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Q:

What are the best spring running shoes?

What are the best trail running shoes for handling spring mud and rain?

Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX waterproof trail running shoe

Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX trail shoe     Photo: Courtesy of Salomon

A:Spring rain and mud, indeed. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve had a full-on La Nina spring—meaning rain, more rain, and the occasional snowfall. So yeah, muddy trails have been on my mind.

The challenge is finding a shoe with grip that can also keep your feet dry. At the high end, price-wise, is Salomon's XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX trail runners ($155). (I think they charge by the number of words in the name.) Salomon knows plenty about adventure racing, however, and it shows in this shoe, which comes with high-traction Contagrip outsoles (a proprietary design); a supportive EVA midsole; toe and heel caps; and one-pull lacing. The upper is built with a Gore-Tex liner for waterproofness. I’m always skeptical about putting Gore-Tex in footwear, but when you're running through wet grass it's a no-brainer. That'll soak a shoe in seconds.

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