I’m glad Salomon introduced Speedcross 4, the improved version. I bought a pair purposely for Mt. Fuji, but before the trip, I was able to test these shoes’ performance during the following treks and tours.
Here’s my review.
Speedcross 3 vs Speedcross 4
How does it compare with Speedcross 3? Aesthetics-wise, these shoes look the same at first glance. But if you examine them carefully, they’re actually different.
When the Salomon staff showed me both shoes, the first thing I did was to flip them to check their almost-identical outsoles. My first reaction was that of hesitation when I saw Speedcross 4’s. Speedcross 3 has dots on its lugs, but Speedcross 4 doesn’t. To me, this was initially a red flag because I assumed that the dots helped with traction.
There are two other changes introduced to the Speedcross 4. One, the lugs are a bit taller than Speedcross 3’s. Two, the midsole (or at least the heel portion) is taller as well.
I asked the lady to explain to me what these changes can do, but she couldn’t give me the answer I was looking for.
Obviously, I still went ahead and bought the new version.
VIDEO: Closer Look at the Speedcross 4
Here’s a video showing the details of my Speedcross 4. Did you spot the changes?
Speedcross 4 Has Better Grip on Tiled Surfaces
When traveling abroad, I always make sure to pack light to comply with the 7-kg hand-carry requirement of airline companies. It’s therefore imperative that my footwear can serve at least two purposes – as both hiking and walking shoes.
I found that this goal can be difficult to obtain because my previous pairs (i.e., Speedcross 3 and Merrell’s All Out Terra Light) did not do well on smooth, tiled, and flat surfaces. Meaning, their outsoles may work well on the mountains, but they’re slippery on airport floors, especially when moist or wet.
Thankfully, Salomon has fixed this problem with the Speedcross 4. I’m not saying it’s 100% slip-proof, but the grip is A LOT better compared with its predecessor.
Closer look at the lugs of Speedcross 4
Wet Jungle Trails Are Not a Problem with Speedcross 4 But…
Upon research, I learned that Speedcross 4 is equipped with a new (?) feature called “Premium Wet Traction Contagrip.” Perhaps this can explain the shoes’ good performance on wet, flat surfaces?
In Phnom Kulen, we had to walk through a swamp and a long stretch of wet jungle footpaths. The shoes had no problem tackling swampy and muddy trails, but it wasn’t reliable on mossy rocks and wet roots.
A swampy section of our Phnom Kulen hike
A wet jungle trail of Phnom Kulen
A slippery rock in Phnom Kulen
Speedcross 4 Breezes Through Rocks and Boulders Just Fine
This applies to Phnom Kulen’s sandstones, Mt. Rokko’s boulders, and Mt. Fuji’s volcanic rocks. These surfaces can give the most stress on my feet, but the Speedcross 4 managed to deal with them just fine.
In the past, when I was still using a different brand, my feet, particularly the arch, would hurt after a hike. But when I switched, I no longer had any post-hike pain. With the Speedcross 4, I love that the insides are well-cushioned, and the soles are thick enough to prevent me from feeling the ruggedness of rocky surfaces (unless the rocks are really pointy).
In Japan, my Speedcross 4 was able to give me a nice grip when ascending Mt. Fuji’s rough paths and Mt. Rokko’s boulders. I don’t recall any instance when I slipped on my way up to the summit.
The lugs are durable, too. On my way down, I used the “heel kicking technique” to tackle Mt. Fuji’s slippery trail of crushed lava rocks. Those kicks were pretty aggressive, so I expected the lugs to come off. But they didn’t. Had I worn my Speedcross 3, I don’t think the lugs would be as neatly intact given the same amount of pressure applied on the same type of surface.
Most challenging part of Mt. Fuji’s rocky ascent route
Mt. Fuji’s Yoshida Trail (descent route)
Mt. Rokko’s bouldery path
I’m happy with the Speedcross 4’s performance. I’d like to stick to it for now, or at least until a newer version (or a better brand) comes along.
So if you ask me, here’s my recommendation. If you’re still using your Speedcross 3, it’s time for an upgrade. It’s worth it.
Me and My Speedcross 4
Here are some images…
At the summit of Mt. Fuji
At Phnom Kulen
At the statue of Ho Chi Minh, Saigon