Thursday, March 19, 2020

Salming T6 Review: A Wonderfully Springy Ride for Moderate Trails

Article by Mac Jeffries

Salming T6 ($150)
Specifications:
Weight: 10 oz / 283g US9
Samples: Mac (14): 12.2oz  / 346g
Stack: 24,5 mm center of heel, 19,5 mm ball of foot, Drop: 5mm
Outsole: Vibram MegaGrip™, Lugs: 4mm
Available now: $150


Product description from Salming 
Based on the award winning Salming performance trail shoe - Trail5 - that incorporates Swedish and Italian design and technology at its best and received accolades such as The ISPO Award in the category of Performance Trail Running Footwear in Munich during its maiden season. 

The spring summer edition has a completely new upper design..The upper has been redesigned with a lightweight two layer construction that is both lighter and more breathable than its predecessor. It features a quick-lace construction and a plush neoprene gusseted tongue construction providing a snug fit. The outsole is developed to provide maximum grip and comfort in all types of terrain. 

Tester Profile
Mac is a former 275 lbs American football defensive lineman who took up running at age 30. Now, at 6’4” (193cm) 200 lbs (91kg). He has PRs of 19:19, 1:33:xx, and 3:19:xx. He runs 50-70 miles per week.

Pros
Mac: Very lightweight and good looking. Fairly water-resistant. Vibram outsole solid in moderate mud. Soft, yet responsive cushion.

Cons
Mac: Probably not meant for super technical/rocky/sloppy trails. Tapered toe box rubbed my big toe.  


First Impressions and Fit
Mac: So first off, Salming is not a brand I have a lot of experience with. I have seen the shoes in plenty of specialty run stores, and have always been  impressed by the quality of their products. 
However, my conversations with the salespeople usually go something like this: 
Me: “This looks and feels like a great shoe. Do you have this in a 14?” 
Sales Associate: “Bwahaha, of course not, you clown-footed freak. Perhaps you would prefer some Crocs.” 


All of that to say, I was really excited to get to try out some of their premium kicks - IN MY SIZE! - and just pumped when I saw them out in the box. Dang, these look good, even if I was a little worried about the toe-box taper. Anyone else tired of super dark colored trail shoes? How can I see the dirt on my kicks if my shoes are dirt colored?? My samples have an almost-glow-in-the-dark, do-not-look-directly-into-the-shoe neon yellow glow with a dark navy contrast, and they just pop. 

The initial fit is beautiful, as well. These shoes lovingly wrap your foot in a neoprene near-bootie - which sounds heavy, except it isn’t - and the result is a super comfortable, water resistant fit. The neoprene makes the tongue thick enough so that you can really cinch down the laces without worrying about digging into the top of your foot, yet still feels fast - not sloppy. I was concerned that the toe box would be too narrow, but it molds to your foot, and my 13.5E foot experienced no discomfort on my 5th metatarsal on the initial step-in to these 14s. (I did experience some rubbing on my left big toe after I put in some miles though. This may be personal, but worth noting.)  


Upper
Mac: Aside from the awesome aesthetics, I am a big fan of the upper. The neoprene tongue is super comfortable. There is a synthetic barrier all the way around the bottom of the upper; the purpose of this, aside from possibly some security of fit, seems to be to keep the dew off your foot as well as provide wear and tear protection. Part of this wrap around barrier is their RocShield toe guard that acts as a front bumper for stray rock bumps. Above that barrier is a very breathable mesh, allowing the foot to dry out. Makes sense in theory, but what if it is raining, or you submerge the foot in a puddle? Could this be a serious design flaw? Well, I did the only thing any sane person would do: I soaked my shoes with a garden hose and jogged a mile. Surprisingly, very little water came out when I removed my shoe at the end of my slog… apparently, they still manage to drain well, without letting water in the bottom half of the foot. Good stuff. 


Midsole
Mac: The midsole provides a good amount of springy cushion, especially considering the low-ish (25-20mm) stack height. Salming claims, “The responsive midsole compound - Recoil™ together with the heel insert area SoftFOAM™ has 70% better shock absorbing properties than standard EVA.” Salming doesn’t mention the rebound, of which there is plenty. 
There doesn’t appear to be a rock plate, which of course has pros and cons: you get more comfort and agility at the risk of having your foot bruised by a super sharp rock on a trail. As always, trail conditions dictate shoe choice. On our moderate local trails, I had to really seek out protruding stones to notice the lack of a rock plate, but I would only recommend these for super broken rocky paths for the lightest and most agile of steppers. 


Outsole
Mac: According to Salming, “The outsole is developed to provide maximum grip and comfort in all types of terrain and is Vibrams Megagrip.” It isn’t the most aggressively toothed outsole I have seen - beware of slippery mud - but the soft Vibram material promised great grip and good durability compared to how soft the rubber is. I found it best on firm-to-softish dirt as well as on smoother rock, but this is not a fell or quagmire shoe. 


Ride

Mac: This is one of the more pleasant trail shoes I have worn. Many trail shoes end up feeling harsh on the road - as if manufacturers expect the “give” to come only from soft ground - but these are comfortable both on the road and for miles and miles of mild to moderate trails. If you follow my reviews, you already know I am a big fan of “springiness”, but I almost never use the word while describing a trail shoe. Well, here ya go: The Trail 6 is a wonderfully springy ride, and that springiness more than makes up for the thin-ish midsole. 


Conclusions and Recommendations
Mac: The Trail 6 is a wonderfully thought out, high quality trail shoe, best suited to long miles on moderate trails. It has the ability to go faster and to traverse sporadic asphalt, just tread lightly when things get more technical. RIDE: Very nice quality ride, for an EVA-based trail shoe. This number would be higher if I were comparing it solely to other trail shoes. FIT: I would like to see a wider toe box, but this shoe adapts to the foot very well otherwise. VALUE: I have a little trouble paying $150 for a trail shoe, mainly because folks that run a lot of trails usually need several different types of arrows in the quiver. However, this is as close to a do-everything trail shoe as you will find, its only limitations being super slick mud and gnarly, sharp rocks. 


Comparisons Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 5 (RTR Review)
Mac: This is the most obvious comparison - both similar weights and suited for similar trail types - and they ended up with identical scores for me. Honestly, running with one on each foot, the Salming is a lot more comfortable underfoot, and I would gravitate towards it if your foot shape allowed. Wider footed folks may prefer the room of the TK5, but I would put the T6 slightly ahead of the Nike in this case. 


New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi 3 (RTR Review)
Mac: the NBG3 was one of the first trail shoes that I reviewed for RTR, and is a solid - if narrow (I had to get the Wide) - offering. However, compared to the Trail 6, the New Balance feels stiff and clunky. I consider the Trail 6 to be superior in every measurable way. 


Inov-8 Parkclaw 275 GTX (RTR Review)
Mac: The 275 just didn’t work for me. The toebox was pointy, the ride was harsh, and it felt heavier than it was listed. Again, these two sets of shoes are designed with similar purposes in mind, but the Salming does everything better.

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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2 comments:

Unknown said...

How about the comparison to Trail5(the generation before) ?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Unknown,
Would have for sure done so but unfortunately Mac didn't run T5.
Sam, Editor