Salomon Sonic RA 2 ReviewMay 22, 2019
- Cushioned and supportive
- Great Traction
- Generous Toe Box
- Smooth and Stable Landings
- Lack of colors
- Upper slightly loose
- Slightly stiff forefoot
The Salomon Sonic RA 2 is the update to Salomon’s primary road specific shoe. An updated upper with a new mesh provides additional room for a spacious toe box. The fit has changed to a more medium fit, provide enough room for most foot types. Those with narrower feet may need to tighten the laces to get the snug fit they want. The sole remains the same utilizing Vibe technology with an Opal insert to provide shock attenuation and stability. The ride is stable and smooth, working well for longer and mild up-tempo efforts. With a wider base and specific geometric decoupled axes, the Salomon RA 2 provides stability more naturally with posting or even being a stability shoe. For those looking for speed, this is not the fastest shoe. However, the lighter weight and stable ride make it a great shoe for logging high miles. The outsole design provides fantastic traction on a variety of surfaces. For those that jump between road, trail, and tracks, the Salomon Sonic RA 2 will give you a stable and secure ride wherever you go.
The major update to the Salomon Sonic RA 2 is in the upper. A new mesh replaces the stiffer prior material the breathes and stretches well with the foot. The lateral and medial forefoot are reinforced with a plastic-like material that caused some initial irritation for testers but resolved within a few miles. The fit is on the medium side with increased room in the forefoot due to the new mesh. Some testers wished for a snugger fit, particularly at the heel and midfoot but noted no slipping.
Testers loved the new flexibility of the upper that conformed well to the foot while still being supportive. The heel collar is smoother and softer than before. The foot is held very well by the reinforced heel and testers noted no issues with slipping. Testers noted that as long as they wore socks, they had no trouble with the lack of an Achilles notch.
Testers reported a stiff initial ride that took a few runs for the Salomon Sonic RA 2 to break in. After the initial stiffness, all reported a very comfortable ride. The Salomon RA 2 has a decent amount of padding throughout the upper that provides a comfortable fit free of hot spots. The laces are thick and stretchy, provide a comfortable wrap around the foot once tightened.
On the run, testers noted the shoe shape provided good stability and disappeared during long efforts. Testers loved the Salomon Sonic RA 2 for recovery and longer efforts due to the smooth and comfortable ride. The cushioning is just right and provides good protection over a variety of surfaces.
The Salomon Sonic RA 2 has a moderately responsive ride, however, testers noted it performed better for longer efforts than faster ones. The Vibe technology provides fantastic shock absorption and keeps the legs fresh over long efforts. Testers reported feeling very protected during longer miles but did not feel as comfortable picking up the pace. This is due to the Vibe not providing as springy of a ride during faster efforts. Despite the deep flex grooves throughout the shoe, the testers reported the forefoot is stiff initially. This creates a more stable than responsive ride in the Salomon Sonic RA 2.
Due to the moderate responsiveness, the Salomon Sonic RA 2 would work well during mild up-tempo to marathon pace efforts. When it came to Half marathon and faster efforts, testers noticed the midsole did not have the spring or speed they would have hoped for. The Salomon Sonic RA 2 feels light enough to turn the legs over, however, does not pop off the ground well enough to be considered speedy. Several testers noted they would have liked more forefoot flexibility to help roll off the toes faster. As a more protective shoe, testers reported that they were able to pick up the pace better after longer miles. For those athletes looking to be able to keep their legs fresh enough to do workouts towards the end of their long runs, the Salomon Sonic RA 2 is a shoe worth considering.
Testers were impressed with the stability and comfort of the Salomon Sonic RA 2. Despite no stability elements, testers noted feeling stable and protected over long miles. The slightly thicker and broader midsole also added to the stability, efficiency, and control of the ride. The firmer midsole of the Salomon Sonic RA 2 provides good ground feel while still being protective. The lugs in the outsole provided great traction on all wet and dry surfaces. Testers felt like the Salomon Sonica RA 2, while designed as a road shoe, worked equally well on the trail. For more technical trails however it is suggested to use a trail-specific shoe.
Fewer shoes are released during the summer months, and all of these shoes tested are designed specifically for use on the road or track. They are suitable for fast training days or road racing for distances from 5K to a marathon. In order to be considered in the lightweight category, spec weight for a shoe is typically less than 9-10oz. Testing was done by a group of six male and female testers who wore the shoes for anywhere between 40 and 150 total miles, with single runs ranging in distance from three miles to 26. The majority of our testing was conducted on asphalt roads or all-weather tracks, but we occasionally ventured off-road onto earthen or stony trails as well. This year, despite the lower number released, the majority of shoes were found to lean very heavily toward faster paces or race work. Testers were impressed with the responsiveness from them and have already begun hitting the roads or tracks to race in them.
Dr. Matthew Klein PT DPT OCS is a doctor of physical therapy and Kaiser SoCal Sport Fellow. He is a long time competitive runner over a variety of distances. He has a keen interest in running shoes and has been researching and reviewing them for almost a decade.