Thursday, September 05, 2019

Salomon Supercross Review: A Versatile, Roomier, Softer, More Flexible Salomon

Article by Jeff Valliere and Sam Winebaum

Salomon Supercross ($110)
Sam:  The Supercross is a new addition to Salomon's Cross family of aggressively lugged trail shoes. It features a roomier more generous fit than most all Salomon I have run. It has a rip stop nylon upper with pliable overlays, from what I can sense a softer Energy Cell midsole which is also quite flexible, and a high durability Contagrip TD outsole with 5mm lugs.  
It is positioned by Salomon as being "made for running in all the wild places you like to go. Whether it's a daily lap around your urban park, an escape to the local trail, or something more rugged, this shoe will grip on all terrains while offering a generous cushioning..." One could consider it as the sloppier, mud and snow conditions door to trail sibling of the Sense Ride 2 (RTR Review) although it ran just fine on hard packed smoother single tracks. It is also available in a GTX version for $130.

More generous fit than usual for Salomon and especially Speedcross 4
          With no Endofit bootie or Quicklace garage very easy to slip on and adjust
          Comfortable softer midsole than usual for Salomon, and a more flexible one
          Versatile,.smooth moderate trails even roads manners, aggressive grip when needed
          Value priced with modern styling
Jeff:  No quicklace garage, no Endofit (or at least some tongue gusseting, weight, foothold in steep and/or technical terrain.

-Generous overall fit, pliable materials,  no inner bootie Endofit sleeve, and it seems slipping of Quicklace grip makes mid foot hold not as secure as Speedcross and thus less suitable for aggressive off camber terrain for me..
-Weight at about 11.2 oz is up there.


Tester Profiles
Jeff Valliere runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's.
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.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 on trails and roads in NH and Utah. He is 5'10" and weighs about 165 lbs. 
Estimated Weight: 11.2 oz / 317 g men's US9
Sample Weight: 10.9 oz / 308 g men's US8.5
11.43 oz/324 g men’s US10
Full Stack Height: 29mm heel / 19 mm forefoot, 10 mm drop

First Impressions and Fit:

Jeff:  When I first saw the Supercross at Winter OR back in November, I was immediately intrigued by the overall look and feel of the shoe.  With a stylish and very Salomon upper and aggressive lugs that very much resemble the Speedcross, at $110, the Supercross appears to be a great lower priced Salomon option.

My first impression of the Supercross once they arrived at my doorstep were that the shoe is very easy to slide into, especially in comparison to most Salomons and has a very relaxed and roomy fit.  The shoe appears large compared to most other size 10 shoes that I own, it is long. I have a relatively narrow low volume foot so most Salmon shoes fit me well at true to size. The Supercross also feel long on the foot and as though they run a solid half size large.  Knowing what I know now, I would choose a 9.5 vs. my normal size 10.  

Sam: I am easily and comfortably true to size 8.5. As with Jeff I could potentially size down half a size, especially for my narrower right foot. So close on sizing. The upper is more pliable with fewer thick overlays or Endofit bootie so there is more room all around than in other Salomon. I said comfort and this is one comfortable fit if not exactly the usual locked down Salomon fit. 
To go with the more easy going upper than say the Speedcross 4 shown above one gets some modern styling here with a swept back achilles collar above a stout heel counter so there is plenty of rear hold.
The tongue is narrower and comes up higher than usual. All very comfortable and stylish. 
Wrapping up the mid foot sides of the midsole, the Contagrip outsole (which provides lateral support as well as grip)  is embossed with all the shoe stats from midsole stack 20mm/10mm, to the news we have, of course, Salomon’s famous Contagrip rubber along with the lug height and shape. 5mm and chevron, along with the drop at  10mm.  
At a glance, no catalog needed, the consumer gets all the specs. A nice touch.

Sam: The upper is a dense,durable ripstop nylon with pliable mid foot Sensi Fit overlays and  soft pliable toe box overlays. I found it quite warm in summer heat as it is also fully lined, but I do think it will be a fantastic upper for fall and winter cold and sloppy conditions. A Gore-Tex upper version at very reasonable $130 is also available. 
The upper is clearly more spacious than the Speedcross 4 and is less heavily armoured with overlays and somewhat more spacious up front than the Speedcross 5,
The toe bumper overlays are soft and pliable, considerably softer than Speedcross 4 and somewhat softer than Speedcross 5’s.

