Although Bespoke Unit is more renowned for reviewing dress shoes, we’ve also tested a number of different running shoes. One that stood out of the crowd was the Speedcross 4 by the acclaimed French brand, Salomon, which suited my personal needs the most.
Being keen on trail running as well as long country walks with my pooches, I was looking for versatile footwear that could tick both boxes. When I’m just taking them out for a quick tour of the forest during my lunchbreak, I actually tend to sport my Allen Edmonds Strandmok brogues. After all, brogues are traditional walking shoes.
However, with an upcoming vacation down the Scotland’s west coast, I really needed something better equipped for tougher terrain. At first, I had considered hiking boots as I’m more accustomed to these for hikes. Yet, I wanted something versatile that I could use for running during the milder months when the terrain was getting muddy.
In this review, you’ll learn everything that you may want to know about the Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX with a particular focus on the following:
- Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX Review
- Shoe Specifications
- Key Features
- Sizing, Fit & Comfort
- Price & Value For Money
Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX Review
As the name suggests, this is the fourth iteration of Salomon’s Speedcross series. Furthermore, the GTX indicates that it’s the Gore-Tex variant, which offers improved waterproofing. Salomon is considered a celebrated and premium brand for outdoor activities from skiing and rock-climbing to water sports and hiking.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that their running shoes cater purely to rural rather than urban landscapes.
- Made In: China
- Style: Trail Running Shoe
- Available Colours: Black, Fiery Red, Hawaiian Blue, Slateblue
- Notable Materials: Gore-Tex, EVA
- Weight: 320g /11.3 Oz per shoe
- Midsole Height: 20-30 mm (10 mm drop)
- Price: $160 [Buy Now On Zappos]
As mentioned above, the Speedcross 4s are designed primarily for cross-country and trail running where the wearer will battle the natural elements as well as their own fatigue. Therefore, its characteristics are somewhat different from your regular running shoe! So let’s take a look at what they offer.
Firstly, the Speedcross 4 features flexible Gore-Tex technology in the membrane in order to provide extra waterproofing. Since trail runners will often run in the wet, it adds an extra level of comfort but also keeps the reduces the chance of chafing and blisters. Despite this, I found that they breathed really well and heat didn’t build up when running under the sun.
However, their most noticeable trait is the iconic Premium Wet Traction Contragrip on the outsole. This consists of dense and prominent chevron-shaped lugs that offer excellent traction when running through mud or wet conditions.
Whilst the feel of these was a bit unusual and quite jarring at first, I quickly grew to love them. Although they were dense, they offered a slight bounce and no discomfort when running on concrete. Meanwhile, the traction on the mud and wet paths was outstanding. I’m looking forward to trying these in the late autumn when things get really wet as well as the late winter snow!
Another intriguing feature is Salomon’s proprietary Quick Lace system. I was initially unconvinced and thought they’d break within a few days, but they’re actually brilliant. A very convenient concept, you just slide the toggle down until the shoes are tight then tuck it under a mesh at the top of the tongue. They never came loose during runs nor flopped about in an annoying way.
Additionally, the Speedcross 4 features removable OrthoLite insoles, which offer excellent arch support and cushioning. As well as a great bounce and some stability in the arches, they dried very quickly when wet by perspiration or water.
Speedcross 4 Characteristics
I also liked the contrast between the solid toe bumper, which offered great protection, to the otherwise flexible upper. The EVA heel cup was solid too with a well-made Achilles notch that locked my ankle firmly in place. I originally thought that they’d slip about due to the lacing system to I didn’t have any issues.
With a midsole height that varies between 20 to 30 mm, they’re quite high up compared to most trail running shoes. Usually these feature a very low profile. Yet as someone more used to maximum cushion, I was very grateful for the extra height.
Finally, one common trail shoe feature that was missing was a rock plate in the midsole. However, I didn’t find this particularly bothersome given the protection offered by the lugs. Nevertheless, it may be a nice future addition to the model for peace of mind.
Sizing, Fit & Comfort
Firstly, it’s important to highlight that these shoes are design with neutral to higher arches in mind. If you underpronate, they offer perfect support. However, if your arches are quite low, they’re not going to be comfortable at all.
I used to think that I have quite average arches but it turns out that they’re a little on the low side. Therefore, these shoes were a touch uncomfortable at first and I thought that I would have to return them. However, after a few days walking around in them, they broke in quite nicely for running.
Now they feel great but bear in mind that my arches aren’t particularly low nor do I overpronate.
As for sizing, they seem to run a half-size small. Living in France, I initially purchased them in 42 EU but these were much too snug across the toe box. I ended up exchanging them for the same in 42 2/3, which feels perfect.
Strangely, Salomon mark their 42 EU as 8 UK or 8.5 US, which would be too small for me. I know that I’m usually an 8.5 UK or at least a 9 US so I was a bit confused by their conversions that don’t line up with other brands.
Price & Overall Value
Retailing at around $160, these are indeed premium running shoes. I was quite lucky to pick them up on sale in France. However, since they’re Salomon’s flagship trail shoe, you may struggle to find a deal in the USA.
Some may find the high price tag a little on the expensive side. Nevertheless, they’re much better made than much of the competition and remain surprisingly versatile despite being specialised footweaR.
However, they’re certainly well worth the price. As described above, they’re packed with features that make trail running much more enjoyable than with under-equipped footwear. Whilst my runs are comparatively short, a lot of people love these for Spartan racing as well as technical long-distance runs.
Thanks to their intuitive design, the Salomon Speedcross 4s are perfect for tackling various terrains from rocky mountains to muddy swamps. I’m even partial to wearing them when running on tarmac when between greenery.
Furthermore, they’re not just perfect for trail running but hiking too. As mentioned in the beginning of this article, I’ll be using them for long walks down Scotland’s west coast this summer. Therefore, I’m looking forward to seeing how well they perform on various landscapes in ever-changing weather conditions.
However, do keep in mind that they run high on the arches so be sure to try walking in them first and see how they fare. If pinch on your arches, you’ll be best looking for something else.
"Perfect traction and stability for trail runs and hiking. Whilst a little high on the arches, these are excellent shoes for tackling tough terrain."Rating: 4.0 ★★★★
I have really high arches. Would you say that these will provide sufficient support?
Actually, yes they will! My arches are quite low and I found them to provide too much arch support. Although it subsided after a lengthy break-in period, I imagine that they’ll be perfect out of the box for someone like you.
Perfect. I’ve been looking for quality trail running shoes for the summer and these fit the bill nicely. I have low arches, though. Do you think that these will cause bruising or will be ok?
My arches are low too but I wear these now without any issues. My advice is to be generous when breaking them in. I made the mistake of going out on a run as soon as I got them, which was quite painful. However, after wearing them for a few days around the house then out running errands, they were like slippers!
I’m afraid I bought some fake speedcross 4 gtx’s. In one of your pics, it’s hard to tell IF there’s a vertical seem in the inside heel?? Mine has it but looking around online, it’s hard to tell in most pics I find. My regular speedcross 4’s (non-GTX) do not have the seem. Wasn’t sure IF that’s b/c they’re different in general. Thanks!
I don’t recall there being a vertical seams on these shoes but I’m pretty sure that I didn’t have any, I’m afraid.
All the best,