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Hands-on Gear Review
Salomon Speedcross 4 - Women's Review
Cons: Lacks a rock plate, poor lateral stability, not for wide feet.
Bottom line: A specialized mountain shoe designed to tear up the most technical of trails.
The Salomon Speedcross 4 is a high performance mountain trail running shoe that provides great foot protection and comfort while keeping you safe over any surface. Even with it's fantastic fit and great traction, it did not win our Editors' Choice award, which ultimately went to the La Sportiva Bushido, we decided to give our Top Pick Award for Sloppy Surfaces instead. With it's wide-set, deep chevron lug pattern, the Salomon Speedcross 4 continues to provide the best and most reliable traction through sloppy, steep, wet, and technical terrain. The rubber is super sticky and soft, gripping to tough surfaces like rocks and roots in both flat and steep situations With a tread pattern this deep and specialized, it's no surprise that this product didn't perform well on pavement. It's a trail runner through and through!
As a result of its specialized use, the Speedcross lost its spot as Editors' Choice and gained a place as a Top Pick instead. We really loved the precise fit and lightweight materials this shoe uses to make you feel fast, protected, and race-ready. So, if you're looking for a bomber, super comfortable traditional shoe with a precise fit that can go over and through anything - except pavement - then take a look at the Women's Salomon Speedcross 4.
RELATED: Our complete review of women's trail running shoes
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Salomon Speedcross 4 - Women's is a high-performing trail running shoe that excels in sloppy mountain terrain and leaves you without slippage over any surface. We awarded this traditional-style shoe our Top Pick Award for Sloppy Surfaces.
The Salomon Speedcross 4 stands out for its bomber tread, winning our Top Pick for Sloppy Surfaces three years in a row! This year the Speedcross received a modest update. The only true differences we saw was a touch more cushion in the heel and a higher heel to toe drop (11 mm instead of 10 mm). Otherwise, performance felt to be the same as previous models (thank goodness!)!
Scoring the highest in this category, similar to the Pearl Izumi Trail N2, the Speedcross 4 boasts an armored outsole. A little more flexible than the Peregrine 6 and the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 2 - Women's, but more rigid than the others this shoe is specialized for long distances and mountain running. The rubberized toe cap is the one of the hardest guaranteeing protection from stubbed toes on trail.
Additionally, the midsole contains an EVA injected foam material that protects heel and mid-foot strikers alike from extended impact. We also appreciated the no-seam technology and no-debris anti-mesh textile that kept our feet clean. The only protective feature this shoe is lacking is a rock plate - which could help protect the forefoot from sharp rocks. That said, our feet were well protected for the most part when charging over the varying terrain of the San Juan mountains in Colorado.
Blowing the competition out of the water, the Speedcross 4 is specialized to deal with the nasty surfaces. Rainy and steep? No problem - we felt super confident. The non-marking contra-grip rubber is soft enough to grip everything from rocks and sloppy snow slopes to heavy mud. The widely spaced and very deep 6 mm lugs are also designed to shed mud quickly - allowing you to trod on.
We also loved the mudguard around the base of the sole that protects from additional scuffs, adding a little armor for enhanced durability. Needless to say, as a result of these softer uber-deep lugs, the Salomon Speedcross 4 did not perform well on the pavement. This shoe truly is specialized for the trail. If you're looking for a better cross over option with great traction, check out the La Sportiva Bushido, our Editors' Choice winner.
In the classic Salomon Speedcross 3, the drop on the shoe was only 9 mm. This year, Salomon beefed it up to 11 mm drop. Some love it, some don't.
With a higher stack height and larger heel to toe drop, this shoe has a very traditional feel. Some testers loved this extra cushion while other zero drop lovers seemed to be happier without. While the shoe is fairly stable overall, its lateral stability could be better. The higher stack height causes the shoe to tip hard to one side or another on steep descents. Overall, the precise fit and legendary traction helps to stabilize on the trail - but its not as stable as other shoes like the Altra Lone Peak 3 or Pearl Izumi Trail N2 v3 - Women's.
Comfort & Fit
Our Top Pick winner offers decent comfort and an amazing fit! Fitting a narrow foot best, the extra EVA foam in the midsole, OrthoLite foot molded sockliner, one-pull quicklace system, and comfy rip-stop nylon uppers make this shoe pretty nice to put on. It also has a zero to nil break-in period. We wore them for 10 miles out of the box without a problem.
The more we wore them, the more comfortable they became as it quickly molded to the foot. That said, we noticed that if we didn't build up calluses before long runs in this shoe, they were quite unforgiving in the mid-foot. This results from a lack of material and rock plate in the forefoot, which is meant to provide extra sensitivity. Wide footed runners may also find this shoe uncomfortable for long distances as it has a very streamlined design. It doesn't allow any wiggle room for wider feet and foot swelling. The fit is non-slip and true to size, allowing you trust your feet when the terrain gets tough.
Even though this shoe scores well in most categories, it lost some points for breathability. While the upper textile is somewhat thin, it was less breathable than the Saucony Peregrine 6 and Brooks Cascadia 11 - Women's. Thus, it's not the greatest for hot days, but awesome for colder weather. Additionally, if the shoes aren't properly cleaned, the one-pull quick lace system can get gummed up, making proper lacing difficult. The pull system also doesn't allow versatility in lacing design - you truly are stuck with the traditional lacing design unless you decide to cut it out. All that said, this is one of the best fitting and streamlined shoes tested - it's just not as comfortable as others.
With a dry weight of 10.0 oz the Salomon Speedcross 4 is comparable to other traditional shoes like the New Balance Leadville Trail v3 - Women's. Not too bad right? When dunking them, we found that they didn't hold too much water either. As a result, this sits in the middle when it comes to weight - both wet and dry.
Get ready to get intimate on the trail - this shoe boasts great sensitivity! Though its not as sensitive as low profile models like the La Sportiva Bushido or the Salming Elements, you can truly feel the trail. This is a result of a lack of cushioning and rock plate in the forefoot.
Overall, it is quite specialized for long distances in the mountains. Doing the best on technical and sloppy trails settings, the Salomon Speedcross 4 is quick and light with fantastic traction. It has a streamlined fit that best suits narrow feet. Even though it did best in the mountains, it is suited to your after work runs through wooded trails and over mellow terrain. We would recommend it for any kind of trail - just avoid the pavement. Take it winter running or on your next big trail race. As an added bonus, if you like a little splash of color, there are a lot of great options to choose from.
A mountain trail running shoe for just $130? Through our testing we didn't notice any sort of abrasion or wear and tear after 80 miles of running. With a reputation for great durability, expect to get lots of miles on these bad girls.
The Salomon Speedcross 4 is specialized for the hard, steep, burly trails. We give this Top Pick for Sloppy Surfaces a full thumbs up. We will be using it on many trail runs to come!
Other Versions and Accessories
Salomon Speedcross 4
Consider the Salomon Trail Gaiters - $30: Keep pesky debris out with these!
— Amber King
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: October 2, 2016
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