“The first Salomon shoes with big lugs for great traction were the X Harrier shoes,” says Felix Dejey, Product Evaluation Manager for Salomon Footwear who worked on the earliest designs of the original Speedcross. “We just thought it was a very small niche, and at the beginning it was.”
The first Speedcross model hit retailers in 2006, and the major design goal was to provide great traction on wet and muddy terrain. “It was very niche, and sometimes we were unsure whether to continue the line,” Dejey says. “The forecast was for maybe 1,000 pairs in the beginning.” Today, Salomon sells more than 1 million Speedcross per year in Europe alone.
The franchise was helped along the way by endorsements from some of the best trail runners in the world, including Kilian Jornet, who used the Speedcross 2 to win the Ultra-Trail du Mt. Blanc in 2008. In fact, Jornet used the Speedcross 2 for nearly every race he ran at that time. Today, a number of top trail runners can often be seen plying their trade in the Speedcross, including Germany’s Philipp Reiter and New Zealand’s Anna Frost. “Every time I see Philipp he is wearing Speedcross shoes,” Dejey says. (See story by Philipp Reiter: My Favorite Salomon Shoes.
Along the way there have been enhancements to the comfort and performance of the shoes and new color patterns have been added.
“The biggest difference in the Speedcross range from the original model to the Speedcross 4 was in the development of the stability,” says Dejey. “The earliest version had a quite rounded heel so it wasn’t as stable. We’ve learned a lot along the way and the more recent versions like Speedcross 2, 3 and 4 were extremely stable. It really is amazing how far it has come. Today, we see people using it as a lifestyle shoe as well, which we never could have predicted, and it is available in all kinds of colors.”
Edouard Coyon, Salomon’s Product Line Manager for Trail Running Footwear, says that making changes to the Speedcross range is difficult because of how popular the shoes have been over time.
“Speedcross has been one of the most successful, iconic shoes in trail running worldwide,” he explains. “So while we are always looking for ways to improve our products, we were careful to maintain the fit, geometry, and cushioning that make it so popular.”
While it’s not easy to upgrade a legend of the Salomon family, that’s what Salomon footwear designers set out to do with the new Speedcross 5 shoe, available in the spring of 2019.
Performance-wise, the Speedcross 5 offers enhanced grip, a more dynamic upper for improved fit and more stability. The sole of the Speedcross 5 has larger, more aggressive lugs with more space between them and an updated geometry, delivering better push-off grip and braking grip in all surface conditions. The heel unit of the shoe creates a cradle for your heel, ensuring clean foot strike and stability through the stride. It also has a completely welded upper, with dissociated Sensifit arms and more toe volume, so it moves more naturally with your foot and dials in the comfort.