Salomon runners are an adventurous bunch; their stomping grounds range from the local park to great big mountains. These are places where if you slip even a little bit then you risk a twisted ankle, or worse. You need footwear that offers traction and plenty of it. Enter Contagrip, Salomon’s patented non-marking, super durable outsole technology.
Contagrip: Super durable outsole technology
Salomon developed Contagrip because they wanted to be 100% certain that their footwear would offer flawless performance, come rain, shine, asphalt or rock. It is a carefully balanced blend of density, compound and geometry.
Density and compounds
Contagrip soles are a mix of different compounds with different densities. This means that different zones of the outsole are softer or harder, depending where they’re placed. Areas that are prone to wearing out faster have harder-wearing high density compounds e.g. the edge of the outsole. Other areas use lower density compounds which offers a bit more flexibility and grip e.g. the central column of the outsole.
Geometry refers to the overall shape and depth of a shoe and its parts. It has a significant impact on making you feel balanced and comfortable when you’re out running on the uneven and unstable surfaces of trails.
- Heel-to-toe offset
The most obvious variation in geometry is heel-to-toe offset: it’s lower for footwear for racing and aggressive trails and higher for training and for less aggressive trails. The thought here is that if you’re moving quickly across unstable ground, you need a strong sense of gravity so that can move as fast as possible without being scared of slipping.
Another aspect of outsole geometry is the lugs (the raised bits on the outsole); more rugged terrains need deeper lugs so that they offer better grip and more protection from sharp rocks and stones. Salomon also shapes the lugs so that they release dirt easily and you don’t end up slipping on mud that’s stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
Contagrip compounds explained
The Contagrip compounds, density and geometry are different for each shoe as they are all intended for slightly different activities, road, fells, soft trails or hard trails.
XA Pro 3D/GTX
The Pro 3D range uses a combination of both Contagrip HT (High Traction) and Contagrip HA (High Abrasion). This gives the perfect balance between durability and traction in all trail conditions. The sole unit combines the different properties and densities from 7 compounds, with specific geometry and lug depth designed for the trails you need to tackle.
Speedcross footwear uses the Contagrip M&S (Mud & Snow) Sole Unit. The obvious aggressive lug pattern, similar to that on a tractor tyre, provides ultimate traction on even the muddiest trails utilising the High Traction Contagrip Compound. Combined with the anti-freeze properties of the specific compounds used in the sole, this is the perfect wet weather or winter running shoe.
The Fellraiser’s super aggressive lug patterns use Chevron patterning. The Contagrip used on the Fellraiser is harder than that used on the Speedcross. This increases both the durability and the stability of the shoe. Considering the aggressiveness of the sole unit, these are the shoes that give the biggest surprise in terms of comfort and performance on hard terrain.
Wings Pro (New for 2015)
The Wings Pro is ideal for hard packed or wet groomed trails and it’s durable enough for the odd stretch of road. It’s perfect for wet rocks, thanks it its larger surface area. Contagrip HT (High Traction) is used in areas that need a bit more grip and Contagrip HA (High Abrasion) is used in areas that contact the ground most, for increased durability.
S-lab sense 4 ultra SG (New for 2015)
The S-Lab Sense has been upgraded with a new block type pattern in the sole. It offers a great balance of traction whether you’re blasting down the hard pack, or cutting through the mud. The S-Lab Sense 4’s multi density compounds mean that it has optimal durability and traction. The lugs have flat heads to increase the surface area of the area coming into contact with the ground. More grip on the rock means more traction on wet rocks. Its tapered shape also allows the studs to cut into the mud with ease, giving you a confident foothold on any terrain.
X-Scream 3D (New for 2015)
The X-Scream shoe has also been updated. It’s got a new 3D Contagrip sole unit to give the perfect balance between grip and durability whether you’re on the roads, steps, towpaths or forestry trails. The tread pattern offers superb 4 way grip so it doesn’t matter which way you twist and turn, or if you’re digging in deep for a climb or letting rip on an aggressive decent, you always have the confidence in your foot placement.
S-lab Fellcross 3
The Fellcross is known for its very aggressive 6mm lugs. They are what make this to be the perfect shoe for those wet and boggy fell runs. The Fellcross is all about performance thanks to it being designed with and tested extensively by, British fell running superstar Ricky Lightfoot. Its geometry is designed to cut into the mud and the chevron pattern then hold it in position. This means that you will always feel secure with the S-Lab Fellcross 3.