We decided to review the Salomon Speedcross 6 – a legendary name among hikers, and mountain and trail runners, often topping the lists for trail running shoes. They have been advertised as optimal footwear for cruising through mixed terrain and mud so we’ve put these shoes to the test of various terrains to assess their performance across different environments.
In this review, we break down the Speedcross’ performance in different conditions and across different environments and share all the information we gathered through our experience using them. We also compare them to their counterparts, namely, other popular trail running shoes.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Quick specs: Salomon Speedcross 6 Trail Running Shoes
Weight: 348 g (12.28 oz; right); 351 g (12.38 oz; left) for size US 12.5 (EUR 47 1/3 or UK 12)
Material: 100% Synthetic
- Upper: Synthetic/Textile (anti-debris mesh)
- Lining: Textile
- Insole: Textile (Ortholite Eco)
- Midsole: EnergyCell+ (high-rebound compound made from EVA foam with polyolefin elastomers)
- Outsole: Rubber (Contagrip Mud)
- Lacing system: Quicklace
Width options: Regular, wide
- Completely welded, stitch-free textile upper with Sensifit technology for a precise and secure fit. The foot-hugging upper part is engineered to move naturally with the foot.
- The Contagrip Mud sole system features a deep, multi-directional grip and aggressive lug pattern with a sticky rubber compound. Provide reliable grip and traction on soft and uneven surfaces as well as mixed terrain.
- The shock-absorbing EnergyCell+ midsole offers ample cushioning long-term.
- Quicklace is a minimalistic and strong one-pull lacing system that is intuitive and easy to use.
- Super comfortable out of the box, suitable for all-day trips in various conditions and environments. Fit snug but do not feel uncomfortable and what’s more, they move naturally and comfortably with the foot. Great for (off-road) three-season hiking.
- Lightweight design, premium materials, and reliable construction. The folks at Salomon seem to have discovered the recipe for nearly perfect trail running shoes.
- Built for wet weather, these drain and dry fast, especially in warmer weather.
- Offer exceptional grip, traction, and stability on a multitude of surfaces. They excel in technical trails, muddy conditions, and rugged terrain, providing efficient and reliable performance on almost any type of terrain (except for wet rock but for more on this, see the Support, stability, and traction section below).
- The Quicklace lacing system promotes fast, snug, and secure lacing. Once adjusted, you will not need to re-adjust the lacing during your hike, run or any other outdoor activity.
- The outsole is aggressive and sticks like glue to almost anything. However, it’s not very hard-wearing, primarily because the lugs are softer and thus tend to wear quickly.
- The Contagrip Mud sole works great in both dry and wet weather, however, it does not offer great traction on slippery rocks. The best thing to do is to stay very careful when walking on slippery rocks, as it can be a not-so-fun and even risky experience.
- Tend to run small/narrow. The ‘Regular’ fit fits snug and in this particular case we don’t mind but some may not like this. If you want to be able to exploit their potential, make sure that you get the right fit for your feet because these are really an excellent pair of shoes.
- If you encounter any issues with the Quicklace lacing system, it cannot be replaced with regular laces. You will need to purchase the same lacing system.
Over the past few months, since the beginning of summer, we’ve tested these trail running shoes on a variety of surfaces. What makes them special is that they are both lightweight and provide stability and comfort for off-road hiking. This is a rare find. These shoes can handle a wide range of surfaces, and while we expected that, what really surprised us is how comfortable and light they are, no matter where you’re hiking.
Continue reading for more in-depth insights and to discover more detailed information.
Fit, sizing, and comfort
This specific pair of Salomon Speedcross 6 shoes was manufactured in January 2023 (we found this information on the shoe box), and we acquired them in early summer.
The reviewed shoes are size US 12.5 (which corresponds to EUR 47 1/3 or UK 12). These fit my feet well, as my feet are about 28.95 cm long with an average width. The size is long and feels roomy enough in the toe box area to prevent smashing of the toes during descents.
The recommended size for my feet (US 11.5/EUR 46/UK 11) turned out to be two sizes smaller (no surprise as this happens almost all the time). Trying the Speedcross 5 and having enough information from wearing the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX and La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II turned out to be extremely useful for getting the right fit. Interestingly, the author of this post purchased the Speedcross 6 without trying them on in person. We don’t recommend this approach unless you have a compelling reason to do so. However, having enough information about other (and especially similar) models helps a lot in making the correct guess.
