Salomon Speedcross 4 Reviewed and Rated
Have you ever seen a shoe that just looks fast? That's a good way to describe the Speedcross 4, from winter sports equipment maker Salomon. The company began in 1947, in a family-owned shop in the French Alps. The Speedcross 4 is made for tough weather conditions, It is just one of many durable tools Salomon provides, with other products including snowboards, ski boots, distance running apparel, and more. The company's focus on quality and attention to detail makes their gear recognizable and always in demand.
The Speedcross 4 improves the grip of its 3 predecessors in the product line. Thick lugged soles keep you secure on technical trails. Tree roots and rocks never get a chance to trip you up. But the rubber soles are thin enough that you do not feel locked in. You can feel the ground beneath you, aiding in balance and helping you sense where your body is and where you need to go at all times. Though it's designed for a back to nature experience, this is not a minimalist shoe. Ample cushioning reduces soreness and fatigue, while the thick textured uppers keep you warm and dry no matter how far from town you wander.
The unique quick lace system
Laces are secure--don't come loose or fray too quickly
Strong traction means you can tackle steep, muddy trails with few issues
Traction and cushioning suit the shoe to any terrain, including dirt trails, gravel, and city streets
Outsole lugs are spread out enough---keeps rocks/pebbles from getting stuck
Lugs are easy to clean
Exceptionally durable--even more so than Speedcross 1 through 3 models
Comfortable--options for wider feet
Standard fit is more narrow than previous models, according to reviewers who have tried them all
Laces can come loose--tightness depends on the lace saddle
The insole isn't as stiff as you'd expect--may fold or crease while running downhill on technical trails
Salomon built-in options to the base model. Those include one with Gore-Tex uppers. Gore-Tex is a versatile fabric that resists abrasion and tearing. It is often used for outdoor jackets. With a Gore-Tex shoe, rain stays out while sweat from your feet is allowed to escape and evaporate. It is a dry and comfy experience, no matter what the weather decides to do.
You also have the option for Climashield technology. This treated fabric is exceptionally breathable, suited to all manner of hot weather. Climashield also has dirt and stain-resistant properties. Besides it and the Gore-Tex add on, you can get a wider Speedcross 4 and also one with lots of reflective surfaces for after dark safety and visibility.
Any Speedcross shoe, with or without Gore-Tex, is going to be water-resistant, with uppers that won't wear and tear easily. The beefed-up outsole on the 4 gives it the best traction in the product family. The toe box is reinforced with PVC. If you've ever managed to wedge your toe under an unseen but powerful tree root, you'll appreciate a toe that doesn't fold up. It protects you and lets you extricate yourself quickly.
So, while the Speedcross 4 is expensive, you are getting enhanced safety and peace of mind. Those of us who go on solo adventures to remote areas will always need a shoe with features like this. Having an unsuitable shoe out on the trail can be just as dangerous as not packing enough food or water. As a company, Salomon is committed to both performance and safety.
Let's take a minute here to get technical and talk about the way shoes are made. The Speedcross 4 uses EVA injection in the deep cushioning and rubber outsole. EVA stands for ethylene-vinyl acetate. It is a plasticine polymer made of other plasticine polymers, created in a lab and subject to rigorous testing. EVA is heat resistant and can be shaped for a wide variety of uses. You can find EVA in soccer cleats, craft adhesives, boxing glove padding, and plenty of athletic shoes. It is injected at a high temperature into the rubber outsole of the Speedcross 4. It gives the sole and shoe foundation its shape. EVA is superior to older or more traditional molding, because of its durability and ability to maintain shape without deteriorating. And it adds to the overall weatherproof quality of the shoes. We highlight it here as another feature that makes the Speedcross 4 safer and more durable.
Since this is a cushioned shoe, it is quite comfortable. It will support you and lessen the impact, no matter what terrain you are on or how far you walk or run. Pair it with some soft, dry, merino wool or spandex compression socks, and you'll experience minimal soreness the next day.
The tongues of the shoes are padded and gusseted, meaning it is sewn directly to the two sides of the upper where eyelets would be on a traditional shoe. It means the tongue will not move independently of the rest of the shoe, even when you plant your feet at odd angles and pivot a lot on trails. So there's less chance of friction and indentations, which is something that can happen even in a padded tongue sneaker if the tongue is not gusseted. Higher-end work boots often have gusseted tongues for similar reasons--they keep you comfortable and reduce annoying pain when you are on your feet moving around for an extended period.