• Product: Salomon Speedcross 4
  • Retail price: $149
  • Purchased at: Mountain Equipment Co-op

It was QA/QC testing day for drainage in my new Salomon Speedcross 4s. They were solid in a trail race last weekend. However, the course wasn’t wet or overly muddy, so a backyard drainage trial was in order before I rely on them in an obstacle race. The verdict? Thumbs up all around.

The Test

I did a nice little 3k throughout my property that simulated a typical obstacle race: crawls, overs, unders, climbing, carrying, some slight inclines and declines (think prairies, not foothills), and burpees. With Mother Nature’s insistence on extending winter until August-ish, there’s a ton of wet, muddy, standing water anywhere from 1-4 inches deep all over my place. I hit as much of it repeatedly throughout the 3k as possible.

Drainage

While these shoes don’t have the H20 drain holes that my former pair did, I had zero issues with drainage. Within 10 to 15 paces after leaving a water hazard (yes, hazard….the water feels as close to freezing temps as you can get without actually being solid ice), the excess water was virtually gone. Of course my shoes and socks remained soaked, but not with water sloshing around like I was running in mini swimming pools.

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Comfort

I think the only style of footwear that’s totally comfortable with drenched feet are flip flops, oceanside, with a margarita on the rocks. But as far as comfort goes when running in soaking muddy shoes, the Speedcross 4s maintained as adequate a level as one can expect. Again, my feet were slowly losing feeling due to the cold water, but the shoes themselves caused no issues. I had read in some reviews that when they were wet, the insole slid forward and bunched up in the toes. I didn’t experience any insole movement, though my declines maybe weren’t quite the grade that was needed to wreak insole havoc.

Traction & Stability

These shoes remind me of the mudder tires my youngest brother proudly put on his truck when he was 16....knobs so big they’d swallow fist sized rocks and small rodents. A bit overkill? Perhaps. But there wasn’t any destination he couldn’t get into or out of regardless of the conditions. Likewise on these shoes. It does make them slightly heavier than less tread-y alternatives, but I'm willing to trade a bit of weight for ridiculous traction. Some people claim the 11mm heel-to-toe drop makes them feel a little unstable or tippy. I didn’t experience any of this in my 10k trail race last weekend, or my 3k QA/QC session today.

Overall 

I only had them for a week and put on barely 5-ish kilometres breaking them in before I did a 10k race. No sore spots or blisters, and I figured I was definitely pushing the minimum break in time (but I REALLY wanted to wear them for that 10k). I think the Speedcross 4s are a great upgrade for me as I look forward to several obstacle races and trail runs this season.

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