Trail running on snowpacked trails is a ton of fun and I personally love the extra challenges that ice and snow bring to the trails. This winter I’ve been running with the snow-focused Salomon Snowcross CS shoes and It’s hard to imagine a more well-suited pair of winter trail runners.
Salomon Snowcross CS Features:
- Zip-up bootie for added protection and support
- Contagrip outsole with aggressive treads
- 9 carbide-tipped spikes
- Mud and snow-shedding tread pattern
- Ankle protective pads
- Climashield water resistant uppers
- Quicklace system
- Price: $200
Protection and traction for winter trail running
I enjoy running in the snow. Many times, it’s the one time that my local trails are void of people. Well, that was until fatbikes started catching on. But even then, they aren’t so bad because they pack the trails perfectly. Those perfect singletrack trails and the deteriorated ones made excellent testing grounds for the Snowcross CS.
Built as a dedicated winter (snow, really) trail runner, the Snowcross CS is built with the guts of a trail runner, but the looks and function of a winter assault vehicle. Featuring an integrated Climashield zip-up bootie, the snow protection is perfect for reasonable running conditions (anything over ankle deep and you’re gonna need snowshoes anyway). And the aggressive outsole with carbide-tipped spikes make quick work of most winter trail conditions.
As an added benefit, the zip-up bootie provides more than just weather protection, but also provides welcomed ankle support — that’s one of the greatest things about the Snowcross CS. While the ideal trails are nice and smooth hardpack, most of the time, there are pits and variations with unseen rocks hidden just beneath the snow. All of this can lead to a twisted ankle if you’re not careful. But, with the Snowcross CS, I’m running more confidently than ever because the shoe has my back.
Additionally, the tall bootie protects against the inevitable ankle strikes that happen on uneven terrain. Every so often, the snow will sink down mid-stride, causing an ankle strike. Thankfully, the thick padding makes them little more than a nuisance with no bleeding ankles.
Predictable traction under most conditions
The tread pattern is very chunky with large paddles to grip and maintain traction through every step. Ideal conditions are firm, packed trails as the treads and spikes get solid traction both uphill and down. When the trails get slushy or overly-icy, that traction breaks down a bit — especially when ascending. When going downhill, the traction is consistently solid on all but glare ice.
I did appreciate the spikes and notice the improved traction, but did wish for a little better grip when encountering icy sections. I’m going to play around with adding a few strategically-placed Goat Head spikes in the future to see if I can take things up a notch. I just kept a good eye out for shiny ice and stepped gingerly.
During my miles of testing, I feel like I got a good variety of conditions under my belt — well enough to prefer these in all conditions over my usual cobbled solution of Gore-Tex trail runners, traction devices and gaiters. The simplicity of the entire package makes trailside prep a thing of the past. I’ve exclusively run with tall socks to prevent any chaffing from the bootie. I’ve read others complain about that, so get some long socks ready and make it a non-issue.
On a single run, the trail conditions can vary from hardpack snow to slush with wet dirt or mud inbetween — depending on the temperatures and sun. The Snowcross CS can span those conditions with ease. The wide tread spacing sheds dirt and mud with ease and the spikes are an added bonus on soft ground.
I’ve found these to be as weatherproof as I’ve needed. The ClimaShield panels keep out the moisture, but don’t have much in the way of DWR. Water soaks into the outer layers, but doesn’t penetrate unless you submerge them in a stream for an extended period.
While these can be used on the road, I did not thest them there and do not plan to. Keep in mind that the reflectivity is minimal, so you’ll want to compensate elsewhere if you do run on the road at night. My short time running on pavement wasn’t ideal and the spikes felt a bit awkward.
Sizing: Size up as you normally would with running shoes, but you may find the need to size up a half size more because these do run a little small, I think.
- Added ankle support is fantastic
- Great traction under reasonable conditions
- Downhill traction
- Good warmth and weather protection
- Breathable design
- Quicklace and zip bootie simplifies winter running
- Tread pattern sheds mud and snow aplenty
- Traction could be better on ice
- Climashield can get overwhelmed if submerged
- Elastic cuff is getting stretched out (after 2 seasons of use)
The Bottom Line: Salomon Snowcross CS
For dedicated winter trail running, thee Snowcross CS is a clear winner — in spite of some little quibbles. The simplicity of slipping them on, zipping up the bootie and getting on the trals simply can’t be overstated. Instead of a semi-cobbled shoe, gaiter and spike solution, the Snowcross CS is a grab-and-go shoe that’s perfect to help keep your sanity during winter months.
Buy Now: Get at MooseJaw.com