Monday, February 18, 2019

Salming Ispike Review

 Guest Review by Mark Sharafinski Jr

I will begin this review of the iSpike by saying that it is a visually striking shoe, with a vibrant
color scheme and bold branding - very Salming. The materials are first rate and befitting of a
shoe in this price range. The following thoughts are the result of approximately 100 miles spent
running in the iSpike over six runs, on a mix of snowy/icy roads and trails in the upper Midwest
of the USA. Comments by "part" of the shoe are below, followed by comments reflecting how
this shoe addresses each component of the Salming "Rule of Five."

Upper: I always run sockless, so a comfortable upper is essential to me. The iSpike upper feels
like a slipper on the skin, but has been protective and water resistant. My feet have remained
warm in temperatures down to -30oF, with wind chills near -50oF during the Midwest Polar
Vortex. The toe box is roomy in all dimensions, more so than the Trail 5 and great for my 2E
wide forefoot. The iceShield toe cap has saved my toenails on multiple occasions, but is
flexible enough to be unnoticeable. The ExoSkeleton lacing system initially put pressure on the
lateral aspect of my fifth metatarsal, but has broken in nicely and provides a secure mid foot fit.
Pull tabs on the tongue and heel are helpful for getting the shoe on/off quickly and should be
standard on every non-racing shoe. The tongue is nicely padded to prevent pressure from the
laces, which stay tied reliably. One potential opportunity for improvement is the ankle/heel
collar, which feels overly padded similar to the Trail 5. Despite this, I have noticed almost no
heel slip on uphills or off-camber.

"I always run sockless"

Midsole: I typically run in minimalist shoes with low stack height and little or no offset. The
iSpike has stack heights of ~25/20mm, which is near the upper limit of "thickness" for me. On
my foot, the shoe actually feels lower to the ground and very connected to the surface. Offset
feels like a true 5mm, or less. This combination of RECOIL+softFOAM feels firmer and more
responsive than in the Trail 5, especially in the forefoot. I predict this midsole will be resilient
and will not flatten out prematurely.

Outsole: The 13 tungsten carbide studs are thoughtfully placed and provide ferocious grip on
packed snow or ice. Even with significant mileage on roads, the studs show little wear and
there is no evidence of loosening. The studs cannot be felt through the midsole, unlike
commercially available traction devices. Vibram Megagrip Litebase is outstanding. In fact, it
feels like an overindulgence on a shoe that has metal studs for grip. On ice and snow, however,
I distinctly feel the rubber engaging the surface and contributing to grip. The Litebase version
of this outsole is clearly lighter than the standard version, saving weight and keeping the iSpike
very balanced.

"Vibram Megagrip Litebase is outstanding."

Salming Rule of Five...
1. LIGHT: Stated weight of the iSpike is 9g in a US Men’s size 10. It feels very light and
balanced on foot, especially for the traction and protection it provides.
2. FLEXIBLE: iSpike is reasonably flexible in the forefoot, but the mid/hind foot is stiff. This is
noticeable in hand, but not as much on foot.
3. FLAT: The stated heel to toe drop of 5mm feels true, although this is slightly more offset than
I prefer. The arch is also more pronounced than I like, but this is because I prefer zero arch
4. THIN: As noted above, the iSpike feels lower to the ground than its stack heights of
25/20mm. I prefer thinner, but in a shoe used for icy/frozen rutted surfaces the protection is

5. COMFORTABLE ANATOMIC FIT: As noted above, the iSpike is roomy in the forefoot.
Midfoot fit can be dialed in nicely with the ExoSkeleton lacing, but the heel is a bit too wide for
my narrow hindfoot. Overall, the proportions are reasonably anatomic.
In conclusion, the iSpike is an exhibit of Salming's "No Nonsense" philosophy - a true runner’s
shoe with premium materials and no gimmicks. It follows the Rule of Five to the greatest extent
possible for a snow/ice shoe. This shoe has allowed me to run safely and confidently outdoors
on days where others are stuck inside. Salming have a winner with the iSpike, and it has a sure
place in my winter kit going forward.

Disclaimer: Ispike shoes were bought for Marks own money. Review was written after 100 miles and reflects Marks thoughts of the shoe.