The Speedcross has been around for a few a years now and with each incarnation Salomon improves on an already excellent lightweight off-road all rounder. This shoe is a jack of all trades and master of most.
This latest version of the Speedcross hasn’t embraced the recent trend towards reduced heel to toe drop and forefoot running, and sticks with what it has done very well for several years. It retains a significant amount of cushioning in the heel and is more suited to the runner who prefers to heel strike.
Well spaced but substantial lugs both in the heel and forefoot offer great traction on all offroad terrain and the lugs shed mud easily. If you have to run on tarmac and pavement, as is often required on mixed terrain adventure races, the shoes can feel a little skittish because of the pronounced lugs, but there is plenty of cushioning in the heel to cope with reasonable distances without discomfort. We have found that the lugs wear down rather quickly on hard ground, however.
The flip side of all this cushioning is a more elevated heel which can be a slight hindrance on off-camber fellside and tougher off-road runs, but the reassuringly tight fit limits any problems with instability and the shoe always feels connected and inspires confidence. Only on the steepest ground would you be reaching for the true fell shoe.
Up top Salomon uses their well known Kevlar quicklace system which works well and is ideal for quick transitions in shorter races, especially with frozen hands. One tug and the shoe is on, and there is a handy pocket in the tongue to tuck away the lace and lacelock neatly. This pocket is quite small so this isn’t always that easy, but make sure you do as the flapping lace loop is a serious trip hazard and begging see you faceplant in the nearest bog or worse. Under the laces you’ll find a thin mesh above the tongue to help prevent debris from getting in.
The quicklace system won’t be for everyone as while it is quick, it doesn’t really allow for adjusting the lace tension to relieve pressure points. That said, the laces are thin and slide well through their guides, which helps to even out the tension. Also, while the laces are strong they aren’t unbreakable so it’s worth knowing that free easily fitted replacements are available from Salomon stockists. A replacement lace would be a good thing to take on an expedition as you’re pretty stuffed without a spare.
The upper has plenty of padding around the heel and ankle to give a comfortable snug fit, and there is a good protection in the toe box to help prevent any errant stones and rocks from ruining your day. There is also pretty solid protection around the whole shoe just above the sole to help keep the worst of the mud out, but despite this the shoe drains well.
↑ The Good
+ Quick lace system is ideal in faster races
+ Grip is fabulous in almost all conditions
+ Cushioning makes these shoes ideal for longer races as well as fast sprints
↓ The (not so) Good
– Quick lace system a bit fiddly for some
– Lugs wear down quickly if used on roads
It is no surprise the Speedcross has become an adventure racing classic. The snug fit allows you to mountain-goat on steep-sided valleys, but the cushioning gives you a bit of much needed padding after days on the hill. Salamon’s hill walking heritage has been well translated into running and these shoes are a classic.
Salomon Speedcross 3 CS
- Weight: 313g (size 8.5)
- Upper: Water resistant textile with Climashield™ membrane
- Lining: Ortholite® Sock Liner
- Midsole: Molded EVA
- Drop: 9mm
- Sole: Contagrip
- Last: Sensifit™
- Sizes Available: 6.5-13.5
- Colours: Cosmos Blue/Green, Red/Black/Silver, Black, Winter Green/Dark Green
- Anti-debris mesh
- Water resistant textile
- Lace pocket
- Mud guard
- Quick lace system
- Mud and snow non-marking grip
- Ortholite insole