Saturday, March 20, 2021

Salomon Sense Ride 4 Review: A Most Sensible Upgrade!

Article by Jeff Valliere

Salomon Sense Ride 4 ($120)


The Sense Ride 4 is an incremental upgrade over the previous model, with a reconfigured upper. while retaining the same Optivibe midsole made up of a highly shock and vibration absorbing heel insert embedded in a Dow Infuse Olefin/EVA main midsole.  Also retained is the ProFeel segmented flexible rock protection which allows for a great blend of ground feel and protection.  The outsole remains unchanged. It drops approximately 0.45 oz / 12g in weight in my US 10 sample.

Pros: Value, fit, security, comfort, versatility, traction, protection, weight drop, stability

Cons: Firm ride

Tester Profile

Jeff runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 


Approx. Weight: men's 10.2 oz / 289g (US9)  /  women's / (US8)

 Sample: men’s  US10 10.75 oz/305g

Weight Sense Ride 3 men’s US10 11.2 oz / 316 g 

Stack Height: 27/19, 8mm drop

Available now including at our partners below.  $120

First Impressions and Fit

Out of the box, it was immediately obvious to me that the Sense Ride 4 has gone on a bit of a diet.  The overall size of the shoe is the same, but the new upper appears sleeker and more streamlined. The shoe feels lighter in and, and this is confirmed on the scale as it is about  0.45 oz / 13 g lighter than the previous model in my size US10.  Fit is true to size and consistent with the previous model, however is slightly less spacious than the Sense Ride 3, with the upper ever so slightly more dialed in and precise.  The SR4 has just a little less room in the forefoot, not necessarily narrower, but with less vertical space, but again, oh so slightly so.  Midfoot security and heel hold are best in class.


The most noticeable change in the single layer mesh upper is the reversion back to welded overlays, vs. the innerlay/outerlay combination of the SR3  whose functionally has made no difference to me.  

As mentioned earlier, the upper material and fit have been dialed in ever so slightly, going from being perfect to yet more perfect for my tastes.  

The sock like Endofit provides unmatched comfort and fit, while the Sensifit overlay system locks the midfoot with a soft and comfortable hug with no pressure points.

The toe bumper has a slightly different look, but coverage is quite similar, as is thickness and performance, in that it is flexible and goes unnoticed while providing adequate protection in just about any terrain.

As expected, the Salomon Quicklaces work like a dream and stow easily into the lace garage.

The tongue thickness, shape and composition are the same as well, moderately padded and protective from the laces. The tongue is gusseted (Endofit) to provide ease of entry, comfort and added stability, integrating perfectly with the Sensifit.

The heel counter has been slightly redesigned, with a visually more narrow and slightly higher profile and with thinner padding around the collar. 

And with more strategically placed strips of padding below the heel  collar.

Heel hold and stability are top notch. Side  by side with the SR3, performance and hold feel equally good.


The Optivibe midsole remains essentially unchanged.

As with  the SR3, the SR4 is not speedy as say the S/Lab Sense or the new Pulsar (I have not tested but our review is here) or Sense Pro 4 (RTR review), I find that my comfort and confidence level in this shoe contribute to a very efficient stride, especially on longer runs with my legs feeling less fatigued over time.  


When I am feeling strong and fresh, the SR4 can rise to the occasion with adequate response when pushed, easily handling faster paces.  While the cushioning is firm, it never feels harsh and the Optivibe does a fantastic job dampening the impact and taking the sting out of long descents even if the footing underneath is hard rock or pavement.  I do feel that the SR4 is slightly more performance oriented than the SR3, which I believe stems from the reduction in weight.

Sam did such a great job describing the midsole for the Sense Ride 3 (RTR Review), I feel inclined to copy his description below:

“The Sense Ride 3 (and now Sense Ride 4) 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

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 by 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 Contagrip rubber outsole is unchanged from the previous version and it is one of the highest performing, durable and versatile outsoles on the market.  

Grip is excellent on just about any surface, from hardpack, loose off trail, steep dirt, snow, mud, ice, wet rock, dry rock, I always feel confident.  The lug pattern is such that it rolls along well on roads and other hard surfaces without the lugs feeling awkward or obtrusive.  Tread wear is above average to way above average, as I am hard on outsoles given the rocky terrain that I frequent and these have held up as well  or better than any.


Cushioning is excellent if a bit on the firm side, but the Optivibe does a great job dampening impact.  With a firm midsole, the ride is very steady and predictable, inspiring confidence in just about any terrain.  I also appreciate that the Sense Ride 4 is very stable, secure and protective, yet with just enough ground feel.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The Sense Ride 4 is a nice upgrade over the previous version. It has a more precise and streamlined upper in a lighter package and is an excellent bargain at $120. The Sense Ride 4 makes for a great daily trainer for just about any terrain and any distance and would even be a “Sensible” race shoe for mid pack runners for or longer distance races.

Jeff’s Score:  9.7 / 10

Ride: 9.5 Fit: 10 Value: 10 Style: 9.5 Traction: 9.5 Rock Protection: 9.5


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Salomon Sense Ride 3 (RTR Review):  The SR4 is lighter and has a more refined and breathable upper.  It is worth the upgrade if your SR3 has worn out.

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 (RTR Review):  The S/Lab is lighter, if only slightly by 0.2 oz / 5g, has a similar stack height, with a 6mm drop vs. 8mm for the SR4.  The S/Lab is more responsive and a bit more polished and streamlined and fit is a bit more race like as well, so a bit more narrowr with even lower volume.

