I picked these bad boy's up back before Christmas on the spur of the moment during lunch trip to Tiso's to catch up with Elaina and Steve and I've been meaning to give them a decent review. I've been wearing them pretty much on every trip this year since the snow started to recede and I reckon they are so good I'm gonna get another pair in for when I wear these ones out.
First of all I know my feet personally fit into the Salomon running chassis well as I've worn a pair of their “XA Pro 3d Ultra's” (Who comes up with these names!?) to death over the previous couple of years. Funnily enough though my old XA's were a UK 9 and I'm now wearing a UK 9.5 in these so be careful. The XA's were almost the perfect trail runner/lightweight mountain shoe but for one thing. The sole unit's lack of tread. “If only they would have made it with a more aggressive sole” I always said. Well now my prayers have been answered it seems as the Speedcross 3 (How did I ever miss versions 1&2?) has a fantastically deep lugged tread that reminds me of the big bad bastard tyres that good old Daphne is shod with. They even have “M & S” marked on them too...Mud & Snow anyone?? I've worn them on quite a few slopes now ranging from shallow to very, very steep with all the usual underfoot terrain suspects. Grass, heather, peat bog/turf, slick mud, snow, scree, slippery rock both scrambling and during river crossings and I can confirm that they stick to it all like the proverbial to a woolly blanket. The sole unit is fairly low profile without much cushioning in the forefoot which means I can feel the terrain underneath me which makes for better foot placements. So thank you Salomon, a sole unit I can finally trust not to leave me unexpectedly using the old arse crampon!
The heel cup is pretty stiff with nice comfortable padding around my Achilles and the uppers close nice and snugly around my foot with the well tried and tested quick lace system. This combined with no badly sewn or placed seams make for a foot that's happy being encased in this shoe. There's no slipping, moving about or heel lift and I've worn them with my usual X-Socks (air force one's I believe) straight from the box with no blisters or hot spots developing. The quick lace system is genius, if you've never tried it before then you must give it a go. It really is a joy to be able to go between having your shoes on and snugly fitted to off and back again in a matter of seconds. The lace end tucks out of the way into a wee mesh pocket on the tongue so you don't trip over it or get it caught on anything.
I was originally a little concerned over the material choice for the upper as although these are unlined ,Gore-Tex or equivalent in a low cut runner is just stupid IMO, the weave of the fabric is quite closed as opposed to the open mesh in my old XA's. No problems though, water just seeps in the same and they drain just as quick. They also dry very fast. The fabric feels pretty tough so they should hopefully outlast my old XA's as that's what gave up first along with the EVA in the foot-bed eventually getting the life squashed out of it.
Obviously fit is a fairly personal thing, so go try them on first, but all in all I'm pretty happy with these shoes and I'm finding it pretty hard to find fault with them. I just wish I'd gotten these instead of the XA's the last time.