There is no stretch Endofit bootie here to link tongue to midsole.  I do wish for somewhat stouter Sensi Fit overlays at mid foot and at lace up as well as a more partial bootie  but welcome the much easier putting on and taking off of the shoe than typical for Salomon. 
The tongue is moderately padded with the outside fabric the same ripstop nylon as the upper.  I had no issues with Quicklace bite with this tongue even when cranking them down snug which one has to do when trails get dicier given the upper and its fit.
The Quicklace has no garage. It tucks into an elastic strap up front. Not the neatest look but highly practical. I leave them tucked in all the time and just loosen and tighten as I wish, and quickly, even on the go. Of course slipping them on is super easy which will make them a great apres ski and out to the mailbox in winter option. I did find that either due to the Quicklaces themselves, or the nature of the upper, that I had to more frequently tighten for a secure hold than say the X Alpine Pro.

Jeff:  Sam gives a great overall description above and touches upon many of the points I wanted to cover.  As I mentioned in the introduction, the Supercross looks and feels long and I would have been fine sizing down a half size, though I was able to mitigate this some by wearing a thicker than normal mid weight sock.  With the added length came some extra volume in the toe box and which created a feeling of excess material. With the upper materials being somewhat stiff, I felt/heard a crinkle sound upon each flex on my first run or two which was somewhat distracting, however once the shoe broke in, this was no longer an issue.  As Sam mentions, the upper with the thicker materials is a bit on the warm side, notably so on sunny days with temps in the mid 80’s or above, but in cooler temps, 70’s and below, this went unnoticed.
Foothold overall is good for most running, however without the Endofit booty style tongue/midfoot wrap and more dialed Sensifit overlays, I do find my foot sliding around inside a little bit when descending steep trails or sidehilling, though I find this to be minor and predictable.  I am guessing that if I sized down a half size, this would help keep my foot in place better.

The benefit to the generous fit however is that the Supercross is really easy to slide into and I really appreciate a shoe that I can just slip on easily and head out the door without too much work and the quick laces really help with that as well. 

My only true recommendations for improvement here for the upper would be a lace garage and Endofit, or at least a gusseted tongue (though I realize that for $110, you just can’t have it all). 

Sam: The midsole is Salomon’s Energy Cell EVA. It feels somewhat softer than Energy Cell+ midsoles and might be said to be closet in firmness to the relatively soft heeled Sense Ride 2 with the forefoot softer yet in Supercross as there is no ProFeel rock protection film. There is a softer bouncier feel here and a touch less of that firm response typically found with Energy Cell+ and also a touch less of the resulting stability underfoot although there is plenty here due to the wrap up the mid foot Contagrip outsole. The midsole has great range from moderate semi technical trails to road and of course with that deep outsole sloppy wet and loose conditions. 
This softer feel makes them suitable for those trail adventures which may involve some pavement and also where the deep chevron lugs’ grip are key. If you can pass on some of the grip and want a snappier faster door to trail type ride the Sense Ride 2 is a better choice. 

Jeff:  I have found the softer midsole of the Supercross to be a welcome addition to Salomon’s line up.  Sure, it is not quite as responsive or snappy, but that is not what this shoe is aimed at, as I am most likely reaching for the Supercross on my more relaxed or moderate runs.  That said, while not super light, or the most responsive or snappy shoe, I have found that the Supercross can easily handle speed on those days you are feeling peppy and motivated.  Though it may not inspire speed, it certainly does not discourage it either and rises to the occasion.

