About The Shoe – The Salomon Sense Pro 2 is a versatile trail shoe with many S-Lab features, but without the S-Lab price. Carrying over many features from the S-lab line (primarily the Sense 5 Ultra) but with a more relaxed fit, Salomon hopes to broaden their reach to consumers looking for a nimble trail shoe they can run everyday in, and also get some good mileage out of. Coming in at 9.3 ounces in a size US9 (I tested a US9.5), this shoe is a shade lighter than many competitor models. With a 17mm forefoot and 23mm heel, the 6mm drop of the Sense Pro 2 hits the sweet spot of just enough heel lift without feeling bulky or obtrusive.The Upper of the Sense Pro 2 was an immediate WOW for me as soon as I put it on. Salomon really did an excellent job with the construction of their shoe uppers. The single-layer mesh and heat welded overlays surrounding the arch and forefoot are extremely soft and have no abrasive spots at all. It was so comfortable in fact, that I spent the better part of a day walking around in the shoe sockless just to see if I would feel any hot spots, and there were none. The mesh is also very breathable and quick drying, which will make for an excellent warm weather shoe. The ankle collar is generously padded all the way around, and the plastic heel cup is deep and very secure feeling. This outer wrap around the back half of the foot is what Salomon refers to as their “Sensifit” system. Another big plus with this upper is the well protected toe bumper on the front of the shoe. Not only does this protect my feet when I get tired and start to kick things, but it creates a great toe box shape with good volume and space to wiggle the toes.
There is also an “Endofit” inner bootie that wraps all around the arch to give a very secure and seamless feeling.
This bootie was very similar feeling to the New Balance Vazee Summit I reviewed in March (review here), but Salomon seems to have done it just a little bit better. Instead of a single, neoprene type material, Salomon uses two layers of their thin mesh, combined with a very thin sliver of Ortholite foam. It is maybe a millimeter thicker, but the added padding takes away all and any potential lace pressure from the top or sides of the shoe. This allowed me to really crank down on the laces without creating any uncomfortable pressure points across the top of my arch.
The Fit of the Sense Pro 2 was wider than I was expecting. I had always heard of Salomon shoes running super narrow, but I had to cinch these up quite a bit to get a snug fit. They seem to run pretty true to width, and those who have been weary because of the classic, narrow Salomon fit might want to give these a try. At first I was nervous about the quick laces, because the only shoe I have ever used with a quick lace was the Hoka Huaka, and to be honest, they were pretty bad. Salomon however, did this part right and created a quick lacing system that I wish was on every shoe.
They took two or three runs to get perfectly dialed in, as they are very easy to over tighten, but once I figured out the right amount of pull, they were awesome. Just a quick tug, jam them in the clever lace pocket on the tongue, and I was off in under a minute. The one little snag I ran into was that I wasn’t able to tie my car key to my shoe…Luckily I had a zipper pocket on my shorts, and that was the only problem I had with the laces. This shoe runs true to size as a US9.5 fit perfectly with a little under a centimeter of space between my big toe and the front of the shoe.
Below my Feet are two different densities of “Energycell+” midsole foam. There’s a soft layer under the forefoot that makes up a little less than half of the thickness. The soft layer is closest to your foot, and underneath is a firmer layer that gets thicker as it goes back towards the heel. The firmer foam makes up the arch of the shoe and the heel. I have always been used to shoes having a soft crash pad in the heel and firmer foam in the forefoot, but for aggressive trail use, the firmer heel foam performed great on the most technical sections of trail. Never did the heel of the shoe seem to be sliding around under my foot while running on uneven trail. The softer forefoot definitely helped relax the feel of the shoe was very beneficial for long runs, as my feet never felt sore or fatigued.
Underneath the midsole foam is a thin, “Profeel Film” that served to protect my feet from rocks and other sharp objects on the trail. This protection plate is very thin and flexible and definitely did not eliminate the feel of rocks as some beefier rock plates do. I think Salomon’s intention for the Profeel Film is more to literally prevent rocks from stabbing through the shoe. Also, It allowed for Salomon to thin or cut out sections of midsole foam to enhance flexibility and save weight, but not sacrifice protection. I really like the idea of a “soft” rock plate in the shoe for the terrain that I run on because I don’t have to worry about hurting my feet, but also don’t have to give up flexibility and cushioning in a shoe.
The Outsole of the Sense Pro 2 consists of Salomon’s own blend of “Contagrip” rubber. More specifically this is the Wet Traction Contagrip, which has an incredible ability to grip on wet or slick rock and wood. My daily runs in Ashland, Oregon have a few wet wood bridges that I’ve fallen on multiple times in the past, and the Sense Pro 2 did an amazing job of navigating them without issue. The shallow, wide lugs create for a lot of surface area touching the ground which made them very smooth on hard packed single-track and fire road.
Ideal Terrain for the Sense Pro 2 would definitely be dry trails. The more technical the trail, the better they performed too. The Sensifit and Endofit up top with the Contagrip underneath make for a shoe that stays in place and is very easy to control even down the hairiest of descents. I had a blast in these shoes every time I got to push my limits in the loose, decomposed granite trails out of Ashland. I did do a few runs in the mud and the lugs weren’t quite deep enough to get good traction without sliding. If you have to go a few miles on the pavement to get to the trail head, they’ll handle that just fine.
Durability – I obsessively logged every mile in these shoes before this review, and at the time of writing, I have totaled 98 miles. Nine of these miles were road, and the other 89 were a variety of trail with 18,600 feet of climbing, and about 14 hours of time on my feet.
There is some very minor wear on the outside of the heel, and virtually none in the forefoot. No signs of wear on the upper, and very minimal creasing on the midsole foam. I would expect to get at least 300 miles of aggressive trail running out of these, and I imagine there will be many who could push these farther without issue.
Overall, I had a blast running in this shoe. So much that I have tucked these away in the back of my closet to save for my next race (Broken Arrow Skyrace). The Salomon Sense Pro 2 handled every mile with ease, from slow recovery days, to technical long runs in the mountains. At $130 dollars, this shoe is very reasonably priced considering it’s S-Lab build quality and ability to take a punishing. I would absolutely recommend this shoe to the trail runner looking for a medium weight shoe with decent protection, good durability, and great versatility.
Montrail Caldorado $120
Nike Zoom Wildhorse $110
Pearl izumi Trail N2v2 $120
Next shoe up for review at Trails and Tarmac is the Pearl Izumi Trail N3
Author: Brett Hornig
How would you like to try these shoes for yourself? Salomon and Trails and Tarmac have partnered for this review and Salomon is going to give away one free pair of Sense Pro 2s to one lucky winner! All you have to do is fill out the contest form, have a valid e-mail address, and a winner will be randomly selected after the contest closes (June 15th). Good luck!