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Salomon Speedcross 6 Review

A legendary shoe that gets better by the year with minor tweaks to improve the performance of this specialty off-trail runner
salomon speedcross 6 trail running shoes review
Credit: Salomon
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $140 List | $140.00 at REI
Pros:  Unparalleled comfort, unrivaled traction, ample foot protection
Cons:  Aggressive heel-to-toe drop, lack of stability
Manufacturer:   Salomon
By Aaron Rice ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 20, 2022
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 19
  • Foot Protection - 25% 7.0
  • Traction - 20% 10.0
  • Sensitivity - 15% 7.0
  • Stability - 15% 5.0
  • Comfort - 15% 9.0
  • Weight - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

Well-known and well-loved for an aggressive outsole design that has defined this specialty trail runner for nearly a decade, the Salomon Speedcross 6 continues to earn our admiration for its unrivaled traction. After a major redesign a few years ago, this newest iteration includes only minor tweaks to improve upon performance. Salomon updated the rubber compound of the outsole to pair even better with the fine-tuned sagittate pattern of the deep, 5mm lugs. Designers shaved a few fractions of an ounce off each shoe while incorporating more mesh into the upper for improved breathability. Although this specialty off-trail runner isn't ideal for hardpack conditions, they remain our go-to choice where traction is paramount: through slick mud, up rocky scrambles, over steep grass, and across snowy mountains.

Editor's Note: The Salomon Speedcross 6 was added to our lineup on October 20, 2022.

Compare to Similar Products

 
salomon speedcross 6 trail running shoes review
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $140 List
$140.00 at REI
$180 List
$134.96 at Backcountry
$125 List
$100.93 at REI
$89.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$71.23 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Unparalleled comfort, unrivaled traction, ample foot protectionUnbeatable fit, fantastic underfoot protection, doesn’t absorb much water, very stableUltralight, supportive, uncharacteristically agileWell cushioned, comfortable fit, sticky rubber grips rock very well, decent priceAffordable, comfortable ride, versatile crossover option
Cons Aggressive heel-to-toe drop, lack of stabilityExpensive, hard to get on foot, must wear above the ankle height socks, hard to stuff laces into garageLoose-fitting heel pocket, lack of trail feelingHigh heel counter, not the lightestSoft upper is unstable, lacks energy, inconsistent traction
Bottom Line A legendary shoe that gets better by the year with minor tweaks to improve the performance of this specialty off-trail runnerThe cream of the crop for trail running shoes delivers fine-tuned long run performanceAn ultra-supportive trail runner with an agile feel that is unlike any other HOKA shoe we've ever testedA very well cushioned shoe that is optimal for heel strikers and makes for a great option for everyday training as well as ultra distancesA comfortable, consistent, and approachable shoe for those looking to crossover from roads to trail running
Rating Categories Salomon Speedcross 6 Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 HOKA Torrent 2 Salomon Sense Ride 4 Brooks Divide 2
Foot Protection (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Traction (20%)
10.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Sensitivity (15%)
7.0
6.0
5.0
8.0
6.0
Stability (15%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Comfort (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Weight (10%)
6.0
6.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Salomon Speedcross 6 Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 HOKA Torrent 2 Salomon Sense Ride 4 Brooks Divide 2
Measured Weight (per pair) 21.4 oz (size 9.5) 21.5 oz (size 9.5) 18.3 oz (size 9.5) 20.7 oz (size 9.5) 21.5 oz (size 9.5)
Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot) 32 mm, 22 mm 26 mm, 18 mm 23 mm, 18 mm 27 mm, 19 mm 25 mm, 17 mm
Heel-to-Toe Drop 10 mm 8 mm 5 mm 8 mm 8 mm
Lug Depth 5 mm 4 mm 5 mm 3 mm 3 mm
Upper Synthetic mesh, Ripstop, TPU Anti-Debris mesh with sockliner Unifi REPREVE recycled mesh, TPU Synthetic mesh Mesh, TPU
Midsole Salomon EnergyCell+ EVA Energy Save PU foam with Profeel Film rock protection HOKA ProFly: dual-density foam Salomon Optivibe Brooks BioMoGo EVA foam
Outsole Salomon Mud Contagrip Salomon Contagrip MA Rubber Salomon Contagrip MA Brooks TrailTack
Rock Plate? No Yes No No Yes
Lacing Style Quicklace Quicklace with garage Traditional Quicklace with garage Traditional
Wide Version Available? Yes No No No No
Sizes Available 7 - 14 US 4 - 13 US 7 - 15 US 7 - 14 US 7 - 15 US

