Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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When you think about Salomon, you think about trails - at least I did before getting to know Salomon in 2023. The brand is much more than just being a leader in trail shoes and gear though, with plenty of road offerings and active gear for just about any outdoor activity. In this guide to Salomon, we're focusing on the running side of things, exploring the brand's history in the running space, their technology, and of course their running shoe line-up.

Guide to Salomon Running Shoes
Written and Edited by Content Manager Bach Pham

About Salomon Running



Salomon started in Annecy, a town in the southeast of France. It was founded by Francois Salomon in 1947 in a one metalworking shop. His son, George Salomon, was integral to the company for his work in ski manufacturing. The company focused on beveled ski edges and mountain equipment in its early years before shifting to ski equipment in the 70s. While skiing was the cornerstone of the company for its early decades, in the 90s the company really excelled its diversification. They not only made their first official branded ski, but also branched into hiking gear (including the Adventure range in 1992), snowboarding (1997), and inline skating (1997). The XA Pro in 2002 became a favorite for multisport raiding (kind of like an extended triathlon which can go days).

Salomon is currently owned by Amer Sports, a Finnish sports subsidary of Anta Sports out of China. It was previous sold to and owned by Adidas from 1997 to 2005.

In the running athlete space, Killian Jornet helped put Salomon on the map when he broke the UTMB record in 2008. Jornet and Salomon quickly become synonymous with one another across 18 years before Jornet parted the brand in 2021. The torch has most definitely passed over to ultramarathon icon Courtney Dauwalter who needs no introduction. The brand continues to be a long distance, trail-running powerhouse with athletes like Fran├žois D'haene (1st UTMB 2012, 2014, 2017, 2021),  Mathieu Blanchard (2nd UTMB 2022, 3rd UTMB 2021), Marianne Hogan (2nd UTMB 2022, 3rd Western States 2022) and many more.

Since 2020-2201, sustainability has steadily pushed to the forefront of the companies priorities. The Index.01 was their biggest initial foray into the sustainable space. A running shoe fully made with recycled products along with a final product that could be brought to collection centers where the shoe would be broken down and recycled for use in Salomon alpine ski boots. The Index.02 released in 2022 with upgrades to improve the ride further (Salomon, send us some!!!).


Technology to Know

Salomon's road version of Contragrip
Energy Foam. The name of their everyday midsole in the majority of their running models. The foam comes in different densities.

Contragrip.
Salomon's term for their outsole designs, they feature five stylings including a Contragrip for road, all-terrain, mud, winter, and water. It is a combination of a rubber compound and lug design that makes it unique to Salomon. The road model is a bit smoother and less aggressive of a design in comparison to the water and mud, while the all-terrain is a bit more mild-mannered.

Matryx. A fabric made of individually coated polyamide and Kevlar yarns. Following the brands push for sustainability, it uses less water than average for color.

Sensifit.
Found in some of their trail models - particularly the Salomon Sense Ride series - it is an overlay that wraps over the foot and merges into the lacing system to give the upper a lot of structure.

Energy Blade. The name of their plate design, like Contragrip, Energy Blade comes in different designs and materials. This includes a composite fiber plate in their S/Lab Phantasm 2 and a TPU-injected plate in their trail and hiking models which feature the technology.



Breaking Down the Salomon Running Line



Salomon Road Shoes

Aero Blaze (Daily trainer) - A really clean and simple trainer with Energy foam.
Aero Volt (Lightweight, low cushion trainer) - Similar stack to the Blaze, but drops a full ounce. Really nice shoe for those who want a light, no-frills trainer.
Aero Glide 2 (Max cushion trainer) - Salomon's max cushion road model. Sits on firmer end
DRX Bliss (stability daily trainer) - A guidance based trainer using large sidewalls.
Index.03
(Daily Trainer) - Salomon's sustainable project focusing on the afterlife of a shoe in a trainer


