Wednesday, August 02, 2017

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

OUTDOOR RETAILER- RTR's BEST NEW RUN SHOE LINE 
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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9 comments:

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.

NCmtnman said...

I love the amount of technology they pack into these shoes and how they really drive design as part of the Salomon appeal. Unfortunately these will likely be another miss for me. With a company that has such a performance focus I am again disappointed to see them coming out with 10mm and 8mm drop shoes. I want to like them but the firm forefoot and raised heel are a no go for me even at 175 lbs. Background on me is a 25-30 mpw with about 25% of that on trails. Former Altra fan who has recently converted to Hoka and has not looked back :)

sam winebaum said...

HI NCmtnman,
Thanks for chiming in. What Hoka's are you running in now? You may really like the Mach, review soon. My experience to date in the RA Sonic, review soon has me feeling that while it does have the higher drop the running experience is quite "natural". Great feel for the ground upfront, while on the firmer side and the Vibe does cut the vibration shock a key to making firm work for me, I like some responsive snap and a smooth transition without to much shock and the RA Sonic has it. As far as absolute drop it really depends for me on the make up of the rest of the shoe, midsole and outsole. For example the Clifton with its softer foam and beveled heel is a no go for me. The Altra Torin and I am just starting to test the Altra Duo as their foam is firmer just fine. At the other extreme have real issues with the Mizuno Wave Rider with its big drop and firm plate.
Thanks for reading.
Sam, Editor

NCmtnman said...

I have moved from the Altra Instinct 4 to the Hoka Clifton 3 and have been able to increase my mileage and comfort. My trail runners are the Hoka Speed Instinct which seem quite responsive and nimble for a "Hoka". I agree with what you said about the feel of the shoe. I felt great when I was moving fast in the Salomons but slowing down caused me to feel flat footed in the new Vibe. Maybe it was that I was on a treadmill or that my mind was set on the Hokas? Anyways...

I went to the softer Clifton 3 purely for the softer landing (midfoot at 9:00 pace) and because of the updated fit. I can still get a great fast run in the shoe as it is not clunky for me. I have run into my toes being a bit numb when I snug the shoe too tightly as it is still a touch narrow for me. Lacing is the key ingredient for my foot. My next trail shoe will likely be the Speedgoat 2 but the stability of the cushioning and high stack concerns me. Compared to the Speedgoat the Salomon felt much more connected for me. Maybe another run in the Salomons will do me some good but I fear getting beat up with the lower cushion.

NCmtnman said...

I am purely a forefoot striker at a more normal pace or anything below 9:00 per mile. Sorry for the addition.