Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Salming Greyhound Review: More Sled Dog Steady than Greyhound Fast

Article by Hope Wilkes and Sam Winebaum
Salming Greyhound ($155)

The Salming Greyhound is the Swedish brand’s first true softer cushioned daily trainer playing in the same class as the Brooks Ghost, Pegasus Turbo, New Balance 1080v9. It features the brand’s updated Recoil PLUS EVA blend midsole, a Vibram Trek XS road outsole, and a spacious no overlays upper. Salming previous shoes have tended to be on the firmer, snug side and the Greyhound represents a clear move in feel and stats towards more and softer cushion with a 28mm heel / 22 forefoot stack compared to their previous more cushioned models such as Mile, Miles Lite, and En Route which all had 3-4mm less midsole stack.

-smooth ride, durable and grippy outsole
-soft bouncier ride which at the same time responds well due to the Vibram outsole coverage
-durable copious coverage Vibram road outsole, should be a many miles shoe
-upper is too stiff, weight
-a spacious, non elastic, no overlays upper whose fit will challenge lower volume feet
-somewhat ponderous broad and loose feeling front of the shoe and toe off

Estimated Weight US M9; 9.5 oz /269 g
Sample: M8: 9.03 oz
Sample M8.5: 9.2 oz/261g
Stack Height: 28mm heel / 22 forefoot, 6mm drop
Available now.

Tester Profiles
Hope is in her 20’s and after several ultras is now more on the road. She has a marathon PR of 3:47. She trains about 50 miles per week with many of her runs in the (broad) 8:00-10:00/mile range. She is happy to hit 7:30 miles on tempo days.
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 61 with a recent 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR.  
These days he runs halves in the 1:35-1:41 range and trains 40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces in the 9 minute range. He is 5'10" and weighs about 165 lbs.

First Impressions and Fit
Hope: Not what I expected! I’m new to Salming because after many years of being an unabashed running shoe geek, there are still some brands that intimidate me. I’ve had my eye on a couple of their svelte, low-slung racers, but I never took the plunge because I’m not sure I’m hardcore enough. Enter the Greyhound, with its reassuringly high stack height and squishy to the touch midsole foam. This is a purebred trainer!

Fit of my men’s 8 is maybe a half size too big. The toebox is wider than it looks. Also longer. I have a lot more than the usual thumb’s width of space between my big toe and the end of the shoe. For reference, M8 is my usually my preferred size simply because men’s shoes seem to come in cooler colors.
Sam: This upper for sure isn’t the flashy, exo-skeleton equipped Salming uppers of old as all new Salming are going to a new more conservative look. This dense high volume  non elastic upper likely won't just wrap the foot and adapt particularly well to a broad range foot shapes. I was sent my usual true to size 8.5. My right foot is narrower than my left and while my left fit quite well my right was voluminous in the toe box, with some motion and didn’t have nearly as secure an overall hold. Bottom line the Greyhound fit is best suited to higher volume broader feet than narrower lower volume ones. Sizing down seems to not be a great option given the un elastic upper, and,as while length is fine the toe box overlay is relatively rigid and deep behind the toe and may cause pressures without a thumb’s width of length,

Hope: The upper is giving me big Nike Zoom Elite 7 vibes. Stiff, highly structured, and not very breathable. (The Greyhound runs hot!) The toe burst panel is almost a dead ringer for the ZE7. All this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not a very modern design.
The stiffness of the upper gives me pause because it has enough movement to it to fold and pinch around the forefoot/ball of the foot from the forces of normal running (especially cornering). Combined with the lack of breathability, I’m worried about developing blisters on long runs.
Dialing in the perfect fit is a bit tricky. The Greyhound has a somewhat higher than normal cut. Given the stiffness of the upper and the high cut, it feels like the opening and the throat of the shoe are both a bit smaller than normal. It takes some fiddling to even get the shoe on and then a bit more fussing with the thin laces to achieve a comfortable fit. The light colored material under the mesh is so stiff and holds wrinkles so much that it could be mistaken for cardboard!
That said, the upper is beautifully made. I love that there is reflective Salming branding on the lateral side of the shoe and reflective Greyhound branding on the medial heel.
The hit of the Swedish flag on the tongue is a nice touch that celebrates the brand’s origin. I don’t particularly like the look, but it is clearly a well-made shoe.

