Salomon SpeedCross 2 Review

The Salomon SpeedCross 2 is a trail racing/training shoe that was first introduced in 2007 and continues to be a popular choice for many as a trail racing shoe.  Salomon may have stumbled onto a very valuable lesson that shoe manufacturers never seem to abide by; if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.  With this review I hope to provide a comprehensive and unbiased look at the fit, performance, and durability aspects of this trail shoe.  I have put about 200 miles on this shoe of trail running on a variety of different trail surfaces.

Salomon SpeedCross 2

First Impressions
What I first noticed about this shoe is that it does fit true to size.  The upper has a glove like feel to it that really straps the foot down making this shoe feel like a very natural extension of the foot.  For its lack of weight, this Salomon comes in at about 11 oz. for my size 9.5.  The shoes initially feels light and responsive, with a surprising amount of soft cushiness, especially in the heel.  I tested the all black model which is striking in its appearance and is offset by the bright primary colored Salomon logo on the tongue.  During one of my first runs in this shoe a friend remarked that they looked like the popular all-black 3/4 top basketball shoes from the 1990s.  I took that to mean that they’re classic!  Plus, we’re trail runners and we don’t really care anyway.

Outsole
The first thing I noticed about this shoe’s outsole was the absence of a rock plate.  However, this absence was not accompanied by the usual bruising of my metatarsals.  Instead, the outsole of the SpeedCross 2 is covered in chevron shaped lugs, made of a softer rubber composite than many trail shoes.  These lugs seems to give the shoe much of its cushioned feel, and grip very well on just about any surface from rock, to mud, and sand.  The outsole on the test shoes provided by Salomon were labeled “M&S Contagrip” and appeared to be exactly the same soles as others I saw in stores that said “Winter Contagrip”.  I initially assumed the shoes labeled winter were the Gore-tex model, but I haven’t found any supporting evidence for that.  What I find useful about this outsole is that it seems to extend and blend into the upper, giving the shoe a protective, but not bulky, surface around the midfoot that seems to be very durable.  Salomon calls this a Mud Guard, and it did just that.  Despite mountain runs on very muddy, clay-filled trails, the SpeedCross seemed to shed the mud and clay just as quickly as it accumulated.  The synthetic rubber-like toecap on the front of the shoe also feels protective, but flexible, and kept water out of the shoe when stepping through puddles.

Salomon SpeedCross 2 OutsoleMidsole
The midsole of the SpeedCross 2 features quite a bit of cushion in the heel, and features dual-density foam on the medial (inside) of the shoe for pronation control.  This chassis is aptly referred to as the Salomon Cushioning System an it provides a surprising amount of heel cushioning for a low profile trail racing shoe.  Some minimalists may find this heel cushioning to be overkill, but I found it helpful when descending on rocky trail.

I’m a mid-foot striker with a little late stage pronation and I felt that the structural aspects of this shoe allowed it to support, but not impede, my stride and footfall.  The heel to toe drop on this shoe is 10mm, fairly standard for most running shoes, but maybe a bit more than a lot “minimalist” trail shoes.  The forefoot is flexible and feels nimble, especially when rock-hopping or running on scree, talus, or loose rock shards.

Upper
The upper of the SpeedCross fits very snug, especially in the mid-foot, due to the Salomon Quick-Draw kevlar lacing system.  This lacing method took me a few tries to get it right, but once you get a feel for it the entire shoe tightens with one pull, slide the tab down to lock it in place, shove the tab up into the tongue pocket, and you’re good to go for miles.  It really envelopes the foot but still allows your toes ample wiggle room and flexibility without any annoying fabric wrinkles that can cause blisters.  My only gripe about the Quick-Draw lacing system is that after I shoved the tab into the tongue pocket I had difficulty fitting the rest of the excess lace in there with it.  I ended up looping this excess lace around the lace eyelet closest to my toes to keep it from bouncing around during the run.  Salomon could probably shorten these laces a bit and still have plenty of excess kevlar lace.

Salomon SpeedCross 2 Upper

Another view of the Salomon SpeedCross 2’s upper.

The heel collar of this shoe is well padded and snug, and worked well to keep rocks out even when wearing no-show socks.  The tongue is stitched into the shoe about half way and did not move throughout test runs.  The entire upper is made of what Salomon refers to as Anti-Debris Mesh which I found to be extremely durable, but very slow to dry.  Forays through creeks and runoff left the upper squishing as I ran for several miles and my feet felt pickled once I removed the shoes after my run.  The SpeedCross also felt a bit hot to my feet, especially on runs above 80 degrees, but I think the thickness and protection of the anti-debris mesh would keep my feet warm in fairly cold weather.

Trail Running Impressions

My first run out of the box with these shoes turned out to be a 20 mile run on wet, technical mountain trails.  The shoe felt very solid on ascents and equally in control while descending rocky terrain.  The outsole is quite tacky and grips rock very well. Mud and clay did not get stuck on the sole which is very smooth between the well-spaced lugs.  The shoes performed well on fire roads, gravel, and crushed gravel paths and the cushioning seemed suitable for use as light-weight trainers as well as trail racers.

