Salomon’s Fellraiser is a recent addition to the ever growing fell running shoe market.
My only experience of wearing Salomon shoes is their XA Pro trail running shoe which aren’t really designed for most of the running I do so I was keen to get my feet into a pair of their dedicated fell shoes and put them to the test.
The Fellraisers aren’t the lightest fell running shoe on the market, my pair of size 6.5 tipping the scales at 542g but then they aren’t designed as a stripped down, super light race shoe and they look and feel like they are built to last. The uppers have a tough, stitched rand with a breathable mesh which lets water in, but also allows the shoe to drain and dries quickly. A substantial toe cap gives good protection for when running quickly over rocky ground. The 6mm drop from heel to toe makes them a lower profile alternative to Salomon’s more established Speedcross shoe.
The outsole sports aggressive, multi-directional lugs that feel like they are made of a harder compound than the Speedcross’ chevrons. Hopefully this means a good amount of mileage before the lugs wear down and grip is compromised. The lugs extend all the way to the toe giving grip even at the “toe off” phase of the running stride.
The Fellraisers use the Quicklace™ system that allows the lace to be quickly pulled tight with the excess then tucked away into a little pocket on the tongue. An OrthoLite® liner gives added cushioning whilst claiming to keep the feet healthier due to its fungus resistant properties!
How did they perform?
First impressions were that the Fellraisers were a little narrower than I was used to, not uncomfortably so and in fact giving a reassuring responsive feel but maybe a little too tight for very long races. However I took them straight out of the box and onto a 13 mile, multi terrain run with no ill effects.
The most essential feature of any fell running shoe is how well they grip in a range of conditions. The Fellraisers gave a secure grip on short grass and felt very reassuring in the peaty Peak District mud. In wet conditions I didn’t have any problems running over rough gritstone but on limestone I found them to be pretty slippy to say the least!
The Quicklace system kept the shoes tight without needing any adjustment and whilst it worked well in dry conditions I found it to be a bit tricky to undo when the lace was muddy or gritty when it tended to clog up.
The Fellraiser makes a good training or race shoe over soft ground. They perform particularly well in muddy conditions and so would make an excellent choice for winter training and racing. As with most fell shoes care needs to be exercised if running quickly over wet rock! They come up a little tight on me so definitely try before you buy.
The 6mm drop is a good compromise; close enough to the ground to feel stable but offering some elevation for runners who don’t want a “barefoot” structure. Aesthetically the shoes looks good (I particularly like the women’s purple model!)