Training for Marathon des Sables 2015 is no easy feat so as part of this epic journey I am trying to test out gear before I go. At the first Rail to Trail Trailscape, it was a Berghaus rucksack, which stood the test of 26-odd miles of mud. In Cuxton, I opted for a double-whammy. Not only did I load up a rucksack with a little bit of weight, I also wanted to give the all-important trail trainers a trial. One thing was for certain after the last mudfest: my choice of Salomon Speedcross 3 W wouldn’t stay shiny and clean for long.
Recommended in part by the running dynamite that is Cat Simpson (who was placed second at Atacama this year wearing Salomon) and from reading I have done around the subject, I wanted to know whether the fit, grip and weight of the shoe would be right for me. And let be honest here, I’m used to running in fairly light-weight shoes so these definitely appealed as they really are:
I’m all for a lighter trail shoe as it makes it easier to pick your feet up in the muddiest of conditions. There’s nothing worse than having to shuffle along like you are carrying the world on your feet because your shoes are weighing you down. You may not have the speed of someone running on hot coals but the idea is the same – essentially you are trying to pick your feet up as fast as possible. And these 260g shoes really help with that process.
No fuss fastening
Salomon call it Quicklace, I call it no fuss-fastening. You can easily slip these shoes and go without worrying that your laces are going to come undone and drag in the mud. Then there is the aftermath of having to untie muddy laces (spikes at cross country springs to mind). Thanks to the zip-loop approach you don’t have to carefully pull apart laces caked in half a ploughed field. Undoubtedly, you are always going to get muddy when trail running but for me, the ‘pull and release’ fastening is way more functional than classic laces.
Grip and protect
I apologise to all my colleagues who I felt the need to “get a look at these bad boys” as I showed the Salomons off in the office but honestly, the grips on the sole of the Salomon Speedcross are a work of trail shoe art. Like a collection of misshapen arrows, they cut through the earth and grip firmly without collecting debris as you run. They are not fully waterproof but the mudguard around the base of the shoe does help keep your feet in tact and less wet than say a normal running shoe.
Bright and colourful
When it comes to trainers, I am all about the colour and not just for the obvious reason that they look cool. Let’s just say that you can be seen in the luminous green of the Salomon Speedcross 3 W.
My perfect pair for the desert?
Since I wear orthotics in my shoes the added cushioning around the heel may have been lost on me but as far as running in the desert goes, I really liked the Salomon Speedcross 3 W. They ticked all the boxes and made me feel more confident on the rather uneven trails. My feet also did not suffer, which is paramount when training for the desert. I will give them another few tries but in terms of MdS shoes, a spare pair of Salomon Speedcross 3 W can be added to the shopping list.
Do you have any trainer recommendations for trail running?