Monday, December 16, 2019

Salomon Sonic 3 Balance Review: A Finely Tuned Balance of Dynamic Midsole, Vibration Reduction and Agile Smooth Transitions

Article by Sam Winebaum and Jeff Valliere

Salomon Sonic 3 Balance ($130)
Estimated Weight: 9.9 oz / 281 g US M9
Sample Weights:  10.25 oz./291 g men’s US10,9.77 oz / 277 g  men’s US 8.5 
Prior version weight: 9.2 oz /261 g men’s size 9
Stack Height: 28mm heel / 20 mm forefoot, 8 mm drop
Releases Feb 2020. $130

Sam: Launching Spring 2020, the Sonic 3 Balance features an Optivibe midsole which combines a very lively energy returning Dow Infuse Olefin main midsole with high elastic properties and a single proprietary rear JPAD shock and vibration reducing viscous memory foam heel insert. The JPAD tamps down vibrations which leads to reducing  muscle activations and thus is said to reduce fatigue and improve recovery. The new Optivibe system was described by Salomon as the difference in vibration between riding on a gravel road (usual midsoles) and on paved road (Optivibe). Optivibe improves vibration dampening by 15% and improving shock absorption by 8% while also not changing rebound according to Salomon 

The ride here has been sublime for me in its energy "return" and firmer responsive rebounding cushion which comes from the combination of midsole and well matched outsole, shock and vibration absorption, and especially smoothness of transitions to toe off from the geometric decoupling which carries forward from the Sonic 2 series. It runs way lighter than its weight! The new engineered mesh upper should fit a wide range of foot volumes and features a particularly well executed toe box blending room and hold.

Tester Profiles
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.
Jeff  runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's but when on the flats is a fast roadrunner. 

Jeff:  Optivibe Dampening, Smooth transition, Superb upper, Runs lighter than weight, Cushion, Response, Great on light to even moderate trails
A ride as good as it gets for faster daily training: highly cushioned, largely shock free, responsive with a smooth transition and an easy agile toe off. 
Superb under foot geometry that is well decoupled and stable.
Very comfortable upper, secure that is easy fitting with a notably high volume toe box and moderate width and is wider than typical for Salomon

Jeff:  None! (well, the toothpaste green color Opti Vibe insert could be improved)
Sam: Weight while not noticed is getting up there at near 10 oz due to the new midsole foams and extensive outsole.
Sam: The effective rear vibration reduction JPAD insert is quite firm and dense. A bit softer, thinner or shorter on the lateral side might improve slower paced heel landings.
Sam: Why not a brighter color for that Optivibe insert? 

First Impressions and Fit
Sam: I’ll start by saying the Sonic 3 is the first shoe that got me through two plus days of standing and walking on concrete at the Running Event with no heel pain at the end. I have worn dozens and dozens of different run shoes over the years at trade shows with always heel pain for a few days after. Tribute I guess to the JPAD insert reducing vibration on concrete and the stable rear platform

The fit is true to size for me with a great but not constricting mid foot hold from the very subtly implemented Sensi Fit overlays which appear to be laminated in the same color melted into the inside of the shoe. The toe box is fantastic with very decent width and especially noted vertical volume. Again back to the trade show. While never an issue running, standing and sitting I have a dodgy big toenail these days and of the several shoes I brought to the Running Event it was the only one given the volume and non stretch thin and dense but not rigid mesh I could tolerate. Stretchier more foot shaping knit or near knits were near agony. 

The look, classy sober and conservative with the only pop of color the rear insert is quite dull. This said it blends in everywhere and doesn’t shout its outstanding ride. Looks aren’t everything but I would like to see more pop particularly when there is so much exciting new tech here.

Jeff:  The Sonic Balance upper is one of the best uppers I have run in, be it road or trail with amazing comfort, fit and security.  In fact, security is certainly acceptable for trail running and is really only limited on trail by it’s road focused outsole. Fit is true to size with a secure midfoot, bolstered by internal Sensifit innerlays integrating with the laces and a flexible, yet stable and moderately padded heel counter, Endofit style gusseted tongue/bootie for step in ease and added security.  The toe box, while not wide, is plenty generous without giving up any security and is just right for my foot to allow for a bit of swelling, splay and overall comfort. I think the width will easily accommodate mid width feet and those looking for more wiggle room.

