In the world of trail-running shoes, options have grown increasingly specialized in recent years. A runner might have one pair of shoes for mud, one for dry trails, one for rocky terrain, one for training, one for racing, and so on.
But what if you’re looking for a shoe that can handle it all? One that can excel on gnarly singletrack while still feeling comfortable on a couple miles of pavement or smooth hardpack from your doorstep to the trailhead? Especially for those new to trail running who are overwhelmed by the smorgasbord of specialized footwear options, the Salomon Speedcross 3 is a perfect place to start.
My current home of Telluride, tucked away in the rugged San Juan Mountains of western Colorado, provides terrific testing ground for trail-running shoes. In Colorado’s summer “monsoon season,” powerful storms often sweep through the mountains in the afternoons; as a result, a single run can encompass everything from dry, rocky trails under the blazing sun to soggy, cold mudfests.
I took the Speedcross 3 out on a number of runs this summer—on everything from smooth dirt roads to rock-and-root-laden singletrack, in and out of torrential rainstorms, through creeks, across slopes of talus and scree, up and down 13,000-foot peaks, across meadows and snowfields and on everything in between.
Right out of the box, the Speedcross 3 has a similar feel to many road-running shoes: plenty of padding around the ankles for a level of cushy comfort that requires no breaking in. Underfoot, the midsole cushioning feels equally plush. Even after many hours of pounding rocky, gravelly terrain, my feet felt little fatigue.
I have fairly wide feet and found the Speedcross 3 to accommodate them well. Runners with bunions will, no doubt, appreciate the small, carefully placed triangle of flexible mesh on the shoe’s upper, nestled between more rigid, supportive overlays.
The water-resistant upper and relatively beefy midsole platform kept my feet dry in light rain or when splashing through shallow puddles and creek crossings. The tight weave of the mesh upper also did a great job keeping out dirt, sand and dust. The Speedcross 3 does run on the warm side, so I found it better suited for cool days than hot ones.
Directional “chevron-style” lugs serve as cleats on soft trails, digging in for confident climbing on steep terrain and braking effectively to help maintain control on downhills. I found the rubber compound a bit slippery on wet rocks, but otherwise effective at gripping all surfaces I encountered.
Salomon’s signature Quicklace™ system lets you tighten and loosen the laces with a single pull. I especially appreciated this in cold or rainy weather, because unlike traditional tie laces, I could adjust the fit without taking my gloves off. The tongue even features a pocket for tucking away the laces.
Available in both Salomon Speedcross 3 Trail-Running Shoes – Women’s and Salomon Speedcross 3 Trail-Running Shoes – Men’s versions.