Earlier this spring I was really excited to take delivery of a package that contained a pair of Salomon’s new ‘city trail’ shoes: the Salomon X-Scream 3Ds (women’s version), which the nice people at Salomon sent me to try out – thanks guys!
I have more running shoes than any other type of shoe put together. Currently in my arsenal are, in order of ‘mud-loving’ to pavement:
- Salmon Speedcross 3 w – aggressive nobbly lugs for muddy terrain
- Asics Gel-Fuji Trainer 3 – non-slipping trail shoe of choice – for rocks or mud
- Salomon X-Scream 3D w – hybrid door-to-trail
- Merrell Pace Glove – minimalist trail shoes
- On Running Cloudsurfer – great road running shoes
Recommended terrain for these shoes
The new X-Scream 3Ds fit in the middle, as they are designed to be used on mixed terrain, so I can wear them out of the house, down country lanes or pavement, to the trails or on gravel tracks, and back again, and be comfortable the whole time.
I wouldn’t say they have replaced any of my other shoes, as each pair serves its own purpose, but being designed to perform on both hard surfaces and trails, they win on versatility. Where they differ from the Asics shoes that I wear on most fully off-road runs (including the Transgrancanaria 29 miler earlier in 2015, and Tough Mudder 2014) and my Salomon Speedcross 3s, is on the comfort front when it comes to hard surfaces.
I have worn the X-Scream 3Ds on a variety of terrains, distances and with different speeds, and really notice the difference in cushioning. I don’t feel small stones through the soles the way I do with my other trail shoes (you know the stones I mean – the size of a conker or lime and really hurt when you catch them with the ball of your foot). They ride well on pavement/roads – due to the cushioning and the soles being less aggressive in terms of the depth and number of rubber ‘lugs’. They should also not wear down as quickly as full-on trail shoes as a result of pavement-wear, as they’re designed to be used in this way – so this saves my fully ‘trail’ shoes for trail-runs only.
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I should add that I have not gone out and run in these in very muddy conditions. The main reason for this is that I have other shoes that are designed for this, and don’t see that wearing these through lots of mud is going to tell me something I don’t know (i.e. that they slip more than my trail shoes). However I have worn them on reasonably muddy tracks and rocky bridleways and not lost grip once, so there is some reassurance that they are not going to do a bad job if I had to go through something muddier.
Look and fit
They are also a more traditional running shoe than all of my other shoes – a 10mm drop from the heel to the toe, and very stable. I don’t have to work so hard to keep my feet stable when wearing them for speedy trail and hill intervals. This could be a ‘bad’ thing (as I’m not using as many muscles in legs/core to keep stable on those runs) but if I am really going for cardio intervals and speed, then this, together with the increased cushioning, helps a lot. On the flip side, this is also the reason I wouldn’t wear them for every run – because I have other shoes that will do better on completely off-road or completely pavement runs, and also as I want to keep working on my stability and balance with more minimal / lower drop shoes.
The X-Screams are also very attractive! At the end of the day, you shouldn’t buy a running shoe based on looks, but it does help that these look great, in my opinion…
While I wouldn’t choose a running shoe just for the way it does up, Salomon’s quick lace system is pretty spot-on. Being somewhat obsessed with making sure my shoelaces are the ‘perfect’ tightness, having quick laces with which to make quick(!) adjustments saves a lot of time, and keeps them neat too, as the laces and clip tuck away in a pocket on the top of the tongue – although I generally don’t even find the need to tuck the laces away and just tuck the toggle in, as shown in the pictures.
I found that they needed a bit of wearing in to get really comfortable. I don’t normally need to do this with trail shoes (they either work perfectly out of the box or they go back to the shop), and my On Cloudsurfers were perfect and PB-tastic from Day 1. The X-Screams, being a bit stiffer (although still lightweight), took three or four outings to get to that point. The fabric strip that runs down the side of the shoes over my little toes initially pressed on the toes, but softened up with a bit of use, and now I don’t notice it and am actually grateful for the protection that it gives from stones etc.
Fit: Sizing was true-to size, I’ve been 5.5 in all Salomon and Asics shoes I have worn, and this was no different. The ‘endofit’ tongue, which wraps around your foot, is comfortable and doesn’t slip down or ruckle. I have had no problems with rubbing or blisters, they are a great fit.
If you like to run on trails, but the reality is for most runs you are going to either be on pavement, tracks or roads for a significant proportion of your run to/from the trail (or park), then these would be a good option. I wouldn’t say they replace true ‘trail’ shoes but they definitely bring something different and fill the gap in my existing shoe collection between road (Cloudsurfers) and trail (Gel-Fuji Trainer 3s or Speedcross 3s) and I’ll definitely be getting a lot of good use out of these in the trails around home, Ashton Court in Bristol and any race involving off-road as well as a significant amount of hard surface running (like the Bath Very Long Half, for example).