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Salomon Speedcross 4 Overview
Opening a box with a new pair of shoes inside feels a lot like my birthday, no matter what time of year it is. And a box from Salomon is icing on the heap of awesome-shoe cake. I’m an open Salomon-lover, and was overly excited about testing and reviewing the Salomon Speedcross 4 shoes, a legendary model in the outdoor community.
At first glance, when you see the Salomon Speedcross 4, you might think you have just opened a box with football cleats in it. The Speedcross 4 has extremely aggressive lugs that will grip like King Kong grips the Empire State Building. The Speedcross 4, and most of Salomon’s shoes, are extremely narrow and fit like a glove. The Quicklace system provides a quick and strong lacing, and you’ll never have to “tie” your shoes again. Because the Speedcross 4 is so easy to get on and off, I find myself willing to take my shoes off more on breaks and let my feet breathe, which has helped saved them on long trips. Not to mention this shoe is super cushy and makes walking or running on rocky terrain a breeze.
I recommend the Speedcross 4 as the go-to for any trail runner, day hiker, or lightweight backpacker with a narrow foot that wants lots of cushion and grip.
See the full Salomon Speedcross 4 review below.
Salomon Speedcross 4 Star Rating
The Salomon Speedcross 4 are a narrow-footed trail baggers’ dream. Incredibly sticky traction, super light design, and single-pull laces that hug the shoe to your feet.
While we often give out awards and Picks for gear, we won’t be for shoes. After testing many shoes and finding the right fit for each member of our team, we realized that a shoe is simply too subjective to unequivocally recommend to anyone.
Our advice is to know what brands of shoe fit you generally by trying them on in store, and then look for excellent models, which we review here. Look in our specifications table to see if the shoe generally fits wide, narrow, or standard-sized feet. There are a lot of differing elements among shoes, but this is the one that matters right off the bat.
Update: We tested the Salomon Speedcross 4 in 2017/2018, and it has not received any major updates for 2019. There are some new colorways though!
Salomon Speedcross 4 Specifications
|Feature Type||Feature Specs||What This Means|
|Weight||10.5 oz. (300 g) per shoe||An average weight for trail runners. Not super light, but not extremely heavy either.|
|General Fit||Narrow||Salomon is known for narrow shoes. Try it on in case you’re not sure just how narrow your feet are.|
|Cushion||High||These shoes have tons of cushion to keep your feet from hurting on a tough trail.|
|Stack Height||30 mm heel, 20 mm forefoot||The cushion overall is 30 mm, which is about as high as it gets. This tapers down as you get to the forefoot.|
|Heel-Toe Drop||10 mm||The heel-toe drop is 10 mm, which is pretty high for trail runners today, but is what most hiking shoes and boots are.|
|Arch Type||Neutral (Normal Arch)||The Speedcross 4 has a neutral arch and works for most feet.|
|Rock Plate?||No||There is no rock plate in this shoe, which means you aren’t as protected from sharp objects. This allows you to feel the ground better, and the heavy cushion protects you.|
|Lace System||Quicklace||Salomon’s Quicklace system is excellent: a single pull tightens the shoe to your foot, and it stores in a pocket on the tongue of the shoe.|
|Sizes Available||7-14 for Men, 5-12 for Women, with half sizes||Pretty much every size you could want.|
|Manufacturer Warranty||Two Year Limited Warranty||Salomon offers legal language for its warranty claims. After parsing through it, we found that it offers a two year limited warranty on shoes, which includes manufacture defects and workmanship issues. Customer service is solid though, so get in touch if there’s an issue.|
|Retail Price||$130||A high price for an extremely high quality shoe.|
Gear Review of the Salomon Speedcross 4
Origins: Easing You In
Full disclosure here: I have owned several models of Salomon Speedcross shoes through the years, so I kind of knew what to expect when I received these guys. But on this trip I decided to up the ante a bit and do something I had never done before with a shoe designed to be a trail runner first and foremost: carry a 30-40 pound pack over extremely difficult terrain, including lose dirt, rocks, talus fields, and snow.
The plan was to hike the Cascade Pass Trail to the Sahali Glacier Camp in North Cascades National Park, Washington for a brand photoshoot. It is roughly six miles from the parking lot to the camp — not that much, I know. But with around 4,000 feet of elevation gain and nearly every kind of possible terrain that you could imagine, it was a doozy.
I had a ton of extra camera and setup gear as I was doing a photoshoot for a few outdoor brands in conjunction with this trip, so I figured it would be a great option to see just how well the Speedcross 4 shoes could hold up! My philosophy is go big or go home. If I want to really test a piece of gear, then I will stress it to the max, because it’ll most likely perform just fine with anything easier.
Revelation: The Moment I Knew
I didn’t receive the Speedcross 4 shoes until right before I hit the trailhead, so I was interested to see how they did without any break-in time. Normally I would never wear a shoe for the first time on an actual trip — I always try to get them good and broken in first. But I had to stress it to the max, right?
