Reviews You Can Rely On

Salomon Pulsar Trail - Women's Review

Great for fire roads and some technical terrain, this shoe shines when you are looking for a smooth ride on moderately-challenging surfaces
salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review
Credit: Salomon
Price:  $130 List
Manufacturer:   Salomon
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 14, 2022
75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 20
  • Foot Protection - 25% 7.0
  • Traction - 20% 8.0
  • Sensitivity - 15% 7.0
  • Stability - 15% 8.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 8.0
  • Weight - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Salomon Pulsar Trail is a great shoe for trail runners who want comfort above all else. With a cushy 32mm stack height and only a 6mm drop, this plush trail runner offers enough protection to make it a rugged shoe without making it feel like a cleat or hiking boot. The lugs and protection are not suited for some aggressive terrain types, but they hold their own on most trails. The Pulsar never became our favorite shoe, but it definitely climbed through the ranks to become one of our top choices for long-distance trail days. If you want a comfortable and stable trail runner with great traction and a spacious toe box, you will likely love the Pulsar Trail.
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable
Strong traction
Well-cushioned
Very stable
Moderate weight
REASONS TO AVOID
Less rugged
Lacks some protective features
Slightly less sensitive

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $130 List
$97.46 at Backcountry
$125 List
Check Price at REI
$64.98 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$100 List
$80.93 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
75
80
79
78
69
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Comfortable, strong traction, well-cushioned, very stable, moderate weightWell-cushioned midsole, excellent traction, good stability, excellent at everything including long distances, high valueLight, very protective, excellent mud shed, superior traction, surprisingly stableGreat traction, streamlined profile, encourages speedAffordable, comfortable, good crossover shoe, great for beginning trail runners
Cons Less rugged, lacks some protective features, slightly less sensitiveStack height takes some getting used to, less customizable lacebedNarrow fit, runs small, rigid construction, takes time to break-inLess protective, runs narrowNot rugged enough for technical trails, less sensitive
Bottom Line Great for fire roads and some technical terrain, this shoe shines when you are looking for a smooth ride on moderately-challenging surfacesWith a comfortable and responsive midsole and enough room in the forefoot for toe wiggle, you'll be happy running mile after mileStable and deliciously sticky, this contender is just a crusher all the way around, built for training runs and long distances alikeWhen you are looking to ratchet up the speed on technical trails, this is the lightweight and snug-fitting shoe you'll reach forIf you are looking for an affordable shoe to run light trails and fire roads, look no further because this is the perfect shoe for you
Rating Categories Salomon Pulsar Hoka Torrent 2 - Wo... Dynafit Feline SL -... Saucony Peregrine 12 Brooks Divide 2 - W...
Foot Protection (25%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Traction (20%)
8.0
9.0
10.0
9.0
7.0
Sensitivity (15%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Stability (15%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Comfort and Fit (15%)
8.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
Weight (10%)
7.0
9.0
6.0
9.0
8.0
Specs Salomon Pulsar Hoka Torrent 2 - Wo... Dynafit Feline SL -... Saucony Peregrine 12 Brooks Divide 2 - W...
Measured Weight (per shoe) 8.54 oz (size 7) 7.41 oz (size 7)
8.6 oz (size 9)
9.45 oz (size 7)
9.8 oz (size 9)
7.76 oz (size 7) 8.0 oz (size 7)
Heel-to-Toe Drop 6 mm 5 mm 8 mm 4 mm 8 mm
Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot) 32.6 mm, 26.6 mm 31 mm Not disclosed 26.5 mm, 22.5 mm 20 mm, 12 mm
Upper Textile/synthetic Engineered mesh Mesh, continuous nylon Recycled polyester Air-mesh Synthetic mesh
Midsole EVA, Olefin OBC, TPU EVA Feline SL midsole PWRRUN EVA
Outsole Contragrip MA rubber Rubber Sticky Pomoco Outer PWRTRAC rubber Rubber
Rock Plate? Not disclosed None Not disclosed Yes Yes
Wide Version Available? No No No Yes No
Sizes Available 5 - 11 6 - 11 5 - 11 5 - 12 5 - 12

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Salomon Pulsar Trail is another shoe we can't get enough of. This 6mm drop trail runner features 4mm lugs, an All Terrain Contragrip outsole, and a minimalistic Energy Blade for added stability and oomph. This affordable and grippy trail shoe will help you comfortably handle mud, loose terrain, and steep granite faces with confidence.

