Salomon Pulsar Trail - Women's Review
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Salomon Pulsar Trail - Women's
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|Pros||Comfortable, strong traction, well-cushioned, very stable, moderate weight||Comfortable, great traction, affordable, durable, packs out to fit your foot shape||Supremely comfortable, spacious toe box, far more durable than previous models, great stability||Light, very protective, excellent mud shed, superior traction, surprisingly stable||Affordable, responsive, beginner-friendly, familiar fit|
|Cons||Less rugged, lacks some protective features, slightly less sensitive||Might be too cushioned for some runners, slightly less sensitive||Zero-drop isn't for everyone, might be too soft for some||Narrow fit, runs small, rigid construction, takes time to break-in||Less aggressive traction, runs slightly narrow|
|Bottom Line||Great for fire roads and some technical terrain, this shoe shines when you are looking for a smooth ride on moderately-challenging surfaces||A great all-around trail shoe that hosts some of our favorite protective features, all for a relatively affordable price||This zero-drop trail runner takes trail running comfort to a whole new and ultra-protective level||Stable and deliciously sticky, this contender is just a crusher all the way around, built for training runs and long distances alike||An affordable shoe that is perfect for novice runners who want to take their trail legs for a spin|
|Rating Categories||Salomon Pulsar||Hoka Torrent 3 - Wo...||Altra Lone Peak 7 -...||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Brooks Divide 3 - W...|
|Foot Protection (25%)|
|Comfort and Fit (15%)|
|Specs||Salomon Pulsar||Hoka Torrent 3 - Wo...||Altra Lone Peak 7 -...||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Brooks Divide 3 - W...|
|Measured Weight (per shoe)||8.54 oz (size 7)||7.48 oz (size 7)||8.22 oz (size 7)||9.45 oz (size 7)||8.04 oz (size 7)|
|Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot)||32.6 mm, 26.6 mm||21 mm, 16mm||25 mm, 25 mm||Not disclosed||20 mm, 12 mm|
|Heel-to-Toe Drop||6 mm||5 mm||0 mm||8 mm||8 mm|
|Upper||Textile/synthetic||Mesh||Mesh||Mesh, continuous nylon||Mesh|
|Midsole||EVA, Olefin OBC, TPU||EVA||Altra EGO Foam||Feline SL midsole||EVA|
|Outsole||Contragrip MA rubber||Rubber||MaxTrac rubber||Sticky Pomoco Outer||TrailTrack rubber|
|Rock Plate?||Not disclosed||No||Yes||Not disclosed||No|
|Wide Version Available?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Sizes Available||5 - 11 US||5 - 11 US||5.5 - 12||5 - 11 US||5 - 12 US|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
If you love a well-cushioned shoe, the Hoka Torrent 3 provides a similar amount of cushion to the Pulsar Trail but with a totally different shape. The Altra Lone Peak 7 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 5 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.
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