Sam: The outsole is Contagrip TD and is called out as Salomon’s most durable rubber, I assume for those road miles in the mix. To date my runs have been in drier conditions on Eastern forest single track with roots and rocks, as well as Utah sandier single track with some pavement thrown in. Grip has been very good on soft sand on top of firm single track and I was surprised that the fairly substantial 5mm lugs were not overly noticeable or in the way as much as I expected on firmer ground and  even on pavement. My sense is that this is due to the chevrons themselves having fairly large flat ground contact areas, no rock plate and the flexibility of the shoe. 
The outsole doesn’t end under foot as it wraps up both sides at mid to rear foot to give the rear torsional rigidity. And the torsional rigidity is great, going a long way  to secure the foot despite the more pliable easy going upper. As there is no ProFeel film rock protection the Supercross is notably flexible for a Salomon as is the recently reviewed mountain and steeps focused X Alpine (RTR Review).
Compared to the Speedcross 4 (top shoe above) the underfoot platform appears slightly wider with less of the mid foot bow up at the arch of the Speedcross 4. I found this flatter on the ground profile translated  to a smoother firm ground feel and transition than the Speedcross 5 (the only Speedcross I have personally tested) which has a yet more pronounced heel and forefoot bow up at mid foot. 
Jeff:  The Contagrip TD outsole on the Supercross is very effective and versatile, providing top notch traction over a wide variety of conditions, most notably on loose terrain.  As Sam mentions, the lugs, while deep, do not feel wobbly or obtrusive on hard surfaces such as rocks or road, most notably, they run surprisingly smooth on pavement, though for more committed door to trail shoe, perhaps consider the Sense Ride 2.  

So far, after 40+ miles on mostly rough and rocky terrain, I have seen only slight wear on a few of the front most lugs where I toe off.

While it has been quite dry here for this test period, I have been able to test wet traction crossing creeks and from the best I can tell, wet traction is moderate at best (though will update here with more conclusive findings when I can).

Rock protection is moderate overall, as the Supercross can easily get you through technical rocky sections with little to no apprehension, however I find that with the flex and lack of ProFilm, they can start to feel a bit thin and tiresome on sharper more angular rock over a long period of time.

Sam: The Supercross has a versatile ride. On the soft side for a trail shoe, with plenty of flexibility, the ride is notable for being easy to transition on all surfaces and being soft and comfortable underfoot. It is not the “taut” firmer ride other Salomon tend to have, it is more easy going but fully capable of speed.  I was surprised how well they ran on hard pack surfaces and pavemen,t big lugs and all. When things get sloppy, and as with Jeff my runs have been on dry terrain, the deep lugs will be most useful.
Jeff:  The ride of the Supercross is smooth and flexible, with excellent cushioning for all day use.

Conclusions and Recommendations:
Jeff: Aside from a few minor limitations, such a foothold, warm upper, no lace garage or Endofit, I find the Supercross to be an excellent addition to the Salomon line up in that it is a very fairly priced shoe with enough performance, comfort, traction, durability and versatility to satisfy a wide variety of runners and hikers who are looking for maximum value.

I’ll be using the Supercross for casual runs/hikes for sure, but I think it will also morph into an everyday shoe for me as the temps cool and especially as the snow flies, as the aggressive tread will be welcome on snowy days trying to not slip walking the dog or running errands.  Not to mention the comfort and easy of entry is appealing and the blue colorway of my test pair look excellent with jeans!

Jeff’s Score: 8.6    /10
Ride: 9 (30%) Fit: 8 (30%) Value: 10 (10%)  Style: 9.5 (5%) Traction: 8.5 (15%) Rock Protection: 7.5 (10%)
If I could improve the shoe without adding to the cost, I would improve upper security, make the upper a bit more breathable, add a lace garage and perhaps ProFeel Film.

Sam: I was surprised by the versatility and overall comfort of the Supercross. Representing a new direction for Salomon in terms of value, roomier fit, softer ride, and flexibility while retraining an aggressive outsole which doesn’t get in the way on firmer smooth terrain, the Supercross is a most versatile trail runner, hiker, travel, and even casual shoe.  I will definitely be pulling them out this winter for trail runs on snow due to their flexibility and grip as well as for sloppy slushy road days. 

Runners who have struggled with Salomon’s often low volume fit now have a roomier option that except on highly technical terrain doesn’t compromise much on performance, For some it could be an excellent new option for more mellow terrain ultras in wet conditions. 

Hard core trail runners looking for  a “recovery run” shoe for those more mellow days should definitely consider it as well as for those fall runs on both road and trail get into a mix of mud snow and harder surfaces. I am sure they will be outstanding this winter on the groomed snow Park City trails as well as the rougher snow covered single tracks.

The Supercross is a great option for travel where some running in the mix, fast hiking, and around town due to its easy on and off, generous fit, and traction.

