Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Salomon Sense Ride 3 Review: Moving to the Mountains

Article by Sam Winebaum

Salomon Sense Ride 3 ($130)


Introduction 

The Sense Ride gets a new OptiVibe midsole made up of a highly shock and vibration absorbing heel insert embedded in a  Dow Infuse olefin main midsole. The ProFeel flexible rock protection is segmented and increased at the very front of the shoe. Rear raised midsole sidewalls and a more supportive upper deliver a more protective, cushioned and supportive all around trail runner than its predecessor which for me was an outstanding trail road hybrid. The changes come at a weight cost with the Sense Ride 3 now 1.2 oz / 36 g and $10 heavier than the Sense Ride 2 (RTR Review) at 10.6 oz / 300 g 


Stats

Estimated Weight: 10.6 oz /300 g men's US9
Sample Weight: 10.33 oz / 293 g men's US8.5
Stack Height: 27mm heel / 19 mm forefoot, 8mm drop
Available Feb. 2020. $130.

Pros
Versatile all around trail shoe
Very secure upper, stable protective under foot platform
Optivibe effective in reducing vibration and shock should extend range to ultra distances
Cons
On the heavy side and somewhat back weighted in feel. Raised side walls and very secure upper likely main contributors 
Not as agile or as exciting as predecessor if more protective, stable and cushioned


Tester Profile
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.

First Impressions, Fit, and Upper

The Sense Ride 3 fits me true to size as did the Ride 2 and as have more recent Salomon for me. The rear foot hold is super secure, considerably more secure than the Sense Ride 2's in part from the upper being more substantial and in part from the now raised midsole side walls at the rear. 

The foot hold is much more as one would expect from a full blown all trails shoe, whereas the Ride 2 was clearly a more relaxed less structured hold, particularly at the rear.

The toe box is not the widest but has very adequate and I would say has improved overhead volume.
It is similar in fit to the Sense Ride 2 but the mesh is slightly denser, the collars and lace up more supportive (see our linked video below)  and there are more substantial overlays up front which were a bit low over the toes until I got a first run or two in, 
The look is very sleek and monochromatic with just a hint of purple showing through from the interior SensiFit overlays on the lateral side.

The medial side SensiFit overlays are on the exterior (photo below) for I assume extra support along with the raised side walls there. Compared to the Sense Ride 2, medial support is significantly improved as is overall mid foot to rear support. These changes, and the extra weight they lead to, all make the Sense Ride 3 a more substantial all trails shoe than the light and lively Sense Ride 2. The Sense Ride retains Salomon's Endofit bootie tongue.
The difference in raised side walls and upper toe box height between the Sense Ride 3 (left) and Sense Ride 2 (right) can be seen in the comparative picture below.

As always we have Salomon's QuickLace and garage. The lace is a bit beefier and not as soft as the Sense Ride 2's but presents no issues. I find the garage a bit long with the tucking the laces in from the bottom not quite as easy as it could be as the laces cross over the garage. One just needs to remember to pull up on the tab before stuffing everything in.

Midsole

The Sense Ride 3 features an Optivibe midsole which combines a energy "returning" Dow Infuse Olefin based main midsole with high elastic properties (rebound) and a single proprietary embedded rear, dense rubberized EVA shock and vibration reducing viscous memory foam heel insert called out as the JPAD by Salomon
The JPAD insert 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 shock absorption by 8% while also not changing rebound.

The resulting feel is highly cushioned, dense, highly protective, and with less shock and vibration than the Sense Ride 2 or prior Salomon Energy Cell+ EVA with Opal insert which also was designed to reduce vibration. The overall cushioning package is clearly oriented to longer run comfort than the Sense Ride 2 or even Ultra Pro but does change the prior character of the shoe from road to trail hybrid, light and fast to heavier duty in a significant way.

It appears to pressing, and on the run, that the overall midsole is slightly firmer and denser than the very lively Sonic 3 Balance road shoe which also has Optivibe. As a result, the underfoot feel is highly protective if a bit dull in response compared to the Sonic 3 road shoe with the forefoot protection and feel reminding and approaching that of the S/Lab Ultra if a bit thinner.

