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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Salomon Speedcross 3 Review

SC3 left SC2 right
On my second pair of SC3s, I did a little old fashion cobbler work and lowered the heel drop to 5 or 6mm:  Reduced Heel SC3s

Had these for a while.  Been meaning to post a review, but finally have put in enough miles that I feel I can give an accurate take on this shoe.  First, my experience with Salomon shoes - I really like the products put out by Salomon.  Yes, they are a little bit pricier, but man these are great pieces of well built gear.  I have run in the Speedcross 2, Fellcross, and now Speedcross 3.  The Fellcross has been my workhorse for most of the summer as well as a racing shoe.  The Speedcrosses are my bombproof rugged trail busters.  Maybe by some peoples standards this shoe is not beefy enough, but for me, someone who spends most of my time in shoes under 9oz the Speedcross 3 feels like a tank.

Compared to the SC2, the SC3's graphics have been updated.  The salomon racing rainbow has been elongated to cover the entire tongue, and some interesting new color schemes have been released.  I went with the all black shoes, because my size in the canary/gun metal were sold out.  Also changed on upper was the toe bumper.  I never had a problem with the SC2 bumper, and I havent had any problems with the SC3 bumper so I guess its all good.  Of course they use Salomon quick-lace technology, with a slightly updated tightening mechanism.

SC3 on the left Fellcross on the right
The cushion is the LT lightweight muscle cushion, which can also be found in the Fellcross.  There is plenty of cushion in the SC3, although they didnt feel as "soft" as my SC2s, I am not sure if this is because of less miles on the SC3 (~150) compared to the SC2 (~500).  A huge change is the heel to toe drop, which according to Salomon and runningwarehouse.com is 9mm.  Its still a significant amount of heel, but lower than the 12mm found on the SC2, I want a 6mm drop SC!!!!  I appreciate Salomon lowering the heel on this shoe, but really wish they had fully committed to making this shoe more midfoot strike friendly.  Unlike the Fellcross which has a 4mm drop, the SC3 feels like it still encourages a significant amount of heel striking.  This was obvious in the SC2, and maybe feels a little less encouraged in the SC3.  During Oil Creek, I was feeling great on the downhills until about mile 70 when my quads started to feel abused.  I had just changed into the SC3s, now I am not sure if it was just time for my quads to hurt, or if something about my downhill running form changed in the SC3s, but it is worth mentioning to anyone reading this (so no one...).

I think the two most significant changes I noticed were the lack of pronation control in the SC3 and a change to the lug pattern.  Being a neutral runner I appreciated the lack of pronation control, however I found both the SC2 and SC3 fairly easy to roll an ankle in.  I think this is due to the narrow footprint of the shoe as well as being fairly high off the ground.
The foam under the arch of the SC3 (left) is not nearly as built up as it is in the SC2 (right).  Removed pronation control

SC3 left SC2 right
In general, the SC3's lug pattern seems a little more thought out.  Its good to see Salomon improving on current designs.  The lugs are more carefully placed in the heel and toes in order to give optimum traction on parts of your foot with high levels of contact with the ground.  Such as the heel for downhills.  If you can see it in the photo, I have warn down the lugs on my SC2 in the heels, while on the SC3 they are heavily reinforced to keep them from getting abused by being connected to lugs that are directly in front of them.  This definitely was noticeable for me, and I felt much more control on steep downs when braking from the heel than I did in the SC2.  This feature or design can also be found on the Fellcross.

A quick comparison to the Fellcross.  These shoes (SC3) are more protective, less flexible and a narrower fit.  I think they are more comfortable on very rocky terrain as there is more push through protection and the larger lugs provide more protection.  However, the sizing doesn't seem to be the same, as I loved my size 10.5 in the Fellcross, but feel claustrophobic in the 10.5 SC3s (They are better after removing the insoles) and if I have a little extra $ before the MT110s are released I might grab a size 11 SC3.  Neither shoe breathes particularly well, but I am excited to use both as winter shoes, I think the SC3 will see a little more work as it seems beefer.
SC3 top Fellcross bottom.  The Fellcross is wider both in the toebox and in the ankle collar

Overall I am pleased with the SC3.  It will be a shoe that I may use when my feet are feeling particularly beat up, during a later part of a race or maybe on back to back runs or difficult two a days.  The traction is fantastic (did I mention I like lugged shoes?), and Salomon is headed in the right direction by releasing the 4mm drop Fellcross and lowering the SC3 to 9mm.  The biggest downfalls of the SC3 in my opinion, is that the toebox is too narrow and not tall enough and the sizing was difficult and not consistent with the SC2 (my 10.5s are perfect).

Hope this helps.  If there are any unanswered questions, let me know.


  1. Great review, I just ordered a pair of Fellcrosses, (returned a pair of kinevaras and iroc 288 gtx lightweightboots) hopeing these will get me through the bulk of winter conditions i encounter. not sure if you are interested in this kinda stuff, but i found this article about repairing moccasins, have you ever extended the use of a shoe by cobbling it? http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/2011/11/trailer-cobbling-soles-on-moccasins.html

  2. Great post - it helped me make the decision to go with the Speedcross for my next trail shoe. I wish I could find the non-CS version to help with better breathability...

    My story, one step at a time http://astroross.com

    1. http://www.mizunokensetsu.com/adidas-springblade-mens-c-93.html

  3. Hi,
    Great post!!! And great blog, seriously!
    I used the SC2 two years ago and I had with them the only "never-again" experience I've ever had with shoes. I kept twisted my ankle on every single technical downhill (and in quite a few non-technical ones), twice pretty badly. I had never had that problem before with any other shoe and never have had it afterwards. I mean, I'm pretty sure it was the SC2's fault!!! I blame the enormous drop and the narrow base (especially at the heel). It was a shame, because I loved everything else about the shoe.
    Now I am very excited about the SC3 and the Fellcross, although I held the SC3 in my hand and fetl that it was still too high and narrow for me.
    For winter use (lots of runs and frequent very long runs in snow), do you think the Fellcross will be reliable?
    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hey ttore. Like you i'm very sensitive to the height of a shoe. The fellcross feels so low and stable I highly recommend it. I haven't put the miles in that "toe" has, but as a very picky shoe wearer I highly recommend these. They run a little warm i noticed, not a problem because I realize they are waterproof and won't be totally breathable, but just something i noticed. It'll be nice to stay warm in the winter. great shoe, highly recommended. get it a runnerswarehouse with the runblog10 discount and get them for about $112. these'll last you many winters.

  4. Thanks, I am glad you the site. I agree, the SC is a very unstable shoe due to its narrow footprint and huge heel. I felt like the SC3 still suffers from this problem. While I have never used the Fellcross in the winter, they are great in deep mud (see the cover of months ultrarunning magazine or ultrarunning.com). It was amazing, despite having my entire foot buried in slop, my socks were mud free. This, I imagine, indicates the Fellcross will perform well in deep snow and keep ones feet dry and warm.

  5. Oh yeah, and the Fellcross doesnt seem to be so unstable because its lower to the ground and seems to have a wider base.

  6. Although the above conversation happened two calendar years ago, I'd like to chime in with a question. I've recently purchased a pair of CS3s and I'm having blister problems. I think that removing the inner soles will help. I noticed that you mentioned removing the soles as well. Have (or should I say did) you have any problems running without insoles? I've never tried it with another pair of shoes, but since I really like the shoes aside from the blistering, I thought I'd give it a try.

  7. Speedcross 3 combines light-weight, performance fit and an aggressive outsole.