Overall, I experience no pinching, pressure or rubbing on runs or while wearing for all day general wear.

Breathability thus far has been very good, though I have not run in temperatures above 70 degrees.  On colder days, I feel the cool air moving through, so I am confident it will breath well in the summer, despite the relatively dense mesh (and black color).

We have a relatively simple engineered mesh here. It is thin and quite pliable if not the softest and while dense in weave has plenty of breathability slots. 
The Sensi Fit underlays or overlays, can’t tell exactly from what side they are applied but think internally, are super subtle and super effective to lock the foot at mid foot in concert with the the bootie tongue and with no arch bite. 
The toe box is as broad as I have ever seen in a Salomon with denser weave around the bumper and a softer stiffener plus a single curving overlay over the toes (with reflective accent). The result is a generous ,super comfortable front of the shoe with notable height and very commendable overall front volume yet great hold. A wide variety of foot shapes should be accommodated here with the sweet spot on either side of medium. 
The tongue in combination with the EndoFit gusseted bootie, works to perfection for me in providing an easy to lace and secure wrap. The thinner tongue is of the molded variety with fairly dense padding concentrated just where it needs to be prevent lace bite: as wings up top where one knots and down the center to pad the other laces. The design allows a snug lace up if need be with the side wrapping and with no pressure over the top of the foot. 
We have a full heel counter here but not a totally stiff one. It seems, and this is a small criticism that when the dense firmer JPAD is brought into the mix, the heel counter doesn’t quite keep up in support higher up as I notice a minute amount of heel shifting at the rear. A touch more grip or clutch out back would be an improvement.

Jeff:  The midsole is the true wonder here, with the combination of the JPAD memory foam and the Infuse Olefin white midsole making up the OptiVibe system. It provides a wondrous combination of impact absorption, vibration dampening, response, stability and predictability. 

While at the outset, the Balance does not feel outwardly springy and eager to go fast, the response and ability to handle any speed becomes clear when ratcheting up the speed without feeling bouncy in the least.  I have found that the Balance absorbs shock and vibration oh so well in such a relatively compact and not overly bulky shoe/midsole. In fact, the amount of cushion and absorption packed into the midsole of the Balance truly belies the streamlined (non maximal) appearance and listed stack height.  

After an hour or more of running faster paces on paved and cement surfaces (something I am not used to and often feel afterwards), the Balance left me feeling surprisingly fresh and relatively unaffected. 

Sam: Jeff describes the midsole well. As with the upper this is a finely  tuned and super well executed system of energy "return" and shock and vibration reduction. Seemingly a bit firm at the heel at slow slow paces as soon as you step on the gas and activate the JPAD’s response, take advantage of the decoupling and the distinct sense of energy return from the white Infuse midsole, particularly in forefoot things get wondrous!

It is a bit of a struggle to describe the midsole feel here. I often use terms such as bouncy (Boost and Saucony’s new PWRUN+ based on TPU pellets), springy (Skechers Hyper Burst CO2 expanded EVA). responsive (traditional firmer EVA), pneumatic ( Brooks PU DNA AMP ), or silky in return (Zoom X) and to a lesser extent and a bit firmer (Reebok Floatride) both PEBA based midsole foams.  

Reviewing Salomon's marketing for the shoe, I see the white Olefin based main midsole described as “elastic”. I think this is an apt descriptor and a new one for the midsole feel repertoire of terms. Clearly not bouncy, overtly springy, or firmly responsive it seems to “activate” progressively with pace with a measured dynamic sense of rebound which is also stable feeling.  Going with the conservative looks the rebound is surprising in its power as opposed to overt, wild, and flashy. 

