Saturday, April 30, 2022

Salomon Glide Max Initial Review: Max Cruiser for Sure- Roomy, Soft and Fun!

Article by Sam Winebaum

Salomon Glide Max ($150)


Introduction


The Glide Max is a  a max cushioned road training shoe. It is the first road running shoe we have tested from Salomon’s completely revamped 2022 road and trail lines (RTR Preview Article). 


As with all the new Salomon, and last year’s trail UltraGlide and Pulsar, it features a soft and energetic EVA/Olefin copolymer block Energy Surge foam midsole and Salomon’s R-Camber geometry.  Salomon confirms the Energy Surge foam is of the same density as in the UltraGlide, Pulsar, and road racing Phantasm CF (RTR Review) so quite soft. 


The midsole has no plate, rods, fingers, or Energy Blade as Salomon calls them, as most of their other 2022 road and trail shoes will have. Salomon’s approach to "plates" features different blade geometries and materials for every shoe with none carbon or carbon infused. In fact, their pinnacle long road racer, the Phantasm CF, features a differentially flexing fiberglass plate that I find more forgiving and natural running in feel than most rigid carbon plated shoes yet with plenty of impulse and a very smooth rocker from the R-Camber geometry that flows from heel to toe. 


We are stacked big at 37.4mm at the heel and 27.4 mm at the forefoot putting the Max in a class of shoes such as the Fresh Foam More v3, Nike Invincible Run, Craft CTM Ultra, adidas Prime X, Saucony Endorphin Shift and Brooks Glycerin 20 all compared in brief at the end of the article. 


The giant stack comes at a very reasonable price of $150 and competitive weight of 9.7 oz / 275g (US9 sample).


The upper is a very soft mesh with a very broad fit and high volume, not something usually associated with Salomon road or trail shoes.


Of course we also have a full coverage outsole of Contragrip rubber for durability and also I think to provide some stability.  


Pros:

Highly energetic softer ride

Max cushioned for sure with a 37.5mm heel / 27.5mm forefoot stack 

Smooth flowing: stable heel, decoupling groove, rocker, front flex, and appropriate 10mm drop for the softer foam & heel strikers

Dynamic forefoot rebound at faster paces, stable heel bounce at slower paces

By far the roomiest, most comfortable and well enough held upper in a Salomon to date

Altra / Topo levels of toe box room.

Solid weight to cushion ratio (stack height, full outsole, upper)

Great walking shoe

Fairly and competitively priced 


Cons:

Low volume feet and strong pronators may find the midfoot a bit too roomy

More medial support or less upper volume might improve the slower paces ride

A bit denser and firmer Energy Surge foam might improve stability and response


Stats

Weight  9.7 oz / 275g (US9 sample)

Stack Height: 37.4mm/27.4mm (10mm drop)  

Midsole: Energy Surge EVA/Olefin foam similar to UltraGlide and Pulsar

R-Camber Geometry with some front toe off flex. No plate

$150. Available Fall 2022


First Impressions, Fit, and Upper


Sam: Clearly not the usual from Salomon! Broad and soft in fit, high stacked, and soft and rebounding in feel. The look is distinctive in white with the mid foot SensiFit as well as toe box overlays clearly highlighting a promise of support. 


My test pair is a half size up from my normal and while the hold is mostly excellent most all should be true to size here including me. This is a voluminous upper with a very broad, soft yet very well held toe box. We are talking Altra or Topo toe box room and volume here.

The midfoot is also voluminous and decently held at a half size up for my wider right foot with my narrower right needing a touch more midfoot support. 

The thin laces work very well with the plushy padded tongue so I was able to cinch down as tight as I needed to for my narrower foot and with no bite. 


Fortunately, and assisting in providing what overall is a super comfortable and adequately secure overall lockdown, and despite the volume, is Salomon’s usual excellent tie in of the lace up to the heel counter using stout diagonal rear overlays. So many soft more unstructured uppers miss this important feature. Looking at you NB 880 v12 and Brooks Glycerin 20.

