The Salomon Speedcross 5 stands out for its impressive performance on sloppy terrain and steep mountainside surfaces. This classic mountain going trail shoe has been through a new facelift that makes it more fit-friendly, stable, with even better traction. It's our Top Pick for Traction because of these new updates that we love!
The Speedcross 5 is designed to take on super slippery surfaces that are sloppy, steep, and unstable. Here we toe the descent on a climb that will bring us down 1,000 ft in one mile on a mesa ridge in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Protection in a trail shoe is important to keep toes from absorbing the impact of kicked rocks or stepping on sharp things while moving over the terrain. The Salomon Speedcross 5 offers reliable protection and will keep you happy for several miles. It is designed to carry you over technical terrain, and it's built to do just that. This shoe suits those that enjoy a cushioned heel and a traditional heel-to-toe drop of 10mm.
So what construction features provide protection? While it 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 impressive protection if you're a heel striker. The forefoot has only about 10mm which is 1 cm. 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 uppers are welded and continuous providing stand-out protection that keeps toes happy.
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.
The breathable upper isn't super breathable, but it's really good at keeping sand and silt out of the shoe.
We've taken the Speedcross 5 running in both the desert and snow. In the desert, silt and sand typically enter a shoe that has an upper that is more breathable with larger holes in the weave. However, the upper that Salomon uses 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.
The heel is bomber offering a ton of protection in the form of insole and outsole thickness. Great for downhill descents that might be hard on the knees.
It offers some weather resistance but is 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.
Typically a protective shoe isn't the most sensitive. While the heel cup offers ample padding, the forefoot is wonderfully sensitive that allows you to float down the trail easily and correct for rocks that are a little off camber.
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 sense the lack of a rock plate in the forefoot immediately; 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 some sensitive contenders like the Altra Trail MT 1.5. However, it doesn't earn a score that's as high in this category because the heel isn't as sensitive like the Altra Trail MT, and you can't feel much.
A look at the profile of the shoe. As you can see, it's nice and thin in the front and bulky and thick in the back. It offers good sensitivity in the forefoot as a result.
The newest rendition of the Speedcross 5 has sparked interest because it's newly designed outsole. 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 even sheds mud better than it did before!
When hiking and running up hills latticed with mud, rocks, and snow, it performed the best of all 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.
Widely spaced chevron lugs are what makes this outsole great. It's consistent and clean, offering a wonderful grip on the up and downhill ride.
While it scores similarly to the Inov-8 Terra Ultra G260, they both offer different niche performance. The Ultras don't do as remarkably on soft surfaces like snow and mud but offer better versatility on the pavement. The Speedcross 5, oppositionally, offers okay performance on the smooth single track but is not suited for the pavement because the ContraGrip rubber lugs wear down quickly. The Terra Ultra G260 is a little more durable and offers better performance for cross-over transitions. Both have fantastic traction, both, for different reasons. Overall, this is our favorite traction option if you're going to be tackling wet, slippery, soft surfaces. It's versatile in its use, but not suited for pavement trails or roads.
Biting into soft and steep soil, it's designed to take on the nasty.
A stable shoe offers a wider landing surface that is 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 your foot in place. While these new updates lend to greater stability than we've seen previously, it's still not comparable to the most stable option out there.
The caveat of the Speedcross model is the height of the high the heel in conjunction with a 10mm heel-to-toe drop. In comparison to some of our most cushioned contenders such as the HOKA One One Challenger 5, it feels higher and more unstable, especially on the downhill. The Challenger, alternatively, has only a 4 mm drop which feels more low to the ground, even with it's ample cushioning underfoot.
Comfort & Fit
We love the comfort of this shoe. 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 to how you see fit. We also like the mesh overlay that helps to keep the tongue in place while you run.
The classic one-pull lacing system is something that some love and other's don't The excess cord can be tucked 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 it 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 5 is not a breathable shoe. 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 arch, while the high heel cup is deep enough to wrap your foot sufficiently. While the forefoot area inside the shoe is now wider, our narrow footed friends have mentioned that it still works for them. We are even going to 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 it when the rain pours down, and mud is what she'll be encountering on the trails.
We don't score based on fit, but it's here that we like to discuss it to see if it'll work for you.
When putting this shoe on the scale, we were a bit surprised. While it weighs 10.7 oz for one size nine trail runner, it doesn't feel that heavy on 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. Nonetheless, we think it still has applications for both short and long-distance trail runs.
A look at the weight of this shoe on the scale. It's one of the heaviest trail runners out there, despite it feeling light and easy while on the trail.
Most at home in the mountains, it's fit for super steep or rugged terrain. If your trails call for technical obstacles or slippery weather, it's at home. It's perfect for cold weather, be it cool alpine excursions or winter running, but it's not suited for hot weather where breathability is paramount. You will also see the lugs wear down quickly if you find yourself on well-packed trails or hard surfaces like pavement. The fit is best for those looking seeking a regular to a narrow fit with a little cushioning in the heel.
From the dusty trails to the boulder-strewn steeps, this super grippy trail shoe will keep you on your feet through it all. Our Top Pick for Traction.
Value is a function of both price and relative durability. This shoe seems to be well-built with no notable 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 them on technical trails. At $130 it's a good value.
Like a shark, the Salomon Speedcross 5 bites into the sloppiest surfaces and keeps you moving forward. 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 features many updates that have brought it back to an award-winning status once again.