Salomon Speedcross 5 review
The Salomon Speedcross 5 is an impressive shoe. Its performance on difficult, steep and rugged trails is bar none. Traction is this shoes middle name.
The comfort and airy feel, combined with ample sidewall and toe protection make it an obvious choice for technical trails. However, the specificity of the shoe limits its use.
The Salomon Speedcross 5 fits like a glove
From the second time I put these shoes on, they were snug but not too tight, pliable but not sloppy. The shoe has a light feel to it.
This is my first pair of Salomon shoes, and I have always been a little skeptical of the super-tiny lace system and the Quicklace technology, but I am officially a convert. My worries of the skinny lacing cutting into the tops of my feet and the Quicklace system repeatedly slipping were quickly assuaged on my first run.
The tongue padding helps the laces distribute the pressure nicely, and the Quicklace system never failed or even slightly loosened. In fact, I had to stop once in order to loosen it because I had cinched it down too tightly for the steepness of the terrain.
The trademark SensiFit design of the upper construction ties nicely into the lacing system creating a snug fit that really hugs your foot.
The western Montana springtime weather threw snow, crusty ice, and mud at these shoes and the Salomon Speedcross 5 responded with traction, traction, and more traction.
During most of my time getting to know this shoe, I felt like an Ibis picking through puddles of mud, ice, and slush, hungrily searching for the trail. These shoes were made for these conditions. The superior traction gave my foot confident purchase uphill, downhill and laterally.
The lug pattern is well thought out, with studs positioned in opposing directions for optimal grip in multiple directions. The Contragrip outsole material is especially adept at gripping loose, wet and slippery surfaces.
Combined with the deep 4mm lugs, there is little in the way of aggressive terrain that this shoe can’t handle. My test runs in this shoe have been on loose, wet single track and dirt roads between 10-12% grade that is partially covered with snow and slush and there was never a moment of doubt when it came to traction.
The upper material is constructed using a no-stitch welding technique that creates nice seamless transitions between the fabric and rubber.
The strategic vents on the sides allow for good breathability and water drainage. However, the ample tongue wanted to hold on to more water than I liked.
The trademark midsole EnergyCell is touted as providing a rebound in the step. While I did not notice this initially, I did feel like the cushion provided in the midsole was just right.
The Speedcross 5 sits somewhere between a medially and maximally cushioned shoe, and for its intended use, I think it hits the mark spot-on for cushion.
The lace pocket is a nice touch. Whether you just like things clean and tidy or maybe worry about the cordage snagging on a rock or branch, this solves the problem and gets the lacing system out of the way.
The toe guard is nicely reinforced with a stout rubber coating and an aggressive flap of thick rubber at the terminus for higher impacts.
The rubberized side walls offer ample protection without adding weight. My feet felt comfortable and secure in these shoes, even on very rocky, technical trails.
Good to go right out of the box
Even with the reinforced toe area, the shoe has a tremendously generous flex. Right out of the box the shoe felt ready to go and never too stiff.
The 30mm stack height worried me a little at first since the shoe doesn't boast a particularly wide platform, but even in varied terrain, the shoe felt stable and never tippy.
The spacing of the lugs is also noteworthy. Some other comparable shoes that I have run in like the Saucony Peregrine and the inov8 x-talon have had issues with clumped mud on the sole.
I have yet to experience this with the Salomon Speedcross 5, and I attribute that to the mindful spacing of the lugs.
Sturdy, well-constructed shoe
The Speedcross 5 is built tough. The welded rubberized border between the sole and the upper is super solid. It’s thick enough to offer protection and constructed well enough to keep the shoe from falling apart at a common area of construction failure.
The tight weave of the upper fabric has yet to show signs of wear after a little over 70 miles of running. The Contragrip sole is tough, but I worry that on runs that use paved stretches to link up trails that it might wear faster than normal.
While the shoe was not uncomfortable on the road, it did produce a "clickity-clackity" noise that got a little annoying on the stretch of pavement between my house and the trailhead. With that said, the shoe is probably best left solely on the trail (the more rugged, the better).
Tip: see the best trail running shoes.