The Salming Trail 5 is a lightweight trail shoe with a 5mm drop, a breathable 3-layer upper, and an amazing Vibram Mega-Grip outsole. Although it’s billed as a trail running shoe, the Trail 5 has worked incredibly well for me on short and long hikes. The Trail 5 is built on an anatomical last that provides a very comfortable fit for long days on the trail. I started testing the Trail 5 back in September, and have enjoyed many miles in them since then.
Salming is a Swedish company founded by Anders Börje Salming, a 17 year veteran of the National Hockey League (NHL). Börje Salming was one of the first successful European players in the NHL, which helped pave the way for future generations of players. He founded Salming Sports in 2001, and it has since grown to include gear for a wide range of sports, including running, handball, and squash. Salming is still a relatively unknown brand here in the United States, but with shoes like the Trail 5, that might be changing soon.
The motto for Salming Sports is inspired by the way Börje Salming played hockey, “No Nonsense”! I love it.
Fit and Feel:
Sizing: The Salming Trail 5 comes in at 12.3oz in a size 12 mens. I usually order a size 12.5 in my trail shoes, a half size up from my size 12 street shoe. The anatomical foot-shaped last of the Trail 5 fits me very well at 12, and doesn’t require me to size up to give my toes enough space. For reference, I have a wide and low volume foot that’s built like a duck’s. My heel is narrow, and then my foot widens at the forefoot.
Heel: The anatomical heel cup of the Trail 5 fits very comfortably, without any slip or lateral wiggle. The heel has above average padding and uses a semi-rigid counter.
Midfoot: The Salming Trail 5 has above average volume through the midfoot. This can be controlled using the Exo Skeleton lacing wrap, but those with narrow feet might struggle to get a secure fit. I found myself wishing for a more secure fit on technical trails.
Toebox: The anatomically shaped toe box fits my forefoot very well. I never experienced any strange pressure points or hot spots on long days when my feet would swell.
The Trail 5 uses a 3-layer system on it’s upper. It starts with a soft air mesh as the base, then adds an exoskeleton to wrap the foot, and finally an open mesh top layer to pull it all together.
The tongue is a gusseted foot wrap that connects to the footbed like Salomon’s Endo-fit. It’s made of an open mesh and emblazoned with the Swedish flag to remind you of this shoe’s heritage.
The open mesh base layer of this upper is very comfortable, so much so that these can probably be worn barefoot without issue. You can see the yellow exoskeleton in the photo below. It connects to the lacing system to provide a stable wrap around the midfoot. The top layer of open mesh breathes well and allows for a lot of airflow.
The toe on this shoe is protected by what Salming calls their “Rocshield”. It’s really just a laminate overlay though, and doesn’t offer much in the way of protection. The outsole wraps up to protect the tip of the shoe, but that only helps for direct hits. When bashing objects at an angle, your toes are going to feel it.
This upper has worked very well for me on a range of different trail types. The mesh is very open and breathable which makes it drain and dry very quickly when wet. The downside is that it can eat a lot of fine dirt and sand, which gets caught in between the three layers.
I’ve been free from any foot issues or discomfort in my testing of the Trail 5. My only real complaint about the upper is one that is more than likely specific to my foot. There is just a little too much volume for my taste in the midfoot. The heel and toebox fit perfectly, but a snugger fit in the midfoot would help with a more precise fit and feel on technical trails.
The midsole for the Salming Trail 5 is built on a 5mm drop, with 21mm in the heel and 16mm in the forefoot. Salming uses an interesting technology they call TGS 62/75°(torsion guidance system). This means that the distance from the heel to ball of the foot makes up 62% of the shoe, and that part of the midsole is designed with extra stability. At the ball of the foot where the 62% back portion ends, a 75° line is used to transition to the more flexible forefoot. You can see this TGS 62/75° more clearly in the photos of the outsole below.
The TGS 62/75° design works well with the midsole compound used on the Trail 5. The underfoot ride is on the softer side, providing comfortable protection over the long miles. Although the midsole feels soft and forgiving, it still provides a responsive ride underfoot when pushing hard on uphills.
The soft and flexible nature of this midsole is perfect for trail running and light hiking. This is a shoe that can cover any distance you’re willing to cover. For backpacking and technical trails, they are a bit too pliable for my taste. There is no torsional rigidity, as this is a shoe designed to move with your foot and not impede it. Having said that, I’ve worn these shoes with a 40lbs child-carrier pack. The Trail 5 were more than up for the challenge, as long as the trail stayed relatively smooth.
There is no rockplate or stone guard on the Trail 5, so all protection is provided by the midsole and outsole. This design decision was probably made to keep the flexibility of the forefoot. This combination works quite well, as I only really felt the need for a rockplate on a few of the rockier trails I frequent.
The Vibram MegaGrip outsole compound works perfectly well with the widely spaced self cleaning lug design on the Trail 5. Salming uses a series of 4mm chevron lugs on the outer heel and inner toe of the Trail 5 for braking and toe off, then utilizes a series of 4mm trapezoidal lugs throughout the rest of the outsole. This combination has proven to be stellar for both traction and grip on muddy, wet, and rocky surfaces. The outsole has 8 rectangular cutouts in the forefoot to provide additional forefoot flexibility.
I just recently hiked a few steep ridges covered in pebbles shaped like ball bearings. This outsole handled that with no problem. I also took the Trail 5 on a few boulder hopping outings, and was very impressed with how well they stuck to smooth surfaces.
I have nothing but good things to say about this outsole. The design and execution is top notch.
The Trail 5 is the first shoe that I’ve reviewed from Salming, but it surely won’t be my last. The breathable upper, forgiving midsole, and high performance outsole make this a really nice trail running and light hiking option. I suffered a toe guard delamination early in the testing period on my left shoe, but a little crazy glue fixed it up nicely. Other than that, durability seems really good so far.
The Salming Trail 5 retails for $130.
- Anatomical fit
- Versatile outsole
- Plush midsole
- A little too much volume in the midfoot
- Too flexible for backpacking and/or technical trail
- Weak toe guard
Disclosure: The Salming Trail 5s were provided to me at no cost for this review. The links provided in this post are affiliate links. Purchases made using these affiliate links go to support the content created here at Trail to Peak at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!