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Salming T1 Review: A Nice Trail/Mountain Hybrid Shoe

Salming T1by David Henry

I hadn’t heard much about the Swedish shoe brand Salming before Pete asked me if I’d be willing to try their debut trail shoe, the T1, for review.  After looking at some of the specs on their website, I saw that many of the features were what I like to see in a trail shoe: 5mm drop, full coverage outsole, and a randed upper.  What I couldn’t see was how well the shoe would ride once I started to run in it.  Read on to see my thoughts, as well as a modification I did to the upper.

Specs

Via Salming’s website: the Salming T1 weighs 10 oz and has a 5mm drop.  $140 MSRP

Salming T1 Side

Nice upper design overall. Overbuilt for a trail shoe, with heavy ripstop type material and full rand, but this also gives it much more mountain readiness.

Upper and Fit

The upper on the Salming T1 is pretty much an all-out mountain shoe upper composed of a heavy, and super durable ripstop type nylon material as the base with plentiful welded overlays, and the addition of a stitched on rand. Translation: this upper is going to last a long time. The downside of this type of upper for a pure trail shoe is that it gets hot, is heavier than it needs to be for trails, and is slightly stiffer. At first I really felt like the upper was a glaring design error. Now, after more miles in the shoe, including some genuine mountain outings with, rocks, mud, snow and everything in between, I’m not so sure it’s a bad thing. Suitability of the upper will depend on how one will use the shoe, especially given its mash-up of a road racing shoe geometry in the midsole with a fairly robustly lugged outsole. More on that later.

One issue I had with the fit right out of the box was that there was way too much volume for my foot, to the point that I couldn’t even cinch the lacing down as much as I needed to *see photo below). The ride felt really good jogging around the house, so I decided to get my leather punch and scissors out and fix the lacing issue, which was actually pretty painless. All I had to do was give the shoe some eyelets, and cut of the lace loops, and instantly the fit was not only doable, but actually pretty secure.

Salming T1 Feet

Modification to lacing setup. Stock setup on left, with my new setup on right. Took maybe 5 min and changed the fit and feel of the shoe entirely for me. One thing of note is that I felt the most toe-ward overlay is not necessary and squeezed on the ball of my foot so I started lacing a little further up shoe in line with 2nd overlay.

The shoe does run about a 1/4 size long, and it’s medium in width with a slightly pointed toebox (probably the only issue with the last that I’d try to change is toebox shape, making it a little more rounded). However, with the extra 1/4 size length, the toebox pointedness worked out just fine in my normal size 13, so no major issues for me with the fit. The shoe has been comfortable sock-less on all my runs, including a recent 2.5 hr mountain outing.  I’d have no problem running an ultra in these shoes.

Ride

Salming T1 Medial

Medial midsole view.  Even says 5mm drop on side of shoe.

The ride of the Salming T1 is really what makes the shoe for me. That it occurs in a shoe with a mountain shoe style upper and fairly lugged outsole makes it even more interesting since this is a pretty rare combo. The shoe runs pretty firm overall, but not harshly so. It sits somewhere between the rides of the inov-8 Race Ultra 270/Trailroc 245 and the Pearl Izumi N1. It doesn’t have any noticeable rocker, but it does have more road shoe like roll to it than most trail shoes that I’ve tried.  It rides like a solid road racing flat, but with denser foam, and it is quite protective with the full outsole.  Very comfortable and natural ride on smooth trail, something many shoes with lots of lug really struggle with, and yet it still is sharp enough to edge well and handle loose and technical terrain.

Outsole

Salming T1 Sole

Full coverage outsole, medium stickiness, and lugs that run in the forward direction all the way back to heel…this makes a difference on hardpack

The outsole of the T1 is quite good.  They keep it simple and full coverage, which I like to see, and the compound holds a good middle ground of being sticky enough to inspire confidence while stepping on rocks and descending in technical conditions, but has also held up really well. I would bet the outsole will be durable for many miles, just like the upper.

