Salomon started out as a classic European-style ski and mountaineering brand. It was founded in the years after World War II and is still based in the French Alps. Not only does the brand sponsor the world’s most successful (and glamorous) mountain runners, it also has an equally impressive selection of shoes for top performance in all conditions.
That’s all a way of saying that I was very excited to put the Sense Ride 3 to the test – even if I was a little intimidated by its pedigree. Here are my thoughts on the trail running shoe.
How I tested
I tested the Salomon Sense Ride 3 against criteria recommended by experts as part of the 2020 SELF Certified Sneaker Awards. You can read more about their criteria here. As it turned out, I liked the shoes so much that I used them way more than necessary for testing purposes, taking them out on dusty trails in Southern California, more technical terrain in the Mount Hood, Oregon area, on sun-baked, hard dirt, and on the mix -and-match surfaces in my local park in Brooklyn.
Because trail running speeds are so different, it̵
Read more about my thoughts on the expert recommended criteria below.
I took the time to point out Salomon’s origins because the alpine DNA is there as soon as you slip into these shoes. It’s a little tricky to explain, but while other brands start out with a running shoe and build it up for the trails, it feels like Salomon starts out with a mountaineering boot and pulls it off into a lightweight shoe for mountain running. It works out. With no external design considerations or obvious features, the shoe has a subtle stiffness that feels protective to the feet but is nimble nonetheless. It sits snugly on the heel and then opens up into a generous toe box that promotes maximum contact with the metatarsus when touching the ground. The lightweight mesh upper is breathable and does not get damp even when soaked with sweat or water. It is reinforced by a thin but durable film that is bonded to the fabric to protect the toe and foot from stones, sticks, and other sharp objects. The sexy note: Instead of standard laces, the Sense Ride 3 has a thin black nylon cord that is tightened and secured with a discreet toggle. (A toggle blocked briefly once when I took off my shoes, but after a little pull it was quickly back in the groove.)
Shape of the shoe
It’s a recurring theme on Sense Ride 3: it fits like a glove. This is a literal observation; It works with the foot to protect and improve how a driving glove feels on a long country drive without adding too much luggage.
Feeling of the shoe
While some shoes – especially the current generation of road racing shoes – contain internal elements to propel the foot forward in the name of greater efficiency, the Sense Ride 3 feels almost balanced in its construction and is elegantly crafted to deliver an even metatarsal stroke promote. Biomechanics experts can discuss what the “best” run is, but in many ways this isn’t as important on the trails as conditions and terrain change so often and dramatically. As a result, your step will also change. If anything, expecting these step changes is important – it’s part of the fun! However, a metatarsal strike is ideal for trail running as this foot plant has the most contact with the ground and distributes the greatest force over the largest surface for maximum traction.
How my body felt during and after the activity
Despite the aforementioned stiffness and structural rigidity, the shoe is lightweight and responsive. The midsole material also provides enough cushion so that the feet feel awake during longer training sessions on trails, while other shoes can make feet sore when the minutes and kilometers pile up. This also has the effect that a zipper stays in the legs while the session goes on. It’s not a trivial point: you’re more likely to trip and fall when your body gets tired and your form breaks from the challenges of the trail at the end of a long session than because of the shoe!
Company’s right of return
Salomon has a 30-day return policy for undamaged shoes and a two-year guarantee against defects. Unless you’re buying directly from the brand, be sure to check the return and exchange policies of the retailer you choose.
The bottom line
After repeated attempts, the logic behind the Sense Ride 3 becomes clear. It’s an agile and versatile trail running shoe that’s great for off-road beginners, your first trail race, and even light day hikes. With its touch of European glamor, it’s a bit cooler than some of the louder dogs on the trail – after a session in the woods or in the mountains, you’ll likely be the person in the cafe with just a little bit of feet sticking out from under the table .