Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 August 2020
Unless you're intending using them on wet mud or soft grass, I'd say these are definitely not the shoes for you. When you switch onto compacted gravel trails or tarmac from mud or grass, you can definitely feel the difference for the worse.
And what about size? Truthfully I really don't know. My left foot is a little bigger than my right foot, yet I had more problems with my right foot than my left. So I'm not convinced my problems with these are down to size.
I bought 11's (my usual size) before reading the reviews. I've used Salomon walking 'approach' shoes (not boots) for around a decade now, and won't buy anything else in that category! They've been absolutely fantastic. So after using some Karrimor trail running shoes for running that although initially were extremely comfy and didn't cause any blisters at all but sadly disintegrated after less than 5 months use, I figured I'd give Salomon a go for running shoes as well, on the basis of my previous good experience with the make.
While waiting for them to arrive, and only during that time reading the reviews and their mention of size problems, I measured my feet. According to the size charts I should be ordering size 10! Yeh, right!
On arrival, I could barely get my feet in the size 11's that I'd purchased. However! That said, while it was difficult pushing the front of my feet through the middle section - which seems to be mainly because the elasticated 'join' material holding the two sides together where the laces are, doesn't stretch enough - once my foot was through that section, it felt like my feet almost slotted into place the last inch or so.
After sitting in them for a while, while watching TV, and before lacing them, they did seem to ease up a little. So I figured, since I was already 1 size over the Salomon recommended size for my foot, that I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the snugness was by design (which I believe it is). I also didn't want the hassle of sending them back and then having to choose, and wait for something else.
Today, went for my first run in them, knowing that would block off the 'free returns' opportunity that Amazon offer, which requires them to be returned in an unused condition.
Perhaps with hindsight that was a gamble that hasn't paid off.
I really don't know. Other than to say, _something_ isn't so good about them, but I can't pin down what.
Since my (smaller) right foot had more problems than my (larger) left foot, I really don't think it's simply a matter of size. At times, they did actually feel comfy - at times I could easily have forgotten about size concerns.
In fact, before hand, I put one of my previous running shoes on one foot, and a Salomon on the other, and I actually felt I'd me more happy running with the 'snug' fit of the Salomon. And you know what, while out running, I think yes, the snug fit was allowing me to be more 'nimble', and felt a lot more free to run where and how I wanted. The shoe felt like a second skin around my foot, rather then something being carried around on my foot, in which my foot was being contained.
So I do actually suspect the snug fit is genuinely by design. And I can see it's giving benefits.
At first, the width, particularly nearer the front, really did feel like it was grabbing my foot uncomfortably so on my right (smaller) foot. Puzzled by this (being my smaller foot) and getting really quite bothered and distracted by it in the first couple of miles, I stopped and took the shoe off.
When I put it back on, it made a HUGE difference when I DIDN'T this time pull the tongue up. Instead I pushed the front of the shoe down/forwards so that the tongue pulled itself back down before then lacing them up, and this really did seem to solve the grabbing problem at the front of my feet. It seemed to better position my foot in the shoe giving a more uniform fit/feel all the way around.
So all solved then?
Whilst pushing the show forwards helped align my foot, and thereby alleviated the grabbing / too narrow feeling, and whilst the snug tight fit really seemed to be giving me great flexibility in where I felt I could put my feet on the ground, after a while these were still not comfy.
By three quarters of the way through my run, it was starting to feel like blisters might be forming on the bottom/side of my foot behind the big toe. When I got home and checked, there are no blisters, but it certainly felt like the skin was being pinched where my previous running shoes (except the Karrimor) have often caused blisters. While no blisters formed yet, it certainly didn't feel comfortable. This may in part be down to running on harder surfaces which these really do not seem designed for. It didn't feel so bad when running on mud/grass.
And worst of all, the backs at the ankle were starting to pinch or rub quite a bit after 4 or 5 miles. This is probably now my biggest worry- if the backs are going to be rubbing or pinching like this each time, then I really won't be getting much use out of these.
- my initial worries over the narrowness seemed to be alleviated by taking care to not pull up the tongue before lacing - or at least pushing the front of the shoe well forwards/down before lacing. (consider that a top tip if you are finding the width a problem, push the front of the shoe well down, before lacing!)
- the snug/tight fitting overall gave the feeling of confidence and being much more free to run how I wanted compared to my previous less tightly fitting running shoes
- but sadly 'pinching' or rubbing at the ball of the foot just from the big toe, plus rubbing or pinching at the ankle, combined with an obvious drop in comfort when moving from mud/grass onto compacted gravel or tarmac...
All in all, I think I made a mistake buying these.
Running shoes shouldn't be this complicated.
I think they've tried to be too clever and over engineered to a particular foot shape and use, or something similar, and if you don't exactly match, if you're just a bit off from the model foot they designed to, or if you don't position your foot exactly right when you lace them, etc, then the experience can be markedly degraded.
There is probably someone out there that these are perfect for.
But to be honest, I'd probably prefer to buy something not quite so focussed, that stands a chance of being good for both a wide range of people and uses - in other words, less of a gamble.
These are probably excellent for a very small number of people with exactly the right foot shape, and running on just the right surface (wet mud/ grass).
But unless you know you're that person, you'd be taking quite a gamble.
And one final point, these are absolutely in no way waterproof, contrary to what the table suggests. My feet were soaking from dew on grass, though to be fair, I didn't notice that until I got home and took them off. Maybe though that was because I was being distracted by the other problems.