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Road Running Shoes • August 14, 2020

Salming EnRoute 3 Performance Review

salming enroute 3 - feature

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 8 oz. (227 g) for a US M9.0/ 6.8 oz. (193 g) for a US W9.0
  • Features a light knit upper with gusseted tongue
  • Recoil+ midsole provides a slightly firm, yet responsive ride
  • Not really shoe-related– if you’ve tried the Perfect Bacon Bowl, drop your thoughts in the comments

ADRIENNE: I have a confession. When the original Salming Miles came out, I thought this was an offshoot or knock-off of fellow Euro Boi Salomon. Boy was I wrong––reviews started popping up and the Swedish-designed shoe was steadily racking up praise. Because the naïve American in me didn’t initially give the brand much thought, this is as much an apology to Salming as it is a review. (Salming, by the way, is a callback to the name of the company’s founder, Börje Salming, the legendary Scandinavian hockey defenseman.)

Salming proudly touts this shoe as “No Nonsense,” the company’s slogan. Cut out the BS. I found these shoes to be unique, unlike many of the overly teched-out shoes peppering the market. If you’ve read some of my reviews before, you know I have a soft spot for simple, traditional shoes. So read on if you have room in your hearts and your shoe racks for a no-BS offering (provided you don’t mind pink).

GRAY: I love training. Piling up miles, week after week––that’s what gets me going. If anything, racing is a bonus. So with all races canceled for the foreseeable future and a test shoe advertising no-nonsense reliability, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t even a little excited.

I was hoping for a stable mileage hog in the EnRoute 3. Ya know, something consistent and predictable in a time when the only thing you can count on is reading about C-who-must-not-
be-named in your Apple News updates. So let’s cut to the chase: I could not have asked for a better shoe to satisfy such a craving. The ER3 isn’t full of flashy tech, but it gets the job done.

Oh, and should you be wanting a shoe to match your dayglow hazmat suit, Salming has you covered. I got a “compliment” on the ER3 on more than one occasion (while social distancing, of course).

salming enroute 3 - women side

The Good

ADRIENNE: Let’s start by unpacking what makes the EnRoute 3 “no nonsense.” The upper gets a major overhaul with a light knit construction, replacing last year’s Exoskeleton that many weren’t too fond of. A gusseted tongue replaces the T-shaped one of previous versions, and it’s paired with an internal bootie that holds the foot in place well. Other than an oddly placed (but kinda stylish) toe cap, the upper is as simple as can be––the only decoration being a logo on each side of the shoe and a Swedish flag on the tongue. The internal heel counter works well to cup the foot, and although I had concerns about the thin, flat laces, lockdown wasn’t a problem for me. Overall, I didn’t have to do much to adjust the fit to my liking.

Underneath the EnRoute 3 lies just enough Recoil+ SoftFOAM™ to get the job done. With a stack height of 24.5 (heel) and 18.5 (toe), these have ample ground feel and a surprising amount of cushioning and impact protection. Were it not for the Torsion Efficiency Unit providing some midfoot support, this would be a cushioned ballet slipper of a shoe. Yep, the EnRoute is flex-i-ble. A deep 75-degree flex groove from the medial axis of the body crosses the outsole, allowing for more natural foot movement. After 30 miles in this shoe, I see no wear whatsoever in the Durable Lightweight Rubber outsole.

While it doesn’t remind me of other shoes ride-wise, it isn’t jarringly foreign––the Saucony Kinvara 10 is the closest thing I can think of. The cushioning feels relatively firm but it isn’t unforgiving. It’s nothing that’ll knock your socks off, but that’s not what Salming is going for here.

I took the EnRoute 3 on a 12-mile long run, some easy recovery runs, and a 1-on/1-off fartlek. The EnRoute 3 is a shoe that runs with you and stays out of the way. I found it easy to access my natural stride and maintain clean mechanics. With zero break-in, these things were good to go at first try. The Recoil foam isn’t the bounciest I’ve tried, but it cushions impact well and noticed no energy lost on any of my runs. The cushion-weight ratio is great, coming in at 6.8 oz. for a W9.

A little on the aesthetics: The women’s version is VERY pink, but I couldn’t help but think they were cute (I’m a “look good, run good” kinda gal). I’m sure Triathletes and people like Thomas will love the double pull-tabs on the tongue and heel.