One interesting feature is that they chose to keep the lateral and medial heel lug/bars facing in the same direction as the forefoot where they taper towards the rear, keeping the sharp edge also rearward facing.  This is not what most companies do with their lugged shoes.  I think the thought is to reverse the lugs in the heel order to provide good downhill traction.  Generally, however, I think that unless it’s a pure off-trail/mountain only shoe, what you get is too much of a braking effect on normal trail, and this is often why lugged shoes don’t run great on smooth surfaces. Since the T1 doesn’t follow the norm, there is much more float (or sliding) while running downhill on hardpack trail which makes them run much better on smoother trails, yet I haven’t noticed a loss of traction on looser terrain (having the circular lugs in the middle provides some of this more non-directional traction).

Conclusion

Overall the Salming T1 is a great first offering from Salming, and they are now on my radar for future models.  I do think a more trail specific model (as opposed to the more mountain/hybrid design of the T1) would be nice to see – maybe a shoe that has reduced lug (yet still full rubber outsole) and a light, seamless and breathable upper more like their Race R1 on the same midsole geometry.  As it is, the T1 is a little heavy and lacks some breathability to stand out as a pure trail shoe, but given its nice ride mixed with its mountain shoe upper and hybrid outsole, it makes a really nice mixed terrain shoe that works great to get from the bottom to the top of a mountain without feeling wanting in any type of terrain. They also mark the first pair of review shoes I’ve received that I’ll continue to keep in my rotation.

The Salming T1 is available for purchase at Salming.com.

Disclosure: These shoes were provided for review free of charge from the manufacturer.

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Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science
About David Henry

David Henry is a 31 year old husband and father of 3 young children. He has completed over 23 ultra marathon events as well as many other shorter races. Some of the notable races he has completed include The Pike’s Peak Marathon, Speedgoat 50k, The Rut 50k, Gorge Waterfalls 100k and Bighorn 100. He has raced in diverse environments ranging from Alaska in winter to the Arizona desert. David appreciates well-crafted running shoes and running on any surface and distance. If interested you can follow my running on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/davidjonhenry

Comments

  1. I have Salming Speed and also like the upper (even though it has higher volume than I would like to). Personally I prefer a bit of added weight in exchange for better durability.
    I must try Salming Trail because it looks like a durable trail running shoe with quite a small heel drop. Probably it is exactly the shoe I was waiting for – durable upper (full-rand), full rubber outsole and small drop. I expected something simillar from Inov-8 Ultra, but version 290 has too big drop and 270 lacks the full-rand upper. I can’t wait to try them on. Once it is an advantage to live in Europe (Czech) :-)
    The only cons so far are the 140USD MSPR for a shoe from not so well-known brand and probably too high volume midfoot.

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks for the comment Peter. I’d agree with you that the T1 is actually more what I wanted the inov-8 Race Ultra series to run like. The shoes will be very durable, maybe more than necessarily, which, depending on what you want might be a really good thing :). -David

  2. Great review. I always enjoy reading about new (to the American market) shoes and it sounds like these are definitely worth consideration.

    How about drainage?

    • David Henry says:

      I got them pretty soaked one run in some snow and didn’t feel like they got waterlogged. While the upper isn’t the most breathable, it also isn’t that thick and so therefore doesn’t hold tons of water. I don’t think drainage would be an issue.

  3. Very nice and detailed review! All I need now is a cup of coffee and a nb mrc 5000v2 vs saucony endorphine racer review! That would make my day. Cheers

  4. Michael says:

    I’m not sure I’d want to spend $140 on a pair of shoes and have to perform surgery to get them to fit.

    • David Henry says:

      Well, you might not have to unless you have a lower volume foot like myself. That said, it was pretty non-invasive surgery and I’ve had no problems with them and really enjoy the shoe. Like I’ve said elsewhere, probably one of the most durable shoes out there so your 140 could go a long way :). -David

    • Probably won’t happen to everyone, depends on the width/volume of your foot relative to the shoe as well as how tight a fit you want.

  5. interesting..think you put them on my radar too, I agree specs look good. I also agree with posters sticker shock too! Little worried about the volume as well..I have a slight duck shape foot, like wider toe box but rest of shoe normal

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