To me, and many other trail and mountain runners, the Salming Distance D1 with a bit more robust and rugged sole would be a dream!
A great shoe just got better! Or actually, I use and love them both. The Salming Distance D1 and it’s younger cousin Salming Distance A2, which I have had the opportunity to try out during the autumn. The new version should not be seen as a replacement as far as I see it, I use them both for different purposes. Please also keep in mind that these thoughts are my own and what works for me might not work for you. Also, my use of these running shoes is probably different from the typical road runner.
Official site: www.salmingrunning.com
The fit is quite narrow, something I really appreciate, and it’s very comfortable. The main difference between the two models is that the Distance D1 is a three layer construction whereas the Distance A2 is a two layer construction. Apart from that, they are pretty much the same. However, that has some impact on the feel and characteristics of the shoes. The Distance D1 obviously has more fabric which means it feels more padded, and even if I haven’t tried the shoe for really long distances (i.e. ultras covering many hours of running), I would imagine that this model would stay comfortable for an extended period of time.
The Distance A2 on the other hand is a lighter shoe which would be beneficial for road racing up to, say, marathon distances. It also feels “faster” than the Distance D1. The soles are pretty much the same though, so ground contact feels similar.
The Distance A2 feels bigger overall, possibly due to less fabric being used, so I would suggest to get a half-size smaller shoe compared to Distance D1. The toe box is also slightly wider in Distance A2, something to be aware about since some runners prefer a more narrow fit for the toes.
Speaking of size, there is one thing that bothers me regardless of shoe manufacturer. Knowing that the US/UK/EUR size comparison is far from consistent between manufacturers, I was hoping for the cm-measure to be more exact. In the best of worlds, a shoe marked 27.0 cm would fit a foot that is 27.0 cm long regardless of who made the shoe. This, as it turns out, is rarely the case, resulting in the cm-measure being no more precise than any other measure.
Something for shoe makers to think about. Imagine knowing that your foot is exactly 27.2 cm long, and that you want around 1 cm of space between toe and shoe. The shoe marked 28.0 cm or 28.5 cm would be your size to choose. Easy. Yes, you would still have to actually try the shoe on, but it would at least simplify buying new shoes from a known maker. Like buying Salming Distance A2 when you already have the Distance D1. Just sayin’.
So both models are great, and I use the Distance D1 for dirt roads and lighter trail, and the Distance A2 for road racing. I would feel confident to use the Distance D1 for ultra distances any day, and will do so when I decide to do an ultra which is free from rocks, climbing and dense forest. Which haven’t happened yet. That brings me to the last point, the outer sole. For my kind of running, like in the mountains, I would appreciate a bit more traction. To me, and many other trail and mountain runners, the Salming Distance D1 with a bit more robust and rugged sole would be a dream!
Last but not least a small idea about lacing your shoes that you could try. Lacing your shoes this way supposedly keep your foot more firmly against the back of the shoe reducing heel slippage. During an ultra you might run downhill for several thousands of meters, and this technique might help keeping your toes away from the front of the shoe. However, if you do like the ultra fashion statement that comes with black toe nails, this is not for you.