Salomon Speedcross 3 Review

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

After giving the Salomon Speedcross 2 high marks way back in 2010, I was looking forward to trying out the follow-up version, the Salomon Speedcross 3 ($125). Hoping that my favorite aspects of the shoe would remain the same, I was happy to see that Salomon made tweaks in all of the right places.

Salomon Speedcross 3

When I first put on the Speedcross 3 I noticed that the toe box felt just a bit roomier, which was a nice change over the somewhat narrow Speedcross 2. The Speedcross 3 retains the 2’s snug fit with great midfoot and heel lockdown, but my toes had just a bit more wiggle room.

Salomon kept the same ripstop nylon upper, which in my opinion, is the most durable trail shoe upper I’ve ever worn. The weave of the nylon is especially effective at keeping dirt and debris out of the shoe and cholla cacti, my sworn enemy, at bay. The Speedcross 3 also does great at keeping your feet warm in cold, wet, and snowy conditions as the dense weave really seems to lock heat in. Conversely, I struggled with the Speedcross 3 in very warm conditions above 80 degrees and the upper drains more slowly than a shoe with a more open mesh. Drainage problems seem to be exacerbated by the Ortholite footbed that, while adding cushioning, seems to soak up water pretty well. The reinforced toe area acted as an effective toe bumper when I nearly took some headers and saved me from some blackened toenails.

Salomon Speedcross 3 - medial upper

The Speedcross 3’s medial upper. Photo: iRunFar/Tom Caughlan

The overlays were basically kept in the same places on this update with all overlays being incorporated into Salomon’s Quicklace system. However, the overlays on the Speedcross 3 are completely welded on and seamless which decreases the weight of the upper and makes the upper more flexible. Salomon enlarged the lace pocket which helps tuck a little bit more of the excess lace out of the way. I still prefer to wrap the excess Kevlar lace around the lacing closest to my toes which keeps them out of the way.

While Salomon did not change a whole lot in the EVA midsole of the Speedcross 3, it did lower the heel drop from 12mm to 9mm. Stack height remains basically the same (only the heel was lowered), but the lowered heel drop was definitely noticed and seemed to add stability and sure-footedness on technical trails and descents. Salomon got rid of the dual-density foam (pronation insert) on the medial side of the Speedcross 2 which qualified the Speedcross 2 as more of a lightweight stability shoe. Instead, injected EVA foam runs the length of the shoe and provides more than ample cushioning and protection. To be honest, I didn’t notice the Speedcross 3 lacking in stability when compared side-by-side with the Speedcross 2 due to the lower drop. Also, getting rid of the stability features seems to make the Speedcross 3 a bit more flexible through the foot strike.

Also noticeably absent in the design is a rock plate. Salomon stuck with what worked for the Speedcross 2 and the generous cushioning in the Speedcross 3 gave my feet more than enough protection on rocky terrain.

An already simple and effective outsole design was slightly improved for the Speedcross 3. Salomon updated its Mud and Snow Contagrip design using the same chevron lug pattern, pointing forward on the forefoot and toe and pointing backward on the heel area, but used slightly larger lugs with a bit more spacing between them. I found that the spacing helped the Speedcross 3 shed mud and clay quite well. Also added are little rubber nubs that poke out of each chevron lug like a small rubber spike. They are small enough not to notice while running on the roads, but I do think that they helped a bit on wet ground and packed snow/ice, although this could just be the placebo effect at work? These little nubs are tough as well, as they show no wear after well over 100 miles of mixed trail and road running.

Salomon Speedcross 3 - outsole

The Speedcross 3’s outsole. Photo: iRunFar/Tom Caughlan

Overall Impression

The weight of the Speedcross 3 stays basically the same as its predecessor (11.2 oz on the mail scale for men’s 9.5). This puts it a little outside the weight class of “racing shoe” in my opinion. I think we’ve seen a shift in the market toward an attempt at getting many trail shoes below 10 ounces. I tend to gravitate toward this shoe for short, technical, faster runs or runs with a lot of technical vert where I will value the extra grip.

The improvements in the Speedcross 3 are great, especially the slightly lower drop and wider toe box. Folks that liked the Speedcross 2 will like the improvements as I did, and my Speedcross 2’s have to be a testament to the durability of these shoes. (Mine have over 1,000 miles on them and they are currently my “screw shoes” for icy trails). However, from the durable comes hot feet. I was reminded of this recently when I wore some very thin Merino wool socks with the Speedcross 3’s on a 65-degree day. A week later, I was thankful for the thick weave of the upper while post-holing through snow. One thing is for sure, Salomon has continued to improve this proven technical trail shoe which will not disappoint.