Overall, the Salomon SpeedCross 2 is an excellently conceived and durably constructed trail shoe.  My feeling is that Salomon has made a wise decision by not changing this shoe since its inception in 2007.  This shoe would perform equally well on rocky Colorado mountain single track (where it was tested), as it would on the muddy, root-filled, rocky trails of the midwest or New England.  I tested this shoe with a long technical trail run one weekend, and then wore them the following weekend in a trail 5k that ran up a dry, sandy creek wash.  I would assume that they would perform equally well for fell running.

So, if you’re looking for a great all around trail racing/training shoe that is lightweight, as durable as they come, and will perform equally well in winter as in summer, look no further.

Call for Comments
Have you hit the trails in the SpeedCross 2? If so, let us know how it went. If you’ve got questions, fire away.

Contest
You know that we like to hook our readers up. That’s why we’re giving we gave away a pair of SpeedCross 2 compliments of Salomon. (Thanks, guys!) Kristin Zosel was the lucky winner!

[Disclosure: Salomon provided the author with a sample pair on SpeedCross 2 to review. In addition, the Amazon link in this post is part of an affiliate program that helps support iRunFar.com.]

Tom Caughlan

is iRunFar's Minimalist Gear Editor. Tom’s passion for trail running and specialty running retail experience shine through in all of his highly technical reviews, which do range outside minimalist shoes.

There are 132 comments

  1. Hone

    They are the best winter running shoe I have ever worn. I wore the same pair for 3 straight winters in Alaska. They kept my feet warm and the traction was top notch for the Alaskan trails.

    Evan Hone

  2. Natural1

    I've been a Salomon-only runner for the past few years and have loved every pair that I've owned (9 pairs in 3 years…) The XA Pro 3D is my shoe of choice for training, but I've been looking for a lighter model for racing and the SpeedCross looks like it would fit the bill (I blew through a pair of Speed Comps a couple of years ago, but never got around to buying another pair…)

    I'd love a pair of these for my fall races – nothing like a fresh pair of kicks to get the blood flowing and the legs cranking!!

  3. Nick

    The Speedcross 2 is a lightweight multi terrain racing shoe. It has a outsole with a heavy amount of traction. The Midsole offers good cushioning on on the heel, and a light amount through the shoe. The fit is great, it fits very well on the whole foot. It offers great protection from mud and and other debris. The quicklace system makes it very easy to get on and off, and keep your foot snug in the shoe. If you find yourself in a muddy, rocky, and steep trail race, the Speedcross 2 is your shoe! It is also available in GTX (Gortex) it is great when you are running in the winter, it will keep your feet warm and dry, and have a good amount of traction. Also if you are doing a lot of runs in the rain or where the trail requires to to go through a stream the Speedcross 2 is for you!!

  4. wiglebot

    I don't currently use Salomon shoes trail shoes, but would use these.

    1. The toe guard covers the toes but is not massive, it will not get hung on root and rocks.

    2. The Toe box raises a bit and that gives a better natural flex on a stiff shoe, but also helps me prevent flexing my toes (I tense my toes in a flat shoe — been working on relaxing my feet in my road shoes).

    3. The midsole is flat or close to it with the same tread. When I jump across a puddle and land on a slippery root, a carved out midsole will slide or jam my foot forward or back. You should be able to walk a small wet log or a tight rope in trail running shoes resigned for technical trails.

    4. The slightly softer heel is fine and will help with down hills. Also the heel only has the slightest rise, so standing and mid-foot landings should be very nice. Trail running shoes should not give the impression of toppling over backwards (when standing straight up) like some road shoes do.

    5. I like the consistent traction on the bottom.

    6. The sole does not flare out and have fancy junk hanging off. For technical trails, the print of a shoe should not be much more than my foot or the the shoe will cause ankle rolls.

  5. Craig Blair

    I'm an "average Joe" runner. I've completed 3 road marathons and turned to trail running this year. I finished the Scenic City trail marathon in Memphis last May and am currently planning for my first ultra, the Bigfoot 50K in Ohio, in December. I've been experimenting with a couple of different trail shoes but just haven't found the right one yet. I'd love to give this shoe a go!

  6. Bob Baldwin

    Hello!

    I'd love to try these! I've ran 4 50K's and a few mary's in the past few months and have a 100k in 3 weeks (Oil Creek). Been fighting some sore toes from kicking stumps, rocks, roots, etc. in my less durable Mizuno trail shoes and would love to try these more durable shoes at Oil Creek.

    Thanks!

  7. Scott

    I will be racing in the Red River Gorge American Classic Adventure Race in November which would be a perfect opportunity to test out these shoes, as I will no doubt be given ample opportunity to put them (and myself) through the ringer.

  8. Andrew Tomasch

    I have been a hardcore TNF guy since I started running trails. I love the look of these and would love to turned into a "Salomon Guy." Of course I would wear them at the upcoming Ohio Outdoors Series. Send a pair my way!!!!