Of course there is more to this platform as we also have the rear JPAD viscous memory foam insert.  The second generation of Salomon vibration reducing tech takes a different approach from the original Vibe in that, instead of a softer material resembling a Brillo pad we have a dense puck of memory foam. It is only at the heel and not at forefoot as the prior Sonic 2 and Sonic Max 2 had. Pressing in one can deform the foam and then it gently returns to shape as one would expect with a memory type foam

The vibration and shock reduction is clearly effective, almost eerie in feel as there is so little shock and vibration transmitted. Vibration is a key component of fatigue as muscle have to overcompensate to reduce it. At the extremes,  the stress from vibrations can lead to those infamous calf cramps. 
Interestingly the teal JPAD insert while firmer than the rest of the midsole is longer on the lateral than medial side. Usually firmer and longer pieces "rails" are on the medial side for support. 
The JPAD insert is dense and it is of a firmer nature although it depresses and gently returns to shape when pressed.  t is clearly firmer to pressing than the white Infuse midsole.  I think a touch to firm as while shock and vibration is reduced for sure, the feel of the heel area contrasts with the softer feel of the forefoot a touch to much for me at paces slower than 10:15 min miles or so.  I wonder if making the insert shorter on the lateral side might help? And as noted by both Jeff and I as the pace picks up that feeling goes away. 
Finally, I think the insert helped keep my legs fresh and heels pain free at the trade show, particularly I imagine the longer lateral side a big contributor. So what to do? I guess I will get used to it!

Jeff:  The outsole provides excellent traction for its intended purpose and more importantly, integrates well with the midsole to help with the dampening properties with no harsh or slappy feeling.  After 50 or so mostly road, some trail and a lot of everyday wear and walking around, I am seeing no visible wear, so expect better than average longevity. While certainly not a trail shoe, the outsole has enough tread to make the Balance a competent shoe on mild to moderate trails but likely not muddy, snowy or loose.
Sam: Salomon’s classic durable, great traction Contagrip here. Zero wear beyond some light front scuffing about 30 miles of running plus several days wearing 14 or more hours on concrete
The forefoot rubber is softer than the heel rubber which extends to the red triangle at mid foot. The teal JPAD insert can be seen through the rear cavity.

OK done with the usual outsole characteristics.  As far as I know, there are two fundamental approaches to making a run shoe transition smoothly and efficiently: a decoupling groove or a pronounced rocker if the shoe is stiff. 

As always midsole and outsole are a system and here the anatomically placed deep full length geometric decoupling groove and the flex grooves here are key. They contribute to a very, very smooth transition and an especially wonderful and agile toe off, far more agile and softer than the Sonic RA 2’s which had a similar outsole design and is one of the best well cushioned toe offs in recent memory for me in a trainer. 
Compared side by side one can clearly see the Sonic 3 decoupling groove is deeper and wider as is the heel cavity. 

Jeff:  Incredibly smooth, predictable, stable and controlled, yet responsive without feeling bouncy. 

Sam: Jeff says it perfectly. I would add this is a shoe that gets better and better the faster the pace while retaining plenty of cushion (and that vibration attenuation Optivibe) for big daily miles.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Jeff:  The Balance is a near perfect every day, any mileage, any speed, versatile road trainer that can easily handle light trail use with somewhat treaded outsole and secure upper.  I am extremely impressed with the fit and comfort, coupled with security and breathability. The midsole is certainly one of, if not the most remarkable midsoles I have experienced to date, providing such a one of a kind remarkable balance of cushion/absorption while feeling firm, responsive and non abusive on any surface, while the OptiVibe insert dampens vibrations in perfect harmony with the midsole.  With no bounce and a stable/predictable feel, you have to see how good it is for yourself. If looking for a do it all road shoe, look no further.
Jeff’s score: 9.9/10
-.1 for colorway/styling (but definitely a wolf in sheep’s clothing)

Sam: While retaining the geometric decoupling and overall general geometry of its predecessors,  the Sonic 3 Balance has a completely new and more dynamic ride. A near perfect blend of state of the art energy returning “elastic” and rebounding cushion and responsive snap and quick toe off, it is an ideal daily trainer for a variety of workouts and paces with only potentially, for some, slow recovery runs not being ideal due to the JPAD vibration reducing insert's firm feel when not loaded at pace. But recall, I survived days of walking on concrete with none of my customary heel pain and have had far less soreness after every run so that vibration attenuation while maybe not the usual in feel at slow paces is clearly for me effective  
The upper blends comfort with great foothold in the same way as the ride, purposefully and without over emphasizing either a slipper like fit, all kinds of stretch or a straight jacket like “performance” fit. With a durable somewhat profiled Contagrip outsole and that very secure upper and stable platform they can also serve as a road to trail hybrid for non technical smoother trails replacing the Sense Ride which in version 3 becomes a more trail focused shoe. Highly recommended and a great value for faster paced daily training and light trail use . Sonic 3 was my pick for best "new" shoe at The Running Event for Running Warehouse. See video below.
Sam's Score: 9.5 /10
Ride: 9.5 (50%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 10 (15%) Style:8 (5%)
I deduct for weight at nearly 10 oz, up there for shoes in its class, and for slightly over firm rear insert, but only at slower paces, potentially limiting versatility a touch.

