Salomon Sense Ride 4 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Well cushioned, comfortable fit, sticky rubber grips rock very well, decent price
Cons: High heel counter, not the lightest
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Salomon Sense Ride 4
|Price||Check Price at REI|
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|$179.95 at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at REI|
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|Pros||Well cushioned, comfortable fit, sticky rubber grips rock very well, decent price||Unbeatable fit, very comfortable, fantastic underfoot protection, doesn’t absorb much water, ankle collar keeps out debris, very stable||Excellent traction, protective and sensitive, light, comfortable, durable||Good protection and sensitivity, stable||Precise fit, very grippy on rock, comfortable upper effectively keeps out debris|
|Cons||High heel counter, not the lightest||Expensive, hard to get on foot, must wear above the ankle height socks, hard to stuff laces into garage||Expensive, tongue comfort affects some||Not particularly breathable, fit is small||Narrower than average, a bit pricey, not the lightest|
|Bottom Line||A very well cushioned shoe that is optimal for heel strikers and makes for a great option for everyday training as well as ultra distances||The cream of the crop for trail running shoes delivers fine-tuned long run performance||The perfect definition of a do-everything trail running shoe, which also happens to be zero-drop||These protective tanks will keep going over rocky ridges and scree fields but aren't great for hotter environments||A well-rounded shoe offering high performance for short or long distances|
|Rating Categories||Salomon Sense Ride 4||Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3||Inov-8 Terraultra G 270||La Sportiva Bushido II||La Sportiva Kaptiva|
|Foot Protection (30%)|
|Specs||Salomon Sense Ride 4||Salomon S/Lab...||Inov-8 Terraultra...||La Sportiva...||La Sportiva Kaptiva|
|Weight (per pair)||20.7 oz (size 9.5)||22.4 oz (size 11)||20.9 oz (size 11)||21.9 oz (size 9.5)||22.3 oz (size 11)|
|Heel-to-Toe Drop||8 mm||8 mm||0 mm||6 mm||6 mm|
|Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot)||27 mm, 19 mm||26 mm, 18 mm||22 mm, 22 mm||19 mm, 13 mm||17 mm, 11 mm|
|Upper||Synthetic mesh||Anti-Debris Mesh with sockliner||Breathable Mesh||Air mesh/thermal adhesive microfiber/high-frequency welded ripstop overlays/TPU toe cap||Sock-Like knit|
|Midsole||Optivibe||Energy Save PU foam with Profeel Film rock protection||Powerflow Max||4mm LaSpEVA/compression-molded MEMlex/1.5 mm dual-density compressed EVA||Duel-density EV|
|Outsole||Contagrip MA rubber||Contagrip MA Rubber||Graphene Grip||FriXion XT V-Groove2 rubber with Impact Brake System||FriXion XF 2.0|
|Lacing style||Quicklace with garage||Quicklace with garage||Traditional||Traditional||Traditional|
|Wide version available?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Sizes Available||7 - 14||4 - 13||7 - 15||38 - 48.5||38 - 47.5|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Salomon Sense Ride 4 continues the tradition of the previous versions, offering an excellent mix of sensitivity for uneven trail terrain with enough cushion to get out and pound the pavement without grinding your knees into a fine powder. To our delight, little has changed from the Sense Ride 3 in terms of the Optivibe EVA foam, while the uppers have a thin mesh covering that allows for maximum breathability and helps the shoe dry out quickly. Like most Salomon shoes, these feature the quick-lace system with a little garage for the excess slack located on the tongue. Love it or hate it, we find this lacing system comfortable and convenient, and we always appreciate that the laces never come untied. If you're looking for a shoe that can get you through a pavement approach and some hard-pack dirt roads on your way to the rolling singletrack, the Sense Ride 4 is a formidable option.
This shoe offers plenty of protection from below and goes light on protection up top. Salomon employs a blend of EVA foam densities to protect the foot (and the whole body, really) from repetitive strikes on rock, dirt, and pavement.
