The running shoe dilemma continues and intensifies with every passing season. Recommendations will always depend on your activity type, and of course, the shape of your foot, but it always pays to shop around and potentially revisit shoes that may have made their way to the back of your wardrobe and gathered dust. This is what happened to my Speedcross 3s and Fellraisers after a few heavy sessions at NUTs and the like, but now that many of us are diversifying our race schedules and training, the Speedcross 4 is back to piquing our interest. Salomon have kindly kitted out some of our Machines to see how the Speedcross 4 GTX fits into their training.
The Speedcross 4 GTX isn't totally dissimilar in style to previous Speedcross versions, though it does not have half-sized or cut off lugs on the underside. This affords you more grip surface and a bit more stability as a result.
Natasha: When I was offered a pair of Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX to review, I have to admit I was a bit dubious as I have used the old versions in the past and found them pretty heavy (I am only little) and not that comfortable. How pleasantly surprised I was!
As soon as I put them on I could feel the difference in comfort. They felt like a slipper that hugged my foot nicely and provided stability whilst feeling much more cushioned than their predecessors which is something I like in a running shoe. I hate feeling the impact of the ground as I run. Surprisingly, despite being more cushioned they also felt a lot lighter, even when wet and muddy.
The grip on them was brilliant and the lugs are much more effective than in the past. The first time I tried them was in the rain, running with 2 beagles on a harness in a forest, on both compact and muddy trails and across fields so they got tested on all sorts of off road terrain (I have yet to run them on rocky terrain). The paths were often completely waterlogged from the days of rain previously and the shoes performed perfectly. I did not slip once (whereas in my normal off roaders I slip quite often especially with 2 dogs sometimes wanting to go in different directions!). My running buddy wasn’t so lucky – slipping in several places. We even had 3 deer shoot across a field in front of us – a lovely sight in normal circumstances, but with 2 beagles that means going flat out with no control and praying you stay upright. No issues here! Even down muddy hills I could feel the shoes sticking me where I needed to be – solidly on 2 feet.
My absolute favourite feature is the waterproof protection. It as taken some getting used to realising I don’t have to try and jump and avoid every puddle but it does give you rather a smug satisfaction finishing a run with your friend’s feet soaked through and yours bone dry.
Thanks Salomon – a definite thumbs up from me.
Dom: A cracking shoe for training in. If I do manage to get them wet when water goes in over the top, they dry well (so water isn't sloshing about inside), and mud comes away easily from the lugs underneath. Plus, the speed laces feel secure, and mean that you won't be losing these fellas in the mud.
Lee: Superb trail running shoe, I don’t normally run in salomon trainers but after testing these out it’s definitely changed my mind. The grip is amazing; I love the confidence it gives you going through woodland trials, to be able to plant you foot on a tight corner and not slip out. There very comfortable, and being waterproof you don’t get wet toes from the morning dew in the grass, which you do from other trainers.
Ami: In the past, we have not recommended waterproof shoes for OCR that involves fully submerging your feet, as it means that water would not drain from your trainers, adding to the weight, cold and potentially irritating skin, but the GTX absolutely have their place – in OCRs without submersion, canicross, trail running, Parkrun, adventure racing and beach training. The speedlace system has sometimes been criticised for jamming when mud dries on it - but wetting the lace makes for a much easier removal.
There’s definitely cause to have several pairs of trainers for different things, rather than knackering your race shoes during your varied training - and I'm pretty happy to enter a new world of waterproof trainers given just how wet this season has been so far.
[Photos by Natasha Mansell and Ami Sawran]