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Salomon Speedcross 4 - Women's Review

Top Pick Award
Price:   $130 List | $84.51 at Amazon
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Bomber traction, streamlined fit, seamless and impenetrable mesh, cute colors, best for narrow feet
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.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Salomon

Our Verdict

The Salomon Speedcross 4 is a high-performance mountain trail running shoe that eats the trail with its monster grip. This traditional trail runner features a rugged outsole that crushes soft surfaces and technical terrain. Its streamlined fit and protective overlay provide ample protection from trail debris as well. Earning the highest ranking of all shoes tested, this could have been our Editors' Choice, but we felt it was too specialized for sloppy surfaces. As a result, it continues to earn our Top Pick Award for Sloppy Surfaces instead. With its 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. With a tread pattern this specialized, it's no surprise that it didn't perform well on pavement. It's a trail runner through and through!

While the Editors' Choice award went to the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX for its versatility and bomber foot protection, there are a few elements that the inov-8 Roclite just doesn't showcase. For example, we love the precise fit and lightweight materials used in the Speedcross that has you feeling protected and race-ready. 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.

Looking for extra protection from the elements?
Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX
For an additional $30, Salomon brings us the Speedcross 4 GTX. You can expect the same great traction and fit as the Speedcross 4 we tested with the added bonus of Gore-Tex. If you're a fan of wet climates or are committed to getting in your miles no matter the weather, the Speedcross 4 GTX may be an excellent choice for you.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Women's Trail Running Shoes for 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Amber King
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Friday
May 26, 2017

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The Salomon Speedcross 4 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.

Performance Comparison




The Salomon Speedcross 4 stands out for its bomber tread, winning our Top Pick for Sloppy Surfaces three years in a row! Last 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). The outsole is also more durable while the lug design is even better then before!

This Top Pick features a streamlined fit  bomber traction  and great protection. A perfect traditional trail runner for any women out to conquer trails in the mountains.
This Top Pick features a streamlined fit, bomber traction, and great protection. A perfect traditional trail runner for any women out to conquer trails in the mountains.

Foot Protection


Scoring a seven out of ten in this category, the Speedcross 4 is not as protective as the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX. It boasts an armored outsole that is a little more flexible than the Saucony Peregrine 7 - Women's and the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 3 - Women's, but more rigid than the others makes it a perfect fit 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 the extended impact. We also appreciated the no-seam technology and no-debris anti-mesh textile that kept our feet clean.

The toe cap is hard and durable  preventing painful stubs on the trail.
The toe cap is hard and durable, preventing painful stubs on the trail.

The only protective feature this shoe is lacking is a rock plate - which could help protect the forefoot from sharp rocks - especially in the forefoot. Overall, our feet were well protected when charging over the varying terrain of the San Juan mountains in Colorado, but every now and again we experienced a sharp rock or two.

The mesh upper is impenetrable. Though it does well against pesky debris  it doesn't not protect against water immersion.
The mesh upper is impenetrable. Though it does well against pesky debris, it doesn't not protect against water immersion.

Traction


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. Earning a nine out of ten in this category, this shoe stands out for its superior traction on sloppy, soft surfaces. 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 deep 5 mm tri-tipped lugs are also designed to shed mud quickly - allowing you to trod on. That said, for more technical and less sloppy surfaces, we'd recommend a shoe like the La Sportiva Bushido or inov-8 Roclite 305 that has a little less in the way of lug length.


In addition to the lugs, 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 does not perform well on the pavement or super hard surfaces - wearing down quickly.

The bomber tread is what gives this shoe a Top Pick!! The widely spaced lugs shed med easily.
The bomber tread is what gives this shoe a Top Pick!! The widely spaced lugs shed med easily.

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, last year's Editors' Choice winner.

The deep lugs grab the the most technical terrain - hard or soft.
The deep lugs grab the the most technical terrain - hard or soft.

Stability


Earning a seven out of ten, this shoe provides an average level of stability. With a higher stack: foot width ratio this shoe sometimes feels unstable on really technical surfaces (especially for heel strikers). That said, many of our forefoot strikers didn't really see this as a problem. Overall, 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.


If you're in the market for a more stable shoe that does really well on soft surfaces and has an outsole similar to the Salomon Speedcross 4, be sure to check out the Salming Elements.

The body of the shoe provides great support and stability on the trail.
The body of the shoe provides great support and stability on the trail.

Comfort & Fit



Comfort
Our Top Pick winner offers a decent level of comfort, earning a seven out of ten in this category. Fitting a narrow foot best, we found that 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.


Even though the Speedcross 4 scores well in most categories, it losses points for breathability. While the upper textile is somewhat thin, it is less breathable than the Saucony Peregrine 7 and Brooks Cascadia 12 - 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 either - you're 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 other options out there.

This quick lace system has a little good and bad. The slider can get gummed up  and many testers reported that they didn't like it as much as a traditional lacing system. That said  others liked how quickly it allowed them to put their shoe on and off.
This quick lace system has a little good and bad. The slider can get gummed up, and many testers reported that they didn't like it as much as a traditional lacing system. That said, others liked how quickly it allowed them to put their shoe on and off.

Fit
Wide-footed runners may 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. It also has a minimal amount of arch support. As a result, we'd recommend it primarily for those with narrow feet on longer run. If you're interested in a shoe with great arch support a glove-like fit that fits all foot widths, be sure to peruse the Merrell Agility Peak Flex - Women's in your search.

The mesh is bomber...but as a result  the upper is not as breathable.
The mesh is bomber...but as a result, the upper is not as breathable.

Weight


With a dry weight of 10.0 oz, the Speedcross 4 is comparable to other traditional shoes like the New Balance Leadville Trail v3 - Women's. Not too bad right? We learned that they aren't too absorbent either and are middle of the road finishers, absorbing only 3.55 oz of water. This makes it a good option for wet weather and stream crossings. On trail, we noticed that it took a little longer to dry when totally drenched (as a result of its lack of breathability). During our air dry tests, it took about one day to dry.


Sensitivity


Get ready to get intimate on the trail - this shoe boasts great sensitivity! Though it's not as sensitive as low profile models like the La Sportiva Bushido or the Salming Elements, you can truly feel the trail in the forefoot of this shoe. This is results from a lack of a rock plate and a lack of additional cushioning in the forefoot.


Best Applications


Specialized for long distances in the mountains, the Speedcross 4 does best on soft and sloppy trails settings. It has a streamlined fit that suits narrow feet best with a minimal amount of arch support. Even though it did best in the mountains, its great for training runs through the forest and desert. 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 this year!

Sloppy surfaces? No problem!!!
Sloppy surfaces? No problem!!!

Value


A mountain trail running shoe for just $130? Through our testing, we didn't notice any sort of abrasion or wear and tear after 150 miles of running! With a reputation for great durability, expect to get lots of miles on these bad girls. Overall, great value and durability!

Conclusion


The Salomon Speedcross 4 is specialized for the hard, steep, burly trails. We give this Top Pick for Sloppy Surfaces a full thumbs up and plan on using it on many trail runs to come!

If you're looking for a shoe that performs on the most technical terrain - this "Top Pick for Sloppy Surfaces" is your best bet!
If you're looking for a shoe that performs on the most technical terrain - this "Top Pick for Sloppy Surfaces" is your best bet!
Amber King

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Most recent review: May 26, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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