Salomon's Latest Drops
New Salomon trail trainer and a 'blissful' women's road shoe tested by us...
runABC news reporter, coach, and Master athlete Alan Newman can hardly believe it's a year since he had the pleasure of testing the Salomon Speedcross 6 – read his review here – so you can imagine he was keen to get his feet into the new Thundercross and DRX Bliss shoes that have just 'dropped', to use the language so beloved of sportswear companies these days!
The DRX Bliss sample we received was a specialist women's running shoe but, fortunately, Alan's wife Sue specialises in being a woman and a runner, so we'll get to her verdict shortly. Firstly, we have the Salomon Thundercross – aptly named as our record high temperatures in September were followed by some pretty impressive storms!
Alan's immediate impressions were the more muted colourway, slightly heavier weight, and a more generous stack of Energy Foam in the midsole that has a 4mm drop (there's that word again) from 31mm (heel) to 27mm (toe) compared to the Speedcross with its 10mm drop. Let's take a look at the Thundercross in action in this short video from Salomon...
While the neat and clever Quicklace system remains – there's even an idiot's guide in the box – the big difference compared with Speedcross 6 is the number, size, and positioning of the 5mm traction lugs on the sole. Speedcross 6 has around 30 widely-spaced and grippy lugs for the most aggressive of terrain. Thundercross has around 40 narrower lugs of varied sizes that are positioned evenly, so the shoe can also cope with firmer trails and even short road stretches.
So it's on with the Thundercross and straight out the door for a mile on the road to our tester's nearest trail, only to discover his regular route is closed due to grazing rights! Plan B for our sheepish reporter was a half-hour hill session on dirt trail and grass and the Thundercross coped perfectly well with the climbs, descents, and turns – which is rather more than can be said for our tester!
Alan's Verdict: Salomon Thundercross is a great shoe for those new to trail running, or going for a greater distance or time, due to its plush, springy midsole and smooth profile underfoot. It's just about perfect for the majority of UK trails and is an ideal trail training shoe. The fit is true to size and the foot feels secure and snugly anchored, while still retaining the essential 'feel' for the surface below.
So how did Sue get on with her DRX Bliss road shoes? The most obvious visual feature is the external 'Active Chassis' on the chunky Energy Foam midsole material that looks as if it would be felt when the shoe is worn – but isn't. While some shoes in the 'stability' bracket contain intrusive devices that Sue's delicate feet can readily detect, the DRX Bliss is simply, well...bliss!
There's an 8mm drop (34mm to 26mm) in the attractively carved midsole which gently pushes the runner forwards in a controlled manner. The lattice-work padding in the tongue and rolled achilles cushion, coupled with flat laces and wide lace loops, combine with the cradling effect of the Active Chassis to hold the foot comfortably in place for mile after mile.
Sue also loved the styling in sandy colours described as 'Safari/Cantaloupe/White' and she appreciated the breathable uppers in the recent heatwave. The shoes are broad fitting in the forefoot but otherwise run true to size.
Sue's Verdict: DRX Bliss is a brilliant choice for those seeking a combination of comfort and stability, with an outsole that can cope with a variety of surfaces from roads to modest trails.
Photos courtesy Salomon and video by Salomon TV