The Women’s Wildcross Trail Runners from Salomon are certainly an eye-catching pair of shoes. But are they worth all the attention they draw? Explorer Lisa put them to the test.
Colours: India ink / Winetasting / Black (also available in Meadowbrook / Black / North Atlantic)
Sole: Contagrip with rubber compound on the outsole
First Wear of the Wildcross Trail Runners
I slipped on the Women’s Wildcross Trail Runners after returning from a full pack, five-day trek, wearing my hiking boots in rain and mud. So I felt a little bit like Cinderella, swapping the heavy hiking boots and backpack for these light, snug runners.
In the past two years, I’ve run in a variety of shoes trying to find what works best for the terrain. I spend most of my running time on rocky, rooty, sandstone bush tracks and beach trails.
I hike as well, so I often give the same pair of shoes a try in both activities, just to see how they fare. Here’s how the Salomon Women’s Wildcross Trail Runners stacked up.
I ran in these shoes mostly on stoney, rocky, rooty trails near the coast and in the bush, as well as doing some climbs on a big set of man-made stairs at the end of Sunshine Beach in Noosa.
The grip really does work on the uneven terrain and I never felt uncomfortable letting go on the downhill, even when the sandy, stoney trails were at their driest and there were a lot of loose rocks and shale underfoot.
The larger lugs on the outer sole are designed to provide more traction, and in this aspect, you can’t fault the shoe. The enhanced grip and stability of the shoe will delight those downhill trail runners that love to let go and ‘fly’ down the trails.
I waited a few weeks for the rain so I could re-test the Wildcross on muddy terrain. It was a pleasure to run, hop and step on wet surfaces, and I certainly felt confident doing so, with the grip on the soles living up to the expectation of being a shoe made for the mud.
In the past, I’ve found Salomons are a narrower fit than that of other trail shoes. In the last few years, I’ve preferred a wider box toe fit, as my feet seem to have grown both ways since having kids!
However, this model felt roomier in the toe box and allowed me the space for my forefoot that I’d craved after running in earlier models. The cut is quite high at the back of the heel, and again this is an individual preference, but typically I tend to feel that a bit at the bottom of the achilles. The higher heel to toe drop is also noticeable if you’ve been running in a lower drop shoe.
The Quicklace system makes it super easy to get the shoes on and off, but it took a little while to get the laces to tighten where I wanted them to. The shoes come with a little instruction card on how best to use the lacing system. The cord is tucked away into a little pocket on the tongue of the shoe, across the top of the foot.
I did find on the uphill climbs, that the toggle for the lacing system rubbed against the bottom of my shins at times, so I had to rearrange the extra cord and toggle in the pocket to make it more comfortable.
I found the Women’s Wildcross Trail Runners to be quite a firm shoe underfoot. As I’ve struggled in the past with plantar fasciitis in my left foot, I feel the shoe was too firm for my feet given I have that sensitivity.
For those who may be used to running in a softer, more cushioned style trail runner, this would definitely be a change. But the firmness of the shoe also allows one to ‘feel’ the ground and it certainly gave me cause to sharpen my proprioception on uneven terrain.
The focus of this model is on traction and grip, as well as protection and stability to allow one to speed up quickly and easily. Which means cushioning takes second place to these features.
The Women’s Wildcross Trail Runners are priced between $192-$229, making them on the higher end of scale. However the durability and good finish are worth it.
The Salomon Women’s Wildcross Trail Runners are surprisingly lightweight and somewhat breathable, which made them great to run in, especially in the warmer Queensland climate. They provide a good level of stability and grip on uneven, slippery terrain.
Lisa was sent the Salomon Wildcross runners for testing and was allowed to keep them afterwards. She was allowed to say whatever the heck he wanted about them in this review.
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Photos by Greg Cartwright at emagine Lab