2017 Salomon Speed Spike CS
Shoe Type: Studded Winter Trail
Stack: 24mm Heel, 18mm Forefoot
Here in Vermont maintaining mileage throughout the winter months can be challenging. We’re located such that we receive systems of brutally cold air that sweep down from Canada, and warm/wet systems that curl up from the Gulf. One day it might be -8°F with -30°F windchill, then flip to 61°F and raining, then immediately swing back to 4°F and sunny! Because of these extreme swings in temperature and the associated variable precipitation, our road surfaces and trails are constantly changing. From one run to the next you could encounter packed snow, then slush, followed by water ice.
When I first started winter running I used whatever trail shoe was in my rotation at the time. Eventually, I wanted more security and started trying out the different traction devices available. I’ve tried Yaktrax, and MICROspikes, and Icespikes, and sheet metal screws. I’ve also occasionally checked out some of the options from Icebug, but they never felt right for my foot.
This fall I found the Speedspike CS from Salomon. Because I generally enjoy the way Salomon shoes fit, I pulled the trigger and picked up a pair in my size. Below is my impression of the shoe so far.
The Quick Version
I like this shoe. It fits well. It’s warm. It’s dry. And most importantly… It grips like crazy! I’ve found that a studded shoe has really opened up a lot of running opportunities for me. Is the Speedspike CS perfect? No… but It’s really been fun to run in and it’s increased my route options during the winter running months which has helped me stay motivated.
The Speedspike CS’s fit stays true to current Salomon sizing. I’m a 10.5 in the S/Lab Sense Ultra and I’m a 10.5 in the Speedspike CS. You might think you’d want to size up a bit to accommodate a thicker sock for winter conditions, but I found that unnecessary. There’s plenty of wiggle room if you want to go with a thicker sock, but the upper material itself is quite a bit thicker than you’d find on a normal shoe. It’s also waterproof, and I’ve found that with my normal running socks that it’s plenty warm and my coldest run this year was on a day where the temps dipped to -30° with windchill. I am not sure if the material (ClimaSalomon) is waterproof like Gore-tex is waterproof, but it’s kept my feet perfectly dry in slushy, snowy, slurpy conditions.
The Speedspikes use Salomon’s quick lace system and it’s very secure. The tongue is thick and provides adequate protection from the laces. There’s no slip in the heel, it’s secure through the midfoot, and has wiggle room for your toes. I wouldn’t call it a low volume shoe, but it’s also not cavernous. I have a pretty low volume foot and it fits well, but should still accommodate someone with higher volume needs.
There isn’t anything special about the midsole. It’s your standard injected EVA. There are no special vibration attenuating inserts or magic cushioning units, and that is totally fine. The midsole is pretty firm. Some might even call it “responsive”. However, I’m just going to say it’s firm. It’s not hard, and I’ve spent plenty of time running on frozen bike paths and roads and it’s plenty comfortable. On snow trails I prefer the firmer midsole as it provides a nice platform from which to push off.
I imagine that part of the reason they went with the firmer midsole is to protect your feet from the studs. The studs are deeply anchored in the sole and on bare, hard surfaces you can feel them underfoot. They’re never too pokey, but they’re not invisible. If Salomon had gone with a softer midsole you’d feel them even more. Overall, I think the midsole is just about right for this shoes intended use.
Now this is where the Speedspike CS really sets itself apart. The rubber lugs are made of Salomon’s Premium Wet Traction Contagrip Rubber. My experience with this compound on other Salomon shoes has been exceptional. It’s both stick and durable. As far as rubbers go… this is one of the best. But what’s really special is the combination of aggressive lugs plus the carbide studs. In soft snowy sloppy conditions the deep lugs provide good purchase and shed mud and muck well. Then when the temps drop the carbide studs engage keeping you upright. The studs also seem to stick out a bit further than on other shoes. I’m not sure if this is necessary, but it does ensure that they are connecting and providing grip even when there’s a thin layer of slop of snow between you and the ice.
One thing I didn’t really enjoy about the studs was how they felt and sounded on the road. They’re pretty loud, and the length causes a little bit of squirm. It’s not a deal breaker, and it’s easy enough to ignore. But everyone is different and if you’re sensitive to this type of thing just be aware.
I really like this shoe. Not because it looks good, and not because it’s perfect. It isn’t perfect, but it makes running in the winter so much more enjoyable and allows me to run routes that I typically would avoid. This has really helped keep my motivated to run because I’m not forced to run the same loops over and over again. This shoe will expand your options and keep you safe so that you’re less likely to get injured in a fall or slip while trying to maintain your fitness during the winter. It gets you off the treadmill and outside in the fresh air. That’s not a bad thing!
I do wish the shoe looked better and that the studs were a little more invisible underfoot when running on firm surfaces. That said… These shoes are totally worth the money and deserve your consideration if you live and run in wintery conditions.
If you’re interested in purchasing this shoe, please first check availability at your local, independently owned running specialty store. They need your business and are a great resource for the community.