The raised midsole sidewalls which contribute to the great rear stability and security of the Sense Ride 3 seem to add weight and I felt back weighted the shoe a touch more than I would like.

The midsole also has a ProFeel rock plate which is segmented and which extends further forward than in the Sense Ride 2. The Sense Ride 2 had a more forward distinct flex point which made it so agile and quick climbing and on the road but with less very front of the foot protection. The Sense Ride 3 flex point is further back and after a few runs the shoe becomes admirably flexible. The changes should improve front protection and cushion into the ultra worthy category assuming not particularly broad toe box works for you,

Outsole

The outsole is Salomon's classic Contragrip in a slightly more aggressive geometry than the Sense Ride 2's, compared to below. 

The lug height is about 4mm, may be a touch higher than Sense Ride 2 or maybe my Sense Ride 2's are worn down a bit. As with all Contragrip, it should prove plenty durable and grippy, 


One will note the shorter and narrower but more numerous flex grooves into the Sense Ride 3 which make the Sense 3 in combination with the longer (to the front) ProFeel plate a bit stiffer but more stable. 

Overall this is an all purpose outsole. There was plenty of grip on dirt single track but given the depth of lugs and longer flex on softer snow while climbing not as good as say a Speedcross with its huge lugs and which is understandable. 

Ride and Conclusions
I was able to run the Sense Ride 3 on New England and Utah more mellow single track this late fall and on snow this winter More technical rockier terrain awaits drier conditions or a trip down from 6800 feet in Park City away from the snow! This said, it is clear the Sense Ride 3 is now a more stable, secure, and protective all around trail shoe than its predecessor which was more a road to trail hybrid for me. It should occupy a central role in the Salomon trail line up as an all around any trail shoe and for many an ultra shoe, 
Sense Ride 3 has a very protective underfoot feel most notably at the forefoot where it reminds me somewhat of the S/Lab Sense Ultra. At the rear, it is very stable if a bit back weighted.  The ride is on the dense side, with as advertised, almost no vibration felt and with great shock absorption.  Trail (road) feel and response is quite muted, especially at the heel on all hard surfaces but on trail there is a nice combination of trail feel and dense protective cushion up front with some rebound. Given how exciting the Sonic 3 Balance is to run, also with Optivibe, I was a bit surprised by this but here Salomon clearly tuned the shoe for longer and more technical trail running. 

To get there it does gain considerable weight to 10.6 oz /300 g so 1.2 oz/ 36 grams more that its predecessor, now at a weight fairly typical of shoes with its feature set. The upper is excellent for the more all mountain all  trail purposes here. I must say the weight is felt on smoother terrain and it is not nearly as much fast fun as the Sense Ride 2 was on such terrain, or the road, or when climbing steeper slopes as it no longer has that far forward flex but it does now clearly have more rock protection and cushion up front. Headed back down you will welcome the security and protection! 

Where is the replacement in the Salomon line up for Sense Ride 2? I would cast my vote for the lighter 4mm drop upcoming Sense 4/Pro also with Optivibe midsole, trail worthy lugs and which has a lighter upper, similar stack and will weigh a mere 9 oz / 255 g. Also to consider if you lean more road and smooth trails the Sonic 3 Balance, which has noticeably more rebound and liveliness, a very secure lighter upper and weight at 9.9 oz, so  0.8 oz less but of course understanding its outsole is not as  heavily lugged.
Sam's Score: 9/10
Ride: 8.5 (30%) Fit: 9 (30%) Value: 9.5 (10%) Style: 9(5%) Traction:9 (15%) Rock Protection: 9.5 (10%)
PLEASE  WATCH MY INITIAL VIDEO REVIEW

Comparisons
Salomon Ultra Pro (RTR Review)
Identical stack heights with the Ultra Pro weighing 0.4 oz less or 10.3 oz / 292 g. While the Ultra Pro has a somewhat wider toe box feel, I find the overall front cushioning from Optivibe (vs. the TPU Energy Save insert of the Ultra Pro) actually more substantial and the front protection and cushion superior.

