Salomon Sonic RA Review

March 13, 2018
Salomon Sonic RA
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
87
Fit
7
Comfort
7
Responsiveness
8
Ride Quality
8
Speed
7

The Good

  • Excellent energy return
  • Smooth ride
  • Secure traction

The Bad

  • Fit slightly gappy in arch area
  • Unnecessary outsole rubber
  • Stiff initial fit
THE VERDICT
The Salomon Sonic RA is a very strong debut model that delivers a good combination of comfort and performance. The midsole geometry and material construction provide a smooth ride and impressive energy return. There are no significant drawbacks to this shoe as a dependable everyday trainer.
FULL REVIEW

The Salomon Sonic RA – short for Running Avenue – is a new road model, and is the middle of a three-shoe spectrum ranging from lightweight performance (RA Pro) to structural stability (RA Max). The Sonic RA is designated as an everyday trainer for neutral runners. The three models have decreasing heel-toe drops; the Sonic RA Max has 10mm drop, the Sonic RA has 8mm, and the Sonic RA Pro is the flattest at 6mm

Fit

Length of the Salomon Sonic RA are a good match to size, and the width through the forefoot and toe box will a pleasant surprise to runners who usually find Salomon’s lasts too narrow. The forefoot is relatively roomy, with some excess space in the arch and midfoot areas. Adjustability through the midfoot is easy with a six-loop traditional lacing system, and the laces hold their tension well once secured. A thin TPU integrated cage system anchors the laces into the midfoot very securely and distributes pressure evenly through the midfoot.

Comfort

Comfort through the uppers and underfoot of the Salomon Sonic RA is excellent. Uppers are constructed with SensiFIT, a thin woven mesh-like material that is breathable in warm conditions and dries quickly when wet. Padding around the heel collar is minimal aside from more prominent areas on either side of the Achilles. Our first miles out of the box had some stiffness through the uppers, particularly in the rearfoot, but they softened up and became nice and flexible after our first few runs. We ultimately found no areas of irritation with high mileage running.  

Responsiveness

The Salomon Sonic RA initially has a firm landing feel, but the Energycell+ midsole compound delivers strong energy return and a high level of spring. Our testers were very pleased with the energy return on impact and the feeling of propulsion at toe-off. Additionally, Salomon’s Vibe technology positions TPP (Thermoplastic Polyproylene) material between the midsole and insole; this is a softer density material that is used to reduce vibration as well as lateral movement. It also provides a bit of bounce, but not quite as much as a firmer TPU layer like the Adidas Boost or Saucony’s EVERun material.     

Ride Quality

Salomon uses Geometric Decoupling in all of its Sonic models, which splits the shoe into two parallel platforms of support, with a deep longitudinal groove between them. Distinctions in the three RA models are largely due to this decoupling arrangement: the race model Sonic RA Pro shifts the groove line medially for a faster transition, while the stable Sonic RA Max has a wider and more stable medial platform. As the midrange option, the Sonic RA has a nice balance of load distribution and a smooth transition from heel to toe. Below the midsole, Salomon’s Wet Traction Contragrip rubber provided strong traction on every surface we tested, in wet and dry conditions.  

Speed

With a smooth, lightweight feel and energetic midsole performance, it’s easy to maintain a fast pace in the Salomon RA. They’re not specifically built for road racing, but they can easily handle long track workouts and speed intervals on the road.

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WHERE TO BUY
MSRP
$130.00
*Your purchase helps to support the work of Gear Institute.
HOW WE TESTED

Testing of our lightweight road shoes was performed by a committee of testers, both male and female. Our group consists of six to eight testers who wore the shoes for total distances of approximately 20 to 80 miles. Single runs ranged in distance from three to 26 miles, and included casual training as well as speed workouts and road racing. The majority of our testing is conducted on asphalt roads or all-weather tracks, but we occasionally venture off-road onto jeep trails or smooth trails. Each tester prepares a summary overview of how each shoe performed in the criteria of fit, comfort, responsiveness, ride quality, and speed, and he or she also includes any additional thoughts or observations about the shoes during the test period. Feedback from all testers is consolidated into the criteria ratings.

USER REVIEWS

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