The ‘Regular’ Speedcross shoes might feel too narrow and tight for some people, but that’s not the case for us. Surprisingly, they provide enough room in the toe box area to wiggle the toes. Overall, they fit well and feel snug, but not uncomfortably tight. We’d like to emphasize that there’s a strong tendency among manufacturers to make hiking shoes narrower. Thus the size charts can sometimes be a bit misleading.
To find the perfect fit for your feet, here’s our recommendation, similar to what we suggested in our review for the Ultra Raptor II: Try on both the regular and wide versions, especially if you have average-width feet. If you believe the wide version is what you need but it’s not available, ordering a size larger usually does the trick. Choosing the right shoe size is key for optimal performance and comfort. In general, aim for a trail running shoe that fits snugly but not tightly and allows for natural foot movement. Also, try them with your hiking socks to ensure they match well.
The color is Black/Black/Phantom and we must admit that they look really good. Unsurprisingly, the Speedcross 6 are super comfortable right out of the box, so that you can start your adventures without any delay. As they offer a secure and comfortable fit that allows for natural movement of the foot, you’d rarely have any problems no matter where you are. Inside, there’s a removable Ortholite Eco insert with antimicrobial treatment. While it has a basic design, it adds to the overall comfort of the shoes. Even when navigating challenging terrains, we don’t have any complaints about their comfort. If you get the right size, you’re almost guaranteed a blister-free experience.
The lacing system they use is called Quicklace. Initially, we thought that it would be annoying and difficult to use. To our surprise, it turned out to be quite user-friendly. It’s minimalistic, easy to use, tightens quickly, and maintains a secure hold. You cannot ask for more. There are convenient pockets on top of each shoe tongue for hiding the laces. After adjusting the laces, you can tuck them into these pockets.
However, the drawback of such exclusive lacing systems, not just Quicklace, is that if you encounter any issues, you will need it replaced with the exact same lacing system. This might be a win for the manufacturer but not so great for the customer.
Support, stability, and traction
The Salomon Speedcross 6 trail running shoes are built to perform well in challenging terrains. They are equipped with the Contagrip Mud outsole, a specialized design by Salomon that’s meant to provide maximum grip and traction on mud, soft, and uneven terrain. There are five families of Contagrip outsoles – for mixed terrain, mud, road, snow, and water. Each Contagrip outsole is designed as a combination of rubber compound and lugs to successfully meet the needs of the specific terrain. The guys from Salomon have developed five different Contagrip outsoles: for mixed terrain, mud, road, snow, and water.
The heel height of the Speedcross is 32 mm, with a forefoot stack height of 22 mm, resulting in a heel-to-toe drop of 10 mm. The well-cushioned EnergyCell+ (EVA foam combined with polyolefin elastomers) midsole provides shock absorption and support for the foot. The Salomon Speedcross 6 shoes feature Sensifit technology in their completely welded and stitch-free textile upper. This technology is designed to provide a precise and secure fit, allowing the shoes to move naturally with your foot. This precise fit also contributes to their stability, which is especially valuable when tackling technical trails and challenging terrain.
During our excursions, we tested these shoes on a variety of terrains, including dry and muddy trails, wet and dry grass, and rugged rocky terrain. We can confirm that the combination of the rubber compound and the deep, sharp lugs in the Contagrip Mud outsole provides remarkable adhesion on muddy and uneven surfaces. Moreover, this design works great in wet and muddy conditions. The impressive performance doesn’t stop there. Thanks to the 5-mm lugs and the updated lug pattern, these shoes offer outstanding traction on almost any terrain you can think of. Mud, dirt, soft ground, gravel or steep rock – no problem. They perform well even in densely vegetated areas. Last but not least, they’re equally good for both hill climbing and descending.
In terms of performance, we were highly satisfied with these shoes on various terrains, except when we came across slippery rocks. Our experience shows that they perform extremely well on all the terrains mentioned earlier except for wet rock. When faced with wet, slippery rocks, their traction significantly decreases. Walking on such terrain can be a very slippery and thus dangerous experience so be very careful when navigating wet rocks.
