Running and hiking are two of the most effective exercises for getting fit. To make them truly enjoyable however, you need to to be properly equipped. Our interests was piqued when Salomon released its new Speedcross 5, a performance shoe that allows users to train and race across various terrains. We pulled the Speedcross 5 on for a couple of runs to see if it’s as good as they say. Here’s how it went.
a speedy rundown
Boasting an entirely welded upper, the Salomon Speedcross 5 features a capped exterior and anti-debri mesh that bar foreign objects like thorns and sand from entering the shoe. It fits like a glove, providing a snug fit all around the foot. Despite its impenetrable appearance, the shoe felt surprisingly well ventilated and thus more comfortable.
The outsole is made with Saloman’s ContaGrip technology, which allows for maximum grip on loose, soft, rugged, and uneven surfaces. The midsole is made with the EnergyCell+ technology, enabling high-rebound midsole action while reducing the energy expended. So you can expect the Speedcross 5 to have considerable cushioning and durability. The aforementioned upper’s multiple advantages can be attributed to its construction, courtesy of the SensiFit technology. The shoe also has the Quicklace system that facilitates one-pull tightening, a major convenience for those who dislike how temperamental regular shoelaces can be.
the taste of concrete
The first terrain that we tested the Speedcross 5 on was concrete, since it is the most commonly found surface in Singapore. We tried walking a short distance before taking off on a run to see if there was a difference to how the shoe felt on-foot. The ContaGrip technology made itself felt almost instantly as the sensation of walking started to feel weird. The base of the shoe felt slightly sticky as a slight resistance was felt every time we attempted to take a step forward. It wasn’t a major flaw, however, and after a few metres of walking, we got used to the unusual sensation. The same sticky sensation was felt as we took off on our two-kilometre run but likewise, we got used to the feeling after the first few steps.
Overall, the experience on concrete felt rather indifferent for the shoe.
hitting the tracks
The second surface that we let the Speedcross 5 face was the standard running track. We repeated the same process by first walking for several metres before taking off on a run of four rounds. This time, the sticky sensation felt slightly stronger, both for walking and running. The combination of the shoe’s ContaGrip and the synthetic rubber surface of the running track added extra friction and resistance when running. Thus, the cumulative effects were much more noticeable after an extended period of exertion. Three rounds in, we decided to brisk walk instead of jogging or running to conserve energy.
Credit has to be given for the amount of traction the shoe provides, but give the synthetic rubber surface of a running track a miss when you wield the Speedcross 5. Unless you’re aiming for an endurance-training session, that is.
down and dirty
For the third surface, the studs of the Speedcross 5 kissed the muddy foot trails of MacRitchie Reservoir. We tackled the trail with a mix of walking and running on a damp Saturday morning. The damp surface of soft soil and mud was where the Speedcross 5 truly shined, in our opinion. For the duration of our two-hour adventure, not a speck of dirt or soil found its way into the shoe.
The featured ContaGrip made its usefulness felt during the hike up several steep portions of the route, where damp patches of dirt were present. Unlike any other running shoe we’ve worn on the trail, the SpeedCross 5 gave us a sense of security during steep ascents or descents. With its vice-like grip on the terrain, we were able to forge ahead without the fear of slipping. Running felt entirely different on a dirt trail too and the SpeedCross 5 made it easier to run on the uneven surface. For those who hike or run frequently across dirt trails or uneven surfaces, the SpeedCross 5 is probably second-to-none.
salt and sand
Our final outing with the SpeedCross 5 was undoubtedly the most challenging one. For its final test, we took the shoe to the sandy beaches of East Coast Park. Running on sand is a challenge, regardless of whether you’re wearing shoes or not at all. The SpeedCross 5 didn’t make things any easier. If anything, it presented a new challenge. Often, we felt ourselves sinking ever so slightly into the sand with each step. Having to exert that much more force to pull ourselves forward sapped our energy quickly. After 15 minutes, we could no longer continue.
What was commendable about the shoe though, was that it kept out most of the sand. Very little actually found their way into the shoe and most of the sand that entered our shoes stemmed from the aftermath of every laboured step.
While the SpeedCross 5 definitely isn’t the best for running on sand, it’s a great pair of shoes for training one’s endurance. Should one hope to build their stamina, this is a pretty good alternative to running weights.
If you’re someone that casually runs the track twice-a-week, give the SpeedCross 5 a pass unless you’re willing to switch up your routine. To outdoor and hiking enthusiasts, the shoe is a must-have as it guarantees an overall smooth experience in addition to a certain degree of safety. For those with the habit of doing endurance runs, the SpeedCross 5 is a pair that should be given careful thought.
Snap it up if you’re going to use it frequently, drop it if it’s a once-a-month investment as a general rule of thumb.
The Salomon SpeedCross 5 retails for $219.