Sam: This is a fine looking and classy, if a bit boring and conservative upper. That’s OK by me. In total contrast you want more flash you can choose the very bright optic yellow.
The upper is called out as a 3 layer construction. The outer layer is an open very fine black mesh. Below that is a white dense layer. Holes are punched through the top two layers to the inner black lining layer. I have not run in warmer weather to judge breathablity but suspect, as Hope has discovered this will be a warm upper, ideal for Swedish weather and if you have low volume feet with thicker socks to help the fit but maybe not so well in warmer climes.
Greyhound has a relatively thick and in-elastic upper which is quite stiff.
It is not a stretch mesh and either your foot and its volume works with its inherent volume or it won’t. It tends to crease rather than mold the foot. Higher volume feet will likely work very well here with lower volume narrower not so well as I found out with my right foot experiencing some motion upfront and at lace up and creasing.
The tongue with its Swedish flag is thin very lightly padded and works very well even when I had to crank down on my right foot to get the high volume upper to get some lock. The tongue has a short bootie towards the front adding yet another layer to the upper. The collars are relatively stiff and high and could use some softening.
The toe bumper only wraps the center but strangely long over the middle of the toes. I imagine this is needed to provide some front of the shoe structure and height given the high volume and no overlays. It does not bother but wonder if it could have been longer and with less coverage over the toes given the fundemental stiffness of the upper or maybe it was found it was needed to keep from pressing the toes.

The upper has commendable amounts of reflectivity (for those long Swedish winters) including the entire rear seam and pull, the entire length of the tongue, and the logos on both sides.  

Hope: The Greyhound will likely find a place in my rotation for recovery days. It’s capital s Soft. Mushy softness is not usually my cup of tea, but with this kind of directed upper, it works. I did my first run in the model coming off of a speedy 800s workout and some sore quads from weight training. It turns out that the Greyhound was just what I needed. The marshmallow-y softness isn’t lifeless; there’s a bit of bounce to it. It’s like a softer version of the Fresh Foam that’s used to such great effect on the New Balance 1080v9.

Sam: The midsole is Salming’s Recoil Plus and is the star feature of the Greyhound. I agree with Hope that this is a softer midsole but it has a noticeable...recoil and more recoil and rebound than earlier Recoil midsoles and for sure Salming’s earlier midsoles which were quite firm. It reminds me of a better tamed Boost is some ways or a more dynamic Brooks DNA Loft as found in the Brooks Ghost and Glycerin. It is similar in feel to New Balance's Fresh Foam in the 1080v9 if a touch softer, Salming says Recoil Plus is an EVA blend which gives 23% more energy return than their standard EVA materials. I sure feel it and not only compared to their prior EN Route and many other EVA blends. The midsole softness with rebound combined with some response from the Vibram outsole makes the feel enjoyably and softly cushioned without any sense of excess mush or energy sapping sinking, so an ideal mostly easier pace training ride for me.

Hope: After loving the truly bizarro-for-a-running-shoe outsole of the Under Armour HOVR Sonic, I know better than to judge a shoe by its rubber configuration. The Greyhound treated me to a thick slab of durable, grippy Vibram rubber that looks like it’d be perfectly at home on a casual shoe or even a rain boot. But it feels good and the grip is outstanding! I do wish there weren’t quite so much outsole. The arch doesn’t make contact with the ground, so I suspect there’s an opportunity to save a little weight by using thinner rubber there. It even seems like Salming could get away with using no sole rubber under the arch, provided it doesn’t affect the connection between the forefoot and heel or ruin the vibration attenuating properties of a one-piece outsole.

