Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Outdoor Retailer 2018 Salomon Running Introductions- New Running Avenue Road Collection: Sonic RA Pro, Sonic RA. Sonic RA Max

Salomon surprised at Outdoor Retailer with a completely new 3 shoe road line named  Running Avenue

In 2017 Salomon launched three road shoes with Vibe technology the S-Lab Sonic 2, Sonic, and Sonic Pro 2. They were fantastic shoes, the Vibe being a highly effective way to keep shoes light, firm and responsive but with a noticeable reduction in vibration and shock in what are fairly firm shoes (RTR article and S-Lab Sonic 2 review). They suffered somewhat from trail oriented and styled uppers and plentiful trail DNA rubber coverage which made them a bit slappy, but super durable.

Running Avenue introduced the Sonic RA Pro, Sonic RA, and Sonic RA Max three very light, totally road focused new models (left to right below) with true road uppers and outsoles, and of course Vibe, vibration attenuation technology. We appreciated the simplicity and clarity of the three models and the ease with which the differences can be seen and explained. No gimmicks, just solid scientifically based design for different foot gait styles and run purposes. They even cost exactly the same. All three models will be available 2/1/18 and all are priced at $130.
 LEFT to RIGHT Salomon Sonic RA Pro, Sonic RA, Sonic RA Max 

Sonic RA Daily Trainer
Weight: 8.6oz,/244 g (M9), 7.4 oz./210 g (W8)
Stack Height: 20/28mm, 8mm offset, 
Salomon Sonic RA
Salomon Sonic RA
Salomon Sonic RA
Salomon presents the Sonic RA in this RoadTrailRun YouTube video:

Sonic RA Max Light Stability Trainer
Weight: 9.3oz,/ 264 g (M9), 8.3 oz./235 g (W8)
Stack Height: 20/30mm, 10mm offset
9.3 oz is remarkably light for a stability trainer with this level of cushion and joins the 2018 trend towards lighter shoes in this category.
Salomon Sonic RA Max
Salomon Sonic RA Max
Salomon Sonic RA Max
Sonic RA Pro Performance Trainer
Weight: 8.3oz/235 g (M9), 7.1 oz./201 g (W8)
Stack Height: 18/24mm, 6mm offset
Salomon Sonic RA Pro
Salomon Sonic RA Pro
Running Avenue Design Principles Explained
Readers may have noticed few words so far. Well the secret to RA is underfoot. Yes, the uppers have varying levels of support for the different purposes, and all are built on a new road specific last. They nclude Salomon's SensiFit bootie construction  nd they have somewhat different midsole geometries, drops and stack heights but it is at the outsole/midsole level that they differ most in subtle bio mechanically valid ways. 
LEFT to RIGHT Salomon Sonic RA Pro, Sonic RA, Sonic RA Max 
LEFT to RIGHT Salomon Sonic RA Pro, Sonic RA, Sonic RA Max
Designed in collaboration with one of the world's top run shoe focused podiatrists, Simon Bartold, the Decoupling Axis line for the subtalar joint, roughly in the middle of shoe longitudinally, but significantly varying by model,  is designed into each outsole/midsole and moves away from the usual paradigm of pronation and supination. Jonathan Teipen, RA product manager, explained what Running Avenue is trying to accomplish for the consumer: "Start with Sonic RA, if you feel you need more shoe, turn right to the Max. If you want to go faster turn left for the Pro. Much of this is supported by Benno Nigg's comfort paradigm that what feels good to the runner will translate to more efficient and healthier running." Good thinking put into action!
As Jonathan also put it: "some feet need more guidance and some need less and factors such as body weight, injury history, strength, experience, mileage, and form are a bigger factor in what shoe the runner needs than supination or pronation."  The Salomon graphic below illustrates the Decoupling Axis differences between the three models and each's purpose: 
  • Sonic Pro with a smaller medial platform to move the foot forward faster
  • Sonic for a balanced forefoot load distribution
  • Sonic Max for a wider more stable medial forefoot platform 

In the photo below the decoupling line for each shoe corresponds to the numbers. The "3" shown here is the Max RA stability shoe with the medial side to the left. The performance trainer Sonic Pro RA would be at "1" 
Salomon Sonic RA Decoupling Line
The rubber is a combination of Salomon's famous WET Traction Contagrip in the heel, midfoot and forefoot tip and softer and bouncier blown rubber in the forefoot, a big change from the prior Sonic road line with its all over firm rubber. The trail legacy Pro Feel Film at mid foot is removed. The Salomon graphics below illustrate the rubber arrangement

The Energy Cell+ and vibration reducing Opal inserts front and back in the RA Sonic and RA Sonic Max, and heel only in the Sonic RA Pro, are just as in the 2017 Sonic and Sonic Pro.  We found them very effective then. With softer forefoot rubber, more cushion and bounce up front can be expected something the 2017 shoes were somewhat lacking in.  We expect the combination to be a less slappy, and with the Decoupling axis a smoother running collection of shoes with great response from the on the firmer side Energy Cell+ midsole but with shock and vibration attenuation from Vibe and forefoot rubber. 
All three Sonic RA have a streamlined articulated heel collar padding with padding just and only where it is really needed.
Women's versions of each model are  available, see below.
LEFT to RIGHT Salomon Women's Sonic RA Pro, Sonic RA, Sonic RA Max 
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!

See our 2018 Run Previews and Introductions page here
For over 60 of in depth 2017 shoe and gear reviews visit our index page here
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Anonymous said...

Just popping by to say thank you for all the detailed write-ups! Really appreciate it

sam winebaum said...

Thank you Anonymous!
More to come.
Sam, Editor

Michael Lund said...

Will Running Avenue replace the Sonic Line or supplement it?

sam winebaum said...

Hi Michael,
Direct replacement plus light stability in Max.
Sam, Editor

Rod K said...

Really like the look of these. The articulated heel cup is an innovative idea. I'm excited to try them.