Salomon SpeedCross 2 Review

[For the latest on the Speedcross family, check out our review of the Salomon Speedcross 5.]

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.

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.

Midsole
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.

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.

View Comments (130)

  • I've been eyeballin' these for quite awhile but with so many shoes out there I have never gotten around to trying them. ( I surely would like to though. )

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  • I'd love to try the Speedcross2! I ran in the XA for a year and still use them as my cold/inclement weather walking shoe. Their shoes really last.

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  • I bought a pair the first year they came out and wore them for everything from trailrunning to construction work to fly-fishing. They were possibly the most durable, comfortable shoes ive ever run in. They dry quick enought to get wet one day and run in (dry) the next morning which is a key quality in a pair of trailrunners for me. Sole finally came off after 4 years of abuse and who knows how many miles. NEED NEW ONES!

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  • I have a Salomon XA Pro Ultra 3D S-Lab with embedded gaiters. Actually it is my first Salomon trail running shoe. I bought it 4 years ago. It still exists... I have tested here as you can clik and read in both in English and Turkish. http://www.geziyorum.net/salomon-s-lab-xa-pro-3d-... It is very light and very durable. Even though it had spent more than 1000 Kms in Trails, Adventure Races it still exists and i am still using it. So I would like to test the Speed Cross 2 as well. I heard about it is very light and can be used in adventure races. so i have an adventure race coming; I need a new pair to test and write...

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  • Hello from England.

    I love these shoes. I have been using them for several years and prior to that used their predecessor, the Harrier. The upgrade from the original Speedcross version to the Speedcross 2 was definite progress.

    They are the most confortable off road shoes I have worn. My most recent race outing in then was the 82kms of the CCC I was allowed to race at the end of August in and around Chamonix.

    It was noticeable in the last 5/6 hours of that race the trouble people in XAPros and the like were having with grip in the deep mud that passed for the trails. I was having fewer grip issues.

    I have even used these shoes in long English fell races, 20 plus miles of often pathless mountain terrain. They cope pretty well, the only issue being when contouring, where the stability and fit lets them down. That is less of a problem for your average European and US trail runner suspect.

    Great shoes; I hope a few of you take the plunge.

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    • Hi Morgan I was on the CCC this year and stuck on Trient on 72'th km :-)

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  • Great review as always. Sound like an ideal shoe for winter running and well since we've been having frost up here in Canada for about the last week, I could use some winter shoes asap.

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  • I have been interested in trying a shoe from the Salomon lineup but have been stuck repeating my current brandmodel because it has been working (although I am not blown away).

    Thank you for the chance to try something new.

    CJ

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  • I'd love to try out a pair. Because after my last race I'll try about anything to get a little faster

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  • I was seriously thinking about trying a pair of Speedcross 2s out. Now I'm sure of it. Great article.

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  • I'd love to try the Speedcross 2's. I've been a huge fan of Saloman's kevlar speed laces for a couple years. I bought a set that I switch in to all of my running shoes. They can easily be cut to length if you have too much lace. Try trimming the length so that you can tuck the end tab into the last lace towards the toe. It works great with no flopping while you run.

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    • Also they are few grams "lighter" in weight too ; compared to normal laces...

      :-)

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  • Currently I run in the Salomon XAPro on trails and really like it. I have also been introduced to other Salomon equipment, compression calf, tech-t. Their stuff is really good, lite and definitely produced for the runner.

    The Salomon SpeedCross 2 is on my short list.

    Thanks

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  • I would love to try a pair. Maybe they'll make me faster and better at running up the crazy mountains out here!

    Jenny

    Stanardsville, VA

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  • I noticed a lot of these on the trail while watching the HOBO 50k last weekend, in Rockford, IL. They sure look snazzy! I love trying new shoes and would love to try out some Salomons...I have yet to try anything of theirs out :)

    I do have a question...how would you classify the forefoot (narrow, medium, medium-wide)?

    Thanks for the great review!

    Paige T.

    Chicago, IL

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  • Looks good. I've only used normal road shoes to this point but have been thinking of trying out some trail shoes for running here in North Dakota where it's always an adventure running in winter. I might give these a shot.

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  • These shoes are my go-to trail shoes for this past season. They make my feel look adorable and fierce at the same time. I need a new pair.

    Jen

    Campbell River, BC

    Canada

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  • Love my Speedcross 2's. Fit is great right out of the box. With a pair of gaiters, they're up for anything.

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  • The SpeedCross 2's have always peaked my interst, but I have never had a chance to try them on or run in any Salomon shoes. After reading this post, and seeing a few others wearing them at a couple of other ultras it's time to for me to give them a try.

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  • I would love to try the Solomons. I've never tried them before, and run mostly on the Rocky Mountain trails west of Colorado, so they sound like a perfect fit.

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  • Thanks as usual for the review. Would love to try a pair, especially as the mud starts to be the norm on my local trails here in BC.

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  • Love these shoes. Great lightweight cushioning combined with a low heel to toe ratio. Not a minimalist shoe, but not over-constructed either. I had previously run in the XA Pro/Pro 3D, which I thought became hard and clunky after only a few wearings. The Speedcross has a much nicer feel and fantastic traction.

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