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.

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.

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.

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]

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. Janice Ellis

    I am a newbie… I have played sports all my life, but now at age 45, have decided to try running. It is not easy. I have two different sneakers that i have tried running in on both the road and on the trail. I have had difficulty with each sneaker. I dont want to give up trying to run. I really want to do a 5k, 10k, 15k, and maybe even 1/2 marathon someday. I would love to try these shoes to see if they can help prevent the foot pain that I have been having with the other shoes.

  2. Kay

    Perfect timing for this article as I'm roaming around reading trail shoe reviews at the moment. I'm trying to figure out what it is I want to look for in a trail shoe. Thanks.

  3. nick b

    love my salomon xa pro 3d ultras and would love to see how those lil puppies do on the rocky trails… ps I just moved out to San Diego from Detroit for grad school, so I have tons of trails to explore on a broke students budget, some free shoes would be amazing!!!

  4. Todd S

    Its always frustrating when you find a good shoe only to have it change in next year's model. I'd love to try a shoe that others as well as the company has recognized as "aint broke".

    Very informative review.

  5. Jeff S.

    I need a responsive trail shoe while still protecting my pups that doesn't weigh 2lbs each. Rarely do I ever need aggressive lugs. These look like my next trail shoe to try. Thanks.

  6. Cesc

    These are good quality shoes. I had a single but was damaged and the longer I could use more. I regret that I have left without Salomon SpeedCross.

  7. Tony Mollica

    I'd like to try a pair of Salomon SpeedCross shoes. I recently bought a Salomon hydration pack and it's great. If the shoes are as good as the pack I will have to purchase more Salomon products!

  8. Chris

    My current shoes don't have quite enough cushioning for some of the rocky trails I run around here. Would love to try out a pair of SpeedCross 2's to help my sore feet :)


  9. Ryan F

    I sit in my cubicle reading this review and my feet are throbbing to chew up some trail miles when I get off work. This fluorescent light panel above head sporting an image of palm leaves and a cloud-filled blue sky is designed to fool me into thinking I’m in Hawaii, but I’m not buying it. I should be productive, making the company money, but instead I’m buying time till I can lace up my trusty kicks and partake in similar muddy creek crossings and technical baby had rock sections the author describes in this shoe review. Looking down at my gear bag I take note of the battered soles and laces of my Rucky Chuckys, which appear to look about as good as they smell. Tonight’s session in the Oakland Hills will be a nice start to the weekend, but with cushioning and stitching on my current kicks degrading as fast as these days are getting shorter, a nice new pair of Salomon SpeedCross 2’s would surely make the toes tingle and the checkbook chuckle.

  10. Jeff F

    Those shoes look great. One of my running buddies is badgering me about Salomons but I've been reluctant thus far. A free pair to try might change my mind though. :)

  11. Xavi Alcalde

    I never had a pair of Salomon before. I keep on running with my Garmond that almost no one has, but I'm quite happy with… then I see Kilian Jornet hitting a record and another one and still another one… and I have decided that I am ready to give them a try and start breaking my own records!

    Thanks for the great website from Barcelona!

  12. Bryan Hitchcock

    I have had the XT Wings and like them quite a bit, but I would like to try a more trimmed down Salomon shoe. I run a lot on muddy, rooty, rocky trails in AK and like a shoe with good grip. Send ME a pair please. Thanks!

  13. Kevin

    Looks like a solid shoe. It's nice to see a company that doesn't radically change their shoes every year (Nike, you are far and away the biggest culprit).

  14. Susannah B

    I raced through 2 pairs of these shoes in 2008– they are light, well-built and grippy. Most Salomons are overbuilt and heavy. This shoe is different– an actual running shoe, and light enough to go fast.

    Only issue I had with them: the rubber between the chevron-shaped lugs on the sole is quite thin– you can really get bruised feet after a few hours if you hit a few pieces of gravel wrong. Not recommended for races over 50 miles.

    I didn't know they were still making these– I'll go hunt some up!

  15. John W

    The author and I have similar sounding feet and gait, would love to try these out in November on the Mt.Masochist. My Montrail masochists have shrunk with all the SE VA summer running (constantly saturated and sun drying).

  16. Kevin

    I need the Salomon SpeedCross 2 for my first 100 mile trail race, the Javelina Jundred on October 23rd. Seriously. My feet would really appreciate it!

  17. Mandy

    These look great. I LOVE my Salomon Wings – these seem to have a bit less heft but all I need otherwise. love the durability and the feel of my other Salomons so will look to getting these online =- NOBODY stocks trail shoes in FLA :-)

  18. Chris Boone

    I am a pretty new trail runner. Been a road runner for five years. I am completely loyal to the dirt now, and will never go back. I live in western Washington, where we have an abundance of trails for the taking! I have sampled a few different shoes and I like a few and a few, not so much. I am looking for a shoe that can hang with with the muddy slippery trails of a pacific northwest winter. I would enjoy the chance to wear these shoes and put them to the test. Thanks for the consideration. Keep on Runnin'

  19. Cameron

    Have been coveting the speedcross for sometime now. Have had a pair of Hawks, loved them. Super comfy, like the lacing system. Would definitely love a pair to run up on the Bonneville shoreline trail in Corner Canyon, UT!!

  20. Khai

    That's an interesting looking shoe – very minimal fore and midfoot, but based on the profile it appears to have quite a built up heel. I'd be keen on trying them. I do nearly all my runs on trail, but have never liked "trail shoes" because they always seem to be closer to hiking boots than actual running shoes. While I'm certainly not a barefoot/VFF guy, I don't like heavy blocks on my feet, either.

  21. Ty

    My Mt. Masochists are on their way out, time for some new kicks. Don't think I could buy anything else, but maybe a free pair could convince me to switch it up.

  22. James

    Sounds like I may need to check these out. My North Face shoes are starting to show some age. Maybe I'll get lucky and score the free pair. Thanks for thr review.

    Fishback Boy

    Benton Co Arkansas

  23. Glenn

    I really like my XAs, which feel well ventalated here in HI. Been thinking about the SpeedCrosses for a while, in an effort to slowly move to a more minimalist shoe. Love to try a pair!

  24. Tom Sauerbrei

    Thanks for he review. I would like to try them as my brooks and asics give me a blister on the bottom of my right foot,and l am running trail half marathon at the end of october.


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