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 (RTR Review)
These two have similar stack heights and essentially a very similar forefoot cushion feel with Infuse in the Sense Ride approaching the cushion of the somewhat deader feeling PU Energy Save insert in the Ultra,  I ran the Ultra 1 whose very narrow front of toe box, in a rarity for me was way to narrow but did not test the Ultra 2 with its improved fit according to our testers. I can't comment on the relative fits but it should be relatively similar to the Sense Ride 3 and was clearly improved in the toe box vs. Ultra 1.  The Ultra 2 weighs 0.8 oz less than the Sense Ride 3 and costs $50 more. The Sense Ride 3 should be a good alternative if budget is a concern and if  the weight difference is not a major issue.

Salomon Sonic 3 Balance (RTR Review)
If you miss the light and lively Sense Ride 2 as a door to trail type shoe, the superb Sonic 3 Balance "road" shoe weighing about 0.8 oz less than the Sense Ride 3 and with similar cushion is a great alternative if your "trails" don't require the lugs of the Sense Ride, so for non super technical,  smoother non muddy or looser terrain.  Our testing indicated it could handle many moderate trails just fine even without ProFeel rock protection as there is plenty underfoot and the upper is while easier fitting and higher front volume than the Sense Ride plenty secure,
Sharing the Optivibe system the Sonic 3 is far more lively with considerably more rebound feel and response and with none of the back weighting feel of the Sense Ride 3. My sense is the Infuse foam in the Sense Ride 3 is slightly firmer to the touch and on the run. 

Nike Terra Kiger 5 (RTR Review)
At 9.5 oz /269 g Kiger is 1.2 oz / 34g  less in weight. Similar fitting uppers for me, on the secure snug side. The Kiger has a clearly more agile if less cushioned  forefoot. The Sense Ride 3 rear of the shoe is more cushioned, shock and vibration absorbing. Overall Kiger for shorter distances faster running, Sense Ride for more technical terrain and longer outings, 

Hoka One One EVO Speedgoat (RTR Review) Speedgoat 4 (RTR Review)
Both Speedgoats give you more forefoot cushion, more aggressive traction and somewhat more voluminous uppers. I have not run the Speedgoat 4, which weighs about the same as the Sense Ride 3 and is far stiffer.  I have run the lighter (by 1.4 oz) EVO Speedgoat. It is more flexible than the Speedgoat with a distinct forward flex point vs the Sense Ride 3's  longer flex breaking further back after the ProFeel. EVO has no rock plate (none needed) and a slightly less secure but more comfortable upper than the Sense Ride 3's.  Although it is $30 more I would lean towards the EVO Speedgoat for its superior substance at a far lighter weight. 

Saucony Peregrine 10 (RTR Review)
Weighing exactly the same, and running very similarly, the lower 4mm drop Peregrine vs 8mm for the Sense Ride 3, is not as back weighted in feel, more responsive in a firmer way on harder surfaces, but not as softly and densely cushioned as the Sense Ride 3 particularly up front. Uppers are quite similar in fit and materials with the Peregrine's mesh overlays a little softer and more comfortable over its broader toe box. Both have a similar longer flex with the Peregrine having a woven rock plate vs the Pro Feel. Broader feet will be happier in Peregrine but for longer distances the Sense Ride will provide more underfoot comfort , while for shorter distances the Peregrine more snap and response. I give the nod to the Sense Ride for its somewhat superior cushion front to back. 

Saucony Xodus 10 (RTR Review)
A full ounce heavier at 11.7 oz / 331g than Sense Ride, but far lighter than its predecessors, the Xodus has a very exciting new PWRUN+ TPU midsole and lots of it in this 4mm drop shoe, a woven rock plate and a more aggressive outsole than Sense Ride 3's. It has a similar flex to the Sense Ride 3, The surprise... it runs superbly and with great comfort on all trail surfaces with plenty of stability and security and shockingly well on roads  with a very well cushioned, smooth transitioning, clearly bouncier and less dense feeling midsole than Sense Ride's. Weight aside, but not really noticed, it is both a better ultra and door to trail choice than Sense Ride 3 if not also a high cushion moderate paces road shoe. 

