In the past, I have never had much luck with Salomon shoes. I have a wider mid foot and Salomon shoes are narrower in the heel and mid foot. Even so, Salomon has always been a brand I respected. As an Appalachian Trail Thru Hiker, I saw the popularity and quality of their shoes from other hikers. The XA Pro is a staple for many long distance hikers. Plus, the Speedcross is a burly shoe. Its tread pattern makes it look like a tank. I was truly surprised by how light they felt when I first picked them up and how much lighter they felt on my feet. I laced the shoe up, and though it was narrow, the upper was flexible enough to not cramp my foot. They were very cushy, too. Even with the high grip lugs, they felt like pillows on my feet. I tend to wear minimalist shoes. The Speedcross have a 10mm drop from heel to forefoot so I was curious as to how they would affect my gate.
The Run: By the time we started out, the rain had stopped, and it had warmed to the mid 50s. Once we hit the trail, the true nature of the shoe revealed itself. It was made for muck. Our eyes told us that the trails were muddy and slippery but the Speedcross never let us know it. The tread dug in like a dirt bike tire and held over varying terrain. The water resistant upper kept my feet dry even though coworker Sam tried to splash through every puddle we came across.
We took trails up and down steep inclines trying to find the limit of the shoe’s traction. We even ran down to North Beach, ultimately not learning anything new about the shoe but hating the additional work involved with running through sand.
The shoe was so light that my running gate wasn’t affected. I could easily mid foot or even fore foot strike without feeling the heel fighting to strike first. I will say that when I took off the shoes at the end of our 4 mile run, I found a blister on my right foot underneath my arch.
The Verdict: This is a great New England trail running shoe. With the varied terrain and our affinity for mud, the traction will keep you on your feet and on the trails regardless of what the weather says. The fit is classic Salomon, and I can’t fault them for that. If Salomon fits your foot, then I definitely encourage you to try these shoes out. If you have a wider foot, I do not recommend this shoe, as my blister will attest. But I do admit that I am going to put a band-aid over that little blister and take them out for another spin.
join us every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at Outdoor Gear Exchange, 37 Church Street, Burlington,VT for a three to six mile fun run. Every week the run will be sponsored by a different shoe company, so if you’re interested in trying out some different running brands, or just getting together with some other folks who like to run, meet at 5:30. Run will depart at 6PM.
Happy Feet (Will McNulty) got his name while hiking the Appalachian Trail and joined The Outdoor Gear Exchange soon afterwards, in the fall of 2011. In addition to hiking, he has been racing marathons and triathlons since 2006.