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 58 comments

  1. Mark

    Thanks for the review, Tom. I too was really looking forward to the Speedcross 3, as I was a big fan of the Speedcross 2. After a couple of runs, I am a little disappointed. I bought the same size as my 2s, and the 3s seem a bit too small. I don't know if my old 2s are stretched or the sizing is just different, but they just seem shorter. I also can't tell the difference in the heel height either. That said, I still love the traction of the outsole and the foot-hugging upper.

    Also, as my runs have gotten longer, I have started to miss not having a rockplate. These have great ground feel, but on very rocky terrain, the bottoms of my feet start to get sore. Overall, I agree that they are good for shorter faster technical runs where you need excellent traction. Just watch the sizing!

  2. trailrunner76

    I have been wearing the Speed Cross 3s for a few months. I have nothing bad to say about them. The 12 seems roomier then the Cascadia 6s I wore previously. The tread pattern is great for our Eastern Mud. They make a great winter and mud shoe. They fit my foot just soooo perfect. No awkward pressure points or uncomfortable spots. Im happy with them, and will buy them again. I match them with Drymax trail socks, im 6'2" and weigh about 174 for comparison. The tread pattern has not made my feet sore, or bothered me, I think they feel great. Now I have done many 20 mile days now in them, but nothing much further yet, heading for a 25 on Thursday.

  3. dogpaddle

    Is the review for the Speed Cross 3CS, or just the 3's? The reason I ask is because you mention that they do not drain well, and run hot. I am looking at these for a winter shoe running in snow, but would also use them in the summer months.


  4. Hamish

    The shoes have been great for short technical trails, only significant issue has been the inner sole sliding forward and bunching at the toes causing toe crunch and discomfort. The grip of the shoes is awesome but enables fast and technical descents, the inner sole is to flimsy to support the foot. I will be glueing the inner sole, but should that really be necessary?

    1. Rich

      I have these trainers and have no problem with the insoles bunching and i run through rivers and some hilly terrain in the peak district… brother has them and his did this the other week running with me and he was just wearing football socks not running ones which hold on the foot better, so im wondering if the problem is the socks bunching which is making the insole slip????

  5. Matias Saari

    I haven't tried the Speedcross 3 (nor do I plan to), but if they're anything like the Speedcross 2 I have to question their durability. The mesh across the forefoot on mine blew out quickly and dramatically and are now (barely) being held together by rubber silicone. Maybe they're just not built to handle Alaska trails. Not too poo-poo the S-Lab, but I also think the lug size and heel support are overkill, as well as the price. Overrated if you ask me. Was glad I won a pair and didn't fork the cash over.

        1. Matias Saari

          Ha ha Hone the Alaskan defector! I'm forever on the quest for the perfect Alaska shoe. The Adidas Swoop (orange and black ones) predated the low profile craze and held up well, but are not available in U.S. any more. I still have a pair and wore them today actually.

          I-Nov8 Talons are good for Alaska mountain races but not so much for super long jaunts.

          NB 100 blew out. Sportivas (black ones, forget name) blew out. Sportiva XC are holding up so far. Verdict not yet out on Brooks Pure Grit because they haven't seen scree. Adidas Adizero blew out but I probably shouldn't have introduced them to scree. Haven't yet tried Romney's Painted Dansko Clogs – maybe those would work.

          Any suggestions?

  6. Mike

    Have owned 3 pairs of the SC2's, and loved them, but they need a rock plate. Loved the fit of the shoe right out of the box. Tread is great, and never felt uncomfortable with the heel height – appreciated it on long down hills. Would just love to see a SC version with a rock plate.

    1. David

      Question for the entire gang…Does any of Salomon's running shoes have a rockplate? I don't think the XT Wings 3 or 4's have one.

  7. Mykl

    I recently switched to the SC3s in preparation for the rain here in NorCal, but it's been mostly dry. However, the shoes perform very well for me and I have had no manufacturing problems with them. I appreciate the change in the sole that allows one to wear a gaiter strap under the foot if needed. The SC2s did not provide that. Overall, a quality shoe.

      1. David

        Just the F-lite series. The rocklite, flyroc, mudroc, X-talon, o-roc, and terrafly shoes are all trail specific. And the F-lite series still makes for a good lightweight shoe on puffed out trails.

  8. Brod

    I am the proud over of the SC'2….in the right conditions?! Chillier temps rain/mud/snow….all day long and totally perfect…..but once the temp heats up here in SF and the surrounding area they are not my go to as the nylon upper traps all of the heat in and then you sweat like crazy?!……don't talk to me about leaving these beauties in a hot car all day after a morning run.

    I Will absolutely purchase the SC3 for the winter/spring season and looking forward to all o the updates.

  9. jcazz

    Almost perfect winter running shoe. I found a pair of these online for less than half price, so I had to buy them. They are insulated (Climasheild) and are plenty warm until, your feet get wet. I think Goretex would have been a better choice. I just replaced four of the rubber spikes with Ice Spikes and they are unbeatable for traction here on the Ice Coast. I tried to slip and slide but to no avail even with two dogs pulling me down hill on icy canted roads.

