Salomon Sense Ride 4 - Women's Review
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Salomon Sense Ride 4 - Women's
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|Pros||Great value, sticky rubber outsole, sheds mud well, moderately cushioned, sensitive||Well-cushioned midsole, excellent traction, good stability, excellent at everything including long distances, high value||Light, very protective, excellent mud shed, superior traction, surprisingly stable||Great traction, streamlined profile, encourages speed||Affordable, comfortable, good crossover shoe, great for beginning trail runners|
|Cons||Lacks stability, crease across the forefoot causes a pinch point, awkward fit||Stack height takes some getting used to, less customizable lacebed||Narrow fit, runs small, rigid construction, takes time to break-in||Less protective, runs narrow||Not rugged enough for technical trails, less sensitive|
|Bottom Line||A durable and protective cross-over shoe loaded with a sticky outsole and lots of cushioning to keep you protected on the long haul||With a comfortable and responsive midsole and enough room in the forefoot for toe wiggle, you'll be happy running mile after mile||Stable and deliciously sticky, this contender is just a crusher all the way around, built for training runs and long distances alike||When you are looking to ratchet up the speed on technical trails, this is the lightweight and snug-fitting shoe you'll reach for||If 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 Sense Ride 4||Hoka Torrent 2 - Wo...||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Saucony Peregrine 12||Brooks Divide 2 - W...|
|Foot Protection (25%)|
|Comfort and Fit (15%)|
|Specs||Salomon Sense Ride 4||Hoka Torrent 2 - Wo...||Dynafit Feline SL -...||Saucony Peregrine 12||Brooks Divide 2 - W...|
|Measured Weight (per shoe)||8.96 oz (size 7)
9.8 oz (size 9)
|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||8 mm||5 mm||8 mm||4 mm||8 mm|
|Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot)||32 mm, 24 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 & Optivibe composite foam||EVA||Feline SL midsole||PWRRUN||EVA|
|Outsole||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 - 12||6 - 11||5 - 11||5 - 12||5 - 12|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Salomon Sense Ride 4 remains a grippy shoe for moderately technical terrain. It offers excellent crossover performance with underfoot protection and a sticky outsole. While we appreciate the sensitive yet protective ride, we wish it was a touch more stable. It has a wider toe box compared to other Salomon shoes, with an 8mm drop from heel to toe. The updated version includes a more breathable mesh and thinner, yet very comfortable, heel collar.
Your feet are the most valuable piece of running gear you have, and it is important to take good care of them. The Sense Ride 4 offers a protected ride with a rigid and reactive midsole. It has a stack height of 32mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot, with a medium cushion. The EVA foam and Optivibe composite foam is quite thick and protective, distributing impact effectively. The midsole is hard enough to withstand everything from long urban runs on the pavement to running over sharper rocks and roots on the trail.
The upper mesh is made from a synthetic textile, with an update to the design in this iteration. While this updated mesh is multilayered and breathable in warm weather, it does collect sand, which is annoying on longer desert and beach runs. Light rain will wick away from the upper, but it's far from waterproof. Luckily, these shoes dried quickly but had some trouble draining during our creek crossing tests. Overall, it earns an average score.
We like that the toe bumper is made of flexible yet protective rubber. It is less rigid than others we have tested and is protective in cases of accidental rock kicks, but not in an overbearing way. Our main complaint about the placement of the toe bumper is that it feels like an extension of the shoe instead of a dedicated feature. Still, despite running a bit large, the Sense Ride kept our feet moderately protected.
The traction on this outsole is similar to the previous version of this shoe, featuring 4mm diamond-shaped lugs spaced far apart enough. While the lugs aren't so long as to dig into the deepest of mud, they shed clay-based particulates well, with the ContraGrip rubber offering sticky performance that inspires confidence while tip-toeing over rocky ridges.
This stickiness makes the Sense Ride a great shoe for scrambling and exploring more technical and off-trail surfaces. The lugs are pretty durable, too, with a flat-top design that does well on pavement and buffed-out trails. Unlike some of the burlier outsole designs, these lugs don't wear down as readily. Overall, we are pretty happy with the overall performance of this outsole. It doesn't compete with super aggressive lugs, but it does well over most slippery and even some soft surfaces.
