It’s been a while since I’ve done a review but recently I’ve been getting a load of kit sent on to me, which is always nice, so I’m going to start making a dent in the reviews I know I need to write up. One of the cooler things that has been sent to me recently was from Intersport UK, who are exclusively stocking Salomon’s new ‘city trail’ shoe, the X-Celerate 2 GTX.

I’ve known of Salomon for years from my adventuring days and always had an eye on experimenting with their footwear whenever I’ve been browsing in Lake District outdoor shops. But I must admit I’d never actually heard of city trail shoe before and wasn’t exactly clear what it’d look like. But of course, I live in a city, the biggest one in England in fact, and so here was a perfect playground in which to test the footwear and see how it performed.

Okay, first impressions, I love the colour scheme—deep blue with a blood red trim—but was a little surprised by the size of them. Don’t get me wrong the shoes are hardly big, but I always wear racing flats and never anything else, so I’d sort of forgot that training and workout shoes come with more padding. On reflection however this makes a lot of sense; concrete and cobblestones are a killer stressor on your frame and endless pounding of the city streets will be for some people more than they’d want to handle, so a decent cushioning is likely to help stop that weary ache in your knee after mile nine on tough tarmac.

On my first few runs in the shoes, I quickly realised that for my feet they fit well, and seemed pretty comfortable. I also began to appreciate the finer points of the design. One standout piece of engineering is the lacing system. Like other Salomon shoes X-Celerate’s has done away with traditional laces, and instead use a Quicklace system instead, using an adjustable tab to quickly fasten the kevlar (I think they’re kevlar; bloody indestructible!) lace fast and tight incredibly speedily.

I half suspected that because of this they’d be a real pain to undo, but they’re not, easily coming undone when you squeeze the tab. About the only concern I had with this lacing system was actually in the strength of the laces. I accidentally had the tongue crumpled up on one run and this pushed up the side of the shoe against the laces, causing a bit of a rub to the fabric. Nothing serious, but I was careful to make sure everything was flush from then on out, with no further issues.

Moving onto the fabric, as I stated previously I found it pretty comfortable. It’s also interesting to note that the X-Celerate 2 is Gore-Tex lined, meaning you can go splashing around in muddy trails and paths with completely dry feet, which is especially useful on long wet runs. I think for summer running though, the water-resistant layering could make feet a bit sweaty, so I definitely think this is more of a winter shoe.

Finally, a quick look at the sole of the X-Celerate confirms that there’s not only that decent level of cushioning that I mentioned previously (especially on the heel), but also a good tread-design, one that works well for slippy pavements, parks and puddle jumping etc. It’s a good base for a sturdy shoe.

And that’s what this shoe is; sturdy. Rugged. To my mind this is footwear designed for those 6am runs in the gloomy drizzle down canal paths, parks and backstreets before the grabbing an instant coffee, bleary eyed on the way into work—where the last thing you need or want is wet feet or aching knees.

As I said before, my preference will always likely stay with racing flats, but I know I’m a bit abnormal in this regard. I think that for a lot of people, the X-Celerate 2 are going to be everything they’re looking for in running footwear, especially for tackling the many countless paths, routes and roads that constitute our running tracks in the great big urban space of Britain.

Special thanks and shout out to Intersport UK who supplied me with the X-Celerate 2s. If you’d like to try on a pair for yourself, then there’s a handy map here of their stores, combined with a bit of info on Salomon’s Community Runs around your city trails.

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