Matt Heason checks out Salomon's Fellcross off-road race shoes in the Peak District.
Matt Heason is the head honcho of Heason Events, the guys behind ShAFF, Cliffhanger and other ace happenings, but when Matt's not organising his butt off, he does other stuff like climb, run and review the odd bit of kit for his own Heason Events web site.
The good news is that we're teaming up with Matt to bring you some of his reviews here on OM, here's his take on Salomon's S-Lab Fellcross off-road race shoe.
More Heasonisms at www.heason.net
Salomon S-Lab Fellcross Running Shoes
Fed up with the saturated ground and resultant mud in the Peak this summer I contacted Salomon to see what beast they had that could cope with the conditions during the wettest summer on record. Katy got back and suggested trying the S-Lab Fellcross with the statement that ‘they are fabulous’.
I have to say that they are pretty good. I’ve been wearing them now for a month or so, generally in very wet conditions. The tread is indeed chunky enough to cope with the muddiest of ground. In fact if the spikes were any longer they would be a tripping hazard!
My major issue is with the rubber. On a recent race up over Kinder there were long sections of gritstone flags making paths across the bogs. It was raining and the flags were wet. My shoes were more like ice skates providing virtually no grip. As soon as we were back onto mud and grass I was away again. I’ve been very wary of them on wet rock ever since, but can’t fault them on other surfaces.
[Edit: Salomon tells us that for wet rock use they'd suggest the Speedcross as a more general purpose off-road running shoe with better grip on hard surfaces.]
Comfort wise they are good. Very lightweight and snug. They tend to hold water if you go in up to your ankles, but the flip side to this is that if you don’t, they stay very dry! Be wary of sizing. They are a pretty narrow fit, and on the small side for their sizings.
I love the Quicklace system. Basically it’s a pull-cord with a toggle which means you can literally leave it till the last minute before a run or race before lacing up, there’s never any slippage, and when you have finished its an absolute doddle to undo. There’s even a nice little inverted pocket that the toggle can fit into to keep it from getting muddy!
When I first put them on I had been wearing a pair of fairly minimalist shoes for a couple of weeks and the S-Labs felt precariously high off the ground. I was convinced that I would soon be turning my ankles, but to date I’ve not done so once which must be at least partly due to their construction! The benefit of being a little further off the ground than my previous pair is one of comfort. If I am doing a run which will involve some fast and steep downhill then I would always go for my S-Labs so save my feet from a bruising.
In a nutshell - Low, light, monster grip and won't soak up water, the Fellcross is designed by racers for racers.
Salomon S-Lab Fellcross Running Shoes Technologies:
- Height: Low.
- Tongue/collar: Tongue cover, Lace pocket.
- Protection: Protective TPU toe cap.
- Fit management: Sensifit™, Quicklace™, Low profile, Fell running last.
- Outsole: Light Weight Racing, Mud&Snow non-marking Contagrip®.
- Chassis: Light Weight Muscle.
- Midsole: Compressed EVA.
- Upper construction: Mid feather construction.
- Salomon S-Lab Fellcross Running Shoes Features:
- Lightweight, water-resistant, anti-debris mesh upper.
- Welded construction helps minimize weight.
- Sensifit™ technology ensures an enhanced, snug fit.
- Quicklace™ system allows for a secure, customized fit.
- Lace pockets keeps laces tucked away.
- Mud guard surrounds the base supplying extra durability.
- Lightly padded tongue and collar for added comfort and performance.
- Ortholite® insole
- Dual-density EVA midsole.
- Midsole Heel/Toe Height: 10mm/6mm.