Monday, September 10, 2018

Salomon Sense Pro 3 Review

Article by Jeff Valliere 

Salomon Sense Pro 3

Introduction/Initial Impressions:

The Salomon Sense Pro 3 is the latest lightweight speedster in the Sense line, packed with many S/Lab attributes, all at a lower cost.  The Sense Pro 3 out of the box has strikingly good looks, is light, narrow and toothy, if a bit stiff feeling.  Fit is snug and race ready, though a bit more accommodating in the forefoot.  They feel quick and ready to roll fast without any urging.

Weight: 8.9 oz US Men's size 9 (9 5/8 oz./276 grams) US men's size 10 / 7.9 oz US Women's size 7
Sample US Men's 8.5 (8.7 oz/246 grams)
Stack: 20mm/16mm (4mm drop)
$130 Available now


Salomon, overall as a brand (with the exception of the Pro Max perhaps), does the best job of any company in creating an upper that best accommodates my foot in terms of fit, comfort and foothold for the majority of my running.  The seamless mesh upper is thin and well ventilated with thin overlays which integrate well and are essentially undetectable from the inside.
Fit is true to size and consistent with other Salomon Sense and S/Lab models, race ready security and foothold.  The toe box is not wide by any stretch, but not too narrow, tapered or pinchy.  For my low volume foot, it is accommodating, yet secure without any give and is ideal for the steep mountain running that I do on a daily basis.  Midfoot fit, feel and security is amazing, with no pressure from the laces, just a nice snug hug and heel hold is perfect as well.

The toe bumper blends perfectly with the overlays/rand, creating a secure and well protected toe box while maintaining good breathability and flexibility.
The kevlar Quicklace system works very well, providing a one and done secure fit with no pressure points.  Of course the quick pull and extra laces tuck into the lace garage/pocket on the tongue, as is the case on all Salomon shoes that utilize Quicklace.
The tongue is on the thin side, with very little padding, but would not need any more, as I do not feel any pressure from the thin kevlar laces.  The tongue is integrated with the shoe bootie style, which is part of the Endofit/Sensifit system that helps secure the midfoot in place.
The heel counter is thin, semi flexible, yet offers sufficient structure and protection.
The heel collar is low with medium thin padding, but I find it perfectly adequate and comfortable.


The full length EnergyCell+ midsole, while on the minimal side, offers firm, yet reasonable cushioning and protection for shorter to medium distance outings.  Combined with the Profeel film, rock protection is very good, while maintaining a great balance of trail feel.  For slower paces and on softer surfaces, I find the firm cushioning to be adequate, but when running fast on harder surfaces, rock, bulletproof dirt, pavement, cement, the ride is a bit harsh and unforgiving.  Response is good, especially climbing and on high speed cruiser trails.


The Salomon Premium Wet Traction Contagrip outsole is durable and provides excellent traction on most surfaces.  With the wider spaced, deep and pronounced lugs, the Sense Pro 3 hooks up especially well on softer surfaces, steep dirt, scree, off trail duff, but does less well on rock, either wet or dry than the S/Lab Sense Ultra or XA Elevate for example, as there is less rubber contact with the ground and this is noticeable.  There is no mud or snow on my local trails yet, but I suspect based on the lug pattern, spacing and depth, that they would be good there as well.
The outsole (and midsole platform above)  is narrow, especially so at the midfoot with a very significant taper on the medial side.  This is rarely an issue for me, as I have strong ankles and am adept in technical terrain, but I found that Sense Pro 3 was a bit tippy on rocky, technical terrain.

Overall Impressions:
Overall I found the Sense Pro 3 to be a good shoe, with amazing fit, security, comfort, speed, agility and traction.  I did however find it to be a bit tippy in rocky, technical terrain due to the very narrow medial midfoot outsole and midsole platform there, tall lugs, combined with perhaps a bit of a lack of torsional flex in the midfoot.  While technical rock hopping, especially through rock gardens and talus fields I found myself slowing and using caution, not only from feeling a little tippy, but the foot above the medial arch felt a bit exposed without much midfoot outsole underneath.  A friend of mine on a recent run even noted that I looked a little tippy and unsure of my footing, which is rare for me as I typically move quickly through rocky and technical terrain with speed and ease.  Nothing too prohibitive, but just something to be aware of.

Otherwise, the Sense Pro 3 works very well on softer technical terrain and running fast on softer, faster cruiser trails, but for fast paces on hard surfaces, one may prefer a model with a bit more cushion as the ride can feel harsh and jarring in those circumstances.  I think the Sense Pro 3 would make a great race shoe for shorter distances on less rocky terrain, or an uptempo trainer, though a bit on the lighter side for me to want to run in everyday, but that is mostly because I run rocky trails daily, so I tend to prefer a shoe with a bit more substance.  That said, I have been fine on runs in the 2-3 hour range and would recommend the Sense Pro 3 for softer ground, less rocky outings.

