Salming, a Swedish brand, kept some of its traditional assets in the EnRoute ($150) including its Exo Skeleton upper sole and the midfoot Torsion.
However, it deviates from the norm with a new softer foam midsole, called Recoil, a roomier toe box than in other versions and a less rigid upper sole.
Salming enRoute General Info
When I first tried on the Salming EnRoutes (9 ounces, 6 mm drop), I did a double-take. Were these running shoes or house slippers? The striking comfort is thanks to a smart approach to the cushioning Salming incorporates into this shoe.
The comfort is likely the most positive attribute of this running shoe. In fact, it’s almost soft and cushiony to a fault. The heel tends to feel soft, instead of secure when traversing rough terrain.
A firmer heel, allowing the runner to push off effectively, would go a long way in making this shoe acceptable for more than a training shoe.
When it comes to regular running, like a shorter, midweek recovery run, the EnRoutes will satisfy.
But I would not recommend them for longer runs or on trails.
The lack of solid gripping or even small lugs is the most significant fault with the shoes for anything more challenging than a soft dirt path. They simply do not handle mud, wet or even rough pavement well.
Salming enRoute Sole Unit
The midsole is a new blend called Recoil, which feels a lot like Altras. However the Salming toebox is tight, not roomy like in Altras, where the toes splay out in a more natural flow.
The Salmings provide absorption from the road but the energy does not transfer effectively to propel the runner forward.
The Torsion midsole and Torsion Guide System were created for an effectively smooth flow, working to support the runner as he or she toes off to move forward. Yet there is a noticeable absence of power emanating from the heel.
On flat or gentle trails, this is a minor concern. But for those who embark on hill repeats or seek decent climbing, the Salmings don’t provide a sufficient pushoff to make the workout effective or enjoyable.
Visually, there appears to be less rubber at the heel. It is softer, which makes the shoe lighter, but at the cost of lacking support.
I would be interested in learning the theory behind this decision. Perhaps Salming decided to go all-in on a comfortable shoe for trainers, and eschewing more support for a more durable shoe, which would have weighed more.
Salming enRoute Upper Info
Besides the immediate sensation of comfort I felt in the shoes, the other initial observation I made was the tongue. It is perhaps the most padded tongue I have ever had on a pair of running shoes.
I should also note the comfort was not insolated to my first or even second run in the Salmings. Now that I have put more than 50 miles on them, the comfort is still similar to when I first slid them on my feet.
Even with the bulky, gusseted tongue, the shoes lace up easily and the extra padding protects against debris that would land on the top of the foot. The designers at Salming get major props for nice branding, featuring the EnRoute name and the Swedish flag.
Salming implemented a wrap-around design concept, producing the upper with three layers all working together:
- A thin net- or mesh-like material on the outside.
- A slightly denser mesh, pocked with holes, to promote air flow and cooling.
- Salming’s Exo Skeleton slides in between the inner and outer layers, rounding out the protection and comfort.
This comfort and protection is what I would be looking for in a shoe for recovery runs. Perhaps an easy run the day after a hard run, building up to an ultra marathon distance.
Salming enRoute Conclusions
There is a lot to like about this shoe. The comfort and cushioning allow the runner to propel off his or her toes. But it is sorely lacking some firmness and stability at the rear end. Additional firmness at the heel would provide greater support and the ability to navigate over obstacles in the runner’s path from sidewalk imperfections to curbs to minor road obstacles.
Salming meets the goal of producing a comfortable, cushiony trainer for easy runs. However, due to its limitations — not appropriate for long runs or moderate trails — the price is a drawback for runners looking for a trainer to handle that type of variety.
Still, for those who simply want a trainer for easy runs and treadmill work, the EnRoute does hold value.
We thank the nice people at Salming for sending us a pair of enRoute to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.