The Sense Ride 4 has a higher stack than most of the competition (other than shoes from Hoka One One), giving you plenty of cushioning for trails and just enough for pavement. Just keep in mind that softer foams with lower densities compress and lose their bounce quicker than firmer, denser foam.
The upper on these kicks is a very breathable mesh that's awesome for ventilating the feet but not so great at protecting them from side impacts from rocks and sticks. If you have a wider foot like one of our testers, your smallest toe will visibly bulge the mesh, making it very vulnerable to painful side impacts. Fortunately, a TPU overlay toe cap does a decent job of protecting the big toe. Just remember that it isn't full thickness plastic, so avoid kicking anything directly.
The traction on the Sense Ride 4 is nearly identical to that of its predecessor. Featuring 4mm deep diamond-shaped lugs, these shoes do surprisingly well in both mud and gravel, as the lugs are spaced optimally to provide traction when things are loose while still shedding mud admirably.
The lugs aren't especially deep, but this allows them to stand up to harder surfaces like pavement longer. The Contagrip rubber is surprisingly effective on slick rock surfaces while, again, also being hard enough to take on regular urban jaunts. It feels as sticky as the rubber found on La Sportiva models while far exceeding the stickiness of Nike's rubber.
With 8mm of drop and 27mm of stacked height under the heel, this shoe doesn't feel particularly stable. The thick foam that absorbs impact for miles on flat terrain felt a bit unruly when we encountered uneven rocks, roots, and scree on runs in the mountains.
We found that we tended to roll on uneven terrain in these shoes, especially at the end of longer runs when we were tired and more likely to drag our feet. Our testers are used to a more neutral shoe with less drop, and the Sense Ride 4 took some adjusting to. We felt plenty stable on pavement, but we often needed to slow down and take it easy over scree and more scrambly territory.
Overall, these are very comfortable shoes. The thin, breathable mesh uppers are about as close to "riding with the top down" as we want to be in a pair of trail runners, offering awesome ventilation and allowing for very quick drying times. Salomon is known for making narrow shoes, and while we weren't swimming in these, they provide a workable amount of space for your feet to swell. At the same time, the quick-adjust laces keep your foot anchored in place. The low collar and padded tongue feel very comfortable, even for one tester who forgot his socks.
We found these shoes comfortable as soon as we unboxed them. The tongue is somehow both light and nicely padded. High volume, high arched feet are particularly suited to the Sense Ride 4. The quick lace system provides an added level of convenience, and despite being made of a very thin cord, they tensioned the tongue evenly across the top of the foot without any pressure points.
At 20.7 oz on our scale for a size 9.5, you could certainly pick a lighter option. Many of Salomon's elite-level trail shoes are lighter, less cushioned, and more sensitive, while these are tooled more towards the "everyman" runner.
However, these are by no means heavy shoes, as the weight from the thicker midsole is offset by the super light uppers. They might feel cumbersome compared to a minimally cushioned, zero-drop trail shoe but are nowhere near as clunky as heavier competitors, and they are way lighter and more nimble than many road running options.
While the EVA cushioning adds to the clunk factor of this shoe, the 8mm of drop keeps runners who strike with the forefoot feeling pretty connected to the terrain. There's a ton of padding in the heel, so heel strikers will be in their element when charging downhill.
If you need more sensitivity, you'll likely need to go with a shoe designed exclusively for trail running. Remember, the Sense Ride 4 balances sensitivity with the padding needed to log miles on pavement, and overall, they do a good job at compromising.
While running shoes are never as inexpensive as we'd like, the Sense Ride 4 are priced affordably and represent a solid value, especially considering that they come from a top-tier running shoe manufacturer. Despite being a great crossover shoe, if you can stay on the dirt and off the pavement, they will take you even further.
The Sense Ride 4 is an excellent choice for the casual trail runner who needs some extra cushion for quick, out-the-front-door runs on the pavement and wants to use the same shoe for putting in big miles out on the trail. If you often encounter rocky ridges or technical scrambling on your runs, you may want to look elsewhere. Most of us have a closet full of running shoes for every application under the sun, but we certainly understand the need for simplicity, and these shoes are a decent option for a "quiver of one."
— Matt Bento