Speedcross 4 Review by Salomon

Review: Salomon Speedcross 4

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.

Ho Chi Minh walking tour (concrete roads and flat surfaces)
Phnom Kulen day-hike (sandstones, jungle trails, swamp)
– Mt. Rokko DIY day-hike (boulders, muddy and wet trails)

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.

Lugs of Speedcross 4

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.

Salomon Speedcross 4 Review Speedcross 4 Review

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.

RELATED: Mt. Ulap Eco Trail – Top Tips Before You Go

Speedcross 4 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 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.

Descending Japan's Mt. Fuji Climbing Mt. Fuji

Our Recommendation

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.

So if you ask us, here’s our recommendation. If you’re still using your Speedcross 3, it’s time for an upgrade. It’s worth it. Get a pair of Speedcross 4.

Where to Purchase Speedcross 4

Kura-Kura Bus to Ubud

Kura-Kura Bus to Ubud, Reliable Bali Shuttle Bus

There are several shuttle bus companies in Bali, but we chose Kura-Kura because of its generally good reviews online. We felt that it’s a notch above the competition. Their buses look clean, nice, spacious, and comfortable.

From Manila, we arrived in Bali at about 6 in the morning.

We knew from our research that Kura-Kura starts their operation at 9, so to take advantage of this 3-hour window, we decided to take in as much Kuta as we could on foot. We had a short itinerary, so of course we didn’t want to waste time.

Before 9, we arrived at T Galleria, but since it was still early, no one else was there. About twenty minutes later, we finally got our ticket.

Also read: Snake Fruit in Indonesia – Look For It When in Bali

Kura-Kura Bus to Ubud from T Galleria (DFS)

Kura-Kura Bus has a total of 5 routes. Line 5 is for passengers who are headed to Ubud. Note that the DFS Bus Bay (T-Galleria Bali) is the terminus/main stop. (See image below courtesy of Kura-Kura Bus.)

You don’t have to pre-book a ticket, but you can purchase daypasses (1, 3, 5 day passes and Bali Super Pass) here anytime.

RELATED: 9 Cozy Accommodations in Bali, Indonesia

Our Short Kura-Kura Bus Review

Our Kuta-Ubud trip took more or less 2 hours from DFS.

It was a smooth and fast ride, save for one section where we had to maintain a slow speed because we were traveling along a two-lane residential road. The bus traveled continuously for more than an hour until its first stop at Bali Bird Park – nope, not McDonald’s Sanur as indicated on the route map above.

There were only about 3 other passengers, so in a good way, the bus ride felt a bit exclusive.

Do we recommend Kura-Kura? Definitely!

Here’s a tip.

Choose a hotel within walking distance to a Kura-Kura bus stop or top Ubud attractions. Check out these hotels near the Ubud Monkey Forest.

Kura-Kura Bus Review

Kura-Kura Bus

Here’s an infomercial on Kura-Kura.

Vibram Five Fingers Trek Ascent Review

Vibram Five Fingers Trek Ascent Review (Kalaw-Inle Lake Trek)

Our 3D2N Kalaw to Inle Lake trek was the perfect excuse for buying a pair of Vibram’s Five Fingers Trek Ascent. It was about $120 at Yangon’s Junction Square.

Was it worth it? Not for this trek – or any other trek especially during the rainy season. It’s not reliable.

While its traction was perfect for flat surfaces, it was no match for muddy and slippery mountain slopes. It also has a thin outsole, so walking on a rocky footpath was tricky and painful.

You need to wear at least ankle-high five-toe socks to prevent bruises on two crucial parts of your feet: below the ankles and above the heel.

“Your shoes are really making me uncomfortable,” said Domenika, a trek-mate.

“They’re all right,” we said defensively.

Deep down, though, we wanted to tell her we regretted buying it. But what good would that have done?

Fail: Vibram Five Fingers Trek Ascent Review

Don’t be enticed by the “Trek Ascent” name.

Whatever promises it makes — e.g., “unparalleled grip on wet and dry surfaces, superior grip with rugged longevity, optimal balance of stability and flexibility for ground adaptation” — it doesn’t deliver.

Vibram Five Fingers Trek Ascent for Kalaw Inle Lake Review

Better Alternative In Case You Don’t Have Trekking Shoes

You’ve been warned. Don’t make the same mistake we did. You’ll just waste your money. Get a pair of trailrunners such as the Salomon Speedcross 4 instead.

If you can’t afford a new pair, there’s a cheaper and slightly better alternative than the Vibram.

In Kalaw, these green shoes (see image below) are available at the marketplace. At least three people in our trek group were wearing them. They said it cost them only less than $10 for a pair.

These shoes are obviously not designed for trekking, but they seem to be popular among local trekkers in this part of Southeast Asia. Even our Vietnamese guide during our Mt. Fansipan climb was wearing them.

Also read: Pre-Trek Stay: Where to Stay in Kalaw, Myanmar

Cheap Trekking Shoes Myanmar