Salomon Sonic RA Pro 2 - Women's Review
Cons: Less cushioning
Our Analysis and Test Results
A quick running shoe with lots of bounce and loads of comfort, the Salomon Sonic RA Pro 2 takes home our Top Pick for Speed Award.
Judging by this shoe's high all-around score, it's no surprise that the Sonic took home one of our highest awards.
Running can be, especially over time, a fairly high-impact sport. We pound on pavement, dart through technical trails, and log mile after mile on the treadmill. These miles add up, and many runners find themselves looking for a shoe that can protect them from some of the inevitable aches and pains associated with a lifetime (or even just an afternoon) of running. The "landing comfort" section of this review explains each shoe's ability to provide comfort from the bottom of the shoe's sole.
The Sonic is by no means the most cushioned shoe in this review, so if you're looking for maximum comfort, this is not the place. Compared to the Hoka models, like the Bondi and Clifton, the Sonic is much more minimalist. The underfoot padding is thinner than that of even the Brooks models, like the Adrenaline GTS 19. This shoe is not uncomfortable by any means, but it does have slightly less cushioning than your average all-around running shoe. As we'll get to soon, however, this isn't necessarily a bad thing depending on what you're looking for in your running shoe.
In our review, "responsiveness" is kind of the opposite of "landing comfort." While the previous metric described a shoe's ability to cushion our step, "responsiveness" explains a shoe's ability to propel us forward. In this category, we look at each product's bounce and, as they say, pep in its step.
The Sonic is one of the most responsive shoes that we tested, leading to its place as our Top Pick for Speed winner. We love the Sonic's bouncy build and lightweight design, and our testers unanimously agreed that the Sonic is our first choice for speed work. Compared to the previous award winner in this category, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus, the Sonic has about equal responsiveness but is more comfortable, which we'll describe more of below.
In general, the average runner wants a shoe that is a bit cushioned and a bit responsive. Shoes that strike this balance well without being too focused in one arena make for great all-around shoes; we'd recommend the Brooks Adrenaline for this. If you're looking for a maximum-cushioned shoe for long, slow runs, this category might not be as important to you. But if you're planning on doing speed workouts or signing up for some races, the Sonic is an excellent choice.
If "landing comfort" tells us how cushioned a shoe is on its bottom, "upper comfort" describes how cozy a shoe is on top. For this category, our testing team looked at each shoe's tongue and heel padding, breathability, toe room, and material comfort.
The Sonic impressed us in this category. Compared to other shoes in its class, like the Nike Pegasus, this lightweight shoe is incredibly comfortable. The tongue is thin, but it does have some padding. While the Brooks models, like the Glycerin, have a super-padded tongue, the Sonic's is much thinner. However, for such a light weight, the tongue is much more comfortable than thin models like the Altra Duo. The heel is also supremely cushioned, and we love the awesome padding rail that surrounds the shoe's interior. From one side of the tongue to the other, the heel padding adds a tremendous amount of overall comfort.
The Sonic is well ventilated and highly breathable; this is an excellent aspect for speed work when we're working up a sweat, and we'd recommend this shoe for warmer days. The inner material is also super soft, a feature we did not overlook.
One often-overlooked factor that keeps our bodies healthy and happy is shoe stability. Some running shoes are designed with this as a major priority, aiming to correct gait and urge the foot in a more natural direction. Other shoes are designed to be neutral, but even these models recognize that some support is important for every runner. In this category, we look at each product's ability to support us through our full range of motion, on even and uneven terrain.
In short, the Sonic has an average amount of support. While the mesh upper material is relatively light and flexible, Salomon did include some thicker stripes that help support the foot laterally. There's also great support in the toe. With stiff material around the front of the shoe, our foot is protected from accidentally kicking or tripping over something.
Weight isn't everything. We know that features add weight, and if you're looking for extra cushioning and super cozy uppers, your shoe is going to be a bit heavier. That being said, too much weight can quite literally weigh you down, impacting your gait and making you work harder to keep up your speed. We generally recommend using weight as a secondary metric; first, we'd identify the other metrics that are most important to you, then we'd pick the top contenders in those categories, and finally, we'd compare their weights.
At just 6.8 ounces, the Sonic is an astonishingly lightweight running shoe. This shoe was tied for first place in this category, which we found to be a bit surprising. With a high score in "upper comfort," we'd expect the weight to be a bit higher. We were hardpressed to find a shoe with such a great balance of comfort and weight. This lightweight design is undeniably one of the reasons we chose the Sonic as our Top Pick for Speed.
As a lightweight shoe with great responsiveness and plenty of upper comfort, the Sonic is a great choice for speed days and a solid choice for average days as well. While we might want something beefier for long runs, we recommend it for short distances or days when weight and speed matter most.
The Sonic's price is on the higher side of average for this review. The bulk of shoes we tested are between $120 and $130, with a handful up to $150 and one at $180. Our Editors' Choice Award winner is also $130 but is more of an all-around shoe with less responsiveness, more comfort, and a heavier weight. If you're in the market for a lightweight shoe that's made to go fast, the Sonic is very reasonably priced.
The Salomon Sonic RA Pro 2 is one of the best new shoes we've seen this year. We love how comfortable the upper is and found its balance of comfort and weight truly astonishing. We found a springy, responsive sole that has an excellent balance of a breathable upper and fit. We had no problem awarding this shoe our Top Pick for Speed and can't wait to hit the track!
— Lauren DeLaunay
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