Trail shoe trends have seen a lot of change over the years. Shirtless runners with the most minimal of shoes captured our attention a few years ago, and since then we have put on trucker hats and added inches to our midsole cushion. One of the most noticeable constants through this change has been the Salomon Speedcross. Salomon has made changes and introduced, adjusted and dropped various models but the Speedcross has been their bedrock.
While the Speedcross shoes have always maintained the same general look, minor tweaks have been introduced through new versions of the shoe. This brings us to my review of the 4th edition of the ubiquitous Speedcross.
What I (happily) first noticed when I took these shoes out of the box was that not much seemed to have changed with the Speedcross 4. Its frustrating when a brand (road shoe manufacturers do this all the time) take a great shoe and make detrimental changes to justify a new model. Salomon demonstrated the confidence to come out with a new version that doesn’t scream “I’M A NEW SHOE!” They are still a cushioned, relatively high drop shoe, with burly looking construction that inspires confidence on wet, muddy trails. One noticeable change is to the lugs on the sole of the shoe. The size has been changed, and now looks more like the sole found on the Fellcross line. They are still a chevron shape, just smaller than they were before, with various sizes across the sole. There are also less of them – approximately 38 lugs now vs 45 on the Speedcross 3 (yes, I counted!) I found this translated to a solid grip with improved mud shedding. To be clear, these are off road shoes – the sole is all lug and designed to grip mud and soft ground and they excel at this.
I have used these shoes often since I received them and will continue speedlacing them up during our typically wet and muddy fall/winter season. The drop is a lot larger than what I typically wear, but I have never had a problem with it in these shoes. I should also mention that I didn’t encounter the same issue with the need to go a size up like I did on the Speedcross 3. Not sure if that has more to do with my feet or the shoes, but the sizing ran the same as other Salomon shoes.
Salomon offers a few different versions of the Speedcross 4 – I tested the CS (climashield) version. There is also a standard version that doesn’t have additional fabric sealing and the GTX (Goretex) version that is the most weatherproof. The differences are in terms of how much water they will let in, but also affects how much heat they will let out. If you think of a jacket, these range from light wind jacket to a full on Goretex shell. I would use the standard shoe in the summer, and I have used the GTX version in the winter. This CS model that I tested is perfect on cooler fall days.
I continue to be a Speedcross fan for muddy trail run days. I am happy that Salomon has kept the 4th edition mostly the same, and improved on what works. If you want to read my review of the 2nd edition and 3rd edition please click the links. If you want the full specs on this shoe, check out the Salomon website.