Since early last month I have run 125 miles in the Salomon Sonic Pro 2, including all of my long runs and hard workouts. This includes distances up to 25 miles, and 1-mile efforts at 5-min pace. I may wear them later this month at the Boston Marathon. (Follow me on Strava.)
Review: Salomon Sonic Pro 2
The Sonic Pro 2 is a lightweight and responsive trainer with racing potential, and it will best fit neutral runners with narrow- to medium-sized feet.
The Sonic Pro 2 wants to go fast. Its firm ride efficiently transfers energy, but it’s not the type of shoe I prefer for long slow cruises on pavement.
Wait, Salomon does road shoes?
To be clear: the Sonic Pro 2 is a road-running shoe. Its bite-less outsole and its thin cushioning are sub-optimal for trails. In comparison, it has less crossover potential than the original Salomon Sense Pro (long-term review), with which I have run road marathons and 100-mile mountain ultra trail races.
The Sonic Pro 2 is the second-generation model of Salomon’s small road-running collection:
- S/Lab Sonic 2 ($180, 7.6 oz): A race-worthy featherlight
- Sonic Pro 2 ($140, 8.4 oz): A lightweight trainer with racing potential
- Sonic ($130, 9.8 oz): A heavier, more supportive & cushioned, and more durable trainer
Personally, I’m excited to see Salomon enter the road-running market. It’s crowded, but Salomon could grab some share applying what it’s learned from trail-running about fit, upper materials, and outsoles, and by offering a good road-running product to loyal Salomon trail runners.
- 8.4 oz (M’s 9), 6.4 oz (W’s 9), 9.2 oz (M’s 11.5)
- Neutral pronation
- 24/16 heel/toe stack height
- 8 mm drop
- Endofit, an elasticized yoke that cradles the midfoot
- Durable wet traction Contagrip
- Vibe Technology, which improves rebound and reduces vibrations
The Sonic Pro 2 fits true to size. My size 11.5 has been perfect. I’m also an 11.5 in other Salomon shoes, Hoka, La Sportiva, Merrell, and Altra.
For Spring 2017 the Sonic Pro 2 and the Sonic are available only in run specialty stores. This brick-and-mortar-only approach is common when a brand is trying to launch a new product category — the exclusivity increases buy-in among influential retailers. The S/Lab Sonic 2 has some online availability.
The Sonic Pro 2 will best fit a medium-width and medium-volume foot. It’s wider in the forefoot than the Sense Pro or Sense Pro 2. With my small-volume feet, the Sonic Pro 2 feels more squirrelly than those models, but the extra volume is perhaps preferable for long runs in straight lines.
Like many other Salomon models, the Sonic Pro 2 features Endofit, which is an elasticized cuff that wonderfully cradles the foot. This puts much less emphasis on the lacing, since the shoe fits moderately well before the laces are even tightened.
The seamless upper is made of fine mesh with a supple exoskeleton for improved durability and control. Airflow/breathability is excellent, and it dries quickly after getting wet.
The upper looks like it was copied exactly from the Sense line. Hey, if something works…
For this second-generation model, Salomon dropped its Quick Laces, which can slowly loosen. I prefer traditional laces for this type of shoe, but I’m not a fan of Sonic Pro 2’s linguine-shaped laces — they are slippery and difficult to tie.
I did not find the last set of holes necessary, which left me with several inches of extra lace. I tied an overhand knot and cut off the slack.
The lacing system has many tie-outs, which helps to distribute pressure across the shoe. This is particularly important with a thin uncushioned tongue, as Salomon has used here.
Ride & cushioning
The Sonic Pro 2 and the last shoe I reviewed, the Hoka One One Clifton 2, have much in common: lightweight road-running shoes for small- and medium-sized feet. Their respective rides are entirely different, however, and therefore so too are their optimal uses.
The Sonic Pro 2 is firm, or “responsive” as the industry likes to say. In contrast, the Clifton 2 is similar to underinflated bike tires — plush but energy-sapping, best for long cruises on hard surfaces. I think the Sonic Pro 2 feels even less cushioned than the Sense Pro, which has a similar stack height (23/17 vs 24/16).
The Sonic Pro 2 also feels slappy, especially at slower speeds and on downhills; it’s less (or not) noticeable at faster speeds. The heel/toe transition seems abrupt, not smooth. My experience seems inconsistent with Salomon’s product marketing and its “Geometric Decoupling” claims. I wonder if the shoe’s 8-mm drop is partially responsible for my observation — my gait feels more natural with a lower drop shoe, closer to the 4-mm range.
The midsole features some high-tech materials and technologies (e.g. EnergyCell+, Opal, 3D Profeel Film), but it’s difficult for me to say how the shoe performs differently because of them without wearing the same shoes with a conventional midsole. I think my results and personal experience with these shoes say what you need to know: they like to go fast; they give a firm ride; and they are a bit slappy.
More than any other feature, the Wet Traction Contagrip outsole makes this a road-only shoe. It has minimal edges perpendicular to the direction of travel, and even on dirt roads and wet paint lines I can feel some slippage.
After 125 miles of use it shows only some slight signs of use at the toes.
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Salomon provided me with the Sonic Pro 2 for review.
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