  10. Dogpaddle

    Has anyone else noticed if these run a bit small. A friend of mine said he had to go one size bigger. I wear a size 9 in the Cascadia 6, but in order for me to get a pair of these, I had to order them.

  11. Stacey hudson

    Hi Tom, thanks for the review and for sharing this wonderful shoes. This is perfectly fit for adventurer like me. Someone that loves the outdoor adventure and needs a full support with a very comfortable feeling of wearing shoes. I love this one and looking forward of having this sooner.

  12. trailrunner76

    I think the opposite… maybe it depends on your foot size/shape. ? ;O) I had a 12 in the Cascadia's and now I have a 12 in the Speed Cross 3s. I feel like there is more room in the speed cross 3. There is a roomier toe box too. The Cascadias 6s, had a tighter more uncomfortable feeling. I have a high arch and a medium with for comparison.


  13. SankofaSTL

    Thanks for the review Tom, and I am with the few folks that mentioned that this shoe needs a rockplate. However, after running in two pairs of the SC2's, and one pair of the 3's my biggest wish is a lower heel, a much lower heal. The heal just always feels like overkill, especially in comparison to the other two shoes I run in, the NB 101's and most recently the TrueGrit. On a positive, Salomon has the sexiest trail shoes out there.

  14. dbowerman

    I love my speedcross 3's. My only complaint is with the insole,when my shoes are wet the insole will bunch up if you have to run alot of down hill before the shoe dries out. Other than that these are by far the best shoes I have ever put on.Thanks for the review.

  15. Steve Collier

    Yes, they do feel slightly small for me. I've been using quite a lot of other Salomon shoes and nearly always settle on the euro size 43.3, so I mail-ordered that size in SC. I manage but if I could rewind the clock I would try to find a shop that stocks them and try on the next size up. In ASICS I would usually use a 44 trail shoe too.

  16. Alex

    I ran the Gobi March in 2011 with a pair of Asic Fuji Gels. Hated them. Looking at the new Speed Cross 3 for the upcoming Jordan race. The Jordan shouldn't get NEARLY as hot as the Gobi, maybe around 30 Celsius. Just wondering if my feet will bake in these or if I should instead go with a more mesh shoe like another Asics. I tried these on and the felt GREAT. Don't imagine TOO many rocks on this years course.

    Would you buy these for a warmer race?

  17. Mandy

    I have put a lot of miles on my Speedcross 2s and I love almost everything about them. Add me to the list of being disappointed that they didn't add a rock plate to the new version though. My last ultra was pretty technical with a lot of rocks and my feet were hamburger by the end from the lack of a rock plate in my Speedcross 2s.

  18. Rich

    Would you recommend these as thru-hiking shoes? 15-20 miles a day (carry a really light pack) for 35 days? Or would you steer me towards something else?

  19. Ivan

    Hey Greg, I have been running trails with my pavement running shoes and I am looking for a trail running shoes. Have you tried the Cascadia 7? Which shoes would you recommend? I'm trying to decide between the Cascadia 7 and the Salomon speedcross 3. Thank you

  20. Ivan

    Hey guys, I have been running trails with my pavement running shoes and I am looking for a trail running shoes. Have you tried the Cascadia 7? Which shoes would you recommend? I'm trying to decide between the Cascadia 7 and the Salomon speedcross 3. Thank you

  21. Anonymous

    Hi Ivan.

    I have both pair right now. Lots of miles on the Speedcross, not too many on Cascadia 7's yet. I love the SC for winter running. Best I have had for snow. The tread is very soft, so the bit of road running I have done to get to the trails has worn the heel tread down. I am a bad heel striker on the road, and it wears fast. The uppers are very durable and feel great. I went up half a size, but shouldn't have (had to order online). The Cascadia's feel a bit heavier and harder, but to be honest, I have only put one run on them compared to 300 miles on the SC. I am putting the SC away for next winter, and will now run in the Cascadia's for the spring/summer. I wore the 6's last year for 700 miles of trail before I finally wore them out

  22. nightshade

    Hey, I am going to be running the Tough Mudder this summer and was just wondering how these shoes do when submerged in water, since one obstacle is jumping into a pond…would htey hold in the water or do they drain? It will be a course of mud running and such so if anyone has any input it would be greatly appreciated!

  23. Roland

    Liked the speedcross2 but found them unstable when running at pace over technical terrain, speedcross3 was a slight improvment but felt Salomon could of done alot better… Sadly the SC3 gave me blisters on any run over 8 miles so I got rid of them…

  24. Sarah

    Just tried these on and loved the feel/fit. But living in Texas I'm guessing from your review these would be too hot. What would you recommend that is similar but more breathable? Thanks!

