"It never gets easier, you just go faster." - Greg Lemond

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Salomon Fellcross Review Preview

Being a huge fan of the Salomon Speedcross 2, I was hugely excited for the updated Speedcross 3, especially since Salomon has reduced the heel to toe drop in the SC3.  Upon doing research for the SC3 I stumbled upon an intriguing new shoe being built by Salomon.  Enter the Fellcross.  Similar in design to the super successful Speedcross, the Fellcross builds upon a very similar platform.  The Fellcross is advertised to be built for fell racing, a type of trail running popular across the pond that from what I understand consists of lots of mud, as well as steep ups and downs.

Awesome traction from this heavily lugged outsole
What really caught my eye about the Fellcross was the 6mm heel-toe drop advertised by Salomon and confirmed by runningwarehouse.com.  This shoe seems to maintain the solid build that Salomon shoes are known for, yet still carries very little weight (10.2oz).  It feels super durable, and while the lugged outsole is similar in appearance to the Speedcross, it seems to be made from a firmer rubber that seems to wear more slowly than the Speedcross.  To be honest, I only got these shoes yesterday, but I am already very impressed.  After signing up for Oil Creek this week I decided that I needed a more protective, cushioned shoe to use in a rugged 100 mile trail race, I still love my mt101s, but after getting knocked around a bit on some rocky descents last weekend I decided I wanted a little more shoe for rugged terrain.

I can't fold my Speedcross2 like this!
Yesterday I took the Fellcross to my local training grounds and ran 15 miles while jumping on top of roots I usually avoid and trying to find sharp rocks to step on.  A little masochistic I know, but I wanted to test the protective nature of these shoes.  I did the same 15 mile loop today and was again very impressed with the amount of protection afforded by the Fellcross.  They handled everything I could throw at them, but I will take them to the Potawatomi for the true test.  I hope to update this review once that is complete.  I can already tell this shoe EXCELS at providing excellent traction in sand as well steep climbs on rocky trail. 

***  I have put in just over 100 miles in the Fellcross now and I am still very happy with my purchase.  Longest run so far has been 27 miles and I never felt irritated.  I have even taken them climbing on the treadmill!  Much more comfy ride on the treadmill compared to the speedcross 2.  Only new complaint is that they quicklace system must be tucked tightly behind the tongue as the tongue is much more compact than the speedcross***


Compared to the Speedcross 2 the Fellcross is much much more flexible, and importantly for my gait, allows a much cleaner forefoot/midfoot landing to promote a quick cadence.  This is the shoe that the Speedcross 2 should have been.  Even with the low heel to toe drop these shoes still bomb downhills like the Speedcross 2, but due to the firmer rubber lugs, dont have quite the amount of cushion.  I think they might run a little large, but I am comfy with a small amount of room to spare in my normal size 10.5.

Crease forms that can rub the arch the wrong way.

My only complaints about this shoe is that if the Salomon quicklace system is pulled too tightly a crease develops between the midfoot overlays that caused me to blister slightly, this was remedied after loosening the shoes a little.  I always quicklace my Salomon shoes too tight :).  The biggest downside to the shoe is the pricetag.  Being in Salomon's S-LAB series, this shoe retails at 160$$$$.  I picked my pair up for 115$ using the runblogger discount from runningwarehouse.  I guess in the shoe business you can pick any 2 of the 3.  Light, Comfortable, and Cheap.  The Fellcross gets the first two!

*****  My Fellcrosses lasted all summer and all fall.  In total I think I put around 1200 miles on them.  The upper and outsole are still in great shape.  I did notice that the midsole became a little bit softer over the miles and the lack of a rockplate began to be noticed.  Sadly, after a supremely muddy woodstock 50 mile in them, one of the "eyelets" where the quicklace system pulls through began to tear which was followed by fraying in the quicklace kevler.  Suffice to say, these shoes are about done.  I have since duct taped them to me feet on days that I really want a mud specific shoe, which certainly works.   *****

Torn quicklace

Well over 1000 miles on this pair

9 comments:

  1. I also LOVE my SpeedCross 2, but since doing shorter runs in Fivefingers, wanted the decreased heel drop in a Salomon shoe. So, I just ordered the Fellcross, which I have been eyeing for a while, but sold by your great review. I'm hoping to break them in for use in the Stump Jump 50k, and will give you my review if you want it.