It didn’t take long for me to realize and reaffirm just how amazing these shoes are. The first time I wore them, up those 4,000 feet with a 40 pound backpack, they felt like they had already been broken in. Not a single hot spot or rubbing anywhere.
To say I was impressed would be an understatement. Even though I had owned Speedcross models before this, it was a pretty epic moment.
Salomon shoes are typically considered high-end because of all the fancy stuff they put in their shoes. The Speedcross 4 is no different.
The first thing you’ll notice is the aggressive sole of this shoe. It’s called Premium Wet Traction Contragrip, and is designed to grip wet, muddy, and loose surfaces. And, in short, it does an amazing job at this. The entire trip I always felt as if I had sure footing no matter what I was walking on.
The shoe is also lightweight! Coming in around 10.5 ounces (depending on size), it’s one of the lighter trail runners that can handle such burly trails and abuse. That’s coupled with a 30 mm stack height, which is a huge amount of cushion for your feet. The Speedcross 4 has a 10 mm drop, which is typical of most hiking shoes and boots, but not most trail runners. If you’re a zero-drop or similar runner, these shoes aren’t for you, but if you prefer a more traditional feel, the Speedcross 4 delivers in spades.
Finally, there’s the Quicklace system that couples with the Sensifit system to cradle your foot like a baby. Quicklace is a feature people turn to Salomon for — you don’t have to tie your laces, just pull on them to tighten the shoe. There’s a little area on the tongue to store the laces, too. Sensifit is the build of the shoe, and gives you a snug, glove-like feel all around the foot.
As I described above, Salomon uses a combination of the Quicklace and Sensifit systems to hold your foot in place. It does this extremely well.
I have a pretty narrow foot, which is what Salomon shoes are really known for. This shoe is not the best option if you have a wide or medium width foot. Make sure you’re aware of this before you buy.
At the time I am writing this review I have had these shoes for about 3 months, and after brutalizing them on my trip and wearing them almost every day since then, they still show hardly no wear at all. One of the reasons I love Salomon shoes is because out of all the brands I have owned, and I’ve owned a ton, Salomon’s last the longest. I abuse them, and they last.
And, if for some reason they don’t last, Salomon’s customer service is top notch and they will replace the shoe if it’s a manufacture defect (within two years of purchase date). They really are outstanding shoes in the durability department.
Premium Wet Traction Contragrip soles have lugs like cleats, which means these shoes hold with every step. With over 4,000 feet of elevation gain on my trip these shoes held on the uphills and the downhills, over everything including snow and loose rock, all with a heavy backpack.
It’s hard to ask for more in the outsole, and the midsole has tons of cushion to protect you from all that rock.
The uppers are made of mesh, and are pretty breathable, but they’re not the most breathable I’ve ever worn. My feet sweat bad and with these shoes they stayed mostly dry.
Note that this version of Speedcross 4 is not waterproof, but Salomon does offer a Gore-Tex covered version. I personally stay away from Gore-Tex shoes unless I’m in a cold climate that’s extremely wet. Being from North Carolina, where it’s hot and humid most of the year, my feet would sweat so bad with a waterproof shoe I might as well be walking in a puddle the whole time.
Trail Running vs Hiking and Backpacking
The Speedcross 4 makes a great lightweight backpacking shoe even though they are designed as trail runners. I’m usually a pretty lightweight backpacker, and as such I prefer trail runners over big bulky boots any day.
Now, I know there are die-hards out there who think the only way you can safely backpack in the backcountry is with boots — sorry, I have to disagree with you based on a ton of personal experience. Of course, it is personal experience, so you may need the ankle support or like the feel of a boot. To each their own.
I’ve found I can walk farther with less pain in trail runners, and especially with the Speedcross 4. I really pushed them to their limit with a 40 pound backpack on steep incline, and they were plenty supportive.
They also make great trail running shoes.
The only grievance I with the Speedcross 4 is the fact that they do not come in wide sizes, and that’s me just being unselfish! They are strictly designed for those of us blessed with narrow feet.
Shoe preferences are very personal, so you may find the fit difficult, or not like the lace system, but on the whole this shoe is a rock star.
The Salomon Speedcross 4 is pretty much amazing. They have been and remain my favorite go-to shoe for just about everything, even for everyday use around town. If you’ve got narrow feet, you have to try the Speedcross 4.
Where to Buy Salomon Speedcross 4
We tested the men’s Salomon Speedcross 4. There is a women’s Salomon Speedcross 4, which is the exact same material and construction, with fit being the only difference.
Salomon also offers these shoes with a Gore-Tex outer, in the Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX for men and women. While this may seem appealing, trail running shoes are really meant to breathe, so unless you’re in very cold and wet climates, we recommend the regular version.
Salomon also offers this shoe in a “CS” variety for $15 more. We don’t see the point of spending that much more on a pair, so recommend sticking with the original version.
Compare Salomon Speedcross 4 prices below.]