Salomon Sense Pro 4 (RTR Review):  The SP4 is 1 oz /28g  lighter, more responsive, more agile and has slightly deeper and more biting lugs for looser terrain.  It shares a lower stack height Optivibe midsole with the Sense Ride 4. For maximum speed on shorter runs (under 2:30 or 2 hours), where speed, response and agility and perhaps a bump in traction is paramount, I would go for the SP4.  For longer distances, sustained use on rocks and long downhills that beg for more cushion and protection, the Sense Ride 4 is a better choice.

Salomon Speedcross 5 (RTR Review):  Sense Ride 4 is nearly an ounce lighter, has a lower stack, a slightly wider platform and not as aggressive lugs. Fit on both is true to size and accommodating with fit very secure for both. Speedcross 5 is more appropriate for slower, more casual use, and particularly in loose terrain or snow, while the Sense Ride 4 is better for faster running and stability in technical terrain. Speedcross 5 has a blocky heel and is very tippy in technical terrain. 

Hoka One One Torrent (RTR Review):  The Torrent 2 is lighter, more responsive with a better tread for loose terrain.  T2’s cushioning is softer and as it has no rock plate it is not as protective underfoot as the Sense Ride 4.  The Sense Ride 4 has a superior upper.  T2 for faster running on softer ground withSense Ride 4 best for longer days on feet where more support and protection are critical.

Saucony Xodus 10 (RTR Review):  The Xodus 10 is heavier, has comparable traction, costs $30 more and is a little more responsive, with a comparably amazing fit, security and rock protection.  Both are fine choices for long distance every day training on just about any surface, although the Xodus 10 is also supreme on the road increasing its any terrain versatility.

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. No other compensation was received by RTR or the authors for this review from Salomon. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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John H. said...

Hi Jeff,

I had the Sense Ride 3 but didn’t like them. They felt heavy, sluggish, and dull to me, and I ended up returning them after a couple runs. Looking for a new shoe for longer mountain runs and am trying to decide between this and the Cascadia. Any thoughts to help me decide? I tried on the new Salomon’s yesterday and they felt much lighter. I even had to size down ½ size than my normal Salomon Hoka size as they were running big on me. But any thoughts would be appreciated.

Jeff Valliere said...

I agree with you on the SR3, after running in them for the sake of reviewing, I never ran in them again. That said, it became my favorite shoe for just slipping on easily for a walk, a hike or errands, they are so comfortable and versatile for all things not running. The SR 4 however feels more like a running shoe to me, which seems surprising given the same midsole and outsole, but the changes in the upper and minor drop in weight are enough to get me running in them consistently beyond review duties. Of course I couldn’t steer you away from a Cascadia or Xodus 10 or Caldera 5.

Marduk said...

The toe box looks rather narrow. Is it narrower than e.g. Hoka Torrent and Salomon Ultra Pro? How does the ride compare in firmness and security to the X Alpine Pro?

Marduk said...

Thanks the the review.

Malcolm said...

Hi Jeff
You seems to suggest a preference for the “Cascadia or Xodus 10 or Caldera 5” in your review but give the ride 4 a whopping 9.7. I’m not sure I’ve seen a higher score recently. So a little confused. Also why is there not a comparison between these shoes in the ‘ comparisons’ section at the end of the review? Not a criticism but curious
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff,

IMO, I feel you rushed through this this review a bit. Despite the usual length, the descriptions seem short and a tad shallow. Maybe I just prefer reviews by teams of testers.


Jeff Valliere said...

Marduk, the toe box is a little more narrow than the Torrent and for sure the Ultra Pro. The ride is not as firm as the X Alpine Pro, fit is nearly secure, though the upper materials on X Alpine Pro are thicker and more protective. Malcolm, great points, as my wife will attest, I am full of contradictions 😀. I just scored each category honestly in the moment, great value, great ride, great fit, great protection, great ride. As to not comparing the others, I did hit Xodus 10, but thought of Caldera 5 and Cascadia in the moment as I replied. So many shoes, hard to hit each one, but always happy to answer requests. Anon, no rush, just not a full overhaul of the shoe and shares many attributes with the 3. Plus I was the only one reviewing, so nobody else to contribute (which I agree, is more comprehensive often to have varied input).

Jeff Valliere said...

Meant to only include “great ride” once (on vacation and pecking away at iPhone on the fly)😊.

John H. said...

Hi Jeff,

Thank you for the reply and the suggestions. I'm ultimately looking for a shoe for long (20-25 mile) mountain runs in Northern Arizona/Southern Utah terrain (so not that different than Colorado). I have been using the Evo Mafate 2's, but they need replacing. I like them, but they don't feel as stable on more rockier terrain then the EM 1's did. I don't know whether I should replace them with the Speed Mafate 3's ( I don't like the fact they are getting heavier), or another shoe. And so I was considering this Salomon. I have the Caldera 5, but it is more a recovery/easy day shoe which I use on more mellow terrain. I know you're testing the Enduris from TNF. Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the review didn't mention the key flaw in this update: thin, soft and flimsy KNIT that doesn't support relatively rigid mid+outsole and stiff tongue. The Sense 3 comes with thick and resilient MESH that adequately connects mid/outsole with tongue/laces area making the entire shoe feel coherent and stable.

rms said...

Surprised you didn’t compare these with the XA Elevate. I have the SR4, and find they don’t roll well off the heel. Was the XA Elevate better in that regard? I’m wondering if I should look for a pair, or is the SR4 better? Is sizing identical between the two? I’m also surprised no one has mentioned sizing down in the SR4: I found they fit much better 1/2 size down from every other Salomon I have

Unknown said...


I think I was in the minority in that I liked the Sense Ride 3. I live in the mountains of northern NM and they ran nice and held up well. I tried the Sense Ride 4 and after 50 miles I was wearing a hole in the toe box above my big toe on both feet. I returned them ang went with the Brooks Cascadia's. Have couple runs in them so far. They are okay but miss my Sense Ride 3. Any thoughts on shoes similar to the 3s?