Road runners who more occasionally trail run and hike seeking a good value in a fully capable shoe should also definitely consider  the Supercross.
Sam’s Score: 8.8/10
Ride: 9 (30%) Fit: 8 (30%) Value: 10 (10%)  Style: 9 (5%) Traction: 9.5 (15%) Rock Protection: 8 (10%)
I agree with Jeff that upper security could be somewhat improved. I noticed more frequent than usual adjustments on the run of the Quicklace. The SensiFit at mid foot and lace up could be beefed up, the upper made more pliable there to better wrap the foot or some combination to improve foot hold.

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Salomon Speedcross 5 (RTR Review)
Jeff: The Supercross is about a half ounce lighter, is more flexible with a softer feel.  The SpeedCross 5 has a more secure upper and better protection, particularly rock protection and is an overall better constructed and thought out shoe with welcome features.  I do however to find the heel of the Speedcross 5 a bit blocky and occasionally tippy in rocky technical terrain and can be particularly tricky when wet/slippery. The Supercross has a more stable and predictable ride.
Sam: Different Cross for different run types. The Speedcross leans far more on extreme grip with its yet more prominent lugs and deeply bowed and arched underfoot  profile and thus use in snow and mud while the Supercross is clearly leans more towards versatility on more varied terrain. While the Speedcross 5 upper is more comfortable than the Speedcross 4’s due to more pliable overlays it has a lower volume snugger fit than Supercross. Overall the Supercross is a better value and I will get more use out of them both running and casually,.  

Salomon Sense Ride 2  (RTR Review)
Jeff: The Sense Ride 2 has similar flexibility in the forefoot, for improved trail feel and comparable protection.  The Sense Ride 2 however is more full featured and has a superior fit to the upper, better breathability, lighter and lesser lugs for better door to trail functionality.  The Sense Ride 2 also has more firm cushioning, so more responsive in this case, though the ride is a bit more harsh on hard surface faster downhills.
Sam: Two fine choices in the more door to trail category. Get them both. The Sense Ride with its lower profile lugs, more secure upper, ProFilm rock plate leading to a shorter more forward flex than the Super, and firmer more responsive Energy Cell+ and Vibe cushion leans more towards fast, smoother terrain performance and road while the Supercross with its more generous upper, softer cushion, more aggressive lugs leans towards sloppy conditions and easier smooth terrain running.  

Salomon X Alpine Pro (RTR Review)
Jeff: Two completely different shoes, but both new Salomon models.  X Alpine Pro has far superior fit, protection, traction and all mountain functionality/versatility, where the Supercross is superior for more casual, everyday trail use or longer distance runs/hikes where a more relaxed fit and comfort are paramount.
Sam: I concur with Jeff noting that both models are more flexible than the usual Salomon and both dispense with ProFeel rock protection. The X is firmer, more responsive and more stable underfoot. Fit on both is generous as Salomon go with the X clearly more locked down and the Super more open and easy in fit. You might say cousins: mountain focused X, more varied mellow terrain including more urban trails running focused Super. 

Brooks Cascadia 14  (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both are prime picks for every day trail shoes for the masses, however the Cascadia 14 is lighter and very responsive, with better all around traction and protection and would make a superior long distance race shoe.

Saucony Mad River TR  (RTR Review)
Comparable cushion, comfort, flexibility, protection, weight and performance.  The Supercross is certainly more stylish for everyday use, but the Mad River TR has some unique options, such as the ability to easily accommodate screws for traction or drilled holes for drainage. 

Saucony Peregrine ISO  (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both have great all day comfort and cushion with aggressive traction, however the Peregine ISO is more secure and better vented.
Sam: I concur with Jeff noting that the Peregrine ISO is stiffer, has a firmer midsole/outsole feel, and has somewhat superior rock protection. Interestinglly the stiffness and firmness makes it not nearly as much fun to run on firmer surfaces as the Supercross.
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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Jeff Valliere said...


Basti said...

Hello Sam and Jeff,

Great review as usual.

How would you compare the Supercross to the XA Elevate especially for muddy conditions?

I have the XA Elevate and I am looking for another pair as winter shoes with better grip in the wet/mud/snow. I was first considering the Speedcross 5 but the Supercross seems a good option.

Jeff Valliere said...

Unfortunately, given the timing (summer) and location (Front Range of Colorado) of my reviewing for the Supercross, I have not encountered any mud, but an educated guess is that the Supercross would be better in mud specifically, however the XA Elevate (and X Alpine Pro) have superior wet traction, so would consider what comes after or intermittently with the muddy sections.