  25. Ed

    I had a pair of Speedcross 2's and they were brilliant. The only thing was that the sole wore out very quickly (8 months of hard bush running here in NZ). I have a pair of Speedcross 3's now and been running in them for the past 6 months, so far the soles haven't worn hardly anything and going very well. The 3's seem a little softer when running but overall very good and an improvement on the 2's. The only thing is that when wet and running downhill, the insoles bunch up which is very annoying – have been trying to work out a way to stop this happening. I think it is the shape of the 3's not the insole as I have replaced the insole and still the same thing happens. Has anyone else managed to sort the insole bunching up?

  26. stan

    Speedcross 3. Fell apart after 150 mile. 2 week of running split the front. Same on both shoes. Trying 1 more pair. Apart from that pretty good on trails. You need strong heels though because of the height of the sole . Inov 8 out do them in most areas

  27. Kat

    I've been running in the women's version of the Speedcross 3 all winter (bought them in October). I've put a few hundred miles on them by now. They're the perfect winter running shoe for me. I run in southwestern Pennsylvania (US), and our winters are snowy, icy, and muddy. The trails I run on are a mix of crushed-limestone, former roads made entirely of decaying asphalt, and technical singletrack, and they all tend to go straight up and down the sides of ravines.

    I've experienced no problems with the shoe's durability — if I clean the mud off them, they look pretty much exactly like they did out of the box. The treads haven't been significantly worn down by the ~1 mile of pavement I run to get to and from the trails near my house. The fit is excellent; the heel-toe differential isn't enough to make my heel strike excessive, and I get a really nice fit through the heel and midfoot without my toes getting squashed. The lugs do very well in mud and snow, and perform better on ice than I had any reason to expect.

    This is a very warm shoe. It's great for cold-weather running, but as soon as the mercury rises up above 50 F, my feet get very hot and sweaty-feeling. Definitely a poor shoe for summer.

    1. a_r_m

      hi Kat, were you running in the CS (climashield) version or the regular Speedcross 3? I am trying to decide if I need the CS to keep my feet dry and warm in cold, snowy, wet conditions, or if the CS is just overkill. Thanks, Alison

  28. quinton dupreez


    I am currently training with the salomon speedcross 3.

    It is very comfortable off-road,my question is can i train on tar road

    I am running the skymarathon in October.

  29. lemoni

    had a pair of SC2's and loved'em (apart from the quick wear across the front where it creases) but hate the new SC3. My feet dont like the new shape. wish i'd bought 10 pairs of the 2's now so if anyone has an old pair size 38……

  30. Steve L

    Love these shoes.

    Probably the best running shoes I've owned…..but I'm an occasional runner at best right now. Easy fit, light, and supportive to my skinny long feet.

    (I'm 5'11, 210, and 42 years old)

    I plan on logging some miles in these this winter

  31. Tinah

    I have a pair each of Salomon Speedcross 3 and Speedcross 3 CS. I started out with the Climashields and they are excellent for winter running. With the right gaiters they stay dry even in knee-deep snow. They are far too warm for Utah summers, so I got a pair of the SC3s without the Climashield. I love both pair more than any running shoes I've owned. I just wish they had rock plates. I'm tired of bruised soles :(

  32. John J

    I bought a pair of Speed Cross 3 recently and absolutely love the shoe! I am 200 lbs. and use these shoes 100% for trail running only. Treads will wear down quick on paved surfaces plus would not be a comfortable run with the tread. Lacing system is awesome, light, great fit. Great for running up steep hills plus decline. Ran up and down Blue Mountain in Collingwood ON. right after heavy rain and no slipping at all!

  33. patasverdes

    Do you try those in a slippery wet conditions, like a solid rocks in a raining day? I did and the results was a fall, they work fine under wet soil in the woods but for me fail in wet rocks.

  34. Dctrailrunner

    Has anyone tried just removing the insole entirely? Then the bunching issue wouldn't happen and the drop would be a tad lower…

    Just to also add in- the fellcross is an excellent alternative for men who want a lower drop, as well as inov8's – but neither are made for women. There are a few innov8's made with a women's last, but most are made, like the S-Labs, with a man's D last. for those of us women who have a B width foot, a man's D just ain't gonna cut it (I can't imagine why because I know just as many female trail runners as male trail runners…including ultra runners).

    This leaves women with few hardy, water resistant winter trail running shoes to chose from- so I am forced to try the SC though I run in a 4mm for all my other running shoes trail or road.

    1. a_r_m

      I am having just the same problem. I am trying to decide between these and a pair of the NB W110boot (they don't make it anymore, but I can find them online) with the option to add microspikes on crustier and icier days. If you've ended up trying the SC I'd love to hear what you thought of them and the greater drop than you are used to for winter running. Thanks, Alison

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