REVIEW: Salomon Speedcross 3 Trail Shoes

In my three years of running so far I have changed my mind on many subjects – examples such as my favourite distance, my preferred shorts and my tastes in fuel and gels come to mind. One thing that has always been certain is that I prefer running on trails to running on roads. You would then think that I would have found the perfect trail shoe, but this most elusive of creatures has until now evaded me.

In a market saturated with choice, the modern trail runner is bombarded with options. Do you go minimal and strip your footwear right back to the basics with Inov8s? Or do you indulge in the exact opposite and buy yourself a pair of Hokas? The problem is that this exercise in trial and error is an expensive one, and two different pairs of trail shoes later I am still not satisfied with what I own.

Inov8_Flyroc_310_Unisex_Running_Shoes1Three years down the line and I am still on the search for the perfect trail shoe. I currently own two pairs of Inov8s – one pair of sturdy and hefty Flyrocs (above), and one pair of lightweight and colourful Trailrocs (below). Neither are quite right; the Flyrocs have a thick hard sole and no cushioning which ruined my feet during 53 miles of the Fling, and the Trailrocs are too lightweight for anything technical and are far too minimal for any great distance for me.

in0v8sSome of my friends wear trail shoes all the time but I can’t bear to run on tarmac in either of the above shoes. I live very close to some amazing trails, hills and forests to tear about in, but I hate having to choose between taking the car or enduring 3 – 4 miles of tarmac in trail shoes before reaching more suitable terrain. The Inov8s are great for certain stuff but they are not a good all-round shoe and lately I’ve been spending more time in my road shoes, even when running on trails.salomon-speedcross-3-review-300x300A while ago I was contacted by Salomon who were keen to talk to runners about trail running this summer. They did a series of City Trail events around the country where runners could come along and be introduced to the joys of trail running and try out some new kit. Since I live in the back of beyond the nearest event to me was well over 100 miles away in Edinburgh, but Salomon kindly offered to send me some of their new shoes to test and review on the blog. Given my recent difficulties with finding the perfect trail shoe I jumped at the opportunity, and for the last three weeks I’ve been testing a pair of the Speedcross 3s from the S-LAB Collection.

20130923_190924I was really excited to unwrap the shoes, which came wrapped inside a box inside a box.

20130928_155051I left an even more excited Saskia to play with the boxes, and quickly got some sensible socks on so that I could check the fit.

20130923_191055I take a UK9 in my running shoes, which depending on the manufacturer can be a EU42 or a 43. Salomon sent a 43 and the fit for me is perfect. Here’s what Salomon have to say:

“S-LAB Collection – Designed with the world’s best trail runners. Lightweight minimal uppers for a superior fit, and the precision, protection and traction necessary to be a proven winner at the world’s toughest mountain and trail races. The Speedcross 3 W is an update to the iconic, lightweight, aggressive profile, trail racing shoe.”

The shoe is sturdy but light to lift. It has a thick rubber sole and sturdy instep cushioning with lots of padding around ankles, like a road shoe. The toe box is quite wide with plenty of wiggle room for the toes and the material on top is light and quick to dry.

20130926_182611The laces are pull-tie strings. This is a new thing for me and I was quite wary at first as they seem flimsy, but the grip is solid and you can tighten/loosen right down to the toes if required. The spare strings tuck neatly in the pocket in the tongue leaving everything tight – there is no room for twigs, leaves, or other trail miscellany to get wedged under the laces. Incidentally the strings are actually made of kevlar so they are really not going to snap easily, but if they do, you can get a replacement from Salomon.

20130926_18265120130926_182721

When I first pulled the shoes on they felt just like a familiar and comfortable road shoe which I found very promising. When I left my front door to head to the forest it felt just like a normal road shoe when I was running on the pavement; secure, but cushioned.

20130926_182634

As soon as I got to the trails however the shoe’s true purpose quickly shone through. As you can see from the image above, the grip is ferocious and the Speedcross’ sole is designed for traction on wet and slippery surfaces. As I changed from gravel to leaves and mud I felt complete control over my feet. The lugs on the sole face both forward and backwards so you can anchor your foot safely regardless of whether you’re heading up or down a hill.

20130926_182829

Winter is approaching and the snow will be here soon. With the D33, the Highland Fling and more to train for next Spring I am facing another tough winter’s running and I can’t wait to see how this shoe will perform in shoe and on ice.

