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Run Oregon is Kickin’ it in the Salomon Sonic RA PRO

Stride. Turnover. Cadence. Running is really the simplest form of sport, with the essence being the efficiency of those three actions. Seeing as the only part of our body that touches the ground is our feet, the gear we shod ourselves with is of utmost importance. With 22 years of running experience and countless miles, I can often pick a favorable shoe from a picture, which is exactly what I did with the Salomon Sonic RA PRO.  As someone who focuses mainly on the roads and higher intensity training, I look for light weight shoes with moderate cushioning.

Honestly, there were a few shoes on Salomon’s line up that were tempting, especially on the trail side. Looking at my two week running block, I get about 20 miles off the pavement, which is not enough to justify picking a set of trail shoes as the go to gear. With the current trend in shoes calling for knitted uppers which in my experience lack stability, support and durability, I tend to look for more rigid design. This is what the website has to say about their upper design:

UPPER CONSTRUCTION:

  • Ortholite® Impressions
  • Welded sensifit™
  • Welded collar binding

Another trend seen in a fair amount of shoes is a soft rubber tread, resulting in degraded shoe life. When the average shoe should get at least 300 miles of use, a poorly designed tread can shorten that. The Sonic RA PRO has hard rubber at the contact points where the foot actually meets the ground, with a fair amount of breaks in it to allow flexibility. It performs well on gravel, dirt, grass and wet pavement. I’d stop short of wearing them at a rainy mud run but they are more than capable on various surfaces at speed. They also do well at top speed as well, not slipping even when pulling off striders at close to 20 mph. Salomon also has technology in the midsole, which they list on their site as the following:

MIDSOLE:

  • EnergyCell +
  • OPAL
These technologies work together to reduce vibrations and shock to create a smoother feeling. As someone who has run in lighter shoes for years, I understand the trade off in lack of cushioning which can result in tenderness and aching in the feet during and after long runs. This can be exacerbated on runs that occur on the tail end of a 10 hour work day. On a couple occasions I have found myself running 9 to 11 miles after work, subconsciously waiting for the pain to start up. I have yet to develop this issue. A greater test will be when I finally get around to logging a 13 to 15 miler in the Sonic RA PRO, but given past experiences, I think they will do just fine.
On the stylish side of things, the Sonic RA PRO can be had in a screaming yellow color or the more mild blue. For the sake of visibility and in a nod to my strange fascination with neon, I opted for the brighter version. Other than that, the design is fairly subtle, with a few accent stripes and the Salomon name down the sides.
In summary, the Salomon Sonic RA PRO is a great lightweight trainer and racer. It is a very capable shoe over varied terrain and is ideal for the faster runner. With a little less structure and weight than the average trainer they are great for tempo work and mid distance racing and shorter. With a little more experience I could hazard a guess as to whether they are durable enough for a full marathon, but didn’t get a chance to put that kind of mileage in them as of this writing. They are easily on my top 10 list of favorite shoes, and one of the very few that are not from my favorite brand.
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