We love our Speedcross 3. It was reliable in Mt. Agung, and it helped us get through my first winter trek in India. But it’s time for an upgrade. It’s time to say goodbye.
We were glad Salomon introduced Speedcross 4, the improved version. We bought a pair purposely for Mt. Fuji, but before the trip, we were able to test these shoes’ performance during the following treks and tours.
Here’s our 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 us both shoes, the first thing we did was to flip them to check their almost-identical outsoles. Our first reaction was that of hesitation when we saw Speedcross 4’s. Speedcross 3 has dots on its lugs, but Speedcross 4 doesn’t. To us, this was initially a red flag because we 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.
We asked the lady to explain what these changes can do, but she couldn’t give the answer we were looking for.
Obviously, we still went ahead and bought the new version.
Speedcross 4 Has Better Grip on Tiled Surfaces
When traveling abroad, we 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.
We found that this goal can be difficult to obtain because our 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. We’re not saying it’s 100% slip-proof, but the grip is A LOT better compared to its predecessor.
Wet Jungle Trails Are Not a Problem with Speedcross 4 But…
Upon research, we learned that Speedcross 4 is equipped with a 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.
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 our feet, but the Speedcross 4 managed to deal with them just fine.
In the past, when we were still using a different brand, our feet, particularly the arch, would hurt after a hike. But when we switched, we no longer had any post-hike pain.
With the Speedcross 4, we 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, our Speedcross 4 was able to give us a nice grip when ascending and descending Mt. Fuji’s rough paths (images below) and Mt. Rokko’s boulders. We don’t recall any instance when we slipped on our way up to the summit.
The lugs are durable, too. On our way down, we used the “heel kicking technique” to tackle Mt. Fuji’s slippery trail of crushed lava rocks. Those kicks were pretty aggressive, so we expected the lugs to come off. But they didn’t. Had we worn our Speedcross 3, we don’t think the lugs would be as neatly intact given the same amount of pressure applied on the same type of surface.
We’re happy with the Speedcross 4’s performance. We’d like to stick to it for now, or at least until a newer version (or a better brand) comes along.