Performance Comparison


salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - the pulsar trail's grip is perfect for flowy granite faces.
The Pulsar Trail's grip is perfect for flowy granite faces.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Foot Protection


The Pulsar Trail is not the most protective shoe in our lineup — on Salomon's website, it is listed as a shoe with light protection, and we found this to be very true. The Pulsar hosts a soft rubber toe cap for a first line of physical defense. Much like other Salomon-made shoes, the toe cap lives outside of the shoe, so it doesn't eat up precious toe box real estate. We love how the protective elements of the Pulsar are flexible, since this feature lends itself to a good ground feel, especially for such a cushy shoe. The ample underfoot cushioning protects your soles from being jabbed by sharp rocks and sticks.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - with a flexible yet protective rubber toe cap, your toes are...
With a flexible yet protective rubber toe cap, your toes are protected in a lightweight and pretty effective way.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

While the foot protection of the Pulsar is plenty for the average trail runner, some runners may prefer a bit more. If this is the case for you, plenty of options have stronger supports, rock plates, and beefier toe caps. Additionally, the Pulsar doesn't have any waterproofing, so water seeps in quite quickly. Because it is such a breathable shoe, the inner body dries fairly quickly, but this isn't our first choice when we know we have a lot of water crossings. Sand and fine particulates can infiltrate, but not in an annoying way. We awarded the Pulsar an average shoe in this metric simply because we have seen better, but we have also seen worse.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - the combination of comfort and protection on the pulsar makes it a...
The combination of comfort and protection on the Pulsar makes it a shoe we love for long, flowing downhill runs.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Traction


The All Terrain Contagrip outsole of the Pulsar provides excellent trail confidence. The lugs aren't the burliest, but their traction pattern offers a grippy hold for loose terrain. We didn't notice the lugs wearing down after running fire roads and hard-packed, rocky trails, which we have often observed on more aggressive lugs.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - while not the burliest lugs we have ever seen, the traction on the...
While not the burliest lugs we have ever seen, the traction on the Pulsar is grippy when it matters the most.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

The Pulsar was made with mixed terrain trails in mind, and it quickly became one of our favorite shoes for mild trails. With reliable traction and a springy finish, we felt comfortable ripping up flowy trails. This won't be your go-to shoe for heavy-duty mountain running, but if single-track trails are your jam, the Pulsar is a great choice.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - the gripping technology that adorns the outsole of the pulsar...
The gripping technology that adorns the outsole of the Pulsar performed really well during our downhill granite test.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Sensitivity


For a self-proclaimed maximally cushioned shoe, the Pulsar Trail provides a lot of information about the terrain beneath your feet. This shoe has a 6mm drop, sitting at 32.6mm at its highest and 26.6mm at its lowest. Yet again, we have found that this slightly lower-than-average differential provides a valuable underfoot feel.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - the cushioning of the pulsar inhibits some of its sensitivity. while...
The cushioning of the Pulsar inhibits some of its sensitivity. While this shoe doesn't provide the most intimate trail experience, it is a great choice if you want to split the difference between comfort and sensivity.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

There are certainly more sensitive options on the market, but we love the balance that the Pulsar strikes. The sensitivity is on par with many other well-cushioned options, but it is less sensitive than others. If you want an ultra-comfy shoe that offers above-average sensitivity, you will likely love how the Pulsar feels and fits.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - even on hard terrain, the cushion of the pulsar protects your feet...
Even on hard terrain, the cushion of the Pulsar protects your feet so you can lay down extra miles.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Stability


