This review of the Salming Elements 2 is written after approximately 65 miles of rocky and rooty Midwestern trail running, in dry and wet conditions. 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: You know a Salming when you see it, and the Elements 2 is no exception. The green and blue men’s colorway is bold without being loud. The upper is constructed of a breathable mesh, similar to but softer than that of the OT Comp. It drains just as well, which will suit the obstacle course racers in the crowd. Well positioned Exo-skeleton overlays ensure durability in high-wear areas and provide confident foothold. The Rocshield toe cap is protective, but flexible and allows ample "headroom" in the toe box. I was bothered at times by an intrusive folding of the upper at the forefoot flex point, near the base of my toes; this never caused any blisters or abrasion and was likely exacerbated by my preference for running sockless. The forefoot is fairly roomy, especially for a technical trail
shoe, but could be a bit rounder laterally. The tongue is thin and soft with a welcome pull tab, emblazoned as usual by the Swedish flag. Like the rest of the upper, the tongue is adequately but not overly padded. I was initially concerned that the relatively high and firm heel counter would be uncomfortable, but I have yet to experience any issues. Lock down of my narrow heel is excellent on uphills and off-camber sections.
"emblazoned as usual by the Swedish flag"
Insole: The removable 5mm insole was another source of apprehension before my first run in the shoe. Perhaps it was just my pair, but the insoles were slightly short along the lateral forefoot leaving a small gap between their edge and the upper. In practice, this never became an issue as the insole stayed in place and never rubbed the tips of my sockless toes. I found that running without the insole enhanced the shoe’s character, making it feel even lighter, lower, and more aggressive.
Outsole: A proprietary TOC66 outsole lines the under surface of the Elements 2. The rubber is best described as soft, which makes the prominent 8mm lugs very pliable. This gives the sensation of true grip, where the outsole feels like an extension of the foot by molding itself to the terrain. The lugs are not squarely, however, and dig aggressively into soft ground. Traction on mud, wet grass, and snow is excellent. It’s not all positive, however. The aggressive lugs come at a cost, specifically decreased contact surface area on wet hard surfaces. This was very noticeable and, at
Salming Rule of Five...
2. FLEXIBLE: Highly flexible throughout, naturally more so at the forefoot “Ballet Line.”
3. FLAT: With a 4mm drop and very little arch support (especially sans insole), the Elements 2 has a very natural-feeling platform.
4. THIN: Low stack height and excellent ground feel make for an intimate, yet protected dialogue with the trail.
5. COMFORTABLE ANATOMIC FIT: As noted above, the Elements 2 is fairly roomy up front (for my E/2E width foot) but could use a touch more room laterally. Midfoot width is comfortable and the heel is secure, if a bit too structured.
In conclusion, the Elements 2 is a "nononsense" shoe that is outstanding for fast running or racing on technical trail. It will fit a variety of foot shapes and durability thus far is excellent. If the outsole compound can be adjusted to improve grip on wet surfaces, this will be a brilliant all-surface shoe that truly lives up to its name.
Disclaimer: Elements 2 shoes were bought for Marks own money. Review was written after 65 miles and reflects Marks thoughts of the shoe.