Verdict: Mixed technical, wet, and boggy sections, and longer runs, are no match for the Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX. This is the best shoe to take with you if you are headed into the unknown. While it is not perfect in some areas, it is ultra-reliable, and solid to get you through the unpredictable.
The Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX is a very aggressive, high-quality trail runner that excels in many areas. It has a GTX upper that is designed for muddy and more adventurous outings.
Who should buy it
If your jaunts in the woods consist of technical single track, muddy, loose scree, and off-trail conditions, then this shoe is for you. This Salomon trail shoe performs well at 15-20 mile distances, and works well for tough bushwhacking, in unknown terrain.
Who should NOT buy it
The Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX is not for you if you:
intended to run where the trails are tame, and frequent concrete sections are present (in this case, consider the Salomon Ultra Glide)
The Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX runs true to size. I typically wear 11-11.5 US (45 EU), and the length fit is right on. The forefoot is a bit tight (width fit). My feet are average width, and I noticed discomfort at my forefoot on both feet after about 4 hours of running.
There is not much lace adjustability at this position, so if your feet are average to wide, this may be an issue. There was some heel slippage, but nothing overly obnoxious. The back of the collar is higher and created some extra space around the ankle, which annoyingly allowed for gravel and dirt to get it.
A confident ride in the Speedcross 5 GTX
Overall, the Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX gives a comfortable ride. The responsive midsole and heel support provide for a confident ride. Since there is no rock plate, the outsole is fairly stiff. Unfortunately, there isn’t much flex in the outsole because of that. If you are nailing a technical descent, then no problem. If you are logging some rolling hills, then this becomes a bit uncomfortable.
Fast and easy Quicklace system
The Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX utilizes its Quicklace system. Pull to tighten, and release to loosen. This system is fast and easy to use. Initially, I was skeptical of the overall durability of the system, but after many miles on them, there are no issues. The only complaint is that they tend to be a bit overly tight across the top of the foot as there are only four sides “eyelets”, meaning there is not any “regional” adjustability in the lacing system.
High collar means some ankle rub
The ankle collar is padded sufficiently, but since it is a bit higher, you may experience some ankle rub if you run in shorter socks. With a 10mm drop you get some decent forward propulsion, that feels natural. The overall support of this shoe is excellent and confidence-inspiring.
Nice bounce, not overly springy
When you first run in the Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX, you notice that it just feels natural. Provided you are running on intended trails, there is no mental accommodation for changing stride or strike. The shoe has a nice bounce to it, without being overly springy. Not once did I roll my foot, stub my toes, or trip.
The Speedcross 5 GTX is a better shoe for running than walking. The stiff outsole works better with running changeovers, versus the slower pace of walking. When I tried walking in it, it just didn’t feel as natural as it did when I was running.
Breaking in the shoe is a must
The first run or two in these shoes requires a break-in period. I suggest wearing them casually or on short runs a couple of times before really logging the miles. After the initial break-in period, the Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX stabilizes and wears very well.
Doesn’t feel clunky
At about 12oz/340g, the Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX is heavy. Trail running shoes have an average weight of 10.4oz/296g. The weight balances well with the features. My feet and legs never felt bogged down by the shoes; even after long runs. One of the great things about this shoe design is even when your legs are fatigued after long runs, the Speedcross 5 GTX doesn’t feel clunky.
High-quality, durable materials
The outsole is constructed of grippy rubber, so I was skeptical that the lugs would wear down quickly. After about 100 miles on them, they are showing a bit of wear, but not anything more than average. There is virtually no wear on the outer portion of the midsole, and the foam rebound on the midsole remains nice and springy. The upper has no tears or wear spots, even after a few off-trail adventures. High quality with durable materials are what go into the Speedcross 5 GTX, and it shows.
Speedcross 5 GTX has very impressive lugs
The wide spacing and super deep lug design held no mud on wet trails. The shoes slipped a bit on wet roots, but everywhere else, they held like glue. The outsole is very impressive and provides a high level of confidence when running on sketchy terrain.
Speedcross 5 GTX really excels on tricky terrain
The Colorado monsoon season provided an excellent time to see how waterproof the shoe really is. I took these on early morning dawn patrols after heavy rains: I ran through tall wet grass, shallow streams, and run-off areas, and then transitioned onto drier single track. My socks remained dry and my feet were comfortable for the duration.
Make this shoe your go-to for adventurous runs, that take you into unpredictable terrain. If the weather calls for showers, the Speedcross 5 GTX will keep your feet nice and dry.
Waterproof means less breathability
Since this is a GTX shoe, the breathability is predictably not great. You can’t have vents or holes in the shoe if you want it to keep water out. That being said, I ran in 80-degree weather and was not uncomfortable. The trade-off for not having vents is that you get to keep your feet dry, so depending on your trail, this may be acceptable.
Expensive but packed with great features
The Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX is a bit expensive compared to other trail running shoes (the average price is $129). In my opinion, if you spend $150 on a shoe, the quality and features should be commensurate. This is definitely the case with the Speedcross 5 GTX.
Hi, I’m Tim and I’m a Colorado ultra trail runner. As a true weekend warrior, I spend much of my free time logging training miles and challenging myself to reach the next level. When I’m not running in the Pikes Peak region, I love spending time with my amazing wife and three awesome sons.