2019 Sonic 3 Line
Salomon Presents Sonic 3 Line & Other Models
The Sonic 3 Balance (middle below) will be joined by the up tempo Accelerate (formerly Sonic RA 2 Pro (front) Update: Sonic 3 Accelerate rate multi tester review 
and inherent stability Confidence (back). All releasing February 2020 and all are $130.
Below, Salomon’s Geometric Decoupling line moves from medial to lateral  based on the shoe’s purpose. Further medially a more agile toe off, further laterally a touch more forefoot stability . Balance sits in the middle between the up tempo Accelerate *bottom"and more stable forefoot Confidence "top".

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Salomon Sonic RA  2 (RTR Review)

While the Sonic 3 gains about 0.7 oz, it is a far better fitting and running shoe and a faster one for me . The Sonic RA 2 suffered from a fairly firm ride and stiff forefoot. Both fit me true to size with Sonic 3 clearly roomier

Salomon Predict RA (RTR Review)
Yet more decoupling and in fact mapped top and bottom of the midsole to foot bones in motion, the Predict has a firmer ride with wonderful road feel as the foot moves through its natural path but is more punishing and less versatile than Sonic 3. A new Predict 2 with a nitrogen infused PU midsole is coming soon.

Hoka Mach (RTR Review)
Jeff:  The Mach 3 is lighter with a foamier, more bouncy feel, a racier look and you expect it to be fast, however the Balance, weighing over an ounce more, with higher stack, rubber outsole and a very unassuming look is a shoe that much better handles higher speeds and provides better absorption and leaves me feeling fresher after runs.  The Balance is much more versatile (usage, speed, variety of surfaces and option for daily wear), while providing better durability and longevity.
Sam: I tested the similar Mach 2 and agree with Jeff that it is bouncier with a more cushioned forefoot but its rocker is harder to move along than the Sonic 3’s decoupled approach and of course it does not have a conventional rubber outsole. Easy win for the Sonic 3 in terms of versatility and ride.

Reebok Forever Floatride Energy (RTR Review)
Sam: More than an ounce lighter at 8.7 oz  and less expensive at $100 with a great midsole the Forever Energy has a similar dynamic if somewhat firmer, more responsive but also more punishing ride. Its upper is awkwardly pointy up front and crude in comparison.

Skechers Performance Ride 8 (RTR Review)
Sam: About a half ounce lighter with considerably more and springy cushion the Ride 8 is no where near as agile up front as it is stiffer with awkwardly placed rubber, a flatter geometry and no decoupling groove. A great compliment to the Sonic 3 as the easier days shoe, when the pace picks up it tends to pop me vertically at toe off something the Sonic 3 doesn't do at any pace.

adidas adizero Boston (RTR Review)
Sam: Thinner in the forefoot and bouncier at the heel the Boston is dated in ride and complex in underfoot design compared to the Sonic 3’s elegant approach

NB 1080v10 (RTR Review)
Sam: This superb update has a wonderful upper with some stretch over the toes, a bit snug and painful for my bad toe nail walking and sitting which the Sonic 3 Balance is not. It’s heel hold execution is superior. Underfoot the ride is more responsive than elastic with not nearly the smooth agile toe off and energy return of the Sonic 3 while about equal in heel feel. 

Brooks Launch 7 (RTR Initial Review)
Sam: This latest version of the Launch $30 less than Sonic is firmer and denser in feel with about equal cushion and less energy return or vibration attenuation.   A very similar if more traditional ride.

Brooks Revel 3 (RTR Review)
Sam: Bouncier, with a more “casual” upper the $100 Revel leans more fun faster short runs than daily training for me. 

ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite (RTR Initial Review)
Sam: This upcoming ASICS is bouncier and softer than the Sonic 3. It has slightly more and softer forefoot cushion feel and is less responsive, directed, and stable but very similar overall. Comes down to preferences: snap and agility vs bouncy and more easy going soft.

