Salomon Speedcross Pro ReviewSeptember 17, 2015
- Excellent turnover
- Ample cushioning
- Heel can be clunky on firm surfaces
- Unusual fit is challenging
If ever a shoe was made for attacking technical terrain, the Speedcross Pro is it. The aggressive outsole and large—by current standards anyway—heel-to-toe drop create a dominating feel, and the natural stability and outstanding traction give the runner the confidence to back that up. What makes the Speedcross so capable is not its individual characteristics but rather how they all come together. For example, the traction combined with the naturally fast turnover allow the runner to really push the pace on tough but still runnable climbs. Although this synergy is not necessarily captured by individual rating categories, the bottom line is clear: the Speedcross Pro is an outstanding choice for aggressive running on tough trail.
The main caveat with the Speedcross Pro is the difficulty in achieving a comfortable and secure fit. This is largely due to the odd shape, which is narrow in the midfoot and wide in the heel. The result of this during testing was a sort of tug-of-war between midfoot comfort and heel lock down. Varying the lace tension along the length of the shoe is also difficult with the speed lacing system. A secondary issue is the large heel tends to feel unstable during aggressive running on hard surfaces—whenever the ground is hard enough that the tall outsole lugs don’t dig in. This was fairly straightforward to compensate for over time, but takes some getting used to.
The Speedcross Pro will appeal to runners who want a shoe built for running fast and hard over difficult terrain, including cross country and off-trail adventures.
The Speedcross Pro is a fairly comfortable shoe with a couple caveats. First, because the midfoot area is somewhat narrow, finding a right lacing balance between security of fit and comfort took some time. Second, the upper material is quite thick, which, while it does add some protection, also limits breathability: the shoe was noticeably hot during mid-afternoon summer runs. Most runners will find the cushioning adequate for runs of up to a few hours.
Faster speeds are the sweet spot of the Speedcross. While it felt overbuilt and almost clunky at slower speeds, everything really began to sing once the pace picked up. The 10 mm heel-to-toe drop gives the shoe an aggressive ride, and turnover was surprisingly smooth given the shoe’s weight and large outsole lugs. This held true on both steep and flatter terrain.
Security of Fit
The Speedcross Pro has a bit of an unusual fit in that it feels low-volume through the midfoot but high-volume in the heel. Because of this, a secure overall fit was difficult to achieve. Fortunately the shoe has enough natural stability that running with the laces a little loose up front did not present any problems.
The Speedcross Pro is not an agile shoe. It does not allows a runner to rapidly and efficiently pick a line through trail obstacles. The outsole lugs are so large and sticky that they can easily get hung up, and the heel can feel cumbersome in tight terrain. Rather, the Speedcross gets most of its technical capability from allowing the runner to simply power through most conditions.
Just based on appearances, one might expect the Speedcross to be more responsive and efficient than it actually is. The main issue is the softness of the heel, which tended to overcompress especially on hard downhills. But while it does fall short of racing-flat-like energy return, overall it was still a bit more responsive than most shoes in this weight class.
This shoe was tested with runs of up to 90 minutes in duration on a variety of terrain including smooth single track, cross-country, and dirt roads.