Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Salomon DRX Bliss Review: Light Max Stability 5 Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum

Salomon DRX Bliss ($170)


The DRX Bliss is an all new stability focused road trainer from Salomon that is surprisingly light at 9.42 oz  / 267g (US9) for its 34mm heel / 26mm forefoot ( 8mm drop). It boldly proclaims its stability focus with large orange TPU foam reinforcements that in an unusual twist for such shoes also plunge forward all the way to the front of the shoe.  

The single density midsole is Salomon’s Energy Foam an EVA / Olefin copolymer block blend now found in almost all Salomon running shoes, road and trail. It is resilient and quite responsive in feel, no softy stuff here but is very vibration and shock absorbing with always a sharp quick kick back. 

The heel platform is not exceptionally broad but is very symmetrical with no crash pad for lateral heel landings. The outsole rings the entire platform and is deep in Contagrip rubber. 

The upper is a a densely woven but quite thin and see through engineered mesh with an extensive array of mid foot SensiFit underlays as well as a trail shoe like external rand overlay front to back where upper meets midsole.

All put together the DRX Bliss makes no bones that it is a stability support focused shoe. It joins 3 other all new more neutral Salomon trainers:  the Aero Glide max cushion, Aero Blaze daily trainer, and the Aero Volt uptempo warm weather shoe. And there is more to come for road from Salomon that is for sure..


Very light for stack height, upper support, stability features and copious outsole

Superb fitting and supportive upper that doesn’t suffocate in either hold or temperature

Dense very protective yet friendly and responsive cushioning

Active Chassis support system is notably linear in feel and doesn’t over press the arches as it is lower than most “rails”. 

Very well and densely cushioned forefoot that is not overly stiff and rigid in feel yet is very stable (as is the rest of the shoe) with a nice roll to toe off from the mostly rigid rocker profile here

Potential solid option for those with foot/ toe issues due to stability of forefoot and for those with plantar where solid mid to rear foot support is key to relief.


Great for big pronators but for me has an overly stabilized blocky heel geometry with no asymmetrical crash pad or full enough decoupling groove

Midfoot outsole and platform is stiff and flat feeling, if quite easy to toe off

Steep $170 pricing for relatively simple if high quality construction.


Weight: men's 9.42 oz  / 267g (US9 Sample)  

Stack Height: men’s 34mm heel / 26mm forefoot ( 8mm drop spec) 

$170. Available August 2023

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

The visual design highlighted by the orange side TPU panels and the broad angular square off heel and big outsole clearly say no compromises stability is the shoe’s goal. My olive green upper white midsole version really makes those orange panels standout and that is for sure!

The upper is a thin dense engineered mesh with great hold and plenty of summer breathablity as I found out in testing.

Mid foot support is provided by an extensive array on SensiFit underlays which work very well with the non gusset tongue and smooth running and tying laces. 

The laces run through an external eye stay overlay which has wings reaching down and doubling most of the internal overlays from the outside for yet more support. 

One might imagine this extensive midfoot support system would lead to a stiff fitting or even sloppy fitting upper which is absolutely not the case. It all works together very smoothly, effectively and comfortably. 

In somewhat of a contrast to many stability shoes such as the ASICS GEL-Kayano, the rear heel counter is not totally rigid even where it meets the ends of the orange TPU overlay so we have great rear hold without overdoing it.

The toe box is moderately broad and as with the rest of the shoe has very solid hold without over squeezing the toes.  

My sample pair turned out to be a half size up from my normal and is fine for my narrower to medium feet. I could go either way as even at half size up that excellent midfoot and heel hold kept me secure as even when tightening the laces the grid padded tongue and laces themselves never had me pinched. 

Overall we have a superb upper here that should fit a wide range of foot shapes.


The single density Energy Foam midsole is dense and responsive in feel (affected by the big outsole), very vibration and shock absorbing. This is not a bouncy, bouncy soft midsole but a very consistent well cushioned and stable one.

Of course the orange TPU Active Chassis is in the mix. Super scary to look at I feared  they would lead to that sharp pressure at the arch and on both sides  I often feel in “rails” based shoes such older Brooks GTS shoes and Nike’s Infinity. Not so here as the Active Chassis is made of a relatively soft foam like TPU that while firm is not rigid. And instead of sitting right at the edge of the midsole they are more external so have some give while of course remaining super supportive.  

The unusual forward plunge of the Chassis is welcome as I have a sense of being well aligned and super stable at toe off. Mind you this is an almost rigid profile shoe in all directions due to the extensive outsole and its design but there is a nice forward rocker felt.

The heel platform is for me the “achilles heel” of the shoe. Totally symmetrical and square with no crash pad or decoupling all the way to the back, it is for sure super super stable but blocky and rigid in feel and especially at slower paces. 

If you need that kind of stability at the far rear of the shoe, even before getting to its great medial mid foot support  or you are a truer mid foot to forefoot striker with a need for pronation control you will be very happy but for me, while always super stable, the broad and over stabilized heel is overdone.


Copious amounts of always durable Contagrip rubber cover the entire perimeter of the DRX with a quite shallow if broad central decoupling groove which ends well before the heel. I think the rear outsole could be better segmented for some lateral heel landing give, with the central part of the outsole segmented as well to ease transitions. The front is well done with I found surprisingly smooth very stable toe offs.

While Contagrip, the outsole pattern is quite smooth with shallow broad bars. Grip on sand over pavement by the beach was below average although wet grip should be good.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

The DRX Bliss, despite appearances, sits in the newer category of “inherently stable” shoes as it avoids underfoot posts and plastic pieces that tend to sharply bother me. 