Salomon Trail Shoes
Ultra Glide 2
(Lightweight trail shoe) - One of the lighter daily training trail shoes in the market. A really versatile ride.
Sense Ride 5 (Low stack trail shoe) - For those who want a solid, low stack trail shoe that "senses" the ground.
Glide Max TR (Max cushion trail shoe) - The most premium cushioned shoe in the line-up for long distance trail running.
S/Lab Ultra 3 v2 (Low profile ultra running shoe) - For runners who want an aggressive, not max cushioned trail shoe for long distances.
Pulsar Trail Pro 2 (Carbon plated trail racing shoe) - Salomon's carbon plated trail racing shoe for a variety of distances.
Ultra Flow (Road-to-Trail) - A new 2024 offering, the Ultra Flow provides a rockered hybrid shoe for multiple terrains

Salomon Performance Shoes
Phantasm 2 (Plated performance trainer) - Salomon's performance training model that pairs with the S/Lab for a good one-two punch. Good for uptempo efforts and long runs.
S/Lab Phantasm 2 (Carbon plated racing shoe) - Salomon's premier carbon plated racing shoe with PEBAX.


Science Feature: How Much Cushion
is Too Much?
By Nathan Brown


When it comes to trail running, I found the Energy foam midsole in the Ultra Glide 2 (which is the same as the recently-tested Aero Blaze), fantastic. Part of this could be geometry, as the Ultra Glide has a bigger bevel and a more full-length rocker. However, they both have 32mm of foam in the heel, making them comparable. So this brings us to a conversation of the impact of cushioning on our body both from a shoe and ground surface perspective.

We've talked before about how studies have shown that when running on a softer, more compliant surface, our body reflexively takes that into account. What we see biomechanically is that when on a softer surface the leg has an overall greater stiffness. The hip, knee, and ankle go through a collectively less joint excursion to counteract the more compliant surface underneath. What is of note is that some of these studies are done in barefoot on different surfaces. This means that what matters for our running experience is not only what we put ON our feet, but what we put UNDER our feet. Running on trails will be more compliant than road, and therefore the interaction between a certain midsole and a runner may feel better (or worse) depending on the surface you are on.

This is likely why we haven't seen many of the highly compliant foams seen in road racing shoes make it to the trail yet. The complaint nature not only is more difficult to control on rocks, roots, and sharp turns, but a compliant foam on top of a compliant surface may be too much to handle for many.


Our Salomon Running Shoe Recommendations


Best Salomon Road Shoe to Try:
Aero Volt
(For runners who want to veer off max cushion and feel light, the Volt is a really solid, traditional feeling trainer built for just hitting the pavement)

Best Trail Model to Try:
Ultra Glide 2

(The combination of light and versatile makes this an easy recommendation for people to dip their toes in if they want to try the brand)

Equally Fun for Trail Enthusiasts: Sense Ride 5
(Simply a lot of fun for trails of any kind. A little heavier than the Ultra Glide 2, but nimble and versatile)


Have questions? Send us an email at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!



More Shoe Brand Guides


Guide to On Running Shoes
Guide to Puma Running Shoes
Guide to New Balance Shoes
Guide to Topo Athletic Shoes
Guide to Saucony Running Shoes



Running Shoe Resources
Looking for something more specific than the archive? Check out these pages first:

Beginner's Guide to Running Shoes: Are you a brand new runner and unsure where to start? Visit this guide first to get started.
Stability Shoe Resource Page: Our comprehensive guide to stability shoes and alternatives for neutral runners as well
Carbon Fiber Plated Shoes Resource Page: Want to go as fast as possible for race day? Visit this page for all of our super shoe reviews
Guide to Walking Shoes: Featuring some science behind walking and the best running shoes for walking based on our everyday testing and clinical experience working with patients.
Getting the Right Fit: Unsure if your shoe fits? Visit this page to help you determine how to find the right shoe for your feet. Comfort is one of the most important things we emphasize at Doctors of Running before you get out the door and on the road. Sometimes the right shoe for you is not what works for many others. That is why it is important to try different shoes when you can to get a better understanding of works best for your needs.
Beginner's Guide to Nutrition/Hydration: Guest writer Jennifer Giles (Registered Dietitan/Nutritionist) helps bring a new guide for fueling to Doctors of Running as part of our summer hydration series.
Ultimate Guide to Hydration Products for Runners: We review 10+ hydration products that may help you on your running adventure.
Best Affordable Running Shoes: We compiled a list of the most affordable options you can find in the market today. Updated monthly.


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