Nike Epic React 2 (RTR Review)
Sam: No contest here. The Epic React has a snugger mid foot, lower toe box height, and a dull labored, un decoupled mid foot and toe off in comparison. It is considerably lighter.

Nike React Infinity Run (RTR Review)
Sam: more moderate pace focused than fast as Sonic 3 is, the Nike React Infinity is bouncier,  has more and softer forefoot and heel cushion, a wider all around base leaning it a touch into the stability category and a great new flavor of Flyknit with copious volume. The React Infinity for easy days and Sonic 3 faster daily miles would make a great pairing.
Available February 2020  
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The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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Jeff Valliere said...


Bentos said...

How do you guys compare this to the fuelcell midsole/propel? Was thinking of getting the rebel but may way for the accelerate to come out.

Xavier said...

The accelerate with the outsole of a sense 7 would seem like a great paring! I'm currently using the fantastic ra 2 and while the outsole seems just fine, a slightly more robust design would be perfect for trail excursions where exposed foam wouldn't get shredded. And a race like the black canyon 60/100 would be perfect for this type of shoe since it's so runnable and nontechnical. Salomon are over delivering with their trail and road shoes!

Bobcat said...

Any idea what the Salomon Pro trail athletes like Kilian have been wearing this last year? Looks like a RA upper with some trail outsole.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys,

Thanks for the great review! Two questions:

1. Are you also going to review the Accelerate and the Confident and when?

2. I'm currently switching back from traditional (light) stability shoes (Ravenna 9, Gel DS Trainer 23) to inherent stable neutral shoes. My current rotation looks like this: Fastwitch 9, Kinvara 9, Predict RA, Carbon X. The Kinvaras aswell as the Predict are close to the end of their lifetime and need to be replaced in the next 1-2 months. Do you think one of the Sonic RA 3 modells would be a good replacement? I was also thinking about the Glideride and the new Nike Infinity Run. Any suggestions for an inherent stable a) uptempo trainer (Kinvara replacement) and b) longrun / recovery shoe (Predict replacement)?

All the best

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Nils,
We expect to review Accelerate and Confidence likely from production pairs close to Feb release.

Great questions. The inherently stable Sonic 3 is the Confidence with the key feature the decoupling as described above but also a bit more stack and a slightly beefier upper if memory serves. This said Balance is pretty darn stable for a neutral shoe and it is so versatile. Glideride is very stable as well although neutral, fantastic daily trainer that can double for recovery as the rocker keeps one nicely directed and it is not overly soft React Infinity probably is the most stable of those mentioned but not obnoxiously so. It would be a great recovery runs choice. As far as uptempo trainer why not the new Kinvara 11? Definitely a touch softer and with more rebound than K10 maybe a touch less overt stability but still a great choice in that category.
Sam, Editor
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Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Bobcat,
Of course I have tried to find out but Salomon mum on S/Lab elite versions! I suspect maybe this new Infuse midsole in the Balance but trail and road at Salomon often go different ways.
Sam, Editor

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Bentos,
I ran the Propel and not the Rebel and it is my understanding that FuelCell midsoles can have different characteristics depending on model beyond geometry. Balance has a more decisive measured "rebound" as opposed to FC Propel's more bouncy approach at least for me. The Balance upper is more secure while Propel is more unstructured but great. Accelerate should be very interesting!!
Sam, Editor

roy hampton said...

Great review and it certainly seems to be well regarded shoe.
I'm looking for a steady long run shoe, currently using the HOO Rincon and I'm undecided about it. How does the Balance compare to the Rincon?
Would you consider running a road marathon in these or are they a little too heavy? Maybe a non-technical trail 50k?

Xavier said...

I think you could easily do a road or trail marathon+ distance in these, as long as the trail isn't technical. Although the exposed foam would take a beating, which is why a ra pro 2 or accelerate with a sense 7 outsole sounds like an excellent combination to me.

Francis said...

Dear RTR staff,

First of all thanks for all these great reviews, trully helpful as there so many shoes nowadays 😊

I’m currently looking for my new pair of running shoes. I’m not a huge runner, I go run 1 to three times a week (usually more or less 8-10 km). I am 40 yo, and I am a former amateur basketball player, I also do a bit of triathlon. Now I have two pairs in my rotation, the reebok forever floatride energy and the Pegasus 36 trail, as I run often for light trail in the forrest I found these great for this purpose. I’m 1m80 for 74 kg (165 lbs) and I’m french, that’s it for the profile 😊.

