In 2011, it was a struggle to find a good shoe for obstacle racing, but fast forward to 2016 and several great options are available. That list of options has grown once again with the addition of Salming Elements. The Swedish company has developed a shoe that meets all the major criteria for great obstacle racing footwear. Most importantly, the Elements grip like a demon and shed water quickly and efficiently. A long test run through creeks and muddy trails told me everything I needed to know about them.
Thoughts from the test run
- As expected, the aggressive lugs provide outstanding traction. Up muddy hills without a single slip.
- Straight out of full creek submersion, squish-squash-squoosh – water was gone! This is an absolute “must” for me.
- There is just enough foot protection to guard against sharp stones while still allowing excellent proprioception. I intentionally stepped on every sharp rock and root I could find and none posed a problem. Well, I tripped once, but that was my fault, not the shoes’.
- That wide toe box is great. Plenty of room to wiggle the toes around, which I did a few times just because I could.
- The shoe fit me snug and comfortably, but you wide-footed people will appreciate that it is not narrow.
- It doesn’t have speed-lacing, but that’s not a major concern for me. Just a nicety.
- 4 mm heel-toe drop. Yes! Just what I prefer.
- Weighing a little less than 10 oz, they’re not the lightest shoe on the market, but the weight is unnoticeable.
How they stack up against other shoes I’ve worn
The Elements are not the absolute best shoe for any particular category you might judge them on, but they are great in all of the important categories. Sturdier, with a little more stability than the Reeboks and the Inov-8s. Lighter and much better at shedding mud/water than the Icebugs and Salomons. Traction is as good as any of them.
By the way, I’m not the only one who likes this shoe.
This review at Running Scotland provides a lot of in-depth details that I didn’t include.
Disclaimer: Salming provided a pair of Elements to me for review, but there was no obligation of a favorable review. I will not endorse any product that I don’t like or wear myself and I will be wearing these a lot!