a rubber “mud guard” that wraps the lower section of the shoe. All these features add up making the Salomon’s the heaviest shoes in the test. At 720 grams per pair, they’re heavy but not outrageously so.


From first wearing, it’s clear that Salomon built the XT Wings II for a narrow foot. If you need a more roomy fit look elsewhere. But if it’s narrow that you prefer, these are the ticket. The XT Wings II were also the only shoe in the test that really didn’t need an aftermarket insole. Salomon includes nicely constructed OrthoLite insoles that definitely do a better job than most in cradling and stabilizing the foot.

Final Verdict

Hard to go wrong with the XT Wings II. They are very well constructed and have a range of stability features, a clever lacing system for quick in and out, and an above average insole. Definitely check these out if your looking for a narrow shoe, or if you need something versatile enough for trail and moderate road work.

First Impressions:
[Rating:4.5/5] Features:
[Rating:5/5] Fit:
[Rating:4/5] Final Verdict:

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. And thanks to Salomon and Outside Media for providing product for this review. Written by Matt K.