Gear Review: Salomon Speed Cross 3

This is not so much of a Salomon Speed Cross 3 CS review as it is a long-term test of a true winter killer. Before the Classic Ontario Winter started, I purchased a wonderfully bright orange and black pair of Salomon Speed Cross 3s with Climashield in the hopes I would be able to use it on occasion when the winter weather of 2014 became ugly. Coming upon three months later I’m wondering when I do not have to wear these shoes for almost every outside run that I do. This was not only out of necessity to battle the elements, but for comfort and fit as well.

For anyone who knows these shoes, or takes a quick look at the picture, they quickly appreciate the elegance and raw aggressiveness of the Speed Cross. This is a beautiful shoe to behold and although it’s aggressive looking, it wears like a slipper that stabilizes, hugs the foot to perfection and runs really well. Running in the winter usually means I am just happy to be outside, but this shoe has been a pleasant surprise. I could actually run fast and with the same confidence like running on dirt. Whether it was ice, deep snow, groomed snowmobile trail, and yes even snow packed sidewalks, the Speed Cross 3s never faltered.

The Speed Cross 3s do keep a traditional heel to toe offset, but the ride is low to the ground and quite flexible. Being a mid-foot striker I didn’t find the heel to be a problem at all. Salomon went without a rock guard on the 3s, which for winter running is fine by me. On the surface what looks to be a big gnarly shoe is actually offers a racing flat-like feel.

I did go up a half size from my normal 11.5 to 12 and I am glad that I did as the shoe is a bit on the narrow side for my foot anyway. After about 100 hours in everything that winter has been able to offer, the Speed Cross 3 shows no signs of wear because they do not get dirty in the winter, so they still look brand new. I did use a pair of Salomon Sense Mantra insoles, which are thin one piece foam versus the given Ortholites. I have always found Ortholites a little too squishy. I also wish the tongue did not come up so high as ends up acting as a place to trap snow.

Pros:

  • Aggressive V-shaped lugs, superior traction for snow and ice.
  • Salomon’s Sensifit and gusseted tongue design really wraps around the foot.
  • Climashield keeps the weather out and the warmth in.
  • Low to the ground feel with great flexibility
  • Amazing colour choices

Cons:

  • Narrow
  • Not a door to trail if you have pavement to run on first.
  • Tongue too bulky
  • Ortholite too soft

 ~Adam Hill is an Ontario-based trail runner.

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