20130926_182840

I know it’s only been a couple of weeks but this shoe and I are already getting on very well. We’ve had two more dates with the trails and I think it could be getting serious. I was actually considering an act of total lunacy and wearing them for the Kielder Trail Marathon last weekend since they’ve been so comfy, but I’ve not been out in them for more than an hour yet so that would have been a risky move. It does show the levels of confidence I have in the shoes though, and I am going to wear them for a trail 10k race I’m doing on Saturday.

So thank you, Salomon, for showing me that there is still a world of comfort to be had on the trails. These shoes have most definitely earned both mine, and Saskia’s, complete approval.

20130923_193732

The Speedcross 3 retails between £70ish and all the way up to £110 online depending on where you shop.

Disclosure: I was provided these shoes in exchange for my honest thoughts and review. As ever, all opinions are my own (and Saskia’s).

This entry was posted in Life, Reviews, Running and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to REVIEW: Salomon Speedcross 3 Trail Shoes

  1. Alan Fulton says:

    Been wearing these for years now, best shoes ever! The rest of their range is good too!

  2. These look awesome, totally going on my Christmas list. Need a new pair for ultra training.

    • Well I’m hoping that these will see me through to the Highland Fling next Spring – it will be interesting to see how many miles you can put in them before they start to wear out.

  3. TartanPimpernel says:

    You might just have convinced me to switch to Salomon for my next purchase. Look forward to hearing how they bear up in winter running.

  4. Scallywag says:

    Whats the heel drop on them? They look ace but they also look really high up on the ankle? I just got my first pair of hill/fell/xc shoes and went for the inov8s 212 xtalons, but I intend to use them solely on mud, steep rock and so on, not on road or easier trail :)

    • I saw this somewhere online and I think its 9mm? It’s not as big as standard road shoes and not noticeably minimal either.
      They are quite high up the ankle; I guess it depends on your foot/ankle shape though. I am really bad for kicking myself on the inner ankle so any extra protection is a bonus for me!

  5. Speedcross 3’s are popular here in the Trossachs – lots of hills and forest trails to play in. My wide feet and preference for zero drop shoes rather counts me out though.

    I do wonder if your lack of success with the Inov-8’s comes down to your running style. Shoes like the Trailroc are low drop and don’t have much cushioning at the heel so likely won’t suit a heel striker accustomed to highly cushioned road shoes. Trailroc’s are best suited to those who have a mid-foot running gait and train all year round in minimal shoes on and off road.

    Given your experience I guess the Flyroc’s might be best suited as a walking shoe :-)

    After your great run at the Elgin Marathon I was looking forward to finding out how you and Kynon got on at Kielder. I ran that in the previous two years, but missed this year as I was helping out with the Ben Ledi Triathlon, would have loved to been on the start line this year as the route is a lot of fun.

    • Hi Robert,

      You’re quite right about the drop on the Inov8s; I bought the Trailrocs speculatively in a sale, knowing that since they are so light they wouldn’t be the best choice for longer runs and that if I liked them and wanted to use them a lot I’d need to transition down to lower drop shoes. I don’t use them that often and I think the longest I’ve ever ran in them is four miles. I have minimal road shoes and have tried to integrate them into my training but I just can’t seem to click with it…I guess my best bet would be to start from scratch in minimals and build up rather than switching around but I’d be doing it for the sake of doing it which seems a bit daft as it could bring on injury.
      My flyrocs have been relegated to a walking shoe since the WHW Race – I wore them for one of my sweep sections and gave them one more chance for long distance…nope.

      The Kielder Report is forthcoming – it was a great race and I really enjoyed it! :)

      • If you aren’t injured and your current footwear is working for you then there really isn’t a particular need to try and change your form over to a mid-foot strike and minimal shoes. Those with shin splints, knee, back and ITB issues are the ones most likely to benefit from moving to a mid-foot strike and minimal shoes.

        If you are planning to run long distance I feel that training in shoe that is as cushioned, or less cushioned than the shoe you race in will help. I think some runners suffer in ultras when they train in soft road shoes then race an ultra in firm trail shoes.

        If you are able to train in more minimal shoes and this will require adapting your running gait then you then have the option to stick with minimal cushioning when running ultras, or add a bit more cushioning but this needn’t be high level of cushioning as anything more than minimal will feel plush. If you training in soft shoes and then in ultra want something more cushioned then you only really have one place to go – up to the HOKA.

        If you do want to mix in your minimal shoes into training one thing I found useful is to wear my most minimal shoes (Bare-X 180’s) for short recovery runs. I potter along at a slow pace and can be mindful of my gait as means of keeping myself occupied rather than getting all impatient with the pedestrian pace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>