    Andrew

  9. Erwan

    My only experience with Salomon was a great one, in March 2003 bought a pair of light fell running Salomon* at the pre-run show the day before the infamous 20-mile Grizzly trail on South coast of England – after slipping of the hills continuously during training runs out there wearing normal trainers. Without any previous trail experience, and having worn the shoes only during the previous afternoon for a stroll along the beach, I finished 4th, with no blisters or any injury! Did some more races since on those shoes…but it's about time to get new pair ;-) I'll try them in the beautiful hills of Western Kenya.

    Thanks for your great website by the way!

    *no idea what the model was, they were lightweight, almost like track spikes but with a fell-running rubber sole and slightly reinforced, very very flat, never found them again

  10. Donnie H

    Bryon-

    Keep doing what your doing my man! I would love to do some fall/winter training on the colorado front range with these bad boys.

  11. Thomas McNulty

    I own 4 pairs of these shoes and I love them! I have two black pairs and two lime/yellow pairs, these are my go to shoe for all my trail running and all my ultra races year round! The hug your foot, so I never have any problems with blisters. The shoe sheds water quick to, lets face it… NO SHOE IS WATERPROOF! But these puppies push the water right out and my feet feel dry instantly, even after large creek crossings. Shed the mud, dirt and snow easily while providing awesome grip on everything. Plus they clean up quick! Only thing that I've changed in them is the inner sole, needs a little bit more padding to be top notch, but other than that, #1 shoe! Will probably buy several more pairs to stock up just in case they ever decided to discontinue them (which I wouldn't know what to do then!)

  12. Kristin Zosel

    THANKS FOR THE SHOES, BRYON and SALOMON!!!!

    I LOVE these shoes. I found them to run a bit big, so I exchanged them for 1/2 size smaller than I usually wear. Consequently, i received them just prior to quad dipsea… wore them for about 10 min around the house and put them on to race the next day with a spare pair of alternative kicks waiting for me at the half way point, just in case… NO NEED! these shoes are my very favorite… and were ideal for those wet, muddy, hilly conditions.

    Perfect fit… like a glove with a roomy enough toe box that my toes stayed happy, no numbness or cold spots even when in/out of water and mud at 38-50 degrees on 2 different long race/run occasions. Mid foot and heel hugged my foot snugly in combo with my drymax sock so that i had nary a blister or hot spot… again, despite 6.25hrs and 3hrs constantly wet, up/down steep hills (quad dipsea and a local muddy hil run). Achilles notch is unobtrusive. They drained water superbly… and in conjunction with dirty girl gaiters, i had no debris issues… gotta love that, as well.

    I can honestly say, I've never had a pair of shoes that gripped so well in mucky mud, slippery mud, dense clay-type mud, or any other form of wet dirt. I'd see other shoe prints that had left "windshield wiper" marks and I'd trot right through the same stuff with all effort translating into fwd motion. Impressive. Wet roots, rocks, mossy spots, and drenched weeds were no match for the grippy outsole. Again… impressive as these are not my favorite types of terrain. Give me high and dry and I'm happy as a clam.

    I feel like there's a learning curve on the laces, but I've been lucky on dialing in the tension without too much struggle thus far… I did have to have help getting them off after those 2 races… something about very cold fingers and the pressure required to undo them wasn't working for me… no problem on shorter runs where the fingers retained good blood supply. Under the gaiters, I have no concerns about the loop catching on sticks/plants, etc.

    I had the opportunity to try these shoes out on dusty, moderately, dry rocky trails outside of denver briefly… seemed to work very well… no rock bruises despite the seemingly thin protection in the forefoot… the lugs are spaced just right for that particular trail… heel cushioning felt great even on a long fire/jeep road downhill. I didn't get to try them in snow, but I have a feeling they'd do just fine.

    I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, Salomon has won me over with these shoes. Thanks so much for the opportunity to have them, Bryon and Salomon… I look forward to running them "into the ground" and getting another pair!

    Kristin

    Eugene, OR

  13. Ray Griffin

    I am curious to hear from people whom have tried both the Salomon & Inov8 trail running shoes. I know that it is difficult to compare brands so to be more specific I am curious to know from people whom have tried both the Salomon Speedcross 2 & the Inov8 Roclite 295, Inov8 Roclite 285, Inov Mudclaw 272. I am trying to decide on a trail running show. One of my running mates has the Salomon Speedcross 2's. I am looking to puchase the Inov8 Roclite 295 or the Inov8 Mudclaw 272. I can not find a review on this site relating to the Roclite 285 or Mudclaw 272. Guess they are untested. Do you guys have a link that reviews both Salomon Shoes with the Inov8 shoes in the same breath.

    My problem appears to be that when a runner decides on a brand, be it Salomon or Inov8, they tend to be so impressed by the shoe that they tend not to deviate. When reading the Salomon reviews the reviewer speaks only of Salomon and the same can be said of the Inov8 reviewers.

  14. Mike Papageorge

    Just bought a pair of Speedcross 3s, thanks for the review here! It helped…

    Was at a bit of a loss as my old standby has been discontinued, going to be hitting a lot of clay over the next few months and wasn't sold on the heavier Cascadias… Looking forward to hitting the trails..

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