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Tested: Salomon Sense Pro Max

Adventures

The Outdoor crew hit the dirt in the new Salomon Sense Pro Max; a lightweight, long distance trail runner that’s extra comfortable.

The fluro yellow Salomon Sense Pro Max shoes

I do a mixture of road running and light trail running. In my head, there wasn’t really a need to own two separate pairs of shoes. I currently have a pair of Nike Free Run 2s, they’re a lightweight yet versatile shoe that’s pitched as a minimalistic runner. They’re pretty good; comfortable and flexible, but can be slippery at times and they pick up a hell of a lot of rocks.

My main hesitation with owning a pair of trail runners was the weight factor. The extra support and protection also made them look rigid and uncomfortable. However, after one too many ankle snapping close calls over a particularly wet Sydney winter, I decided something with a little more tread and support was in order. I opted for the new Salomon Sense Pro Max trail running shoes, which were around 300 grams, the same as my Nike Free Run 2 shoes.

Stand out on the tracks in the fluro yellow Salomon Sense Pro Max shoes

Straight out of the box the first thing I noticed was the Salomon Quicklace technology. I’m not ashamed to say I had to watch a YouTube tutorial to figure out how to use it. OK, turns out it’s actually really simple and I probably could’ve figured it out if I wasn’t so scared of breaking my brand new kicks. Having said that, one thing I probably couldn’t have figured out without watching the tutorial was the lace pocket. This sneaky little pocket is located in the tongue of the shoe and it’s where you store the Quicklaces once you’ve fastened them.

Time to hit the road. From my place, there’s a 1km section of bitumen to run before you can go off-piste. First impressions were great. There was a massive suspension difference between the Nikes and the Salomans and I didn’t get that bone-jarring feeling in my joints with the Sense Pro Max shoes on. This is accomplished with Salomans Vibe technology, which reduces vibrations and delivers a responsive ride. The rigidity of the sole and shoe in general did make me feel less agile, but I’m sure that’s just a teething issue, as I’ve been in minimalistic runners for the past eight years.

The tread difference between the Salomons and the Nikes

Heading onto the trails and boy this is where these babies came into their own. The track certainly wouldn’t be considered gnarly by anyone except maybe my grandmother, but it was still a good testing ground with a small-medium incline, lots of loose gravel and dirt as well as some soft muddy sections.

The tread pattern on the Sense Pro Max runners was pronounced. The Contragrip outsole is purely designed for light trails in both dry and wet conditions, so when I took my old runners back out on the same track, it felt like I was running on ice. Along with great traction, the snug fit (or Endofit as Salomon call it) and the extra support, meant they moved much less on my foot when cornering. This is really important when it comes to confidence while at speed on a trail. I’m stoked with the Salomons and at under $200 I reckon they’re a bloody bargain.

Pros…

- Super lightweight

- Soft and spongy underfoot

- Kills vibration - my joints are thanking me already

- Great ankle support

Cons...

- Sole rigidity will take a bit of getting used to

- Take in a fair amount of dirt

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-Not much of a high-vis yellow fan, but on the upside it’ll be tough to lose them