Salomon Wildcross Review

The Salomon Wildcross ($130) is an excellent trail running shoe that performs well on muddy, sloppy, and otherwise soft terrain. The ability to lock in the upper for a close fit combined with its aggressively lugged outsole provide all the confidence you need when the terrain is soft and slippery. In the Wildcross, Salomon uses a wider and more voluminous toebox than is typical for the brand, which should allow more people with diverse foot shapes to use the shoe. In this video review, we dig into the details of the Salomon Wildcross trail running shoe.

Salomon Wildcross Review Transcript

Hey and welcome to Trail Trials, the video-review section of iRunFar. My name is Travis Liles and in this video we’re looking at the Salomon Wildcross. The Wildcross comes in at 10.23 ounces in a men’s size 9. It is hyper-luggy. It has an 8mm drop from heel to toe. It has the Salomon Quicklace system. And it has lots of protection. Let’s get up close and personal and check out all the details.

Salomon Wildcross

The Salomon Wildcross. All photos: iRunFar

Salomon Wildcross Upper

Let’s start with the Salomon Wildcross upper. This has a fairly classic Salomon look to the upper. What I mean by that is the Quicklace system, which is prominent throughout the Salomon line and which is present here. You have your pull tab for your laces, and you tighten them up, put them down in the lace garage on the tongue, and off you go.

As we work our way around, we look at the Sensifit. Sensifit is a wrapping of the midfoot. It uses material to hold your foot in place and when you combine that with the lacing system, you have a quick way of pulling that tight and getting a nice, cinched-up fit. The reasoning is pretty simple: this is a purpose-built shoe. This shoe is focused on mud, muck, and downhills, and you want a precise fit when you’re doing that. That’s done by having a fairly padded tongue plus this wrap. Together you’ve got a really good fit.

What Sensifit doesn’t do well is to cut weight. The Sensifit wrap is a completely separate material sitting on top of and sewn into the upper. You have that on both sides of the shoe. This system works well, but the downside is that it’s a little bit heavier than having something that is laminated like some of these fabrics that you see on the toebox, where instead of being something sewn onto it, you have this rubberized fabric sitting directly on top.

Let’s transition to the toebox. The toebox has always plagued me when it comes to Salomon shoes because they generally have a very narrow toebox. That is not the case on the Wildcross. The Wildcross is probably the widest toebox that I’ve ever experienced on a pair of Salomon shoes. Because there’s enough room in there, I was able to get a shoe closer to my actual size. Salomons tend to be so pointy at the tip that I usually have to size up. In fact, in this I had to go a full size down, so these are actually a size 8. I wear a size 9 in just about everything—Hokas, Topos, Altras, Brooks, Sauconys, and Nikes. I probably could have done an 8.5, but because this is a purpose-built shoe, I was looking at performance and a tighter fit for slopping around in the mud. I want a more precise fit for that type of environment.

Let’s talk a little bit more about the toebox. The outsole wraps around at the apex of the toe to give you that bumper support for toe protection. Then there’s this fabric laminated over the top of the toe for water and weather protection. This also gives more structure around the toe so if you are kicking things, you’ve got a little bit of extra physical protection, not just elemental protection.

As we move our way into the heel, we find a good, padded, narrow heel. I’ve got a narrow heel and a wide forefoot, and the shape of this shoe is ideal for my foot type with its secure-fitting heel and room for your toes to wiggle around. On the specifics, the heel cup is fabric at the top, and below that it’s a solid heel cup. It’s semi-flexible so it’s not super rigid, but there is a heel cup there. And lastly there’s padding around the collar that works really well.

I mentioned the padded tongue before. It is not gusseted. Instead Salomon built a gaiter over the tongue. Instead of having a tongue that’s integrated, it has this piece of thin mesh over top. It’s stretchy so it doesn’t create any undue pressure on the top of your foot.

Salomon Wildcross lateral view

A lateral view of the Salomon Wildcross.

Salomon Wildcross Midsole

Let’s push over to the midsole on the Salomon Wildcross. As I mentioned in the beginning, it has an 8mm heel-to-toe drop. It’s a little bit deceiving. When you look at the shoe, it appears to have a really tall heel, but this piece of tall midsole is just on the outside of the shoe. Effectively, your heel sits below that tall line. The taller pieces of midsole on each side of the heel give a little more support, especially for twisting and turning around corners and on muddy terrain. You’re getting some extra support by your foot sitting down inside of that. Then as you go forward on the shoe, that transitions to the Sensifit wrap. It’s a good system working together to provide security throughout the stride.

The cushioning is what I’d call in the middle. It’s fine, but if you were running on really rocky terrain for extended periods, you’re going to notice it. It’s a little bit harder of a foam, so it’s nice and responsive on mucky terrain. You don’t want something soft that’s adding to already soft terrain underneath your foot. To have soft cushioning is probably counterproductive. So this is a little harder, which again you feel in its responsiveness. This is great, but is not necessarily for long-haul type of comfort.

Salomon Wildcross medial view

A medial view of the Salomon Wildcross.

Salomon Wildcross Outsole

The last piece of the Salomon Wildcross that we’ll talk about is the outsole. All of Salomon’s -cross models are about really aggressive terrain and this shoe is definitely in that vein. You see on the back of the outsole that we have downhill types of lugs. They transition forward once you’re in front of the heel. The lugs become multidirectional and going the other direction. So for climbing you have lugs the other way to catch mud on the forefoot. The outsole uses Contagrip TA. This is a softer rubber. You can get a lot more grip to it. It bends around obstacles. Again that’s the whole premise of the shoe. It does a pretty nice job of providing strong grip, deep lugs, and control over rough and wet terrain.

Salomon Wildcross outsole

The Salomon Wildcross outsole.

Salomon Wildcross Overall Impressions

The Salomon Wildcross is an excellent purpose-built shoe. In slop, mud, wet, grass, and nasty terrain, this shoe holds up really well. Where it doesn’t hold up as well is anything beyond that. It has a wider toebox, which I think increases comfort over other purpose-built fell types of running shoes. It still doesn’t transition well on buffed-out trail, and definitely not on the road. If you’re looking for more of a hybrid type of shoe, this is going to be a hard one to do everything for everybody. But it’s a good shoe to add to the quiver. I’m really excited about the new fit that Salomon is working on with the toebox. A lot of the -cross shoes from Salomon have a narrow, pointy toebox, which almost makes those shoes no gos for a lot of people. But if you’re looking to get those hill repeats in this wintertime and spring on sloppy terrain, and you’re looking for something that’s really good going down and up, this is a really nice shoe for that.

Thanks for watching and we’ll catch you next time.

Read up on more trail shoes launched for fall/winter 2020.

Call for Comments

  • Are you running in the Salomon Wildcross? What do you think of the shoe overall?
  • How do the Sensifit and other details of the upper work for you? Does it provide the lockdown you like on difficult terrain?
  • What do you think of the outsole? If you wear other Salomon shoes, how would you compare this outsole to that of other Salomon models you use?

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

Salomon Wildcross top view

A top view of the Salomon Wildcross.

Travis Liles

resides in Portland, Oregon where he is a husband, father, and a technical specialist for a software company. In his spare time, he is exploring his new home in the Pacific Northwest, getting more vertical but still not living in the thin air, while producing "Trail Trials with Travis Liles" video gear reviews for iRunFar.

There are 3 comments

  1. Will DPFR

    Unsurprisingly I found the Sensifit overlay is beginning to wear holes in the fabric at the forefoot after only 100 miles :(

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