Sam: The outsole is a single slab of Vibram XS Trek, a compound also used in trail shoes. It is characterized by Vibram as having more resilience than its MegaGrip compound which I interpret and feel as softer with more bounce but less snappy, responsive pop. Mega Grip has somewhat better wet conditions traction according to Vibram, but is less abrasion resistant than XS Trek. Enough comparisons to trail shoe outsoles. The bottom line here is that the outsole should be very durable. In addition I found it complemented the midsole’s softness very well as it is firmer but not overly so providing a well matched (midsole to outsole) response and just enough stability at mid foot, although the full coverage does add weight there.
I  do question the upfront outsole coverage and design. It seems excessive and/or not segmented enough. I found toe offs, in combination with the high volume upper somewhat ponderous. While the Greyhound has a snappy single flex point I think it is lacking a central guidance/decoupling line or more podular front approach to segment the outsole laterally from mediall, And where is Salming’s just front of mid foot “ballet line” which so effectively brought the foot to toe off in prior models. So while front outsole design in combination with midsole geometry was a strength in earlier Salming, it is less so here. I also found the lack of profile (lugs) to the front outsole somewhat slippery with winter sand on pavement but just fine on wet and dry pavement.
Hope: Nice and smooth. As I alluded to in the outsole section, I think the one-piece (with some cutouts) outsole paired with the one-piece midsole creates a match made in smoothness heaven. The steeply beveled heel keeps me rolling forwards and seems to discourage heel striking. The ride of the Greyhound doesn’t make me want to run super fast (although the model picks up the pace gamely enough), but it does make me feel like I could keep going forever. I look for running shoes that help me achieve a flow state by melting into the background so I can enjoy what I’m doing instead of thinking about what’s on my feet. The Greyhound can do that.

I agree with Hope that the Greyhound ride is very smooth and easy riding, a comfort ride more than a performance ride given the big stack and soft Recoil Plus midsole. The heel landing and transition to mid foot is extra smooth and easy to find at all paces. Yet up front where you want to get up and go to toe off, it is almost to smooth and easy and for me lacking in toe-off dynamism and snap. I suspect that in addition to the outsole design, the non elastic upper and its volume and lack of locked down structure play a role. The ride is suited to daily moderate training and recovery runs for me. It is really enjoyable, on the softer side, and with a noticeable rebound and plenty of stability from the outsole.
Hope: Just because this model comes in at ~9 oz for a W9.5 doesn’t mean this is a lightweight trainer. It doesn’t feel like a spry featherweight. Despite its fast name, the Greyhound is much more suited to recovery miles for me. I love the midsole and outsole combination. The stiff upper might be appreciated by heavier runners (you may hear them called “Clydesdales” and depending on where I am with my fitness and nutrition, I can belong in that group) and those who need more support. I’d recommend giving the Greyhound a look if you have room in your arsenal for a recovery shoe with some responsive squish, but I wouldn’t suggest making it your “do-everything” shoe because it’s not a great choice for long runs and speed work.
Hope’s Score: 8.4/10
-.5 for too much outsole (even though it feels good, it contributes a lot of weight)
-1.0 for stiff upper that holds creases and runs hot
-.1 for thin laces and tricky adjustment

Sam: I think the Greyhound is somewhat misnamed. I would call it more steady, loyal sled dog than fast rapidly accelerating and sleek greyhound. It provides at a commendable lightweight, borderline maximal and soft rebounding cushion and a durable (over) copious Vibram outsole. Agreeing with Hope it is not exactly spry but will get the miles done with great underfoot comfort, some pleasant soft rebound, and expected great outsole durability. I am glad Salming now has a more highly cushioned option in their line.

