Salomon shipped me an early test pair of its latest trail runner, the Speedcross 2, which comes out in the fall and is built for cool weather and snow. It looks like an upgraded XA Pro, the company’s immensely popular off-trail/adventure shoe.
But unlike the S-Lab XA Pro 3, which I reviewed here, the $110 Speedcross 2 eschews water via a thick insulating upper. You can tromp into puddles and streams that do not crest the ankle-area opening, and your feet will stay dry.
The downside, as I learned on my run after jumping through a creek, is that once wet these shoes stay wet.
The XA Pro 3 shoes are made to take on water and then quickly dry as you run. But the Speedcross 2 get wet and stay wet, squishing as I ran along back on the trail for more than 2 miles.
Designed for trail running, the Speedcross 2s are much less flat-footed than the XA Pro 3s, with a “knee-saving” cushioning system in the heel that significantly dampens the blow when you land in the backseat, say when you’re flying down a mountain trail.
For me, the big squishy heel-area cushion seemed to be overkill. It almost forces you to land on your heel with each stride, which is a slower way to run. For rough trail the shoes are great, though on easy trail, and especially on pavement, the extra cushion, like I said, is overkill.
Like all or most Salomon shoes, the Speedcross 2s have the requisite Quicklace Kevlar lacing system, which seems to be universally loved. It’s the quickest shoe-tie in the business, indeed.
The shoes weigh about 10 ounces per foot, which is light.
The sole, called the Winter Contagrip, is comprised of 46 or so V-shape lugs made of a soft rubber that is forgiving, giving them some purchase, I’d imagine, on snow.
All in all, an interesting new trail runner. Not sure what the exact demographic is for this shoe. But if you’re a wintertime runner who likes rough trail and needs a water-resistant shoe with extra padding in the heel, well this is the shoe for you.
(It’s not yet online, but here’s the company’s web site: salomon-sports.com)