Solomon Speedcross GTX

Hiking on the west coast of BC means you can expect lots of rain for all the fall/winter/spring months. Where a pair of non-waterproof hiking shoes or trail runners may serve you well elsewhere that’s not the case in BC.

My latest set of trail running (and hiking) shoes to deal with this wet weather has been the Solomon Speedcross 3 GTX (Amazon.ca).

Fit

Fit is always hard for me since I have 9.5 EEE feet. That means many shoes I end up wearing size 10 (or 10.5) shoes and just dealing with the shoe being a bit too long. Generally it ends up not being an issue, but for my trail running/hiking shoes I really like to find the right fit instead of just dealing with a sub-optimal fit.

In the Speedcross 3 shoes I ended up in size 10 shoes but there really isn’t much extra shoe hanging off the end of my foot. Nor do they feel way to tight across my mid-foot like many other shoes I’ve tried.

These shoes have stayed comfortable for 10 hour days with an 18 month old on my back or 15km wet/sloppy mountain runs. The only adjustment I end up making is at the turn around point on many of my runs. Typically they end up being mostly uphill on the out leg and downhill on the back leg. I end up adjusting the shoe laces to be slightly tighter on the toe area for the pounding downhill just to keep my toes out of the front of the shoe.

The lacing system on these is the well-known Solomon speed lacing system. They lace tight with a simple pull and then stay tight during the day with no effort. The only thing I ever have to change is tightening the toe like I said above.

While I’ve never had issues with the lacing system I do have one friend that did a Tough Mudder event who had to cut the laces off the shoes to remove them. No amount of scrubbing was able to get them sliding again. She still uses the shoes, just with standard laces and has a second pair she uses to train in with the regular speed lacing system from Solomon.

Waterproof

First off, these shoes are waterproof. I’ve had them out on many days with 50mm of rain coming down which means streams of water flowing around your feet as you head up a hike. Coming out of 4 hours like that (with a bit of snow) my feet were just damp like they’d been inside any shoe when you’re working hard and your feet are sweating.

These shoes are waterproof. I’ve added a pair of MEC Gore-Tex gaiters for the days I end up in snow or expect some stream crossings and this addition means that I really have no issues with water ingress in all but the longest deepest stream crossings.

For days that aren’t quite as wet and wild a set of Outdoor Research Ultra Trail gaiters (Amazon.ca) provide effective coverage to keep rocks out as well as shedding water from those streams that are just above the shoes.

Traction

These are grippy shoes. The lugs are widely spaced and shed all but the stickiest slime with ease. On softer loamy trails they have no issues and the rubber is soft enough for a number of the class 4 climbing routes I hike regularly.

Speedcross 3 Lugs

Look at those lugs on the shoes. Widely spaced and aggressive.

I was initially concerned about the lack of surface area (since the lugs are spaced so widely) in contact with the rock surface but there have been no issues. Really the only issue I’ve found is that you don’t have a very solid edge on the shoe if you really need to get on the edge for some of the climbing/scrambling. Still I’d rather that bit of an issue than to sacrifice the amazing traction in all other conditions.

Recommendation?

For me these shoes are great. They have copious amounts of traction and are waterproof. I can wear them in all but the coldest conditions or really deep snow. They let me move fast and light and fit well even with my fairly wide feet.

If they fit (since not ever shoe fits every foot) I’d highly recommend these shoes. You’ll get a few seasons out of them and they will be great on your feet.