Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX Review Facts
Summary - The Salomon Speedcross series have an excellent reputation amongst trail runners, for their robustness, comfort and style. This version will absolutely not disappoint as an enhanced newer model. While they still maintain the Speedcross classic features such as the Quicklace System, they are lighter than the Speedcross 3 and have a more developed lug pattern for enhanced traction on wet and more technical terrain. The combination of Gore-Tex and Sensifit upper, with the Ortholite and EVA midsole, make this shoe comfortable and durable in all conditions and seasons.
The Speedcross 4 come in both a Gore-Tex (GTX) and non Gore-Tex version, however you’ll pay a bit more for the GTX. Unfortunately, I’ve not tested the ‘standard version’ so can’t draw on a comparison between the two. However, I have taken the GTX version out in torrential rain
, have run across soaking wet fields and my feet have remained completely dry – so it’s safe to say the Gore-Tex certainly does the trick and can withstand difficult weather conditions of all 4 seasons.
The only factor that may be a slight issue for those using them frequently in very wet conditions (or wading through rivers
) is that if water seeps through the top edge and causes the inside to get wet, they will take longer to dry out than the standard option. However, a positive note is when wet, the very outer layer dries out very quickly.
The shoes have an anti-debris mesh which are supposed to prevent debris from getting trapped between your foot and the footbed, but you need to make sure the shoes are fastened tight enough for this to be effective.
The outer design boasts the patented ‘Quicklace’ system, which are described as ‘minimalistic and strong used for one-pull easy tightening’. At a glance, they absolutely look minimalistic so I was concerned that they wouldn’t hold the tightness while running over technical terrain. I was pleasantly surprised that the laces didn’t loosen around the shoe at all, meaning my feet stayed securely snug and supported inside.
The Quicklace systems is very convenient and means you don’t need to faff around with laces when your shoes taking on and off, or indeed, worry about the hassle of laces coming undone during your run. They are a very quick and easy method to do up and undo, however, as the laces are so thin I found them quite difficult to tighten up all the way down the length of the tongue.
A very clever addition to the Quicklace system is the lace pocket. This sits on the front of the tongue and provides a small, flexible but secure housing for your laces by tucking them up side. I hadn’t discovered this feature when out on my first run in the trainers, but it made all the difference and prevented the laces (which can become quite long when tight) from flapping around the front of the shoe.
This newest version boasts the fourth generation of Salomon’s Speedcross lug pattern consisting of two directional arrow style grip spanning across the entire sole. It has been described as an ‘even hungrier monster for eating up soft, technical trails’. I tested these trail runners on a variety of terrain; field, trail, woodland, mud, canal paths, and they handled each on very well. I could feel the sole gripping each terrain well and providing excellent traction
. The Speedcross 4 have an updated version of Contagrip compared to the Speedcross 3, which is meant to provide a more enhanced wet traction and grip.
The Speedcross have an excellent ‘Mud Guard’ protective material all around the base of the shoe that acts as an impenetrable barrier for mud and wet to seep in between the sole and upper layer of the shoe.
The robust looking nature of the Speedcross made me initially apprehensive about the comfort at a glance. But as soon as I put them on I was pleasantly surprised. The shoes offer an Ortholite sockliner which is made from a foam containing recycled tire content (nice environmental touch). The Ortholite foam creates a cooler, direr, and better cushioning under the foot and is so robust that it will not break down or lose effectiveness over time.
When running over difficult trail underfoot, I can certainly feel the quality of the Ortholite sockliner as it provides excellent comfort even when pushed to the limit. The comfort is enhanced by the EVA midsole heel cup which allows for better heel support and added cushioning. The shoes have a Sensifit design which cradles the foot from the midsole to the lacing system. I found that this provided a secure, snug and almost customized fit around my foot.
Overall, I’d give them top comfort level. I have fairly thin foot width but with the aid of the Quicklace system the shoe fits snuggly around my foot and the sole feels very cushioned which is essential for high impact running on rugged terrain.
However, the toe cap for additional protection is quite solid, so those with wider feet may find this uncomfortable.
