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Salomon Wildcross review: a rough and ready trail running shoe that can tackle tough terrain

The Salomon Wildcross is a howling, growling wild thing of shoe, raring to go and ready for anything, no matter how horrendous the conditions underfoot are

Salomon Wildcross
(Image: © Salomon)

Our Verdict

When things turn nasty, this virtually faultless trail-running shoe has your back – the Salomon Wildcross excels in rough, tough conditions on technical trails.

For

  • Excellent grip and extremely stable
  • Intelligent lacing system
  • Comfortable wide fit
  • Water repellant but breathable

Against

  • Tongue not integrated, which can allow ingress of grit
  • No rockplate

First impressions

The Salomon Wildcross is a fit-for-anything shoe that's armed with an aggressive fang-filled full-rubber Contagrip outsole, with multi-dimensional 6mm lugs designed to grip the path like a wild dog no matter how bad conditions get. There’s no protective rockplate, but the generous ‘EnergyCell’ high-rebound midsole of the Wildcross absorbs plenty of impact and recycles the energy by putting a big bounce in your upward step.

There’s a plush amount of cushioning where the cuff meets the ankle, and Salomon have left more room in the inner and toe box than they typically allow in their technical footwear, not only making this a running shoe you can wear with thicker socks in colder months, but also recommending it for those with wider feet, or bunions.

A rugged upper chassis features water-repellent TPU mesh, cloaked by Gore-Tex–armed ‘Sensifit Wings’ that provide protection, stability and security, all secured snuggly to the foot by a quicklace system (pull tight, lock the toggle and tuck it into the pocket provided in the tongue, and you’re good to hit the trails, with zero chance of your laces coming undone and tripping you up).

Specifications

RRP: $130 (US) /£120 (UK)
Weight (per shoe):  290g/10.2oz
Materials used:  full rubber Contagrip outsole, synthetic upper with Gore-tex SensiFit wings and water-repellent TUP mesh
Drop: 8mm
Colours: Red Ochre / Fjord blue / Green / Black / Denim
Compatibility: Superb for technical trails and tough terrain in all conditions

In the field

We got hold of these shoes at the end of summer, just as the trails started to get more slippery and trickier to negotiate, which is exactly the kind of conditions that the Salomon Wildcross were built to deal with. Since then, I have run several hundred kilometres in them, across moors and up tors in England’s South West, and all around the more technical sections of the South West Coast Path. With extra padding, a more responsive midsole and less drop than some of their Salomon stablemates (such as the Speedcross), I found these shoes incredibly comfortable, but also extremely responsive on rugged trails. 

The Sensifit Wings secure the shoe to your feet brilliantly. My horrible Hobbit-like hooves struggle with the skinny French fit Salomon typically run with (made, it sometimes seems, to suit the Cinderellas of the trail running world), so the more generous upper and broader toe box suited my ugly sister–feet perfectly, and it took nothing away from the performance level of the shoe. Born to battle elements head on and cope with sodden, sludgey trails, the Wildcross are effectively water repellant to the top of the tongue, and quick to dry when breached, and they allow feet to breath fairly well (although they might run hot in mid summer). 

The Contagrip outsoles bite down on technical terrain and cling to surfaces superbly, but shed mud quickly. This level of traction is excellent during slippery climbs, and it provides superlative confidence-giving control on steep descents.