Founded in 1947 in Annecy, France, Salomon epitomizes the outdoor culture of the Alps where France, Italy, and Switzerland meet. What began as a ski edge manufacturer is now a major player in the trail running industry, and some of the best international ultra-trail athletes are sponsored by the brand (Courtney Dauwalter, Kilian Jornet, and François D’Haene, to name three.)
If you’re thinking about getting into trail running, Salomon is a great place to start as even its most basic shoe has a well-tractioned, durable sole that can handle rugged trails. Before getting into the specific models for your needs, let’s cover a few key features that all Salomon trail shoes have:
This is Salomon’s patented shoelace design that requires no tying. Instead, you secure a plastic buckle over the laces and fold them into a little pocket on the tongue of the shoe. It’s a simple system that delivers huge returns; anything that minimizes the risk of tripping while trail running is compelling.
Contragrip is the name of Salomon’s outsole technology. We won’t get into the nitty-gritty details of what it entails, but know that lugs, or the raised parts of the sole, are particularly important in trail shoes. You want to make sure the lugs of your given shoe align with the terrain you plan to run on—the deeper the lug, the grippier the shoe and the more protection it offers from sharp rocks.
Salomon shoes are narrow! Every shoe is broken down into one of four width categories on Salomon’s website (slim, standard, generous, wide) but take that with a grain of salt—I have standard-width feet and a pair of standard-width Salomon trail shoes are the slimmest shoes I own.
Keep reading for the five best Salomon trail running shoes to buy right now.
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Best Street Style Trail Running Shoe: Speedcross 3
Salomon had a capital F fashion moment in 2019, when GQ named the S/Lab XT-6 its sneaker of the year. The brand leaned in heavily to the accolade and has since dedicated a section of its website to “Sportsyle,” a curation of colorful trail sneakers for aesthetically-minded runners. I’m here for it. The best trail shoe in the current selection is the Speedcross 3: It’s available in nine colors, is an affordable $130, and is the one of the brand’s most iconic, tried-and-true shoes meant for fast-paced training and racing.
Best for Long Distances: Ultra Pro
After a good amount of Instagram “research,” I determined that elite ultra-runner (and two-time UTMB winner!) Courtney Dauwalter does a lot of her training, or at least the training she posts on Instagram, in Salomon Ultra Pros. These are trail shoes designed for long (100-plus-mile long) distances on a variety of terrain—I have worn them on dusty Los Angeles trails, technical Lake Tahoe trails, and my home terrain, the leafy trails of New York and New Jersey. I’m consistently impressed with their ability to grip a variety of surfaces and their long-lasting comfort.
Best Cushioned Shoe: Ultra Glide
Well-cushioned running shoes like those from Hoka have been having their moment in the sun for a few years now, and in August 2021, Salomon, a brand known for its decidedly firm shoes, came out with its first truly cushioned trail shoe: the Ultra Glide. A classic case of if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. The Ultra Glide has key Salomon-esque features—SensiFit wings, a Contagrip outsole, and the Quicklace system—but then it veers into new territory with a soft and energetic midsole and a wide toe box, two attributes of a comfort-focused shoe. In keeping with the competition (Hoka), the Ultra Glide is also priced at an attractive $140.
Best High-Tech Shoe: S/Lab Cross 2
Some of Salomon’s trail shoes really look like they were designed for running on Mars (or maybe just Utah), so it only seems right to dedicate a category of this buying guide to the most high-tech, sci-fi-looking shoe. We gotta give that to the S/Lab Cross 2. This shoe was designed to deliver on any trail, no matter the technicality. It has a built-in ankle gaiter to keep debris like tiny pebbles out, and the innovative tread pattern means the shoe has excellent grip on a variety of surfaces. Note that this is a very slim shoe, even by Salomon standards.
Best for Muddy Terrain: Wildcross
The Wildcross is the best Salomon trail running shoe for muddy trails. The shoe features a rubber sole with multi-directional lugs to give you more traction in the mud and an optimized 8mm drop to keep your foot closer to the ground and improve stability. If you tend to do a lot of running on muddy paths or wet sand, this is a great option that will keep your feet comfortable and dry.
2 thoughts on “5 Best Salomon Trail Running Shoes (2021)”
Awesome write-up! Love some good shoe talk (especially about Salomon).
I was curious, no Sense Ride for the shoe that is the closest to road shoes? I would figure that’d be their closest to a road shoe.
And as well, I know Courtney loves the Ultra Pros, but I know she spends a significant amount of time in the S/Lab Ultra series. Usually whichever one is the latest version (in this case the Ultra 3 right now).
Overall, a fantastic analysis though. Keep it up!
Thanks! I did just see a video where Courtney, Beth Pascall, and Camille Bruyas all wore the S/Lab Ultra for UTMB so will definitely add that shoe!