The Salomon Speedcross 5 is a trail shoe known for its excellent traction and long-standing performance on technical terrain. This classic model has not seen many significant updates until recently, making it a top performer. The newest outsole sheds mud better and offers a better bite than ever before. The platform in the forefoot is more extensive, while the overlay is built to enhance both protection and stability. The heel collar is transformed, adding stability to make it one of the best technical trail runners on the market. It's a fantastic shoe for technical terrain and stands out for its performance on wet and muddy trails.Editor's Note: The Salomon Speedcross 5 review was updated on March 6, 2022, with more detailed product comparisons and tips on who should buy this shoe.
Salomon Speedcross 5 - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Excellent traction, great balance of foot protection and sensitivity, specific fit, durable outsole
Cons: Higher heel is less stable, lugs wear down on pavement
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Salomon Speedcross 5 - Women's
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|Pros||Excellent traction, great balance of foot protection and sensitivity, specific fit, durable outsole||Superior comfort, light on foot, protective cushioning, stable architecture, breathable upper||Well cushioned midsole, excellent traction, good stability, excellent at everything including long distances, high value||Light, very protective, excellent mud shed, superior traction, surprisingly stable||Sticky traction, protective, rainbow design is fun, great value, all surface capabilities|
|Cons||Higher heel is less stable, lugs wear down on pavement||Lace pocket is difficult to use, tight collar can bite into the ankle||Stack height takes some getting used to||Narrow fit, runs small, rigid construction takes time to break-in||Less stable than most, harder midsole is less comfortable, narrower fit|
|Bottom Line||An aggressive trail shoe that is built for steep, technical, and sloppy trails||Our favorite shoe offers a well-balanced ride with one of the stickiest and most confidence-inspiring outsoles we've ever seen||With a comfortable and responsive midsole and enough room in the forefoot for toe wiggle, you'll be happy running mile after mile||Stable and deliciously sticky, this contender is just a crusher all the way around, built for training runs and long distances alike||This rainbow contender has the ability to tackle all kinds of trail with excellent protection and sticky traction|
|Rating Categories||Salomon Speedcross 5||Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3||Hoka Torrent 2 - Wo...||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Merrell Antora 2|
|Foot Protection (25%)|
|Comfort and Fit (15%)|
|Specs||Salomon Speedcross 5||Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3||Hoka Torrent 2 - Wo...||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Merrell Antora 2|
|Measured Weight (per shoe, size 9)||10.7 oz||9.8 oz||8.6 oz||9.8 oz||9.6 oz|
|Heel-to-Toe Drop||10 mm||8.6 mm||5 mm||8 mm||8.5 mm|
|Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot)||35 mm, 25 mm||26.8 mm, 18.2 mm||Not disclosed||Not disclosed||28.5 mm, 20 mm|
|Upper||Nylon mesh, sythetic overlays||Textile/synthetic||Engineered mesh||Mesh, continuous nylon||Mesh and TPU|
|Midsole||Injected EVA||Energy Cell, polyurethane foam||EVA||Feline SL midsole||EVA|
|Outsole||Contragrip||Rubber||Rubber||Sticky Pomoco Outer||Vibram TC5+ rubber sole|
|Rock Plate?||Yes||Not disclosed||None||Not disclosed||Yes|
|Wide Version Available?||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Sizes Available||5 - 12||4 - 13||6 - 11||5 - 11||5 - 11|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Speedcross 5 stands out for its impressive performance on sloppy terrain and steep mountainside surfaces. It touts a fit-friendly design, outstanding stability, and excellent traction.
Protection in a trail shoe is essential to keep toes from absorbing the impact of kicked rocks or stepping on sharp things while moving over the terrain. This shoe offers reliable protection and will keep you happy for miles; it's designed to carry you over technical terrain, and it does just that. This shoe suits those that enjoy a cushioned heel and a traditional heel-to-toe drop of 10mm. It is one of the top scorers in this metric, alongside the Hoka Torrent 2
So what construction features provide protection? While the Speedcross 5 does not have a rock plate integrated into the midsole, the deep lugs and hard exterior Contragrip rubber offer a boundary of reprieve from sharp objects. The heel contains 20mm of responsive cushioning, which translates to exceptional protection if you're a heel striker. The forefoot has only about 10mm, which is 1cm. You can feel the trail, and sometimes little sharp rocks can be felt underfoot, which inherently causes you to adjust your body correctly, preventing injury and rolled ankles.
The welded overlay bumper running around the edge of the shoe is bomber. It is welded onto the breathable overlay and covers a tough toe cap. The somewhat breathable upper is a tightly woven mesh that does not allow even the finest particulates to pass through, which comes in handy when running in desert conditions.
We've taken this shoe running in both the desert and snow. In the desert, silt and sand typically enter a shoe with an upper that is more breathable with larger holes in the weave. However, the upper on the Speedcross 5 doesn't allow this. The beautiful construction boasts a welded seam that promotes a continuum of protection all around the shoe, making it an excellent option for cold running on the beach or in the sand.
This shoe offers some weather resistance but is far from waterproof. The overlay at the base is relatively water-resistant to dry snow; however, if you find yourself running through puddles or heavy rain for long days, expect the upper to get a little wet.
