It is time to talk running shoes, actually not road shoes but mountain shoes.
In the pursuit for the ultimate running shoe one factor is always uppermost in my mind ... weight! Oh, and also I am quite besotted with Salomon's quick lace system. This narrows the choice somewhat. To plug it: it allows you to quickly lace and unlace and even make a quick pit stop before you cover some extra difficult terrain e.g. overtighten briefly for a steep slippy mountain section.
So what are the choices?
XT wings version2: 385g non Gortex version (gortex will probably be over 400 grams). A positive improvement over XT wings version1. A tough all season shoe. Due to random Salomon sizing mine are slightly small and so are not long for this world now I have the Slab-3
Slab-3: The ultimate lightweight trail shoe. Well at 345 grams it's just slightly heavier than theSpeedcross 2 but with real tread that won't feel like you are running up a stony path barefoot.
SpeedCross 2: Well this is truly the ultimate lightweight shoe. Again random Solomon sizing caused me to need a shoe a full 1.5 UK sizes larger (11.5UK!!) than I might have expected. I tried using this shoe and indeed it's possible to run on grassy surfaces for distances up to 15Km with ease. But if you use this shoe on tarmac or on a stony path or for distances longer than 15Km you might be in for a painful surprise. The tread is grippy but very thin, there is practically no suspension, so be warned.
The Speedcross 2 is actually more waterproof than either of the XT Wings 2 or SLAB. In fact I used this shoe in the spring instead of snow shoes to run in soft snow up the odd mountain. It was great!
The Ortholite sole which is common to all 3 shoes. The little indentations on the left front are intentional. This is a new liner, once worn in you will notice the back edge curl up slightly.
The top view of the SLAB-3. The shoe upper membrane is not waterproof however the weave is less aerated than the XTwings-2 meaning that if you run in wet grass less water will enter your shoe. However step into a puddle or stream and your sock will immediately become waterlogged. If your trail is waterlogged the heavier Gortex XT Wings2 is the only safe option. (Note to Wiggle UK, perhaps if you sold this shoe I would have bought one!)
The undersole of the Slab-3 showing its modest tread. But it is still there as compared to the Speedcross2 which is a thin grooved rubber surface.
And so to summarise: Well the Slab-3 are still new to me but so far seem to be an excellent blend of light weight and decent suspension. I'm going to use them on the big run this coming Saturday :-)