I am currently thinking about changing the forever floatride and I’m hesitating between these Salomon, the Skechers Go Run Ride 8 and the Saucony triumph 17. Could you please let me know your thoughts between these 3 based on my profile ? I also have to say that I’m not a very fast runner and I like cushioned shoes in general.

Thanks in advance and cheers from France !


Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Roy,
Yes Balance heavier than Rincon. If Rincon works might be a better race shoe but for sure Balance should be a more stable and you will get more mileage out of them. If your marathon course is hilly i would lean Balance and would consider for sure for non technical trail 50K as long as no mud or snow.
Hi Francis,
Merci pour gentils mots sur RTR!
Both the Triumph 17 and Ride 8 would be more cushioned than Balance, by a bit. The Triumph is bouncier while the Ride is springy in feel but quite stiff at the forefoot at speed due to low rocker and big stack up front. The Balance would be a more direct replacement for the Floatride Energy as it is for me a speedier "firmer" feeling shoe yet with plenty of cushion.
Sam, Editor

Barry said...

Hi Sam, I see Jeff gave the Balance a score of 9.9/10, whereas you gave 9.5/10, where did it lose the half point in your rating?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Barry,
I deduct for weight at nearly 10 oz, up there for shoes in its class, and for slightly over firm rear insert, but only at slower paces, potentially limiting versatility a touch.
Otherwise a great great shoe!
Sam, Editor

Matrin said...

Hi Sam,thanks for your amazing review! I bought a RA 2 last month and I found it very lively and bouncy. For me it's somewhat like a bouncier and snappier Hovr. Do these two midsole materials have something in common?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Matrin,
Thanks for your kind words! A great shoe gets me going! While they both have a vibration reducing insert (RA 2 front and back, Sonic 3 just the heel) as far as I know all midsole and insert materials are completely different with Energy + EVA in the RA 2 for the main midsole and Dow Infuse olefin in the Sonic 3. There is something in common between Sonic 3 and HOVR though... The HOVR insert in the EVA cage is also an olefin. The Balance is for me way more dynamic in rebound than either and not as firm.
Sam, Editor

michal said...

Hi guys !

I'm very interested by these shoes, but I'm not sure I really understood regarding the confort and cushioning, is it more on the stiff side ? Or is it a soft cushioning ? how do they compare to the forever floatride energy or the pegasus 36 trail for example ?

Secondly what is interesting is that vibration absorption in the heel. I suffer from achille's tendinitis, you think this could help ??

thanks a lot in advance for your help !

Francis said...

Hi !

How would you compare these to the vomero 14 ?

Thanks !

Mike said...

Hello Sam, I run best in firmer, stable shoes and so am really interested in trying these. I am running in the Boston 8 at the moment. Will you be reviewing the Accelerate soon? I am interested to read your comparison between the ride of the Balance and Accelerate. Thank you for the great reviews!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hello Mike,
Thanks for kind words. Balance is clearly stable and on the firmer side but the midsole plus the insert really do tamp down vibrations better than Boston for me while the ride is not as bouncy as Boost but energetic. We hope to review Accelerate soon.
Sam, Editor

Mike said...

Thanks Sam. I look forward to it.

Pat said...

How would you compare the Balance 3's to the Brooks Launch 6 or 7. I've ran in all the Launches but the 6's feel stiff and unforgiving, leaving my feet sore. These seem like a good potential replacement so I'm curious what your thoughts are.

Chris said...

Did you find it to be the same size as you Sense Ride 3? I tried on a pair in my SR size and they were NOTICEABLY longer (almost two thumbs!) and sloppier that I would definitely have to get a 1/2 size down. Maybe I've been wearing the wrong size in Salomon for years now overall!

Nate said...

Just got a pair of these in today, unfortunately I feel the toe box would need just a bit more room for me to work so they will likely go back. what i can say is they do take a surprising amount of shock and vibration out of the foot strike, forefoot felt firm and responsive, and upper was so comfortable and smooth except the just that little noticeable amount of toe crowding MY foot had. I think I have just spent too much time in topo and altra that mentally I need to feel that toe spay room.

