Trail running’s most recognised brand, Salomon, has just dropped its ‘23 trail running shoe collection. The brand says it has placed an emphasis on comfort with new models and by updating classic ones.
We at RUN mag were fortunate enough to get our hands on and test 3 of the updated classics - Sense Ride 5, Ultra Glide 2 and the Pulsar Trail Pro 2.
SENSE RIDE 5
Love the colour way. Reinforced when I read the name: ‘Rainy Day/Hot Sauce /Freesia’ Pull tag at the back.
Slight change in toe cap overlay design – more square - same overlay included around the lacing system which was previously fabric only.
Familiar Salomon technology call outs on the shoe – sensifit and contagrip. What did catch my eye was a new ‘energy foam’ call out on the mid sole
I have a narrow foot but could pull the quicklace tight for a snug fit around my foot with still plenty of wiggle room in the toe box. Nice big pocket to tuck the lace into.
Great to have a pull tag to assist getting into the shoe as the ankle colour is a little more plush than previous model.
Could feel the bounciness in the midsole immediately. Hello ‘energy foam’
Feels like a bigger surface area on my foot compared to previous model but without feeling clunky.
My foot stayed anchored and in place with no need for lace adjustment during the run
Great grip – lugs are same depth but have a different orientation pattern than previous model – giving great grip on rocks and roots. I found myself actually seeking out obstacles because the shoes just seem to traction and hoist off rocks and roots making it super fun.
They really do ALL terrain. I have had 3 runs in the Sense Ride 5s. All on super varied terrain. Tar, jeep tracks, tree roots, rocks and sand. They transitioned easily with a consistent response on all terrain. I would never normally run on tar with a trail shoe for fear of wearing lugs and clunk factor but these were light and bouncy on tar just as on trails.
I haven’t run more than 10km at a time so cannot yet attest to the cushioning long distance But loved that the bounciness did not infringe on the responsiveness on the short distances. I could still feel the ground feedback beneath my feet while feeling ‘hugged’ midsole.
With a month to go to MUT, I will definitely be using these babies on the 60km route for 3 main reasons: looks, sole hug and responsive factor. And I suspect cushioning will be number 4 reason…TBC post race…
ULTRA GLIDE 2
A softer, longer distance, moderate trail Salomon - yes please!! The Ultra Glide 2 is Salomon's mid range, highly cushioned trail shoe. It was designed for daily training on moderate terrain and ultra distances. The shoe features a soft and energetic Energy Foam midsole, rocker geometry and an updated upper.
We didn't test the original Ultra Glide but chatting to others who did and looking at the first edition, there doesn't seem a huge amount of difference. On closer inspection the midsole does seem a bit softer, the upper more voluminous and secure, plus the outer is more stable. Having worn them a while, we like that they are very comfortable on any surface including tar plus they're both secure and roomy. The relatively broad platform outsole and Energy Foam deliver an energised, soft, long distance ride with good stability. This is our first experience of a soft Salomon trail shoe and we applaud this breakthrough for a brand that's famous for rock busting, technical trail tamers. We always found them too hard for any smoother, less technical trails which we saffas have an abundance of nowadays, but we could run in these shoes for days. A lot of less intense trail runners who aspire to this category-leading, french brand will be excited to try these out. Here's why:
It's been dialed in to be a bit more precise. Overlays reaching down over the midfoot contribute to solid foothold for a softer upper.
This less minimalist upper is less reliant on careful lacing or lace grommet pressure when tightening them to be more secure on technical trails
Feels a bit stiff at first, but become more flexible after a few runs.
Fit is true to size.
Mesh is breathable for a bulkier upper and soft around the heel counter, but ventilation was not an issue in our Autumn temps.
Quicklace system is minimal and easy to adjust, plus tucks away into the tongue providing solid lockdown.
We did find that the lace pouch often got caught under the top lace, making it hard to tuck away without loosening.
No heel tab makes a relatively tight fit heel collar less easy to slide into, we are not sure why it's on some of their shoes, not all.
The outer sole unit:
A longer, more robust rock plate delivers forefoot stability. Combined with their rocker outer design, the forefoot flex point delivers stiff but smooth propulsion.