The combination of the low heel-to-toe differential and high-ish stack height make for a pretty stable shoe. We love when high-stack shoes feature lower differentials because it greatly affects how stable the shoe feels.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - we are obsessed with trail shoes that have a 4mm - 6mm heel-to-toe...
We are obsessed with trail shoes that have a 4mm - 6mm heel-to-toe differential. The Pulsar sits at 6mm, so it definitely fits the bill.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

The Pulsar Trail is a neutrally supportive shoe by design, but its technical fit features add to its stability. It features Salomon's EndoFit, an internal compression system that keeps your foot right where you want it. By including a strategy to ensure a secure fit, Salomon created a stable and well-fitting shoe suitable for an array of foot shapes.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - we trust the pulsar to take us up winding mountain trails because of...
We trust the Pulsar to take us up winding mountain trails because of how well-fitting and strong it is.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Comfort and Fit


It is no surprise that this maximally cushioned trail running shoe scored well in this metric. The responsive and comfortable EVA foam interior is springy and comfortable, even on punishing terrain. The EndoFit interior comfortably stabilizes your feet so you can focus on your run, not discomfort in your shoes.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - the padded tongue helps cushion the tough yet tiny laces. while not...
The padded tongue helps cushion the tough yet tiny laces. While not always our favorite style of shoelaces, we don't mind the Quicklace technology on the Pulsar.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

The Quicklace system typically isn't our favorite for comfort. On the Pulsar, though, the tongue is padded enough to prevent the strong yet thin laces from cutting into the top of the foot. The toe box is also spacious enough for toes to splay, which is super important for overall form, but svelte enough not to feel clunky or sloppy. We love that the rubber toe cap is on the outside of the toe box, so it doesn't cut into that precious real estate. The soft rubber toe cap isn't as protective as firmer options, but it also creates a more comfortable downhill experience. If you want a running shoe that cushions your toes and toenails on the downhill, you'll like the soft interior of the Pulsar.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - in a well-cushioned shoe like the pulsar, black toenails are a thing...
In a well-cushioned shoe like the Pulsar, black toenails are a thing of the past. We like how kind these kicks are to our toes on our downhill jaunts.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Weight


Much like in many other metrics, the Pulsar earned a slightly above-average score. It isn't the lightest shoe in our lineup, but it certainly isn't the heaviest. Each women's size 7 shoe weighs in at 8.54 ounces. This well-fitting shoe felt comfortable on the trail, and we never felt weighted down. The Pulsar is also light enough to truly feel responsive.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - the pulsar trail is lighter than many, which is quite a feat...
The Pulsar Trail is lighter than many, which is quite a feat considering how comfortable they are.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Should You Buy the Salomon Pulsar Trail?


The Pulsar ended up in the middle of our very competitive pack of trail runners. Excuse the oxymoron, but this minimalistic maximalist shoe is a stripped-down version of bulkier options. It provides plenty of comfort, traction, and stability for a lower price than some of our stand-out favorites. If you aren't entirely sure what you are looking for in a trail shoe, checking out the Pulsar is a solid place to start.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - with plenty of cushion, enough protection, and strong traction for...
With plenty of cushion, enough protection, and strong traction for intermediate trails, its no wonder the Pulsar Trail quickly became one of our favorites for long trail days.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Additionally, the Pulsar is a great shoe if you are a hiker who is running curious. Its unoffensive fit and strong grip make it a better option for trail-running newbies. Trail shoes tend to be tougher and harder to break in than other types of athletic shoes and if that is a headache that you don't want to confront, the Pulsar could be a great choice.

salomon pulsar trail for women trail running shoes review - the pulsar is one of our long-distance superstars because of how...
The Pulsar is one of our long-distance superstars because of how comfortable it is, even as the miles creep up.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?


If you love a well-cushioned shoe, the Hoka Torrent 2 provides a similar amount of cushion to the Pulsar Trail but with a totally different shape. The Altra Lone Peak 6 is also a favorite of ours as it offers the softest, most lush cushion of all of the shoes we tested. If you want a less responsive and slightly roomier shoe, the Salomon Sense Ride 4 might be more up your alley. And finally, if more sensitivity and less cushion are what you're after, the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 is flexible and comfortable for an intimate trail experience.

Ally Arcuri
 
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More