Gear

Shoe of the Week: Salming EnRoute 3

The EnRoute 3 from Sweden’s premier running brand is a light, bouncy, no-nonsense trainer/racer that moves smoothly and comfortably with your foot.

Salming EnRoute 3 Review

Weight: 8.5 oz M, 6.8 oz W

Offset: 6mm heel/toe drop (24.5mm / 18.5mm)

Price: $145

Salming EnRoute 3
photo: 101 Degrees West

Top Line

A simple but snappy shoe that fits the foot’s shape and moves the way the foot naturally wants to move. In a time when the majority of shoes have eschewed flexibility for stiff rockers, it is refreshing to find one that allows you to use your toes, without being minimal.

What’s New

The upper on version 3 of the EnRoute is simpler, a light, foot-hugging, double-layer knit with a stretchy, gusseted tongue. The midsole compound has been tweaked to be livelier and more flexible.

This is the shoe for you if…

You prefer a flexible shoe that mimics the action of the foot, with a lightly-cushioned, slightly-bouncy ride.

First Runs

What sets the EnRoute 3 apart is how well it fits and moves with the foot. It is shaped like my foot, snugging and securing the heel and arch while relaxing and opening up at the ball to allow for toe splay and flex. The shoe is longer than most for the size, and the rubberized toe bumper creates a tall, roomy space for my long morton’s toe that is perennially blistered and black from bumping the front of most shoes.

Despite the whole shoe being longer, however, the flex point actually falls sooner along the length of the shoe than in most shoes. A staple of Salming’s shoe design is “62/75”—the numbers denoting the distance from the heel to the ball of the foot (62% of the length), and the angle of the flex at that point (75°). That 75° angle they call the “ballet line,” tracing where your foot lifts off the ground when raising onto your toes, a more slanted flex line than found on most running shoes.

In the midfoot before the 62% line, the EnRoute has an X-shaped torsion plate, keeping the shoe more rigid and helping it transition quickly to the forefoot, where deep flex grooves let the ball bend and toes do their thing without fighting the shoe.

Salming EnRoute 3 flex
photo: 101 Degrees West

What this means to me is that the shoe flexes where my foot bends—all the way out to the 5th metatarsal—delivering an amazing feeling of stability as my toes engage and grip, smooth motion as my foot extends behind me, and power as I push off. If the “comfort filter” means the shoe lets you move in your preferred motion path, everything falling in place as you roll through the stride, these fit the bill for me. With my longer toes, I usually have to decide between a shoe flexing in the right place or risking bloody tips. The Salmings feel designed for my foot. And, unlike a rocker shoe that rolls my foot off the toe early, these stay flat until my foot flexes, encouraging hip extension and activating my arch and toes.

While the EnRoute 3 offers the flexibility of a minimalist shoe, they also have a moderate 6mm heel-toe drop, plus a thin-but-adequate layer of Salming’s proprietary bouncy EVA blend that feels soft on impact but not squishy, firming up nicely for push-off—as we’ve come to expect from modern energy-return foams. This blend trends toward the responsive end of the spectrum, with a pad of softer foam inserted below the heel for those who need it.

If you’ve never tried Salming shoes (or even heard of them) the EnRoute 3 is a great introduction. For my stride, it’s a sweet spot shoe in terms of height, drop and firmness, with a shape that fits and geometry that flows with your stride. And if your foot is as weird as mine, with toes too long, it might be a game changer.

Salming slogan
photo: 101 Degrees West

Similar shoes: Altra Torin 4 Plush, Inov-8 Road Claw 275 Knit, On CloudFlow 2, Skechers GOrun 7+ Hyper