The all-new Salomon Thundercross is built as a rugged trail runner with enough versatility to handle just about anything you can throw at it. With all the typical goodies found on Salomon’s trail running shoe lineup, the Thundercross is a great option for three-season trail running or light hiking.
Salomon Thundercross Features:
- Built with a dynamic, cushioned ride
- Maximalist cushioning with 4mm drop
- Aggressive Contagrip outsole with 5mm lugs
- Standard width and overall fit
- Stack height: 31mm heel and 27.2mm forefoot
- Weight: 11 oz each (size 11.5)
- MSRP: $140
Bring on the thunder
You know what they say, where there’s lightning, there’s thunder. And, while I don’t know where the lightning is, I do know where the thunder is with the new Salomon Thundercross trail runners. At their core, they are a new workhorse trail runner in Salomon’s wide lineup of trail shoes. After several months of use, there’s a lot of good to talk about.
I’ll start with the uppers. You won’t find any mesh anywhere. Nope, it’s a mixture of rubber and hardshell fabrics to deliver extra protection. Born in the French Alps, there’s no question these were intended for sky running or technical mountain running. Durability and foot protection is tops as any scree, rocks, branches or anything else along the way won’t snag or poke through this durable fabric. I have appreciated the added weather protection as the temperatures have dropped. I made the mistake of running in the meshy Craft Nordlite Ultra in November and ended up with frozen toes. The next day, I was back at it, but wearing the Thundercross instead and my toes were much cozier.
With the uppers, I had hoped for a little DWR for water-resistance, but sadly there isn’t any. Wind and cold are kept at bay, but rain or water will soak right in. Some trail runners are built to expel water, but I’m not seeing much of that here. You’ll get great wind and cold protection and added durability but little water-resistance.
As you can imagine, the lack of mesh material doesn’t bode well for breathability. I’ve found these shoes to run very warm — great for fall, winter or spring running, but not so great for summertime. I would definitely look elsewhere when the temps get above 75-degrees.
As with all Salomon trail runners, the Quicklace system offers excellent lacing and fit. It’s a breeze to snug them up for just the right fit and should any adjustments be needed, it’s easy to do on the trail. Don’t forget to tuck in the toggle and slip the excess lace into the tongue. With several years of Quicklace use, I’m a fan, but have noticed these to be a touch longer than usual. Be sure to tuck them in so they don’t go flying around and cause a trip hazard. I settled on tucking the ends into the tongue sleeve.
Smooth stride, grip galore
The supportive, durable uppers are mated to Salomon’s maximalist outsoles featuring a 31mm heel stack and cushioned with Energy Foam. Compared to the best from Hoka, you won’t be blown away, but for Salomon, these are cushy. And, to be honest, the overall support-to-cushioning ratio is really good — I might say even Salomon’s best to date.
As I’ve aged, my body has appreciated the move to more squishy shoes and I can run for hours in these shoes without any undue discomfort from lack of cushioning. Beautifully, the rockered outsoles allow for a natural and smooth stride. Each step smoothly rolls to the next and encourages more and more miles. Case in point… my very first run in the Thundercross went from a planned 3 mile route to almost 6 miles because why not? I felt great and the shoes were willing, so instead of doubling-back, I opted for a longer route. That has been the case with each and every outing since as I can comfortably extend any training as long as I wish.
The widely-spaced outsole lugs offer excellent traction on all terrain and conditions — even snow. And, even though the lugs are aggressive, I’ve been comfortably walking the dog around the neighborhood in a way that would make the Hoka Mafate Speed 4’s jealous. The treads are wearing nicely and dig confidently into the terrain on ascents or descents. Sometimes this type of tread pattern can feel slow, but I don’t notice anything holding me back.
Because the uppers offer such a contoured and supportive fit, I feel very connected with the terrain and appreciate the right balance between protection and trail feel. Salomon has delivered a great shoe with just the right amount of response without ever feeling dull and numb.
Fit: I wore a size 11.5 in the Salomon Thundercross, which is my usual size for the brand. Most often, I was wearing CEP The Run 4.0 socks.
Buy Now: Available from Salomon.com
The Bottom Line
The new Salomon Thundercross really is a great shoe. Overall, it offers no-nonsense versatility that's great for any terrain or conditions (except for mid-summer heat). I love the Quicklace system and how easy it is to dial in the fit without un-lacing and re-lacing everything. I do wish the uppers had some water resistance, but they do block wind and cold if you're a cold-weather trail runner. My favorite attribute of the Thundercross is the combination of excellent cushioning with a rockered outsole for a smooth, comfortable ride.
- Smooth stride from step-to-step
- A great balance of comfort and rebound
- Traction aplenty
- Quicklace system is always a winner
- Cold weather champions
- Great for slow or fast-paced running/hiking
- Just the right trail feel
- Breathability suffers in the heat
- Wish they were water-resistant
- Lacing and Fit
- Trail Feel