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Long-term review: Salomon Sense Pro 2 || Nimble & capable trail shoe

The second-generation Salomon Sense Pro 2 is a lightweight, neutral, and capable trail runner that excels on steep, obstacle-filled trails.

The original Salomon Sense Pro (long-term review) is still one of my all-time favorite shoes. It fit me perfectly and was extremely versatile — in it, I ran a road marathon, a 50-miler on smooth singletrack and jeep roads, and a 100-miler on tough mountain trails, among other races and training runs, and never felt like I was at a disadvantage.

The second-generation Salomon Sense Pro 2 retains some features and specs of the original Pro, but overall is a truer trail shoe. It was released about three years ago, and is now being replaced by the Sense Pro 3, which again is a substantial revision (not necessarily better, but definitely different). Current prices of the Sense Pro 2 reflect the third-generations’s arrival.


Long-term review: Salomon Sense Pro 2

When I purchased the Sense Pro 2, I thought it would substitute for the Sense Pro 1, of which I owned multiple worn-put pairs. But the Pro 2 was not a mere update — it is basically a different shoe, with subtle or wholesale changes to its outsole and ride.

To date I’ve run about 400 miles in one pair of Sense Pro 2’s, and I’m approaching 100 miles in a second pair that I purchased a few months ago. I expect to use both pairs until the uppers are falling apart, the midsoles are flat, and/or the outsoles are bare, which I expect to happen between 500 and 600 miles.

The Sense Pro 2 is a lightweight, neutral, and capable trail running shoe that excels on steeper and more technical trails. It’s less well suited for roads and buttery trails (which was the sweet spot for the Pro 1), or for soft and muddy surfaces (on which the Pro 3 does best), but it covers this range better than its predecessor or its successor. It’s become a favorite of mine for short- and mid-length outings on hard mountain trails.

Like most Sense shoes, the Sense Pro 2 best fits narrow and low-volume feet.

My original pair of Sense Pro 2’s. They’re showing 400 miles of wear, but still have a couple hundred miles left in them.

Key specs

  • Seamless breathable mesh upper with TPU overlays
  • Elasticized Endofit wrap over midfoot
  • EVA midsole with Profeel Film and OS Tendon
  • Contragrip rubber outsole
  • 23mm/17mm stack heights
  • 6mm drop
  • 9.3 oz (265 g) for M’s 9 (11.0 oz for M’s 11.5, verified)
  • Fits true to size
  • $130 MSRP
  • More information

Break in

In its first 50 miles, the Sense Pro 2 did not win me over. Not only was I expecting something different, but it’s landing-to-pushoff transition is a bit slappy (due to its stiff midsole) and my heel was lifting slightly out of the shoe, forcing me to tighten the laces more than I’d like.

Since those early miles, however, I really took to the Sense Pro 2. As the midsole and cushioning softened up and packed out, its ride got smoother and my heel stayed locked. I reach for the Sense Pro 2 as often as I do for the Salomon S/LAB Sense Ultra (review) and Salomon S/LAB Ultra (preview).

Outsole

The most obvious change in the Sense Pro 2 is its outsole, which has larger and deeper lugs than than on the Pro 1. The effect is predictable: better traction on trails, and better durability.

This may be my most favorite Salomon outsole. It has more lug rubber than the SLAB Sense Ultra and SLAB Ultra, so it lasts longer. And its lugs are stout, so they don’t buckle under pressure like cleat-style lugs on the Sense Pro 3 or Fellraiser.

The outsole is made with the excellent Contragrip rubber, and has many square-shaped 3- or 4-mm lugs.

Ride

Overall, the Sense Pro 2 is firm and responsive, reasonably protective, and slightly stiff. A number of factors are responsible for this. It’s a tough shoe for road or flat miles, but it does really well on any kind of inclined trail.

Embedded in the EVA midsole is Profeel Film, a TPU film-on-mesh that provides some forefoot protection without huge sacrifices to ground feel. I think it achieves a good balance: the film blunts pressure from pointy objects (e.g. gravel) and hard landings, but the forefoot is still flexible and sensitive.

The midsole also includes two semi-stiff TPU rails (“OS Tendon”) that run the length of the shoe. The Sense Pro 2 feels decidedly springier than the Pro 1, and I feel more toe-off propulsion than in the Sense Pro 3.

The midsole foam is not generous: with stack heights of 23mm/17mm, there’s not much of it; and the foam itself skews towards firm, not plush.

Finally, there is that thicker-lugged outsole, which adds rigidity to the system.

