As a runner who tends to err on the side of caution when it comes to buying shoes, with the mantra, ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, my experience with shoes has been quite limited as of late. I was glad to have an opportunity to try on something new with the Speed 5 from Salming. A picture very similar to the one above offered my first glimpse of the footwear, showing some striking colors and what appeared to be a stable and cushioned shoe.
When I first handled the shoes, I was shocked at how light they were. I would classify them as a trainer, due to the sole thickness and design. They felt sturdy without being clunky and the tread pattern is comparable to the average road shoe. The thickness made me concerned about air circulation, but I later found it was not an issue. It’s an odd detail, but a rather important one that can be overlooked, but lace design and length is crucial. I found them to be a little long (preferable to too short!), but flat in design, which tend to be the least prone to untying themselves.
I got about 50 miles in these shoes, in various weather conditions but mostly on the road. In comparison to my regular shoes, the increased sole thickness threw me off a little. I had to adjust my stride. The improved cushioning was definitely appreciated, especially on the one longer run I did in them. Once I got used to them, they were smooth and comfortable. On a personal note, the only issue I ran into with the fit had to do with the upper bunching up at the base of my toes. I think most people would not deal with this, as it is related to the fact that not only do I have narrow feet, but I like my shoes on the snug side and was trying to pull all the material into a smaller dimension than it was designed for.
The other important aspect of shoes is traction, of course. Colors and style means nothing if the wearer is sliding all over the place. They are definitely designed for pavement, as the less than aggressive tread pattern was only good on dry trail. I would not recommend them at all in the mud. On dry pavement they were optimal, very stable and grippy except for the tightest turns at speeds, which I would expect from any shoe. On wet pavement, I had to be a little taking turns on my tempo run, but other than that they were great.
You can find these on the Salming website for $130, and judging by the construction and design, you would likely get your moneys worth in terms of miles before they needed replacing.
I think this shoe feeds an unheralded niche in today’s market. Unfortunately with the rise of minimalist shoes, we have a lot of rookie runners getting used to the sport in shoes that don’t provide the cushioning and support their body needs. This results in a false relationship between low weight and performance. The Speed 5 is the crossover that a new runner needs, light enough that they don’t feel weighed down, but with the support they need to avoid injury. For the experienced runner, this would be a good trainer or racer, especially for distances of 15K or longer.