Earlier in the year I accepted an invitation from Fitness Footwear to become a Product Tester and so they recently provided me with a pair of Salomon walking shoes to have a look at. Having walked as well as run in fell shoes for a few years I haven’t been a great fan of walking shoes although I always think Salomon trainers look the business.
The Salomon Exit range consists of Salomon Exit Peak shoes and Salomon Exit Aero trainers. Both are designed around the classic Salomon Exit, which introduced multi-sport shoes to the UK before evolving into the a lighter, snugger and faster Salomon Exit Peak 2 and Salomon Exit Aero 2 shoes we have today. The Exit Peak has more material, making it warmer and more weather resistant while the Exit Aero replaces parts of the Salomon Exit upper for breathable mesh in order to provide added ventilation and fast cooling comfort
My initial impression was of a comfortable shoe with a supportive upper and heel box. The heel strap and foam in the heel cup combine well to provide a reassuring fit without undue pressure. The spacious toe-box with a good (high) arch support confirms this is a well designed shoe. With a big protective rand around the toes one to look after your feet everything says this shoe knows what it is doing. The upper is light and comfortable and even laced very tight the Exit Aero remains comfortable and reassuring.
The sole seemed to be stiffer than I would have preferred (before wearing them) but it is more comfortable to walk in than I anticipated. In "Autobahn, Detroit and Bleu Gris" they are more subdued than many Salomon shoes and the mesh upper is very breathable and, consequently, not waterproof.
First time on is at the end of a long hot day with hot, tired feet wearing thin socks – I want to see if I can find any uncomfortable pressure points that might not otherwise be apparent. Were there any? No, these are comfortable, highly breathable, supportive shoes. With slightly thicker socks, the ones I would normally run or walk in these shoes will be a snug fit - just right.
It is a long time since I have worn walking shoes mainly because the last time wasn't a very happy experience - the shoes then seemed a poor compromise between light walking boot and trainers. I was half expecting a repeat of that unhappy experience with the Exit Aeros but I was pleasantly surprised - they are comfortable to wear and to walk in. The sole is sufficiently flexible for comfortable walking and more than sufficiently robust for tackling rough, rocky, stony ground.
These are going to be at their best in warm, dry conditions and if you hadn’t guessed already, I am converted. I would have taken them on our recent trip to the Canadian Rockies where they would have been perfect - more protective and more supportive than the running shoes I did walk in.They will be very good in Mallorca later this year for walking on the high, rough limestone ridges and before then I'll be using them at every opportunity.