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Salomon Sonic 3 Accelerate - Women's Review

A squeaky plastic exterior meets a seemingly inflatable inner collar in this underwhelmingly constructed pair of trainers
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Price:  $130 List | $130.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Light, unique
Cons:  Uncomfortable, squeaky, unusual
Manufacturer:   Salomon
By Ally Meller ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 22, 2020
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 15
  • Responsiveness - 25% 5
  • Landing Comfort - 25% 5
  • Weight - 20% 9
  • Durability - 10% 4
  • Upper Comfort - 10% 4
  • Breathability - 10% 4

Our Verdict

We will never get back the miles traveled in this pair of shoes. Runners looking for a comfy, lightweight option will have better luck elsewhere. These unique kicks boast a low weight and Ortholite insoles but not much else, in our humble opinion. We love other gear produced by Salomon, but we don't necessarily recommend the Sonic 3 Accelerate. The exterior is constructed of what seems to be noisy plastic, and the collar is a little too unconventional for our tastes. We admit Salomon pulled off a sleek and stylish aesthetic, though!

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

We love running, so to say we didn't look forward to runs in these shoes is saying a lot. The nearly nonexistent weight and comfortable landing are valuable components, but they aren't enough. The tough plastic-y feel and buoy-like architecture left us scratching our heads. If the structure were more foot-shaped, these shoes would have the potential to feel weightless, but alas, they failed to impress us.

Performance Comparison


The pastel color scheme of these Salomons complements the sunset nicely  though we weren't psyched to wear these more than we had to.
The pastel color scheme of these Salomons complements the sunset nicely, though we weren't psyched to wear these more than we had to.

Responsiveness


The heel to toe transition in the Sonic Accelerate is pretty effortless. It didn't outperform the rest of the bunch as we expected, but these shoes definitely provide a smooth and energetic ride. The streamlined fit allowed us to push hard and ratchet up our speed days, but, unfortunately, after just a few laps around the track, our team of racers wanted to take these shoes off.

Four miles later and the plastic-y sensation persists.
Four miles later and the plastic-y sensation persists.

Landing Comfort


The Sonic Accelerate isn't a high scorer in this metric but didn't necessarily disappoint us. The Ortholite insole provides the right amount of landing comfort, and the foam bottom properly absorbs impact. This shoe truly did reduce some of the residual vibrations from nonstop pavement pounding. Could be better, could be worse, the landing comfort of these kicks earned an uninspiring average score.

The stiff laces and lack of tongue cushion marry to create a shoe that  to quote Shania Twain  don't impress-a me much.
The stiff laces and lack of tongue cushion marry to create a shoe that, to quote Shania Twain, don't impress-a me much.

Weight


The Sonic 3 Accelerate is the second lightest shoe we tested, hooray for a redeeming quality! The Ortholite sole is light and cozy, while the Optivibe midsole combines two different types of foam to keep the weight down. The only true rubber is used on the outsole, which contributes to slightly-below-average durability.

These shoes are so light that the breeze coming off the ocean might sweep them away!
These shoes are so light that the breeze coming off the ocean might sweep them away!

Durability


Because these plastic foot prisons are made up of lightweight foam, they don't hold up as well as their competitors. The foam gets pounded out quicker than we like, especially considering the price tag.

This pair of kicks has decent responsiveness  but they are not as impact absorbing as we'd like.
This pair of kicks has decent responsiveness, but they are not as impact absorbing as we'd like.

Upper Comfort


This is where the Sonic Accelerate tanks big time. The toebox cuts in a bit too early, creating a tight, unrelenting space. Unfortunately, this snug fit and less breathable material gave our main tester pinky toe blisters. As mentioned above, the collar is unique with a rather buoyant, inner-tube feeling that is very reminiscent of a lifejacket. Above the heel, the stiff material comes together, and just kind of… exists as a floppy piece of felt. Our runners didn't like the amount of midrun heel slippage this shoe produced. The laces are also smooth and tightly wound; they slip out slightly while in motion but don't cut into the top of the foot very badly.

We don't love the unique heel collar of this pair.
We don't love the unique heel collar of this pair.

Breathability


The unique material os this shoe is a bit stiffer and less breathable than that of a traditional jogger. It feels more synthetic than other pairs we tested, so we recommend looking elsewhere to up the breathability ante.

The nontraditional materials of these shoes makes them surprisingly unbreathable.
The nontraditional materials of these shoes makes them surprisingly unbreathable.

Value


The price of this shoe is on par with many others in our review. However, we'd prefer a more durable and comfortable kick if we're going to shell out this much cash.

Conclusion


If you have tons of space and money, buy this shoe. But it isn't as durable or versatile as other shoes we reviewed, and, for that reason, we're out. It's light, fresh, and quick but doesn't stack up as we'd hoped. Tried and true, the traditional runners we reviewed stand heads above the Sonic 3 Accelerate. That said, for runners looking for a lightweight shoe for short and speedy track days, this is a fair option. We honestly don't hate this shoe, but we also don't love it; we rate it as unanimously, "meh." If we had limitless cash and space, we'd probably want to hang onto these for occasional (and short!) track workouts. Since we have neither the funds nor the closet space, we agree to pass on this bit of gear. Sorry, Salomon.

Sorry  it's a no from us dawg.
Sorry, it's a no from us dawg.

Ally Meller