The heel counter is semi rigid with the rear collars providing excellent hold

The sockliner is a thin Ortholite with forefoot ventilation holes


Midsole

The full stack height is 37.4mm / 27.4mm (10mm drop) with most of that stack a giant single slab of Energy Surge midsole foam in a single density and with no plate, rods or shank, as most all of the other new 2022 Salomon will have.  


Energy Surge is a Dow Infuse EVA/Olefin copolymer blend used by many brands including, we have heard, by Nike for their React midsoles. Here Salomon has increased the proportion of Olefin as they did for the UltraGlide, Pulsar, and Phantasm CF to deliver a softer, more energetic ride, the foam density in all of these being the same according to Salomon. 


Energy Surge foam is designed to have a significantly faster recovery from compression set, so rebound, and that is clearly felt as a feel similar to a bounce but quicker in return and less rubbery feeling. The foam is also said by Salomon to be lightweight, yes it is,  and decently so for a non supercritical foam,  and to be flexible with good durability.

So what does this giant stacked midsole feel like on the run? Clearly soft and very energetic! It does not have the springy light feel of Zoom X or the quicker spring of Hyperburst. It is more lively and quicker rebounding than Fresh Foam X and not quite as bouncy soft as FuelCell or Puma Nitro foam. It is somewhat softer than the latest PWRRUN from Saucony as in the Ride and Guide 15 those midsoles being EVA/TPU blends.  It for sure is more fun than Nike React, a foam I always found dull.

 


Outsole

The outsole is pretty much full coverage of Salomon’s always excellent Contagrip. There are plenty of wear surfaces for any strike type. Note the broad on the ground platform, full length decoupling groove, front flex zone  and the unusual rubbery band connecting the heel. 

Not sure what it is for but maybe to control deflection of the soft heel foam on landing?


The underfoot geometry (and 10mm drop)  leads to a very smooth flowing ride with decent stability although I question the removal of some coverage on the medial side as that might have helped with medial support, see upper section above.


Ride

I have taken them for 2 runs at moderate paces with one a progression run to under 9 minute miles. The ride is for sure soft with lots of rebound but is well controlled and smooth flowing. As named, and taking into account the broad roomy upper, long road runs at moderate paces I think are where the Max Glide will shine. And recovery runs  And daily training if you prefer a softer ride If you are a heel striker as here you will not sense the dread low heel feel of softer low drop shoes given the 10mm drop here. 


The rebound off the forefoot at faster paces is really noticed and a key highlight while the heel landings are shock free and stable. I wish for a bit more midfoot support (upper, outsole and midsole) at slower paces for my narrower left foot while my wider right is fine. 

 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Not the Salomon we have known that is for sure!  Roomy, soft up top and underfoot,  max cushioned and fun. 


As part of a full new line (RTR Preview Article) which will include faster pacing shoes such as the more daily trainer Phantasm and racer CF and the  lower drop plastic plated uptempo Spectur, the Max Glide is the max cushion entry in the line up. The highest stack Salomon ever I think, its soft yet energetic yet also well directed and smooth ride make it a great option for long runs with lots of soft rebounding energy “return” and with of course plenty of cushion. I do wish the midsole was a bit firmer to improve its response/pop. 


Its upper sets a very high bar for comfort and room and for sure for broader higher volume feet and is no doubt the roomiest Salomon upper ever. It holds its own in that department with the Altra and Topo’s of the world. It is a bit too roomy at the front of the midfoot for me, at slower paces but not at faster ones off the heels, and maybe also for others with narrow low volume feet as well.  That said, wider higher volume feet will be thrilled. 


Overall Salomon has done a superb job with its first max cushion road shoe: energetic, fun, comfortable, highly cushioned 


Fairly priced at $150, and while not a supercritical foam, the weight at 9.7 oz / 275g is commendable. 


I will score the Glide Max after more runs.


Comparisons in brief

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Craft CTM Ultra 2 (RTR Review soon)

Lighter with a far more minimal, snugger more race fit upper, the Ultra 2 has a firmer EVA outer carrier with a PEBA insert. It is a 2.5mm higher stack overall while lighter by 0.5 oz.  It is, despite appearance, more stable than the Max with a somewhat more responsive ride with less rebound that leans faster paces.  While identical in drop its "ramp'" down and rocker is more pronounced with the profile stiffer than Max but not rigid. Due to its lugged outsole it can handle non paved surfaces better.  For my preferences it is a more versatile and stable shoe able to handle more types of runs and surfaces as well as faster paces better than the Glide Max but for easier days I would first reach for the Max.