Construction, durability, and protection
The construction of the Salomon Speedcross 6 is top-notch. They have a well-thought-out design and are crafted with high-quality materials. These trail running shoes are built to endure the rigors of off-road adventures and are likely to serve you well for several hundred kilometers without any issues.
The textile upper is made from a breathable, moisture-wicking synthetic material that keeps the foot cool and comfortable during warm-weather hikes and runs. The upper is flexible, resilient, and can withstand abrasion from rocks and brush. The anti-debris mesh and shoe tongue do not allow for dirt or small rocks to enter the shoe. The shock-absorbing midsole ensures comfort on uneven terrain, holding up well during off-road journeys.
In terms of toe protection, the Salomon Speedcross 6 features a reinforced toe cap, as seen in many trail running shoe models, instead of the traditional solid rubber toe cap commonly found in hiking boots. This design aims to shield your toes from painful impacts with rocks, roots, and trail debris. While it performs well in most cases, its effectiveness in preventing injuries during substantial physical contact or impact is still uncertain.
Now, let’s discuss their durability and the potential Achilles heel – the lugs. While the overall construction excels in many aspects, the lugs on the Contagrip Mud outsole, though excellent for providing grip and traction, are relatively soft. While the softer lugs provide superior adhesion on muddy and uneven surfaces, they do wear out faster than expected. This is one of the main downsides of the Speedcross 6. Walking on hard surfaces like gravel, rocks, pavement, concrete, and asphalt accelerates lug wear. While you may encounter these terrains on the trail, we recommend resisting the temptation to wear them in town. After all, it’s best to reserve these trail runners for natural terrains.
We’ve hiked around 100 km or a bit more with these shoes on and the lugs are beginning to wear out a bit. We’ll definitely update you on this in the coming months.
Weight and maintenance
With a weight of around 700 g (1 lb 8.7 oz) per pair or roughly 350 g (12.3 ounces) per shoe for size US 12.5 (EUR 47 1/3 or UK 12), these trail runners are one of the lighter options available on the market.
Compared to sturdy, solid models offering superior protection for the foot like the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II, the Speedcross 6 is noticeably lighter. They’re in the same weight range as other lightweight options such as the Altra Lone Peak 7 (a much less durable option) and HOKA Speedgoat 5 (too bouncy and better for smoother terrain). If you want even lighter shoes… road running shoes are probably the only feasible option left. Really, the Speedcross 6 has a featherlight design that places them among the lightweight contenders/trail running shoes. Overall, the Speedcross 6 offers a good balance of support, protection, and weight for various terrains and most types of hikers.
Maintain these as you do with other hiking shoes and boots to ensure they accompany you on countless adventures. Always wash them right after a hike to make sure they maintain their soundness and functionality over time. They are super easy to clean as the dirt comes off easily with washing. For this, use just lukewarm water or a simple solution of water and mild soap. It’s all you need for effective cleaning as it works sufficiently well and does not harm the materials. Don’t use abrasive detergents and rough tools to scrub them clean. This might cause irreparable damage to the shoe’s construction. In essence, a gentle touch is your best ally in preserving the quality and lifespan of your Speedcross 6 shoes (or any other footwear).
The upper part features a breathable and moisture-wicking anti-debris air-mesh material. This synthetic material excels in providing excellent ventilation and promoting airflow. It’s engineered to keep your feet cool and comfortable in a wide range of environments and conditions. Plus, the Ortholite insole inside the shoe also helps with breathability and moisture control.
The overall capability of these shoes to ventilate and manage moisture effectively is impressive. That’s why we have no doubt that these shoes are suitable not only for warmer but also for cooler conditions. Note that these are designed for three-season activities so we don’t recommend using them in too cold weather.
During hikes in warm weather, these shoes are incredibly comfortable. The feet feel cool, dry, and comfortable, even though they may not be entirely dry (you know how feet tend to get hot and sweaty inside shoes, even in warm weather, let alone during intensive hikes).
During hiking in humid conditions, we didn’t feel our feet wet and didn’t feel any moisture inside the shoes. But when we took them off, we noticed some moisture inside as apparently, the shoes did a great job wicking away moisture from the feet.
