REVIEW: Salomon Thundercross
Written By: SportsShoes
The Salomon Thundercross is a trail shoe for a dynamic, cushioned ride with exceptional grip and precise foothold. Equipped with aggressive 5mm lugs to tackle any terrain, no matter how tricky, technical, or just downright nasty. Developed in the French Alps, tried and tested on everything from rolling terrain to rocky slopes or sticky single tracks.
|Drop:||4mm (most suitable for mid-forefoot strikers)|
|Stack height:||Forefoot: 27.2mm, Heel: 31mm|
|Lug depth:||5mm (mid-aggressive lug depth)|
|Fit (width):||Standard-Wide fit. Wider in the forefoot and narrower in the toe box.|
|Fit (length):||As always, this shoe fits slightly small so I always opt for a UK 10.5 rather than a UK 10.|
|Most suitable for:||A mix of trail terrain, where cushioning, stability and grip are key priorities. Sits in the middle of the Salomon Trail shoe range.|
|Key features:||5mm lugs for excellent grip and traction on all kinds of technical terrain and surfaces, lightweight and springy Energy Foam and Contragrip outsole for durable traction.|
|RATINGS:||(out of 5)|
Full marks to Salomon for the name, as any shoe named Thundercross deserves and demands respect. I LOVE the look of this shoe, especially the black, pink and grey colour combo. I feel like it has a very retro, outer-space vibe, transporting me back to the 80's where I probably belong.
The design also reminds me of a Speedcross, which makes sense as both models sit centrally within the Salomon Trail range in terms of performance. If you're looking for one trail shoe to do it all, then this could be the model for you!
The upper materials provide the perfect combination of protection, stability and breathability. At the back of the shoe the heel collar is well-padded and extremely stable, which extends around the sides and into the tongue design. This means the shoe feels really comfortable to wear and the padded tongue soaks up all the pressure of the lacing system when it's pulled tightly together. My only criticism here is when your feet are full immersed in water, the shoe does tend to carry more weight because the thick collar soaks up the moisture. I suppose this doesn't happen very often (unless you run through rivers and streams on every run), so for the majority of my runs it isn't an issue. It's a trade off for extra comfort and support.
There is plenty of protection around the entire circumference in the form of a thick protective rand, which means you don't feel any rocks or sharp stones banging against the front or sides of the shoe. The SensiFIT® construction cradles the foot by providing a precise and secure fit and the Quicklace® system works as efficiently as ever. There is one section of thin and stretchy material above the forefoot which enhances breathability. This is essential as otherwise ventilation would be close to impossible. That said, this shoe is most suited to cooler conditions (great news for UK trail runners!) because in super-hot weather I've found my feet can get very hot.
Underneath that beautiful looking upper is a thick slab of Energy Foam which feels delightful underfoot. I love the fact the Thundercross combines a high-level of cushioning with an aggressive 5mm grip. It makes the switch from hard and rocky terrain to soft and muddy conditions an almost seamless transition and is the real USP of this shoe. It's the very reason it sits in the middle of the entire Salomon trail range, because it's essentially the swiss army knife of the collection - suitable for any trail, any distance and any off-road adventure. An ideal choice for anyone wanting one shoe to do everything and suitable for all seasons.
As with almost every Salomon trail running shoe, the Thundercross features a Contragrip® outsole for durable traction that's built to last across a variety of terrain. The 5mm lugs, which extend to the very edge of the shoe are aggressive enough to handle muddy conditions, which means you can wear them throughout the year and into winter. The lugs are multi-directional and multi-sized, with plenty of space in between each one. This means they rarely clog with mud and also provide excellent traction when switching between gradients both up and down. Personally, having worn this shoe for training on a variety of distances and trails I have plenty of confidence in the grip and it's so versatile that I would also consider it for mid-long races on mixed and technical terrain.
How would the Salomon Thundercross fit into your shoe rotation?
If, like me, you have a range of shoes in your current rotation, the Thundercross would most likely be a solid and dependable training shoe which could also be relied upon come race day. Because of its versatility, it's best suited to regular use as it's comfortable, cushioned and can handle a multitude of terrain and distances. For example, when I've packed for a weekend break and only have room for one pair of trail shoes, then this loyal workhorse is always a dependable choice. Whatever the weather or whatever the adventure, the Thundercross can always be relied upon to do the job. I would put this shoe in the same bracket as the Speedcross, the most iconic of all the Salomon trail shoes as it sits bang in the middle of the range - high praise indeed!
The Thundercross would also be an excellent choice for runners without a trail shoe rotation and those just looking for one pair of shoes to race and train in all year round. I have friends who wear it for ParkRun and others who have worn it for races like the Ring of Steall and even UTMB, which fully demonstrates its versatility.
Priced at £139.99, I think this shoe provides excellent value for money and has the durability and performance to last the distance. The Thundercross is available in a range of colours and also in GORE-TEX material for £159.99.