Our Analysis and Test Results

When it comes to the famous Speedcross line, Salomon has rightfully adopted the mantra, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The newest iteration, the Speedcross 6 sees only minor design tweaks to help improve its already incredible performance in the alpine. While designers cut down the lugs from 6mm to 5mm, they fine-tuned the sagittate pattern to provide even more grip over rocky terrain. The Salomon design team changed the rubber compound to create their proprietary Mud Contragrip, specifically designed to shed mud more efficiently. Finally, a slight change to the upper design removes some TPU to shed weight and improve breathability.

Performance Comparison


salomon speedcross 6 trail running shoes review - with its plush, yet bomb-proof upper and tacky, nearly...
With its plush, yet bomb-proof upper and tacky, nearly indestructible outsole, the Speedcross 6 is the shoe mountain runners dream of.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Foot Protection


If you're not already well-acquainted with the Speedcross lineup, you will be hard-pressed to notice any minor updates applied to the new Speedcross 6. The stack height tapers from 32mm in the heel to 22mm in the forefoot, offering an excellent balance of cushioning through the midfoot and sensitivity in the toes. Although this newest iteration loses 1mm off the lug depth, it gains 2mm in the stack height, resulting in a slight improvement in stability and a negligible change in underfoot protection.


The high heel counter and 10mm of heel-to-toe drop are welcome for heel strikers. Even for mid- or forefoot strikers, the fat stack adds underfoot protection while the aggressive profile allows you to still push up steep terrain. Although the upper drops a strip of TPU over the metatarsals, it is replaced with a tighter mesh weave that does a better job of keeping sand and dust out of this shoe than ever before.

salomon speedcross 6 trail running shoes review - even though the 32mm stack height provides ample protection in...
Even though the 32mm stack height provides ample protection in rough, rocky terrain, the 10mm drop can make the Speedcross 6 feel squirrelly on steeper downhills.
Credit: Jill Rice

Traction


Simply put, the Speedcross 6 continues to deliver the best traction in the business. This is an ideal shoe for nearly any mountain runner, regardless of conditions. But it particularly excels as a winter running shoe or in the shoulder seasons when you might experience anything from snow to mud to wet rocks and roots. While the redesigned outsole compound makes this shoe a mud master, we find that it still excels when the weather dries out and the trails get tough. Although consistent running over hardpack will eventually wear down the softer lugs, the redesigned lug pattern seems to help cushion the blow of each foot strike. The Speedcross 6 is better now than ever on loose, rocky scrambles.


For those familiar with the previous versions, the redesign of the lug pattern changes the performance of the aggressive toe — but don't worry, it's for the better. Although the lugs have been cut down by 1mm, the third, lower lug extends further up the toe bumper. The result is a more even pull when you're on your tip toes, like during a steep hill climb. Even with these changes, we still consider the Speedcross 6 a specialty shoe, well-suited for off-trail travel and mountain runs, more so than daily cruising on city trails.

salomon speedcross 6 trail running shoes review - even though the lugs lost 1mm, the speedcross 6 still performs just...
Even though the lugs lost 1mm, the Speedcross 6 still performs just as well as ever. The aggressive sagittate design is still the archetype for many other trail runners on the market.
Credit: Jill Rice

Sensitivity


The Speedcross series has always done a fantastic job of balancing foot protection and sensitivity, and the Speedcross 6 is no exception. Although the thick 32mm cushion underneath the heel prevents much trail feel, there is substantial sensitivity through the mid- and forefoot. The tight taper of this shoe allows you to engage your toes fully and moves through technical terrain with agility.