The outsole is simply incredible, making this shoe stand out among other top performers in this metric like the Dynafit Feline SL. Composed of ContraGrip rubber, the lugs and outsole are super sticky, making scrambling up rocks and ridges stable and reliable. The long chevron-shaped lugs are designed to take on deep mud and snow, biting in so you don't slide around. The new spacing sheds mud better than it did before.
When hiking and running up hills latticed with mud, rocks, and snow, the Speedcross offers excellent performance, scoring high across the contenders. The chevron triangle lugs point forward on the forefoot and backward on the heel. This bi-directional design prevents slipping on the downhill and won't leave you spinning your wheels on the uphill. This shoe offers okay performance on a smooth single track but is not suited for pavement because the ContraGrip rubber lugs wear down quickly. However, it's right at home on rocky scree slopes with the odd snowfield.
Typically a super protective shoe isn't the most sensitive, but the Speedcross 5 still earns high marks in this category. While the heel cup offers ample padding, the forefoot is wonderfully sensitive to allow you to float down the trail easily and correct for surfaces that are a bit off-camber. There is a good stack of cushioning in the forefoot and heel (25mm, 35mm), so it's not the most sensitive option on the market.
If you're a heel striker, you may not notice the sensitivity offered as the shoe protects from impact with substantial cushioning. However, if you primarily strike the ground with your forefoot, you'll immediately sense the lack of a rock plate in the forefoot; the responsive cushioning is only about 1cm thick. The thinness of the forefoot will keep you dancing around obstacles on the trail — as it should.
While running trails in Southwest Colorado, we encountered many sharp rocks, snow, and roots. While rolling over them, we noticed that we could feel sharp rocks when stepping down on the forefoot. This sensitivity caused us to adjust our positioning for the next step, ultimately being protective. This sensitivity in the forefoot is similar to other sensitive contenders. However, it doesn't earn a score as high in this category because the heel is super cushioned, and you can't feel much.
A stable shoe offers a wider landing surface balanced with a low center of gravity to prevent rolled ankles and injury. It should also fit snugly to prevent the foot from moving around too much. The newest updates to this shoe enhance its stability through several features—the most notable being its newly designed forefoot that is wider, offering a wider landing pad. The collar around the back of the shoe also comes up a little higher to cradle the ankle, offering better lateral control.
We also love the precise fit that keeps the foot in place. While these new updates lend to more excellent stability than we've seen previously, it's still not comparable to the most stable options out there. The caveat of this model is the height of the high heel in conjunction with a 10mm heel-to-toe drop. While this offers excellent cushioning for the heel striker, it doesn't feel as stable as others with a wider forefoot or less drop. That said, once you get used to the feel, you'll be flying down unstable terrain without a problem.
Comfort and Fit
We love the comfort of this shoe, but the fit is best for only some. Loaded with responsive cushioning, it's easy to break in right out of the box. The collar provides superior support around the Achilles but is lower around the ankle bone, preventing potential hot spots. The tongue of the shoe is attached at the front of the outsole, allowing you to position easily. We also like the mesh overlay that helps to keep the tongue in place while you run.
The classic one-pull lacing system is a feature that some love and others don't. You can tuck the excess cord into a small pocket on the tongue so you don't have to deal with floppy laces. The lacing eyelets are wide enough from one another that they can be cinched down to accommodate a narrow arch or left loose for those that don't have one. If you like to lace your shoes in a specific way, you can cut the laces out and add your personal favorites. A caveat to this system is the pull string can get gummed up if not cleaned properly.
The Speedcross is not a breathable shoe either. As a trade-off for protection, the mesh is tight, which doesn't allow heat to escape readily. It's not our top choice for hot days in the summer and is better suited for cool alpine weather or winter running.
The new design is far more accommodating for wider footed runners or those that appreciate toe splay. The arch width is pretty narrow and will hug your foot, while the high heel cup is deep enough to wrap your foot sufficiently. While the forefoot area inside the shoe is wider than previous versions of this shoe, our narrow-footed friends have mentioned that it still works for them. We will even say that it has a 'regular' fit that is far more versatile for more foot shapes. Our main tester never wore the previous version of this shoe because of its slim design, but now, she's reaching for the Speedcross when the rain pours down, and mud is what she'll be encountering on the trails.
When putting this shoe on the scale, we were a bit surprised. While it weighs 10.7 oz per shoe for a size 9, it doesn't feel heavy on the foot.
It feels streamlined and will fly up or down any trail. This shoe is a heavy trail runner in comparison to the ultralight options on the market though. Nonetheless, we think it still has applications for short and long-distance trail runs.
Should You Buy the Salomon Speedcross 5?
The Salomon Speedcross 5 bites into the sloppiest surfaces and keeps you moving forward. This burley trail shoe is built for steep, scree-filled mountains that'll throw mud and snow at you; it's at home in cold environments and not suited for hot summer days on the pavement. It is a top-scoring shoe that should be highlighted for its excellent traction and protection.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
This shoe seems well-built with no significant durability issues except the lugs wearing down on super hard surfaces after just one or two runs. As a product of Salomon, you can assume it'll last for you hundreds of miles if you keep it on the technical trails it is made for. If you want a shoe with more crossover capability, the Hoka Torrent 2 is a great shoe. If the trail-specific aggressive build is precisely what you're looking for, but you aren't sold on the Salomon, the Dynafit Feline SL is worth checking out as well.
— Amber King
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