    Thanks!
    Sean

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  2. Sean Id love to hear what you think of the Fellcross. Stumpjump is a great place to truly test the downhill capability of this shoe.

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  3. Thanks for the great review. I'm looking for a waterproof minimalist shoe for this winter. I've been wearing my NB minimus trails nonstop all year, after wearing out my new balance 790's after 5 years of heavy use. ( I tend to wear my minimal shoes for everything, casually all day, then races, and training)

    I just plan to use these during the winter, to keep the light snow/rain out, (my minimus's get soaking wet even in the lightest rain, after doing some research, i've learned i need to get some wool socks to shed the water.)

    anyways, great site, i'll have to read up more on it, I'm pretty much sold on these fellcrosses. Have you tried the speedcross 3? i like the price, and they way those look better, but after wearing minimalist shoes (the minimus and I chopped the heel off my 790's way back when) i think i'll regret having the extra height in the heel)

    How do you get the runblogger discount. Do I need to be an author?

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  4. r08 I recently ran an incredibly muddy Woodstock 50 mile - pictures coming soon - and while my MT101s filled up with sludge, barely anything penetrated the Fellcross after putting them on after 33 miles. I would hesitate to call this shoe minimal as it does weigh 10 + oz and has cushion, but runningwarehouse claims they have a 4mm drop. The current runblogger discount is RUNBLOG10

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  5. thanks for the quick response...wish i saw this sooner! I picked up a pair of Inov8 288 gtx. and i don't think they are for me. they have a high ankle which is nice to keep the snow out, but these things are heavy and tall, there's no way i'll run in these. i think they'd be fine for just slow hiking or walking through the snow, but i'm about to put them back in the box, return them and get the fellcrosses. thanks for the review!

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  6. Just picked up my pair the other day. Took them out for a in the woods. These are beasts compared to the minimus trails, but I will need it for running in the snow.

    I noticed they were really toasty, I had to take them off mid run during 55-60 degree weather. and switch to the minimus' How did you handle them in the summertime? Did your feet not overheat?

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  7. Rob, they are super toasty. I just ran around with sweat building up in my shoes for hours and hours on end. it got to a point where I squishing around. u get used to it. that being said, mine dont smell very good anymore.

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  8. Interesting review since I've been thinking about upgrading my worned out Speedcross 3 (S) to the Fellcross (F) shoes. So the F is more flexible than the S? Does that observation include even the S 3's? I have been using the S 3 for about 9 month now together with ortopedic pronation insoles to decrease ITB pains and I think these shoes have performed outstanding so far. The textile insole behind te heel always gets torned in my running shoes, and so did these. I would recommend to quickly get some protective mtrl there directly after purchase, perhaps leather will work? These shoes is lower than average running shoes and it takes some time to get used to. After that you will probaply run faster in forest trails than on hard roads :-) The grip is good at winter time but a little to hard on frozen ground regardless of road/trail type. Great for mud and slippery trail runs and races and a huge avantage compared to runners stubbornly using regular asics shoes. They are also light and it feels as if you have control when at technical trails. I also often got the laces far to tight but it is an easy fix. I do hope the midsole in the F can withstand more miles than the S 3, since I pronate slightly.

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  9. Interesting review since I've been thinking about upgrading my worned out Speedcross 3 (S) to the Fellcross (F) shoes. So the F is more flexible than the S? Does that observation include even the S 3's? I have been using the S 3 for about 9 month now together with ortopedic pronation insoles to decrease ITB pains and I think these shoes have performed outstanding so far. The textile insole behind te heel always gets torned in my running shoes, and so did these. I would recommend to quickly get some protective mtrl there directly after purchase, perhaps leather will work? These shoes is lower than average running shoes and it takes some time to get used to. After that you will probaply run faster in forest trails than on hard roads :-) The grip is good at winter time but a little to hard on frozen ground regardless of road/trail type. Great for mud and slippery trail runs and races and a huge avantage compared to runners stubbornly using regular asics shoes. They are also light and it feels as if you have control when at technical trails. I also often got the laces far to tight but it is an easy fix. I do hope the midsole in the F can withstand more miles than the S 3, since I pronate slightly.

    ReplyDelete