Keep in mind that the textile’s upper material can get wet easily in less-than-ideal conditions. The good news is that it dries fast, whether you’re on the trail (if the weather’s nice) or after a day of hiking. The effective drainage system also deserves credit for the Speedcross 6’s fast-drying capabilities. If you need shoes that resist water, you might want to check out the Salomon Speedcross 6 GTX version.
Trail running shoes come in a wide range of prices. Certainly, the construction, design, versatility, materials, brand and model, and a ton other factors play an important role in the price-formation of a pair of trail runners. Generally, high-quality trail runners range between $135 and $200 as budget-friendly models can be less expensive, and high-end models can cost more. As cliché as it may sound, top quality usually costs top dollar.
The usual price of the Speedcross 6 is $145. However, if lucky, you can find them for less than $100 on sale. Now, let’s take a look at some competitors and what you can expect in terms of pricing and features:
Altra Lone Peak 7: This shoe is the next version after the Lone Peak 6. They are lightweight and comfy, suitable for all terrains. The quick-dry air mesh upper is fairly breathable. It’s flexible and follows your foot’s natural movements. The roomy toe box is a real boon to people who like a slipper-like experience. MaxTrac outsoles with aggressive lugs provide the optimal combination of grip, traction, and durability for walking on any kind of surface. There may be some issues with longevity as the upper material seems to have some durability issues. You can get them for around $150.
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II: These shoes are heavier and sturdier, perfect for 3-season conditions and off-road running and hiking. They feature the FriXion sole system with a deep, aggressive lug pattern, providing exceptional traction on a wide range of terrains. The combination of the lug pattern and sticky rubber works best on rugged mountain trails. The rubber toe cap offers top-notch protection against impacts from rocks, roots, and other trail objects. These shoes are comfortable right out of the box and let your feet move naturally. They cost around $165.
Brooks Cascadia 17: Priced around $140, the Cascadia 17 features a biomimetic (nature-inspired) design and is made with recycled materials. These trail running shoes are lightweight and breathable. Equipped with a DNA LOFT v2 midsole for soft cushioning, a Trail Adapt System for enhanced stability, and a grippy TrailTack Green Rubber outsole for traction, they are great for tackling challenging terrain. They also offer protection with a mudguard and TPU toe caps. The only truly negative is the colors, but we can live with that.
HOKA Speedgoat 5: The Speedgoat 5 are known for their lightweight design and unique 4 mm heel-to-toe drop, which is much lower than the standard 10 mm drop. This design provides extra cushioning from heel to toe. The lighter CMEVA midsole compound makes them feel very bouncy when you walk or run in comparison to the direct competitors – something that may be either good or bad. It’s great if you prefer super smooth, even rides, and not that great if you like to feel the terrain beneath. Come with Vibram Megagrip outsoles with traction lug for enhanced grip. While they are not among our top choices for rugged terrain, they work well on easier trails. Come at around $155.
Salomon Speedcross 6 vs Salomon Speedcross 5
Technically, the Speedcross 6 is the Speedcross 5’s successor. However, there are no staggering differences between these two designs as the Salomon Speedcross 6 retains most of the features and characteristics seen in the previous version. So what are the differences?
The Salomon Speedcross 6 brings several improvements:
- It’s lighter than the Speedcross 5, with a noticeable 7% decrease in weight.
- The Sensifit uppers have been updated with a slightly different mesh.
- The outsole is redesigned to shed mud more efficiently and provide a better grip on wet surfaces.
- There are different color options available, with the classic Black/Black/Phantom and new choices.
- The heel-to-toe drop remains the same (10 mm), however, the Speedcross 6 has a heel height of 32 mm and a forefoot stack height of 22 mm, while the Speedcross 5 has a heel height of 35 mm and a forefoot stack height of 25 mm.
We consider the Salomon Speedcross 6 an excellent choice for three-season hiking and especially for summer trails, dry or wet. The lightweight design, superior comfort, good build quality, stability, and maneuverability make them a great option for hiking on and off trail. While these trail runners are built for mud and loose, uneven terrain, they can be used efficiently for various surfaces except for slick rock.
With a perfect balance of breathability, comfort, and quick-drying properties, the Speedcross 6 is definitely worth considering for your next outdoor adventure.
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