Sam Winebaum said...

Sorry to hear Nate. I found the toe box decently wide but quite high in over the toes volume. While I like Topo and Altra and all the toe splay the ride for me is what counts in a shoe.
Sam, Editor

Ante said...

How is the outsole traction compared to Pegasus 36 which have quite good lugs for a road shoe. I look for a distance shoe for light trails.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Ante,
While upper midsole is very good for trail use the outsole while decent is not as heavily lugged in profile as the Pegasus 36. Depends on your trails of course and for light use but not much mud or loose they should be adequate.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

Is the Sonic 3 Balance a stable shoe? I have been running in shoes categorized as "stability" over the years (like the Mizuno Inspire or Asics 2000) and these have done well for me. Would I be ok in the Balance?

Ante said...

Thanks Sam! I appreciate your work and bought my second par of shoes based on your reviews ����

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam,

thanks for your dedicated work reviewing the products we care about. How does Balance compare to Triumph 17?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for the kind words. The T17 is clearly more plush, softer, heavier and bouncier than Balance. Balance is a faster trainer for sure for me, a bit denser in feel, stiffer but very shock and vibration absorbing. If you need a shoe for more mellow miles T17, if you need a stable more uptempo daily trainer Balance. Hope this helpful.
Sam, Editor

Miltiadis Thomas said...


do you recommend the Sonic 3 Balance for heavy runners? I was running the lunarglide since the version 4, since it is no more i'm chage models every year.


Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Miltiadis,
It is a good choice for heavier runners in a neutral shoe due to its stability and dense and effective cushion. I did not run Lunarglide to compare though.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam: I like RTR reviews and based on its review I have purchased a no of shoes. one question though..Salomon website says it is 8.9oz(252 gm) shoe but here it is saying 9,9oz..any idea which one is the right spec?

Raymond Foo said...

Hello, great reviews with lots of details as always. I have some questions here. I am a relatively light runner (170cm,60kg) and a beginner runner. Currently at 40km/week mileage and slowly increasing. I have Puma Ignite and Puma Speed Ignite Netfit 2. The later is for speed session and the former for daily use and long runs; although I have done 52km ultra in the later as well. I have slight overpronation, my arch are medium with left foot flatter. Currently looking for shoes for daily and long run (mostly slower pace), what I have in mind is Pegasus 37 and Sonic 3 Balance. I'd like responsive ride and some energy return/bounce; of course enough cushioning to handle long runs. Which do you recommend? Also, I normally wear US9 size, 27cm. However, the US9 size in Salomon is showing 26.5cm?? What size should I get for Sonic 3 Balance? Thanks!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Raymond,
Thanks for kind words about RTR. Not familiar with Puma fit so a bit tricky. In addition to Balance you should look at Peg 37 but in the women's D width at your normal size plus 1.5 US sizes. Very smooth well cushioned and quite unlike the more awkward over pressurized men's. In terms of Balance sizing I can say mine were true to size with a quite high height volume toe box. I might suggest going with their US9.
Sam, Editor
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Raymond Foo said...

Thanks for your reply. First time I heard of getting woman's fit. However, no sizes big enough available in my country. I am also a trail runner and love Salomon products, but never got their running shoes before. I guess I will get the Balance, curious.

Another question is regarding the shock absorption by optivibe. My thinking is shock and impact will make your tendon, joint, and muscle stronger/more adaptable to shock and impact. If you remove them, then your tendon, joint,and muscle wouldn't grow stronger since they only need to adapt to fewer shock and impact. What do you think?

Fuel said...

Hello, may I know should I get the now cheaper Sonic RA 2 or the new Sonic 3 Balance is better? Need a long run shoes.

Peter said...

Greetings, I am looking at Sonic 3 Balance and Altra Escalante 2. I have never wear Salomon road shoes and Altra shoes and very interested in both of them. I want a durable daily trainer and long run shoes. Could you describe the key differences on the ride between them? Thanks!

C2Dub said...

Hey, I just got these shoes and after my first 2 mile run I have a sharp pain on the bottom middle of my big toe. Never felt anything like it. Coming from sense ride 3 and ultra boost 20. Any ideas? Should I try them again or move on to something else?

Sam Winebaum said...

Strange. Wonder if outsole provided to much or too stiff support there?
Sam, Editor