The TPU panels are effective in controlling pronation and keeping my stride notably linear without being a bother or something I notice at every step as they are essentially firm foam on the sides of the shoe and not below along the edge of the arch at the midsole. I think they are a neat innovation and could even play a role in more neutral shoes and especially at the front of the shoe to keep the toe off stable and aligned.

The heel is for me the weak point of the ride. Overly squared off, but impeccably stable, it is overdone as it is totally symmetrical in geometry and does not a have a crash pad or deep enough decoupling. While totally cushioned and super stable, the heel is too much for me and is also not helped by the extensive rear rubber which adds to rigid blocky feel. As I ran I often thought of the massive decoupling at the heel in ASICS GEL-Kayano 30 or Mizuno Wave Inspire or Wave Rider which are almost as equally stable and far easier to move off the heel.  

The front of the shoe, with fortunately for me no current front of foot issues, was the ride highlight although I do think the front could be more flexible. I will update the review as I get more miles with any progress with the overall flexibility of the shoe and if the rear stays rigid or softens up a bit.

Those who need that kind of stability at the far rear will be very pleased with this quite stunningly light at well under 10 oz big stack, highly cushioned stability/pronation control trainer. Those with toe issues might get help from the very stable, responsive and deeply cushioned front to the shoe . Those with foot issues upfront should consider the DRX as should those with plantar as the shoe has the characteristics of stability and support with a denser consistent foam I seek when facing such issues

It is topped off by a super comfortable upper that has plenty of support that is not overwhelming or heavy on the foot. 

At $170 it is priced up there for a single density foam midsole trainer but one that should prove durable. I would call it a solid value for those needing its level of support and less so for me a more neutral shoe runner who appreciates a “bit” of support. 

Sam's Score: 8.75 /10 

(Bulk of deduction for blocky heel, smaller deduction for more flex from midfoot forward

Those seeking maximum stability in a comparative very light shoe might score it considerably higher than I do.

😊😊 1/2 If it wasn't for the heel it could easily be a 4 star shoe for me

5 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Salomon Aero Glide (RTR Review)

The Aero Glide is the more neutral max cushion option in the new Salomon line up. It has 3mm more stack height front and back and weighs about 0.4 oz / 11g less than the DRX. The midsole foam is similar, if not identical, as is the front feel of the shoe (cushion and rocker) although with Active Chassis the DRX feels a bit more directed and decisive up front. It has none of the blocky over stable heel feel of the DRX for me. If you don't need the extra stability of the DRX for sure Glide would be my choice. I will say the DRX is superior in comfort and fit although the simpler Glide upper is just fine as well if not quite as well supported at mid foot.

GEL-Kayano 30 (RTR Review)

The newest Kayano gets a complete makeover with an all new very broad high stacked (40/30) platform. It is the definition of a new age inherently stable as even its small gray medial plug of foam is softer than the already quite soft main midsole. Unlike the DRX ,it has an effectively decoupled heel and crash pad and more flexibility upfront. No blocky heel at all unlike the Salomon. Both have secure state of the art uppers. The Kayano’s achilles heel.. 1.3 oz / 37 more weight which is clearly felt. For more uptempo paces with heavy duty support the Salomon for everything else the Kayano.

Puma ForeverRun Nitro (RTR Review)

The Puma is also  much lighter in stability “feel” with a very broad but not blocky heel and lots of support provided by the upper. It’s Nitro cushion is more reactive and less dense. If you need a “bit” of support or if you are a neutral shoe runner who occasionally needs some clearly the ForeverRun. If you need heavy duty support, the Salomon. 

Saucony Tempus (RTR Review)

 With a greater stack height at 36.5 heel / 28.5 mm forefoot and 0.8 oz  lower weight the Tempus actually has a fairly similar support mechanism in its case with the supportive firmer foam molded as part of the main midsole as an internal frame instead of being external glued on as in the DRX.  As with many of these comparisons the Salomon over stabilized symmetrical heel is the weak point in the comparison but.. If you need that kind of support big time it delivers.   Uppers are similar in fit with the Saucony’s a bit more performance oriented and lower volume. The Tempus, barely a support shoe to the Salomon’s more pronounced control, is in the end a considerably more versatile daily trainer to uptempo shoe for me.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 (RTR Review)

With a 38.5 mm heel and 26.5 mm forefoot and 1 oz weight at about 10.5 oz / 298 g the Mizuno has more heel stack and less forefoot as it has a giant 12mm drop to the 8mm here. It has a more flexible forefoot than the Salomon and an equally as stable, very well decoupled heel via a giant central groove. Of course in the mix is Mizuno’s plastic Wave plate. It is a much more traditionally riding somewhat firmer shoe but in the end due to its superior heel construction and no blocky feel. Despite its higher weight  it has a superior ride for those seeking pronation support in an all around daily trainer.  As with the Kayano, if you are seeking maximum support for uptempo runs the Salomon is a better if less versatile all around daily trainer.

Brooks Glycerin GTS (RTR Review)

I tested the regular mesh upper a half size up from my normal US8.5. The supercritical Loft v3 foam was more energetic than the Salomon Energy Foam.  The upper had poor hold at midfoot so easy win for the DRX with its Sensi Fit underlay.  The Brooks GuideRails molded and glued into the top of the midsole were way more prominently felt than Salomon Active Chassis glued more external support. Things might turn out differently in the Glycerin GTS 20 Stealthfit upper but I am sure the GTS Guide Rails would still be overly present for me over stiffening the ride in the direction of travel unlike the Salomon.

The DRX Bliss will be available August 1st, 2023

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

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sam, you write some of the best reviews of neutral shoes but some of the worst reviews for stability shoes. Why not have a runner who has a true need for a stability shoe review them so the review is wholly in context? The features you find intrusive or bothersome may be a godsend to the stability requiring runner.