2015 Salomon Sense Pro
Let me start by saying that I run about 60-70% of my miles on trails, so the footwear I choose better perform when the terrain gets rocky, or rutted, or sandy, or sloppy – or they’ll be sent to pasture in the back of my closet.
For the last year I have been running trails exclusively in Salomon trail shoes, and while there are certainly criticisms for the models I have chosen, I have been pretty pleased with their performance overall.
I’m currently training (and racing) in my second pair of Salomon Sense Pros. This shoe has not disappointed me when the going-gets-tough. I ran the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Miler in my most recent pair of Sense Pros, and my feet were comfortable the entire way through – didn’t even need to change them or my socks at my drop bag when I reached it. I also raced in them at the Bandit 15k this past weekend, placing 3rd overall and had zero complaints about my feet after bombing down 3 miles and 2k ft. of bedrock downhill. (Friends that ran the race all seem to be busted up because of that downhill…)
What do I like about the Sense Pros?
- Responsiveness: This shoe has a lower profile midsole that keeps you low to the ground, which means you can respond if you hit a rock or rut wrong and the ankle starts to turn.
- Cushion: I’ve taken these shoes on a variety of trails with varied terrain. Most of the trails near me are hard packed fire roads and rocky single tracks. The cushioning has kept my feet, legs and knees pretty happy.
- Protection: The light and flexible Propiotection™ plate sits just behind the outsole and has prevented any kind of forefoot bruising on trails with jagged rocks.
- Fit: The upper has a nice fit to it with a gusseted tongue that prevents rocks and other stuff from getting in there easily. I have a pretty solid D width (medium) foot and the upper hugs my foot all the way through. The toe box might be a bit snug for anyone with a wider foot.
Breathability: This might be TMI, but my feet sweat… a lot. I’ve been known to complete an easy 10 mile run in the heat of summer with shoes that looked like I spent the whole time wading through creeks. It’s gross. BUT, the Sense Pros are breathable enough to handle my freakishly sweaty feet! The uppers are woven tight enough to keep most dirt and debris out of the shoe, but open enough to allow some of the steam and sweat out of the shoe.
- Drainage: See above… but seriously, I fully submerged this shoe in creeks a few times during runs and within a few minutes the squishing was gone and so was the added water weight.
- Durability: This shoe has held up really well for me. I have almost 400 miles on my first pair and can still use them without worry. The midsole has maintained its soft feel, which is saying something because I’m SUUUUPER hard on shoes. On the 300-500 mile recommended replacement scale, I get about 300. The upper on my first pair (~400 miles) is fraying a little, but I think that is to be expected. Durability is good on this shoe, thumbs up.
What don’t I like about the Sense Pros?
- Lacing: I’m mostly just being stubborn, but I fuckin’ hate quick laces. They completely remove any shoe fit customization ability. Standard laces allow you to skip eyelets to alleviate pressure points, open up toe boxes, anchor heels down, and reduce bunion stress. Quick laces don’t. Quick laces help you transition from bike to run in a triathlon, and well, I’m no triathlete. So keep your damn quick laces off my trail shoes. That said, Salomon makes the best quick lace system I’ve tried.
Traction: The outsole on this shoe is wimpy. Unless you’re running dry, hard packed or rocky trails, it’s not going to be much help. I ran with these in the rain last Sunday and was slipping all over the place. In addition, the rain reduced my confidence when stepping on rocks. The rubber compound is soft, which is why it works so well on dry and hard-packed trails. But soft rubber doesn’t tend to be “sticky” rubber, which is why this shoe sucks on anything remotely wet. Also, there are basically no lugs on the outsole, which leaves me wanting more on sandy climbs and muddy terrain. Surprisingly, this outsole holds on to mud instead of shedding it, which is additionally problematic/annoying.
As I said, this shoe has been great for the most part. My feet, legs, and joints have been comfortable and healthy while running in these and I have very few complaints as you can see above. I think if you spend most of your trail time in dry climates, this shoe should perform spectacularly for you. If you live in an area where you get a fair amount of rain and weather, you might want to look at one of Salomon’s more aggressive shoes, like the Speedcross or Fellraiser.
Have you tried the Sense Pros? Think I missed something? Have a different experience than I did? Share them in the comments!