Jeff's Score:  9.1/10
- .4 for tippy feel on rocky technical terrain
- .3 for harsh ride at speed
- .2 for wet traction on rock (not terrible, just not up to par with other recent Salomon shoes).


Salomon Sense Pro 3 vs. S/Lab Sense Ultra (RTR review here):  Fit and overall design, particularly the upper are very similar, but the S/Lab has more cushion (which is also more forgiving), a smoother ride, better stability and overall better, more versatile tracton.

Salomon Sense Pro 3 vs. S/Lab Ultra (Francois version) (RTR review here): The S/Lab Ultra is heavier, but offers a smoother, more well protected cushioned ride (overall, not just underfoot), is more stable, yet the fit, with that tapered toe box is not as good as the about perfect for me upper of the Sense Pro 3.

Salomon Sense Pro 3 vs. Salomon XA Elevate (RTR review here):  The XA Elevate weighs more and is not quite as nimble, but with more protection, cushion, stability and overall more versatile traction, I go faster in the Elevate, which was my favorite shoe last year and remains near the top for my use.

Salomon Sense Pro 3 vs. Salomon Sense Ride (RTR review here):  The Ride has better cushion and stability, but the upper is not nearly as secure and precise.

Salomon Sense Pro 3 vs. Salomon Ultra Pro: (RTR review here):  They share the same color scheme, (in reverse), but the Ultra Pro is a bit heavier, not as agile or nimble, yet offers much more ample cushion, overall protection, stability and more versatile traction/outsole.  The Sense Pro 3 has a much more secure and precise upper, that may or may not be an advantage depending on your use/foot/preference.

Salomon Sense Pro 3 vs. Saucony Peregrine (6 review and 7 review, but not 8 review):  The Peregrine 6 and 7 would be more fitting comparisons, as the 8 gained a lot of weight and is a completely different shoe.  No matter, Peregrines have comparable traction, though the Sense Pro 3 would likely shed mud better.  Peregrines (6 and 7) are closer in weight, drop and stack, but the Peregrine is more stable and better cushioned.

Salomon Sense Pro 3 vs. Scott Supertrac RC (RTR review here):  Though the RC is nearly is narrow, it is not tippy like the Sense Pro 3 and inspires confidence on steep, technical terrain, rocks, etc...  Better cushion and protection too.  Fit is comparable, super locked down feel without being confining, but the RC has a more protective feel without any added weight.  The Salomon outsole, while not as grippy, will outlive the RC.

Salomon Sense Pro 3 vs. New Balance Summit Unknown (RTR review here):  Summit Unknown is more stable, has better overall traction and is more responsive, but gave my pinky toes blisters, where the Sense Pro 3 has a much better (near perfect) fitting upper (at least for my foot).

Salomon Sense Pro 3 vs. Hoka One One Torrent (RTR review here):  Torrent is faster, more stable, only slightly heavier, but with much more cushion and protection, comparable, if not better traction, but the upper on the Sense Pro 3 is more secure.

Editor's Note: The $180 Salomon S/Lab Sense SG is an obvious comparison as it has almost identical stack heights, weighs 1.5 oz less...and $50 more in version 7 and has a somewhat different Contragrip outsole. We have not recently reviewed the Sense SG but hope to soon to compare.

Reviewer Bio
Jeff Valliere is a former pro cyclist who now runs and climbs the mountains of Colorado. He has been top 5 Masters, top 25 overall, at the Pike's Peak Marathon several times, finishing 2d Masters in 2015. Jeff loves vertical accumulating more than 500,000 vertical feet per year, has climbed all the Colorado 14's and 200 of the 13's and has held FKT on several.   

The product reviewed in this article were provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the author's.
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Anonymous said...

I am glad there is roadtrailrun but one thing that would make any review better imho would be a picture straight from the top to get a first idea of the form of the shoe. Expanding on that a picture straight from the top of the insole would help to clarify.

sam winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for your useful suggestion. Added a couple more pictures in the Upper section. Are they what you had in mind?
Sam, Editor

Jeff Valliere said...

Anon, thanks for the reminder, I normally do, but forgot this time, thanks for adding Sam.

chris said...

Thx @ Sam

rms said...

The note about the SP3's wasp-waist is very disappointing, as I had the same complaint about the SP2, to the point where I only wore them 20miles before getting rid of them: too unstable on rocks.

ninedeeb said...

Thanks for the review. From what I understand this shoe is just a retrofitting of the Sense 6? If you ran in Sense 6, can you comment on how similar these two fit?

Lastly, any chance y'all will have a review of the Sense 7? I can find very little information on it other than previews from 2017. Evaluating reviews of a $180.00 shoe is the only way this runner will dish out the money. Thanks again!

sam winebaum said...

Hi Ninedeeb,
Neither Jeff nor I ran in the Sense 6. There are similarities. We expect to receive S?Lab Sense 7 SG shortly and will be able to make comparisons then.
Sam, Editor