Those who want to really reconnect with their running, even if just on occasion, will like these shoes. The experience depends on you, and that’s a good thing for the ER3. Wear was minimal and durability should be a good 300-400 miles.

GRAY: From the first test jogs around my apartment’s parking lot, I was impressed by the step-in and fit of the ER3. The open mesh upper wraps the foot in a supple, secure package that doesn’t feel constricting. In most shoes, I wear an 11, but these gave me plenty of room in a 10.5 (granted, I’ve also got feet so narrow they make 80s skis look wide).

Like Adrienne, I was initially a bit concerned about the thin, elasticky laces. Even so, I was more than able to get my desired lockdown without miles of excess lace or awkward scrunching. Things felt secure through the midfoot, but the toebox left a healthy amount of room for splay.

With so many shoe heel collars going the way of the big swoosh’s elf-ear, a classic pull-tab is a welcome offering. A second pull-tab on the tongue––that’s like that Perfect Bacon Bowl from your last Amazon Prime order––you didn’t know you needed it, but now that you have it, you can’t imagine life without it.

But let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this review: the ride. These days, anybody who’s anybody has a stake in the arms race that is midsole foam. Newsflash: If you’re not on your A-game, you’ll soon be left in the dust.

Salming’s Recoil+ SoftFOAM™ combo in the ER3 brings something different to the table. It’s not soft, it’s not even springy. Between the Torsion Efficiency Unit in the midfoot and low-ish stack (at least in the year of the chonky boi), this shoe feels firm. That said, I put it in the good for a reason––it works.

The running wheel diagram Salming includes on the bottom of the box says it all: the ER3 just wants to roll. Find your stride and it’ll take you from cushioned landing to responsive toe-off with ease. The shoe proved a welcome pick for anything from unstructured recovery runs to moderate tempo efforts (and even the odd fartlek). Hell, depending on your goals, I think this could be a capable marathon shoe. At 8 oz. for a M9, you could do a lot worse.

Shop Salming EnRoute 3 – Men Shop Salming EnRoute 3 – Women salming enroute 3 - men's

The Bad

ADRIENNE: I noticed when I picked up the pace during intervals the EnRoute doesn’t have the get-up-and-go I’ve gotten used to. I had to work a little harder at faster paces. This is where flex isn’t always the best thing. At easy-moderate efforts, the ER3 felt smooth and presented no problems. Some runners may not like the 75-degree flex groove or need a little more rigidity to the shoe. Breathability is average and it’s a tad pricey at $145.

GRAY: As much as I enjoy the firm and stable ride, it’s also really my only knock against the shoe. Every so often the combination of the Torsion Efficiency Unit and the outsole felt blocky and stiff, like Salming had used a square for their running wheel or put you on tank treads. That said, I’ve gotten back into HR training, so I am making a concerted effort to run slow (something I have a general aversion to).

In any case, whether that feeling was down to colder morning temps or tired legs, I can’t be sure. But, the ER3 can feel a little harsh up-front cushioning-wise.

Shop Salming EnRoute 3 – Men Shop Salming EnRoute 3 – Women salming enroute 3 - men's outsole

Salming EnRoute 3 Conclusion

ADRIENNE: The Salming EnRoute 3 is an interesting, well-thought-out and well-built offering from the Swedes. I enjoyed the sensation of propelling myself through the gait cycle and enjoyed all my runs in the ER3. Salming seems to know what it is not, and I hope they continue to gain some traction in the US. Fans of lightweight, flexible daily trainers will likely enjoy this shoe.

GRAY: Like that dorky girl (or guy) in a cheesy rom-com, the ER3 does everything right but it just doesn’t have that bombshell wow factor. Salming has me sold, but I’m not sure they’ll be able to sway the junkies hooked on that TPU good good.

Which is a shame, because Salming really has put out a product that passes up the marketing bullshit and superfluous tech in favor of a reliable, no-nonsense ride.

You can pick up the Salming EnRoute 3 for $145 (on sale for $110 as we publish this review) by using the shop links below.

You can pick up the at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Salming EnRoute 3 – Men Shop Salming EnRoute 3 – Women salming enroute - men's tongue

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