These are not your shoes for jaunts around your local woods but for serious high altitude mountain running where you’ll possibly be above the snowline, enduring everything that a winter mountain marathon can throw at you.

As with the amazing S-Lab backpack we’ve also selected for the Outdoor 100, these are out of the S-Lab, a design studio within Salomon that works with their pro athletes and consistently turns out some very innovative gear.

They work across all sports, but it’s been in the arena of trail running where we’ve seen some of the biggest developments, not least with the aforementioned range of jacket-like backpacks. The S-Lab XA Alpine shoe is a similarly sophisticated product. As you can see, they are unlike nearly every other trail running shoe thanks to the integrated gaiter.

“These are for serious high altitude mountain running where you’ll possibly be above the snowline, enduring everything that a winter mountain marathon can throw at you."

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It’s designed to zip up around the ankle to keep out any loose debris, water and snow. They remain really easy to put on and have the usual drawcord lacing system. But while the gaiter might be the most eye-catching detail on these shoes, the real innovation takes place under the hood. The shoes have a carbon chassis that helps them keep the weight down to a remarkably light 350g each, but also make for a smooth run.

The fit, like all Salomon shoes, is excellent and immediately comfortable and secure. They are also very stable out on the trail. The molded EVA midsole provides a spongy enough step while retaining support.

Other features include a protective toe cap and a lycra collar to ensure a close fit. The Contagrip outsole is also notable for its aggressive pattern that feels positive on rough ground, snow and mud. There’s also a flat ‘climbing zone’ at the front for when things get a bit serious.

The S-Lab XA Alpine is a remarkable running shoe, unlike anything else. If you’re serious about trail running in winter, these are the shoes for you.

Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine Trail Running Shoes Stats:

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Shot on location in Chamonix