I knew I would come across this shoe at one point or another. In my mind, the Speedcross line of trail running shoe has always felt like the badass trail shredder that Salomon has to offer. Whether or not it still holds that title with their Fellraiser or the Fellcross in their lineup is another story. I picked up a pair of 2014 Speedcross 3s as soon as the new editions came out. I didn’t necessarily need them, but I wanted to give them a shot.
True to their lore, they perform excellently as a trail runner. I have probably logged between 75-100 miles on them. At first, I took them out on leaf covered, gradual trails in North Carolina. They did not necessarily shine in this environment because even the Speedcross’ massive lugs could not penetrate the dense leaves. I don’t necessarily hold this against them though, I think anything short of cleats would have had a tough time on that surface. In the Smoky Mountains, the lugs did exactly what they were supposed to do: bit into any semi-malleable surface (dirt, moss, mud, sand… You name it).
The shoes showed their invaluable worth, however, in Hawaii. This past Christmas, I spent the better part of two weeks gallivanting around the Big Island and Oahu with my father, sister, and her fiancé. I took the Speedcross’ as my main shoe. One hike in particular demonstrated their true value. The Olomana trail (also known as Three Peaks) is a gnarly little spine on Oahu that is only about 5 miles round trip, but consists a sustained ascent (and eventually descent) on a rain-soaked, muddy, clay trail with bouldering and static rope sections during the second half. As it is want to do in Hawaii, it had been raining off and on every day preceding our ascent. This meant the trail was soaked. Sections of ankle deep, heavy, clay mud made the going slower than I had initially planned. The rest of my group wore traditional hiking shoes and/or boots, which worked just about as well as ice skates on that surface. My Salomons, on the other hand, were like crampons. The lugs sank their teeth into every patch of mud with ferocity, ensuring that I could commit to each and every step with confidence. On the rockier sections, and even the bouldering, they continued to perform admirably, even if approach shoes might have given me stickier toe caps to work with. Instead of wedging my toe, I would use the lugs to lock into the volcanic rocks, which ended up providing a solid amount of traction. In short, these shoes keep their cool when the going gets slippery and, more importantly, keep you upright and safe.
Another noteworthy aspect of these shoes is that, even though they are not waterproof, they do a wonderful job of keeping moisture out. I haven’t spent aton of time in them in soak-worthy conditions, but they kept the Hawaiian mud at bay for hours before relenting to slight dampness. Once they were soaked, they did take on more weight (obviously), but still felt light enough for me to maintain my stride without a ton of extra effort. They are, however, much heavier than my normal trail runners. I often run in either Luna Sandals or New Balance Minimus trail runners, both of which weigh next to nothing. The protection and traction that the Speedcross offers can definitely be worth the extra ounces when the going gets rough or extremely slippery. These trail runners are not comparable: different shoes, different expectations.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Speedcross line is the insane colorways that are available. Salomon has definitely decided to push the envelope with their colors and we all benefit. As I was buying a remaindered pair, I didn’t have many options when it came to colors. In fact, I didn’t have any options. I was stuck with blindingly white and green shoes… Hmmm. Not necessarily my favorite combo, but I bought the shoes for their functionality not their fashion. Now, the shoes have a pale reddish brown tinge, thanks to that lovely Hawaiian mud. In my opinion, it is much more bearable than the original white. The color is not the only thing that changed in Hawaii though. Lava is an extremely unforgiving substance. It is razor sharp and incredibly hard. There aren’t many shoes that are built for miles and miles of hiking on lava. Again, the Speedcross performed well, but I have noticed that the soft sole and lugs suffered some abrasions and cuts from the jagged footing in Hawaii.
The bottom line is that these shoes will shred through just about any dirt-like surface you can step on. Salomon designed these shoes with a purpose and they succeeded.
The Bare Bones
Product Name: Salomon Speedcross 3
Available Colors: Every bizarre combination under the sun
Sizing: True to size
Recommended Uses: Trail running, mud running, fast hiking
Weight: 24 oz (size 10.5)
Get Your Own: Salomon Speedcross 3 Trail Runners