Sensitivity is in the name of this shoe. You can feel the undulations of the surface while dodging holes, rocks, and roots. The thicker EVA midsole offers protection, but vibrations through the foam translate into a vision of how the surface looks. While it's not the most sensitive shoe tested in this review, know that you'll feel the trail, especially if you prefer a forefoot strike. Heel strikers will feel in their element too. We think the Sense Ride 4 does a good job at balancing protection while allowing you to feel the trail. In fact, despite not performing as well as most other shoes across our metrics, it boasts one of the best sensitivity-to-protection balances.
The heel cup is where you'll find the stability in this shoe. Several times when our testers got tired or were unsuspectingly gazing off while on the run, ankles were turned on a variety of terrain. This even occurred while cruising down a sandy slot canyon, which we consider to be pretty forgiving terrain.
The forefoot has a wider toe box, which helps promote balance, but the stack height is high. Additionally, the outsole of this shoe looks more narrow than the midfoot, not providing a broader platform for landing and thus a steeper sidewall for more potential turns. It's not helped by the fact that the chunkier EVA outsole seems like a lightweight brick underfoot. While the upper does wrap the foot, and the fit feels streamlined, there's some work to do. We needed to be extra aware on uneven terrain or whenever we strayed from buffed-out trails.
Comfort and Fit
There's no doubt that Salomon did a stand-up job developing a comfortable shoe built to take on the miles. It features an 8mm drop with moderate to thick cushioning throughout the midsole. The ride is very responsive, taking a little time to break-in. While it is durable, we did notice some flaws with the fit that we didn't see in the previous iteration.
The durable midsole of this shoe took us roughly 30-40 miles to break in. The newest iteration has an updated lacing system that is set wider apart, allowing you to cinch it down with a single pull. We did not find the fit to suit a more narrow foot, and even though we love a single-pull lacing system for the secure laces it usually offers, the toebox of the Sense Ride is just too wide. Even with the laces secured, one tester couldn't get the forefoot area to feel like a running shoe. Through the entire testing process, the toebox felt more akin to a flipper than a running shoe meant to encourage speed (or at least not detract from it). We also noticed that the laces slipped after long days on the run. We don't like that the pocket for the pull tab is hard to access, causing us to loosen the laces to tuck it in, which doesn't help to make an easy fit. This is fairly common in the Salomon shoes we tested, and we work around it by just tucking the end of the laces into the secured lace lattice.
The Sense Ride has a neutral feel with a little bit of support towards the median part of the arch. It earns fewer points in this metric because of a crease that we noticed at the forefoot of the shoe. It became an annoyance, digging into the foot and causing a pinch point — this isn't an issue we experienced with the previous iteration. To ensure it wasn't just our main testers, we handed off this shoe to friends, who also verified this issue.
Finally, we are disappointed by the sizing of the Sense Ride. It runs long with a narrow base but has a wide and long toebox. As mentioned, the toe cap feels inches away from our toes when running as opposed to other Salomon shoes of the same size. If we were to buy this shoe again, we would purchase a half-size smaller. If you have narrow feet, the wide toebox and extra length might make you feel like you are hitting the trails in techy clown shoes instead of trail runners.
The newest iteration shaves a few grams off the previous model. We weighed a size 7 US shoe at 8.96 ounces, earning it a slightly below-average score in this department. The EVA midsole is chunky, but the overall feel isn't bulky. At first, it can feel a bit bottom-heavy, but once you get moving, that sensation dissipates. For most, this will do for a shorter training run or an ultra-distance adventure.
Should You Buy the Salomon Sense Ride 4?
The Sense Ride 4 is a responsive trail shoe designed for comfort and protection. It has a unique balance, offering sensitivity on the trail, with a sticky ContraGrip rubber outsole, inspiring confidence on all types of terrain. It's best for those seeking a little extra cushion in the heel (it has an 8mm drop) and that want an all-around performance shoe that can easily cross over from the pavement to the trails.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
The Salomon Sense Ride 4 offers a pretty good value. It'll do well on most moderately technical trails, and the previous version we tested is still going strong after 500+ miles. We have high hopes that the newest iteration can do the same. However, the fit was one of our most significant issues with this model, and we suspect it may be a problem for some others too. The Saucony Peregrine 12 falls in the same price range and is similar to the Sense Ride in terms of foot protection and traction but has a much more comfortable fit. The Hoka Challenger ATR 6 is a comparable crossover shoe that can be used on a variety of terrain but is less stable on rough trails. If the main element that draws you to the Sense Ride is comfort, we recommend checking out the Altra Lone Peak 6 for a plush ride with a more universal fit and comfort.
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