Early next year Salomon will introduce a completely new road shoe lineup dubbed the Sonic RA. The Sonic series, Salomon’s first serious venture out of the mountains and onto the roads, includes three models (Sonic, Sonic Pro and S-Lab) that will be replaced with the new Sonic RA series in February 2018.
The new RA line will still feature three shoes: the Sonic RA Pro, a lightweight performance oriented shoe; the Sonic RA Max, a light stability shoe; and the Sonic RA, which is your classic everyday trainer.
We went for a few test runs in the new Sonic RA, and here are our initial impressions:
Right out of the box it’s easy to see this is a completely different shoe from the original Sonic. What was a thick and rigid upper on the original model has been replaced with sensiFIT, an ultra-thin and much more comfortable breathable upper. SensiFIT’s woven mesh-like material with an integrated cage system (pictured above in turquois) fits perfectly, allowing the lacing system to evenly distribute pressure throughout the midfoot.
The padding throughout the tongue and heel collar is kept to a minimum except for small, unique pockets of cushioning strategically placed around the Achilles. The Sonic RA has a much softer heel counter than most shoes we’ve tested, which didn’t present any issues over a few test runs, but may be a source of concern for heavy heel hitters who need the additional support and guidance a firm heel counter provides. It’s worth noting that the Sonic RA Max is designed for runners who need additional stability, however, we haven’t tested that shoe yet.
Once moving, the Sonic RA rides on the firmer end of the spectrum, at least initially, and could be compared to the same underfoot feeling you’d expect from Mizuno or Asics. Salomon continues incorporating the same VIBE Technology and Energycell + with OPAL cushioning as seen in the original Sonic.
The new Sonic RA has a very smooth ride to it, making the transition from heel to toe rather seamless. Salomon incorporates something they call Geometric Decoupling to help dictate how the shoe handles as it strikes the ground and transitions through toe-off. A single deep groove that spans the length of the shoe (pictured above) is placed along the bottom of the Sonic RA. This deep grove splits the shoe into two platforms, shifting the size of the medial platform and changing how it responds.
The Sonic RA places the Geometric Decoupling groove toward the middle for a fairly even load distribution and balanced underfoot feel, while the Sonic RA Pro shifts the groove more medially for faster toe-off. The Sonic RA Max shifts it laterally giving it a more stable feel and counter balancing any pronation. A look at the bottom of the shoe displays the numbers one, two and three that clearly indicates this subtle shifting of the Geometric Decoupling groove left, right or center.
Weighing in at a modest 8.6oz for men and 7.4oz for women, the Sonic RA feels light on the feet and boosts a drop of 8mm (28mm/20mm). The Sonic RA will retail for $130 and hits stores February 2018.
After spending a few days running in the new Sonic RA, our initial impression is that this is nice work by Salomon. The new Sonic RA is a huge upgrade from the current Sonic shoe and roadrunners should certainly look forward to this new line.