You don’t take a knife to a gun fight and you don’t take the wrong pair of shoes to the Barkley Fall Classic.  Make either of those mistakes and you’ll be hurting in the worst of ways.

Rat Jaw
The “trail” up Rat Jaw

Perhaps I shouldn’t have “tested” my new Salming Trail 5s on one of the most extreme courses in the country.  Actually, I probably shouldn’t have even signed up for the BFC, especially after I swore never to put myself through that torture again.  The 40ish miles spent clamoring up and down the mountains of Frozen Head State Park is an ordeal at best.  Pictures cannot describe it and words always fall short.  It is something you have to experience and most people don’t want that experience.

But this is an article about the shoes and the Salming Trail 5s passed the test!!

Salming Trail 5
The before photo

I don’t want to write about the 5mm drop, the lugs, and the light weight. You can get all the specs at Salming’s site.  I want to write about the experience.

Testicle Spectacle. The little tiny dot is another runner

Despite not having adequate time to train in the Trail 5s, I made a last minute decision to go with them because they just felt so good on my feet.  They literally kept me afoot for an entire Saturday, despite being subjected to sharp rocks, slippery rocks, little rocks, big rocks, loose rocks, packed ground, mud, streams, creeks, underground tunnels, jeep trails, roots, fallen trees, and saw briars.  I lost count of the number of times I banged my foot on a root or stone…it became more frequent as the day wore on and lifting my feet off the ground became an accomplishment in itself.  The toe guard was magnificent, keeping me from the wincing pain I know all too well when wearing less protective shoes.  Despite the pounding my feet took, they really weren’t sore at the end of the day.  Not a single blister nor tender spot!

The traction was just what I needed when crawling up Rat Jaw and lumbering down and back up Testicle Spectacle.  See the photos, but once again — no words will suffice.

I crossed the finish line of my second Barkley Fall Classic 50K as one of only 30% who went the distance in the time allotted. I got my 2nd Croix de Barque!  I hated that race and loved it, and hated it five more times over, but the shoes…….well, I loved my shoes every step of the way.

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!