183 days ago, a profoundly generous package arrived on my doorstep. Two pair of Salomon XA Collider 2 trail runners; one in the base configuration, and one containing that magical and magnificent compound known as GoreTex.
The shoes came courtesy of Salomon, via a friend I met while coiffing copious amounts of “shift beers” at a local craft brewery years ago. Between orating questionably distasteful tours of the brewhouse and selling yuppy-forward overpriced flannels to the masses, it became rather obvious that we were both hopeless sneakerheads, after I rolled into work one day with some És Accel Lites and he actually recognized the brand.
It wasn’t long after that he and I found ourselves in line at 6am at the Atlanta Nike store, copping the ultra-limited 1996 Olympic edition SC Trainer Highs.
But, as is often the case with the craft beer industry, it was a fleeting position. He and I both moved on within a year or two, myself shifting into full-time writing, while my friend found himself back where he wanted to be: Outdoor sports retail and marketing.
Fast forward 5 years, long after I stopped coming home smelling like hops and hippies, I find a message buried on Instagram from my pal saying that he wants to send some shoes my way. He’d seen my ode to the Asics Gel Lyte MT and, in his new position with Salomon, had the ability to get a couple of pairs onto my feet.
And so, beginning in February of 2022, the Salomon XA Collider 2 became part of my disc golf sneaker rotation.
But why did it take
six nine months to finally publish a review on these things? Anyone who plays with me can tell you that I simply cannot for the life of me shut the fuck up. I’m the most annoying dude on the card most of the time. I have an opinion on everything, and I’m wordier than a Mensa convention on Adderall.
Hell, I even took physical notes during a few of the rounds, hoping to spark some sort of angle of attack.
Pleasantly light and already broken in. The tread is incredibly well designed…sure footing everywhere, even with the heavy leaf cover that is currently blanketing the narrow paths and undulating hills of these first few holes.
The show is, almost ironically, a mash-up of the Ultrarange upper and the ASICS tread concept, but, dare I say that the grip may even be superior to my beloved Gel-Lyte MT.
This is almost certainly a result of the shoe’s trail running pedigree. It wants to encounter uneasy terrain. It yearns for a chance to impress you when you are at your most uncomfortable.
The round is not going spectacularly at this point, but I’m much more inclined to blame this on my own poor decision-making and concentration, the former being a product of the lonesome nature of this unsanctioned round and the latter easily attributed to my wandering mind – which is currently dreading a 5pm stop at the mega-Kroger that will follow the round.
This round is going to Hell in a hand basket rather quickly. But, even loving excuses as much as I do, I can’t seem to find a way to blame the shoes.
Finally, a birdie. And a respectable one at that. I’m showing an intense level of trust in my hyzerflips in the woods today, which bodes well for the outcome of this review.
These things are downright excellent on the putting green. They’re softer on the soles than the ASICS, (and even the invariably popular Adidas Terrex). Springy, even. It’s keeping my feet in an athletic and dynamic mode. My putts are quite crisp, sure, and snappy. I’m very much enjoying the sort of confidence that I’m currently imbued with.
I do fear during this inaugural round that the shoes’ pre-worn comfort may translate into a worn-out feel a bit more swiftly than a hardier shoe – specifically the uppers – but only time will tell. Perhaps the addition of GoreTex in the other pair will assuage my concerns.
I’m cringing a bit at the tone here, as it comes off sounding like Jacques Cousteau after about 7 bong rips.
Played a few holes while waiting for a friend, (and before taking score), and was reminded of just how nimble these things were right off the bat.
“Nimble” might be exactly the right word here. They are lively shoes, as stated before, but they are quick too. Again, I suspect that the engineering behind their trail-specific design in the culprit here.
But herein lies the problem: It’s hard to find motivation when everything is good. Pressure makes diamonds, right? Starving artists are more inclined to greatness, right?
When something just works, it’s hard to find a reason to talk about it.
And so for 6 months I would go back and forth between the Salomon XA Collider 2’s and my ASICS, trying to find an angle.
Now nine months into this footwear journey and I’ve found myself wearing the XA Collider 2’s more than I thought I would. My ASICS obsession still burns deep inside me, but the mild complaints that I would have normally leveled against the Salomons feel now as though they would be hampered by this well-understood bias.
And, having now thrown the Idio Syncrasy into rotation, I’ve truly begun to appreciate the sportiness and springiness of the XA Collider 2’s. If the Asics are the Toyota Corolla of disc golf shoes, then the Colliders are the Camry. A bit plusher, a bit cushier, but more bang for the buck in that sense.
In comparison, the Idio’s feel a bit like a Yaris that wobbles anytime you get it over 60mph, but we’ll save these less savory analogies for when I’m good and angry enough to review those experiments.
This is the Salomon XA Collider 2’s time to shine, and shine they do. Tight enough. Athletic enough. Durable enough. Affordable enough…They are plenty of shoe for the specific rigors of disc golf on the east coast, and let’s be real: There are few more rigorous and vigorous places to play.