I wish Salming reconsidered the upper design so it had the potential to better fit narrower lower volume feet and potentially reduce its weight. My sense is that this dense, thick upper also adds weight to the shoe. It is just OK but just not as dialed and locked for me, especially upfront as more elastic uppers with variable densities of knitting can be. I also feel the front outsole could use some redesign to better enable mid foot to toe off transitions which earlier Salming shone at and agreeing with Hope to potentially reduce weight.   Higher volume somewhat broader feet, heavier neutral runners and those who are rough on uppers, midsoles, and outsoles should be happy and very comfortable here. Those seeking a pleasant softer stable ride with a well modulated rebound and response should definitely take a look at the Greyhound.
Sam’s Score:  9.1/10
Love the ride here but..
-0.7 for upper fit and design
-0.2 for outsole design. The extensive coverage adds weight and could use more front segmentation for toe off. Where did the famous Salming ballet line go?

New Balance 1080v9 (RTR Review)
Hope: The NB 1080v9 is surprisingly fast and fun. I’d pick it every time over the Greyhound for its better versatility and superior pop.
Sam: The 1080v9 has the upper the Greyhound should have. Somewhat stretchy much more dialed in at the front it allows a similar ride, a touch firmer in midsole but softer in outsole feel so more seamlessly matched. 1080v9 is a my clear preference due to the upper and better flowing front of the shoe.
Adidas Solar Drive  RTR Review)
The Solar Drive upper is similar in its no overlays all of a piece construction and just works better. Like the Greyhound it is tailored to accommodate wider higher volume feet but worked fine for me, Weighing 1.5 oz more it is clearly more ponderous. It has a bouncy Boost ride stabilized by an EVA layer including above the midsole rails. The Greyhound is a more versatile, lighter choice on the softer end of ride spectrum if the upper works for you.
ASICS GEL-Nimbus 21 (RTR Review)
Hope: This is pretty close. I prefer the materials on the Greyhound (the outsole rubber of the Nimbus 21 shredded too quickly for me), so I’ll give it the nod. The Nimbus seems a bit speedier though.
Sam: While I give the Nimbus the nod for upper, I much prefer the single slab of bouncier softer midsole of the Greyhound. Greyhound is over an ounce lighter and for easier runs where I would use both, and despite the upper, a better choice for me.
ASICS GEL-Cumulus 20 (RTR Review)
About 0.5 oz heavier the Cumulus has an upper better suited to narrower feet. It’s ride is firmer and less bouncy. If you want a firmer more agile training ride Cumulus, for a softer cushier ride Greyhound.
Brooks Ghost 11 (RTR Review)
Again we have a shoe an ounce heavier with a similar ride with the Ghost. The Ghost uses a soft DNA Loft at the heel similar in feel but with a touch less rebound than the Recoil Plus and firmer foam up front. I prefer the more consistent front to back of the single slab of Recoil Plus if a sligthly softer feel and less snap as well  its lighter weight for what are shoes for easier paces for me but again prefer the Ghost’s upper..
Salomon Predict RA  RTR Review)
Hope: I haven’t been able to connect with the Predict RA. It seems like it’s made well and feels okay, but isn’t inspiring at any pace for me. Given that the Greyhound does recovery runs really well, it’s the model I’d choose.
Sam: Different purposes and preferences. If you want more ground feel and a more adaptive if somewhat firmer ride chose the Predict RA. It handles faster paces somewhat better for me than Greyhound.  Its upper, while also “potentially” high volume is in complete contrast to the monolithic fit of the Greyhound with its 360 design and adapts well to my foot shape (on both feet and their different volume and shapes)  and is super comfortable. If you want more and softer cushion in a shoe weighing about the same chose the Greyhound if you want a somewhat firmer more refined overall package the Predict RA.
Saucony Triumph ISO 5 (RTR Review)
Hope: The T5 has a lot more bounce, so even though it’s the heavier shoe it’s a lot more lively. Given the choice between these two for a long run, I’d choose the T5 for its pop-y midsole and more comfortable upper.
Sam: The Triumph has somewhat more bounce but not that much more for me and weighs almost 2 oz more. In a common refrain it has a superior upper. For a softer ride for easier runs at a lighter weight the Greyhound is my pick. In the trade off if one can deal with the upper.
Read our reviewers' full run bios here
Photo Credits: Hope Wilkes, Sam Winebaum, and Salming
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
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