Sense Ride 3 releases Feb. 2020

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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15 comments:

Bobcat said...

A touch heavy, so I am wondering how the Norvan LD2 with litebase will compare. Should be around 260g. Both using EVA/Polyolefin blend so cushioning should be comparable. The LD1 I found firm, but softened up after 100km so maybe the same happens with the Ride 3?

Nic said...

I'm really looking forward to the showdown between the Sense Ride 3, Peregrine 10, and Torrent 2. Any early thoughts?
I really love the ride of the Torrent 1's, but the fit of the upper can be improved and I do not find it particularly durable.
Love your site!

Will said...

Salomon would score a 10/10 for naming of technologies: OptiVibe Dow Infuse olefin, ProFeel, JPAD...

Basti said...

Nice review.

Any plan on reviewing the Sense Pro 4 soon ? Looks interesting on paper with 2 more mm at the front. Maybe an even more comfortable model ?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Basti,
Thanks for kind words! Indeed we plan on testing the Sense Pro/4. Unfortunately we did not get pre production pairs but should see pairs in Feb for our review. It does have a 25/21 stack but wonder if some of that is from higher lugs? Asking Salomon about the lug height now and will update.
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
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Basti said...

Thx for taking the time to reply Sam.

I had high expectations for the Sense Ride 3 but somehow it seems a bit disappointing even if still a good shoe based on your review.

Currently running with the Hoka Torrent, they are great shoes but I miss the bombproof foothold I had with the Salomon XA Elevate so I'd love to see from Salomon an equivalent of the Torrent with some long distance (100k) manners as well. Hoping the Sense Pro 4 would do the trick.

The Stoat said...

I'm in exactly the same place Basti. Loved the Torrent midsole, upper was insecure in the heel and midfoot, and the outsole kept coming off. Generally enjoy Salomon foot shape but can't get on with 8mm drop which most of their shoes have. I'm looking for an Inov-8 Terraultra g260 upper/ outsole with a torrent midsole.

Basti said...

I wish Salomon would make an XA Elevate with more plush. The XA Elevate 2 is only a minor upgrade, hopefully an XA Elevate 3 with Optivibe ?

Bobcat said...

Did you guys try the Kiger 5?
It's like the Torrent, but with the foothold of a Salomon.

Basti said...

Thanks for the hint Bobcat but I'm being put off by the outsole design, and I'm not so sure on how they would hold up over a +50k race.

I'm tempted by the Peregrine ISO as they are quite cheap now that the new Peregrine lineup is available.

Bobcat said...


I ran the Swissalpine 88km in them - worked just great. I have 800 km on that pair now, lugs are at 60%, and amazingly the cushion is like new still. Wet grip is not as good as Vibram and Contragrip, but not worse than the Torrent or Trailroc 285. I'm also seeing Kiger 5s are really cheap right now.

The Stoat said...

Thanks bobcat. I have run in a few iterations of the kiger and generally like them for mellow trails in the dry. In fact I have run a few 50 milers in v3 and 4. However, I have found that the upper is not secure enough for more technical terrain and the latest version seems to have poor grip on wet rock/ paved surfaces which I spend a lot of time on, but certainly something with that sort of midsole, a decent rubber on the outsole, a reasonable tread for softer ground (there goes the Lucan) and a secure upper is my holy grail.

The Stoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Stoat said...

Lycan, not Lucan!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review! So with this shoe being more cushioned than the Ride 2 would you say it is significantly softer too? The first Ride was fairly soft but the 2 more firm, wondering if this one is again more plush feeling like the first iteration?

Curious to see what they do with the Sense Max and Ultra Pro now that they beefed up the Ride turning it into more of an ultra distance shoe. I wanted to like the Ultra Pro but the unnecessary straps were a little too much.