Upper & fit

If you have worn other Salomon trail running shoes from its Sense or Ultra lines, the upper and fit on the Sense Pro 2 will be familiar.

The upper is made of seamless breathable mesh that is wrapped with TPU for additional durability and foot control. The elasticized Endofit bootie wraps the midsole for additional security. And everything gets locked in evenly with Quick Laces. Honestly, it’s wonderful — Salomon masters their uppers more consistently than any other trail shoe brand.

The heel cup has slightly more padding than the Sense Pro 1 and Sense Pro 3. As mentioned before, I experienced some heel lift in the Pro 2 until the padding, insole, and midsole had packed out some. I think the relatively short and soft tongue plays a role, too — if it came up higher on the ankle and/or had more structure, it would cradle the foot better.

The heel cup of the Sense Pro 2 is more generously cushioned than on the Sense Pro 3 (left) or SLAB Ultra (right).

Per usual, the Sense 2 will best fit narrow and low-volume feet. If you like Altra shoes, forget about this one. If you like the La Sportiva Bushido, you’re in business.

Comparisons

How does the Sense Pro 2 compare with more current models?

Sense Pro 2 vs. Sense Pro 1

The Sense Pro 2 is more capable on trails. It has a more protective forefoot and more aggressive outsole. The Sense Pro 1 is better for smoother trails and mixed road/trail runs.

Sense Pro 2 vs. Sense Pro 3

The Sense Pro 2 is better for drier conditions and rougher trails. The Sense Pro 3 has aggressive lugs that bite into softer ground but that are less stable when torqued on hard ground. The Sense 2 is stiffer and springier, while the Sense Pro 3 is smoother from landing to push-off.

The uppers of the Sense Pro 1, Pro 2, and Pro 3 are fairly similar.

The outsoles have changed significantly, though. Each generation has gotten more aggressive, gaining some capabilities but losing others.

Sense Pro 2 vs. S/Lab Sense Ultra

The Sense Pro 2 fits more snugly, but is more protective underfoot, perhaps making it better for faster and shorter runs. The larger toebox of the Sense Ultra is more comfortable for long days, but its forefoot feels thin on long days, especially as the shoe ages.

Sense Pro 2 vs. S/Lab Ultra

The Sense Pro 2 is lighter and more nimble than the S/Lab Ultra, and about equally protective. But the S/Lab Ultra is better for the long haul: it has a roomier toebox, and its heel is extremely secure even without cranking on the laces.

The Salomon SLAB Sense Ultra (left) and Sense Pro 2 (middle) have very similar uppers, but the SLAB Ultra is quite different.

Interestingly, the Sense Pro 2 (middle) has more outsole rubber than than either the SLAB Sense Ultra or SLAB Ultra.

Buy now: Salomon Sense Pro 2

Questions about the Sense Pro 2 or have an experience with it? Leave a comment.


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5 Responses to Long-term review: Salomon Sense Pro 2 || Nimble & capable trail shoe

  1. Marla December 6, 2018 at 5:57 pm #

    Do any of these Salomon shoes fit as narrow in the heel and mid foot as the Speedcross 3? I’m struggling to find a shoe since the Speedcross 4 doesn’t fit as well as the 2 and 3 did. I’ve tried on all the La Sportivas but they are a bit sloppy.

    • Andrew Skurka December 6, 2018 at 6:58 pm #

      It’s been a while since I wore the Speedcross. Too much drop and too little forefoot protection, at least in the earliest generations.

      What Sportivas have you tried? The shoe that I like most from their line is the Bushido. Like the Sense Pro’s, that one fits me like a glove.

      • Marla December 6, 2018 at 7:26 pm #

        Thanks for your quick reply! I really wanted to love the Bushido, but it’s a bit too wide. I’ll check out the Sense Pro. My feet are freakishly stick-like.

  2. Middle December 13, 2018 at 12:13 am #

    I’m sure you’ve answered this before, but… how would you compare running miles and backpacking miles? Roughly equal in terms of how fast they wear out shoes?

    • Andrew Skurka December 13, 2018 at 8:42 am #

      Easiest on shoes: Running. The shoes are kept on roads or trails, worn only about an hour per day (and have at least 23 hours to rebound before another use), and stay mostly dry (if they do get wet, they dry overnight).

      Hardest on shoes: High routes. The shoes are on hard trails or off-trail, with lots of steep slopes, worn all day and for consecutive days, and are often wet.

      Normal backpacking: In between.

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