Unlike the dense midsoles in other Salomon models like S/Lab Ultrahe midsole these feature a dual density Energy Foam that has a top layer that is a bit firmer than the lower layer, sandwiching the softer material between the firm top layer and outsole.
This provides excellent response, a light, lively feel and an energetic return. They are much more forgiving.
The midsole is supportive and predictable which, when combined with the wider platform, provides excellent stability.
Rock protection is provided by a dense foam insert. The foam insert reduces the impact of sharper rocks while retaining flexibility and ground feel.
A 32/26 (6mm drop) stack height cushion and the relatively broad platform delivers effective underfoot stability and protection. A smooth easy flex from the midfoot through the ball of the foot into the toes mans no distinct flex point. Hence the apt name 'Glide'. Salomon reconfigured their rubber compound to be more sticky and durable. We heard the originals wore down fast but ours still look like new after 60km. Salomon’s standard Contagrip / chevron lug shape, pattern and depth, though non aggressive looking and easy underfoot on tar, gave surprisingly good grip on a wide variety of surfaces.
The protruding heel cushion is good on gentle inclines and declines but can feel mushy descending steep hills.
In very wet conditions, the 3-4mm Contagrip rubber lugs don’t grip well enough.
The Ultra Glide 2 is flexible, yet protective, well cushioned and very soft, though not mushy, unpredictable, or unstable.
Response is good with a noticeable energy return on up hills, flats and downhills.
On long downhills in particular which can be very jarring in technical trail shoes, the thick heel cushion Ultra Glide 2 rolled downhill with very limited impact.
The voluminous upper contributes to less overall stability than the underfoot platform delivers.
It seems the new rubber makes them great on rock, slab and in the wet but wouldn't choose these for a severely rocky trail .
The shoe is happiest at moderate paces over easy or moderate terrain. A midfoot strike produces a smooth roll forward which combined with a relatively low (for the stack height) weight of 276g in 10.5 uk /45 Euro makes these comfy shoes feel efficient.
We would recommend the Ultra Glide 2 for most trail running outside of the off trail, Otter type rocky mountain terrain, but they can handle short bits of that.
These are not the aggressive, snug fitting Salomons of old, rather a modern all round cruiser especially for long days out on moderate trails.
Opinions were split on retro colouration, but we generally dig what Salomon aptly describes as Rainy Day, Freesia, Hot Sauce”. It’s a well designed comfy shoe for long distances, with ample cushioning to keep you protected.
PULSAR TRAIL PRO 2
One of the more unique looking shoes in the Salomon stable is the Pulsar Trail Pro 2. With its slick looking aerodynamic design and sock-like fit, the Pulsar is a fast and fun shoe.
Underneath the shoe, Salomon has gone with the all terrain Contagrip MA outsole which uses an updated lug geometry to help you stay on your feet on a variety of surfaces.
The well stacked midsole is supported by Salomon’s Energy Blade technology to propel you forward and run faster. The thin TPU plate also assists with stability while moving fast. Above this is the Energy Surge foam to create a responsive and comfortable feeling.
The upper for me is of increased interest. Given the sock-like/ tight fitting look the shoe gives off, there is a surprising amount of space in the forefoot. The engineered mesh used in the upper is light, breathable and durable.
When running in this shoe we immediately felt that the fit was perfect for us. It was snug in the right places and at the same time, there was space enough for your feet not to feel like they were being constricted. As close to a perfect fit as you can get!!
The lightness and forward propulsion of the shoe made us want to move fast. However, over the longer distances the shoe did start to feel a lot firmer and our feet did start to feel the pressure.
With this shoe encouraging speed, we did also find it slightly unstable at times on the more technical terrain but for the more experienced runners this shouldn’t be a problem.
All-in-all, we found the Pulsar Trail Pro 2 to be a breath of fresh air, something unique yet practical and for those light footed racing snakes out there looking to smash PB’s around the 20km distance, this is a great shoe to take you there.
Weight: mens 280 grams (US10)
Stack: mens 33mm heel / 27mm forefoot (6mm drop)