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Monday, 9 January 2017

Salomon Speedcross 4 Review: Cow-Poo-Proof, New Lug Pattern & Grippier Grip

Despite their multiple colour combinations, the Salomon Speedcross are easily recognisable and always in attendance at any trail race or ultra marathon. One of the big shoe debates for trail running is between the Inov-8 Mudclaw or the Salomon Speedcross … personally I’ve always been a Salomon girl. I like that each shoe feels the same - I can pick up and go in any pair, whether I’ve run 250 or 15 miles in them and know that I shouldn’t get any problems, blisters or issues. 

NEW KIT DAY!!!

At first glance the Speedcross 4 look very similar to the Speedcross 3 - same overall design with the QuickLace lacing system, triangle design on shoe sides and contra grip sole with chevron lugs. 

However a closer look reveals a few smaller differences, the symbol on the front of the toe has changed to the Salomon ’S’ on the 4, text placement and a higher rubber outsole heel. Salomon have also removed the half-lugs on the sole and changed the lug pattern. 

LEFT: Speedcross 4, RIGHT: Speedcross 3 (my well-worn pair)

The lugs have been changed to ensure a more even wear. If you’ve owned a pair of the Speedcross 3 you’d probably have notice that the half-lugs on the edge of the shoe wore down more quickly than the full lugs. So on this version, Salomon have removed all the half-sized lugs so the shoe now has full sized lugs all over the sole and positioned these for maximum traction. 

On the topic of traction, Salomon have used a newer, improved version of Contagrip rubber in the sole. The Speedcross 4 which previously had excellent traction in the 3 now thanks to the new Contragrip - have an better grip! Trialling the shoes, I found that the contact was great in mud, on stones, trails, wet roads … the only thing I could find that gave the Speedcross 4 any grip issues was muddy cobbles … but I also can’t suggest anything else that could possibly have found any traction on that surface either!

The Speedcross 4 have also got the QuickLace lacing system which is one of my favourites as not only do the laces not come undone, you can tuck them out of the way in the pocket in the shoe tongue. 

LEFT: Speedcross 4, RIGHT: Speedcross 3 (my well-worn pair)
Apparently the version 4 is lighter than the Speedcross 3 and picking them up they do feel significantly lighter but I haven’t weighed them to check. Mainly because my Speedcross 3, while much loved, are also still covered in mud from Sunday’s trails and I suspect this might skew the balance a bit … 

Similar to the Speedcross 3, the Speedcross 4 are easy to clean off even at their muddiest. A quick hose down sorts them out even after being absolutely revolting and covered in ‘rural mud’ (*ahem* cow shit) and it hasn’t dulled the colours at all. Another note on the material is that the version 4 is more durable than the Speedcross 3 and incorporates better debris guards in the fabric. This is brilliant new for me as despite the heavy use, my Speedcross 3 last virtually forever, only going eventually on the toe areas in the upper fabric. At this rate, 1 pair of version 4 will last me the rest of my life. (Note: Ask me in a couple of years how they’re doing). 

BOTTOM: Speedcross 4, TOP: Speedcross 3 (my well-worn pair)

A downside I’ve found of the Speedcross 4 is that they feel narrower than my version 3s. As a runner with wide feet, I’ve found my massive paddles feel slightly more constricted in this version. Not good news for ultras as my feet tend to swell over about 50 miles or in heat … and I have tended to use my Speedcross 3 for all of my ultras. If these don’t ease with use, then this could be a big problem for me. Another thing I’ve noticed is that the heel raise is slightly higher even allowing for the higher lugs. I’ve had a bit of an ankle ache and while I’m reluctant to attribute this entirely to either the SC4 or the higher profile of the shoes, this might be a contributing factor. I’ve also liked the almost barefoot running feel (for me!) of the version 3s and not sure I’d want additional cushioning. However, I’ve so far only run 60-100 miles in the shoes so this might just be bedding in issues and the comfort of the footbed and padding is very good. 

BOTTOM: Speedcross 4, TOP: Speedcross 3 (my well-worn pair)
Overall
I like the shoes and in the main there are few differences in the versions. The lug change seems to be positive and the grip is a plus and if there’s improved durability then this is definitely a plus on a hardwearing shoe. However, the higher profile might be an issue for some and I’m reserving judgement on whether I’m going to make a straight switch to the 4s or to try and hoard as many of the remaining 3s online until I’ve put a few more miles on these Speedcross 4. 

Price: £100 (currently £63 in Millets Sports sale)

I got mine from Millet Sports here


Disclaimer - I’ve only run 60 - 100 miles in these shoes to date so there may be problems I haven’t spotted … or they may be even more awesome than I think they are. 
Millet Sports sent me the shoes to review as part of their Running Footwear range and as usual I've written exactly what I thought of them and took no payment. 

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