Weight: men's oz 9.05 / g (US9 estimated) 

Stack Height: men’s 40 mm heel / 10 mm forefoot . $165


adidas Adizero Prime X (RTR Review)

Yet higher stacked at 50mm at the heel,  the Prime X somehow ends up lighter in weight than Max but at a cost  of $100 more. It rides on a narrower on the ground platform that due to the stack is of course also higher and thus which is far less stable at the heel than the Max and with shakier more minimal upper support. Constant focus is required to stay aligned and on the platform but the ride is yet more energetic and fun off its forefoot than the Max’s if you can pull it off.

Estimated Weight: men's 9.25 oz  / 263g (US9) 

Samples: men’s US9.5 9.56oz / 271g  /

Stack Height:  50mm heel / 40mm forefoot. $250


Endorphin Shift 2 (RTR Review)

The Shift is considerably heavier with 7 mm more forefoot cushion and 2mm more heel cushion. It is more stable, firmer and less fun and energetic and for sure more rigid relying on its final Speedroll geometry for toe off vs the flex of the Max. If you require some stability and bottomless dense cushion for long runs it delivers but it does not have the big smiles ride of the Max

Weight: men's 10.4 oz/ 296g (US9)  /  women's 9.07oz / 258g  (US8)

Stack Height: 35mm (forefoot) 39mm (heel). $150


Nike Zoom X Invincible Run (RTR Review)

A very close comparison all around including stack height. The Invincible’s Zoom X foam has a lighter more springy feel but the shoe delivers a shakier if super fun and less stable ride. Its upper is crude in comparison to the Max especially if you have a higher volume broader foot. Its outsole is really just there to “cover” all the Zoom X and unlike the Max’s doesn’t help stabilize all the softness that much. At $30 more than the Max while the fun is yet superior they have less versatility for me and as such are not as good a value.

Estimated Weight: men's 9.8 o z / 278g (US9)  

Stack Height: Forefoot 27.6mm, Heel 36.6mm, 9mm drop. $180


New Balance Fresh Foam More v3 (RTR Review)

Another very close comparison. The key difference is the 4mm drop vs 10mm for the Max with about 5mm less heel stack height and 2mm more forefoot for the More. For me, as more of a heel striker,  the More v3 only came alive and was useful at faster paces with a similar (to Max) strong and decisive forefoot rebound. Slower back on the heels they feel far slower and more ponderous than the 10mm drop and better decoupled Max. Both have roomier uppers than the other comparatives. 

Weight: men's 10 oz  / 284g (US9)  /  women's 8.7 oz / 246 g  (US8)

Stack Height: 29mm forefoot / 33mm heel (4mm drop) $165


Brooks Glycerin 20 (RTR Review)

The Glycerin 20 has a similar energetic softer foam, DNA Loft v3 a supercrtical nitrogen infused EVA. The Glycerin foam is slightly airier and less dense in feel but with a less decisive and quick rebound. The Brooks is more flex based than rocker plus flex as the Salomon is and for me had a more ponderous faster paced ride but a bit easier slower paced one. The Brooks is slightly lower stack height at 34/24, about the same weight and also a 10mm drop. I tested the non Stealthfit mesh upper, also in a half size up as with Max . With Glycerin's GTS rails and its support, while the upper was very comfortable, the support is not nearly as good as the Salomon at midfoot and lace up. While both are about are equally roomy (advantage Max though) with the Salomon’s fit more comfortable and also more secure.


Hoka

What no Hoka? The Max really differs from any current Hoka be it Clifton, Bondi, or Mach in having a more energetic softer modern foam, in many cases higher stack height, a higher drop (no Hoka are more than 5mm) , and a roomier if maybe not quite as secure upper. Stay tuned though as I find the supercritical foam powered dual carbon plated trail Tecton X (RTR Review) competes closely and on road no less.

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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