The Salomon Speedcross Vario is a great every trail runner. It took crushed gravel, dirt and single track mountain trails with gusto.
This shoe has traction to spare on most trails, although on the most technical ones I tried to take it slipped from time to time after going through wet areas. However, this was just a little concern.
They were up for the challenge of an 8-mile mountain trek, and also a 12-mile crushed gravel/dirt run, while keeping my feet mostly pain free. However, the firmness of the cushioning made the longer runs a bit painful on the foot.
Salomon SpeedCross Vario General Info
The Speedcross Vario is the second tier of the Salomon Speedcross line, behind the Pro ($150). In this pair, Salomon has produced a trail shoe that will handle the challenge of almost any trail.
When on cement, it will not be the jarring ride that the Pro gives, while still giving you the grip desired for most surfaces.
Out of the box, the shoe looks and feels aggressive. The lugs on the sole of the shoe are not nearly as extreme as the Pros, but they will do the job.
The first run I did in them was on a cement/gravel trail, going 5 miles and feeling good the whole time.
Salomon SpeedCross Vario Sole Info
The sole unit of this shoe uses Salomon’s Molded Eva, Lightweight Muscle and Injected Eva cushioning to make sure your feet are padded throughout the run. The sole itself uses Salomon’s Constagrip technology.
This model also boasts 62% more surface area than previous Speedcross models to aid in gripping wet rocks while adding more aggressive friction based lugs to maintain constant grip.
The cushioning in the sole has a very conditional 11mm (20mm-9mm) heel-toe drop. This makes for a familiar and comfortable ride for most runners.
The most important thing to know about this sole unit is that the cushioning is quite firm. Most most runs, I personally enjoy that, and when I took the shoe on an 8-mile mountainous route, and felt great the whole time.
No rocks pocked through, nor did my feet tire out. However, on the 12-mile gravel/dirt run, the forefoot firmness was too much and my feet were in ample pain by the end of the run.
Salomon SpeedCross Vario Upper Info
Much like the upper to the Pro, the Vario uses an anti-debris breathable mesh that is great for any trail condition. It boasts a very well made mud guard, and midfoot overlays that keep your feet locked in during the run.
It also includes my favorite part of the upper from the Pro, the tongue cover. Although a simple thing, and a small detail, it is something like this that gives you confidence in a company.
The tongue cover, as the Pro version does, covers the tongue of the shoe and keeps all rocks and debris from entering the shoe. It is a great feature to the upper.
Unlike the pro, this upper is no seamless, and it lacks the Quicklace system. These two aspects of the Pro upper truly distinguish it from the Vario.
Salomon SpeedCross Vario Conclusions
At the $110 price range, this is a great trail shoe that can log the miles and keep you happy and healthy.
These have made my rotation, even while in the city, as I can transition in them from cement to gravel/crushed limestone and feel great grip and stability the entire way.
As a mostly city runner, who lives far away from mountains or forests that require constant high-level grip, these shoes fit my daily needs more than do the Pros.
However, if you are in a forested or mountainous area and hit the trails often, the Pros will offer that extra grip, easier lacing, water shedding and a slightly softer ride that holds up to higher mileage.
Overall, this is a high-end trail shoe that will leave any runner happy as they get back out and enjoy nature on their run.
We thank the nice people at Salomon for sending us a pair of SpeedCross Vario to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.