Not a clear upgrade from the Fellraiser
Reviewed by Trailrunner from Green Mountains, VT on Thursday, January 14, 2016
A nice light, sleek front-end build with painted layers rather than stitched (huge weight and bulk savings typical to the SLAB and pro-level Salomon builds), but an oddly clunky and overbuilt, overly shiny heel cup--not wide, but about as much flexibility as a bowling ball. The sole is an uber-sticky rendition of the best on the market Fellraiser (NOT Speedcross) chevron outsole. If you've not run muddy or foul weather trails in the Fellcross sole, you're missing the run of your life. This Fellcross version of that is like taking the amazing Fellraiser sole and merging it with rock climbing shoe stickiness. Unreal. The biggest surprise for me is that the toe box is not built on the Fellraiser platform of wide and boxy/tall at the very font end; rather it's taken from the Speedcross front end, so low at the tip of the toes (and I mean low, as in resting right on your toenail tips) and super narrow, snug, and tight in the toe box overall. I agree with the notion of a snug front end for trail running for feel, control, etc., but if you have a typically wide toebox (one, say, where Nikes feel good to you), this is going to feel TIGHT. Again, for performance, particularly over ten miles or less on a single run, you can get away with these with bruising or causing toe bone issues if you have wide feet at the toebox; anything over that and you're probably asking for it. If you have a narrow front end, then these are your shoes. These are for serious trail runners doing serious trail running (and I don't mean ultras--I mean quality technically demanding trails of a distance of 5k or more). Ah, one more detail. These are relatively low drop, meaning a couple of mil or so; they are massively lower than the Speedcross in the heal, so if you're a forefoot runner (like me), this is a great way to have a serious racing trail shoe in the way that only Salomon can truly deliver without having to carry around all that excess, unused volume on the rear end of the shoe (why I moved past the Speedcross after a couple of months). These are true fell shoes: low, and enough tread to take on a Range Rover.