At first glance they look very sturdy and robust, which made me think they would be heavy. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how lightweight they felt. Weighing 290g, the designers have managed to shave off 20g compared to the Speedcross 3. While they are not ultra-lightweight, the shoes definitely feel like an extension of your foot rather than a heavy addition.
Considering the shoe is waterproof, the breathability was much better than expected. Salomon themselves rate breathability 1/5, however I think they have under-sold themselves. As I tested these in summer, I paired the shoes with thin socks and even in the warm weather
, felt my feet were receiving enough air to stay cool and dry, whilst the Ant-Debris Mesh upper wrapped comfortably around my foot.
The Speedcross 4 GTX are a warrior when it comes to dealing with whatever is thrown their way. The upper is a tough and resilient blend of Gore-Tex, Anti-Debris Mesh and water resistant textile. A lot of shoes have an issue with upper and outsole tearing apart from each other.
However, the Mud Guard offers an almost seamless and hard wearing layer to prevent any tearing. I have heard of reports of the prominent lugs wearing down and breaking off. However, this is usually due to runners using them on road. If the Speedcross are used on the terrain intended (trail) then this should not be an issue.
It’s safe to say this shoe will offer excellent protection from all conditions. The Gore-Tex will keep your feet dry from wet weather and muddy trails and the durable upper will keep debris from getting caught between the foot and footbed. The tough outsole can handle rugged terrain underfoot such as rocks and tree roots, therefore keep your feet nicely protected and cushioned on uneven surface.
Although the Speedcross is a firm shoe with plenty of protection and support, there is enough flexibility to ensure precise foothold over the most challenging landscapes. The Endofit and Sensifit aid foothold and ensure the shoe is shaped to your foot and its dynamic movement over variety of terrain. I particularly noticed the good flexibility when running uphill.
The moulded EVA midsole provides lightweight cushioning, stability and is designed to deliver the best support anatomically, helping to prevent pronation when the foot strikes the ground. The Sensifit upper hugs the foot, giving almost customized fit and support all around the foot.
I tested these in woodlands, muddy tracks, fields, canal toe paths, and country lanes and the shoes handled each terrain well underfoot. The lugs grip the ground well and I felt confident running. The shoes responded particularly well on technical, uphill and downhill trails. The only ground I had slight trouble with was wet rock. The shoes do not provide a good enough grip, and I had to really slow my pace to ensure I didn’t slip over.
The shoe’s comfort, traction and durable upper and outer layers are perfectly designed for a variety of off-road trail terrains, particularly soft trail. The Gore-Tex layer make these an excellent choice for wet or winter weather. Do not use on roads and be careful on wet slippery rocks.
The midsole heights are 30mm / 20mm giving a 10mm heel-toe drop. There is argument that zero drop or barefoot provides a more natural platform to run on. However, I found the difference provided extra cushioning when heel-striking so the drop didn’t bother me. However, if you are more familiar with zero drop this may take getting used to.
While the main purpose of running shoes is function, there is no denying that we like our feet to look good too. The Speedcross series have been continually popular because of their persistent performance
but also their great style.
I love the Speedcross design – they look like they mean business when it comes to trail running and they deliver. They come in a variety of colour schemes, most of which will certainly brighten up your shoe rack. However, they always have a plain black pair available for those less garish.
I was extremely pleased with the turquoise colour of the pair I received. However, the bright colours didn’t last long as they were soon covered in mud and I’ve found it difficult to clean off without leaving slight stains (not that this bothers me – I prefer shoes that look used!).
As mentioned the GTX version retail slightly a bit higher than the regular version. The Speedcross don’t come in cheap (£125 at highest) but if you do your digging you can find a bargain. I’m a firm believer in ‘you get what you pay for’ most of the time, and the Speedcross 4 GTX is definitely one of those occasions. If you want a high quality, sturdy and supportive pair of trail running shoes then it’s worth parting with your cash for these.
The Bottom Line
If you’re serious about trail running
and don’t mind splashing out a little, then the Speedcross 4 GTX are an excellent choice. They feel strong, support your feet with comfort, protect your feet from the elements and also look great. The Gore-Tex give that extra protection from wet and winter conditions, making these an all-rounder for technical trails in all 4 seasons