Often, there is a trade-off between sensitivity and underfoot protection, where one of these traits will ultimately suffer in exchange for the other. The Speedcross 6, however, walks a fine line that manages to keep a foot in both realms. This balance of protection and proprioception makes it a nearly ideal shoe for mountain athletes, who draw upon all of their senses to avoid injury in technical, alpine terrain.

salomon speedcross 6 trail running shoes review - although they are specifically designed for soft dirt, we love...
Although they are specifically designed for soft dirt, we love running in the Speedcross 6 when the going gets loose, which does happen occasionally in the high desert.
Credit: Jill Rice

Stability


Concerning stability, a broader platform allows your foot to splay out, making it easier to make quick corrections with each foot strike and thus improving landings. The snug fit of the Speedcross 6 eliminates any slop within the shoe, allowing you to make those agile moves through technical terrain like rock gardens. The stability issue is not so much related to fit as to the high stack height and profile of this technical trail runner.


The 32mm stack height in the heel and an aggressive 10mm heel-to-toe drop can make the Speedcross 6 feel somewhat stiletto-like. This is most noticeable on steep downhills, where the high heel counter doesn't allow you to flex this shoe forward as steeply as other models without that feature. Shoes with a more neutral profile tend to be more stable, which is certainly not the case here. If you haven't run in these shoes before, the nearly imperceptible 1mm difference in lug height may go unnoticed — it has, indeed, changed the feel for the better. However, these shoes may still feel cleat-like for the uninitiated, especially over hardpack terrain.

salomon speedcross 6 trail running shoes review - what this shoe was made for: wet and muddy, off-trail routes. the...
What this shoe was made for: wet and muddy, off-trail routes. The snug fitting Speedcross 6 allows you to power through tough sections of trail like this.
Credit: Jill Rice

Comfort


With the previous model, one of the most notable changes was increasing the width of the forefoot and toebox. That change was for the better, so we see no further updates to the last or shape of the Speedcross 6. These shoes present what we refer to as a "nearly normal" last, with a higher volume through the midfoot and instep. Paired with Salomon's Sensifit construction around the midfoot and this shoe's speed lace system, the result is a well-padded, technical trail runner that fits like a glove.


We invite you to find a more comfortable shoe straight out of the box as the Speedcross 6. These shoes require almost no break-in time and do a fantastic job of cradling your foot regardless of the roughness of the terrain. While we found issues in the past with breathability, the upper's updated design incorporates slightly more mesh than before. Even on hot afternoons in our high desert climes, there was never a moment where our feet felt too sweaty.

salomon speedcross 6 trail running shoes review - the high heel counter on the speedcross 6 offers an amazing amount...
The high heel counter on the Speedcross 6 offers an amazing amount of ankle support, even if it does negatively affect its downhill performance.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Weight


Previously, the weight of the Speedcross was a knock against this shoe. However, even as shoes continue to get lighter and lighter, we don't always want to trade structure and stability for an ultralight option. This is especially true for many mountain runners, who will gladly keep the extra fraction of an ounce for added padding and protection.


Despite the market shift in the ultralight direction, the scale weight of the Speedcross 6 (21.4 ounces per pair for a men's 9.5 US) is mid-range in our lineup. While the extra padding makes them feel more substantial than other models, again, we will gladly make this trade-off any day based on the comfort and performance it provides for off-trail adventures.

salomon speedcross 6 trail running shoes review - even though the speedcross 6 may be heavier than others we've...
Even though the Speedcross 6 may be heavier than others we've tested, this shoe still falls mid-pack in terms of weight. And we'll trade a few ounces on each foot for the added comfort and performance any day.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Should You Buy the Salomon Speedcross 6?


If you live and run in a wet climate, in soft, loamy conditions, or regularly venture off-trail over alpine terrain, then the Speedcross 6 may be the only shoe you will ever need. Even for those who live in drier, high-desert climes, the combination of traction and comfort makes this a beloved option. This newest version remains the archetype for traction in the trail running category.

salomon speedcross 6 trail running shoes review - side-by-side testing of the speedcross 6 (right, black) with the...
Side-by-side testing of the Speedcross 6 (right, black) with the older Speedcross 5 (left, blue) proves that this shoe has only grown better with age.
Credit: Jill Rice

What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?


As a specialty shoe, the Salomon Speedcross 6 performs well in particular ways but isn't our first choice for a daily cruiser. For comparison, a shoe that offers a similar level of traction with increased sensitivity is the Saucony Peregrine 12. For mountain runners who need a bit more stability, consider this shoe against the equally legendary Brooks Cascadia 16.

Aaron Rice
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