Published on April 1, 2016
Salomon Sonic Pro
The Sonic Pro is a neutral road shoe from trail experts Salomon that aims to capitalise on the company’s off-road tech innovations and serve them up to pavement-pounding city dwellers. If inov-8 can accomplish that with the ROADCLAW 275 (review here) then why shouldn’t Salomon?
The Salomon Sonic Pro is available in four colour options; three of them – lime green, orange, blue – are dazzling affairs, whilst the black/orange options is a more muted offering for those of a more nervous disposition.
Aesthetically there’s no mistaking the Sonic Pro as a Salomon shoe. Much of its good looks come from S-LAB Speed and Sense Pro – it’s like the two of them had offspring that rebelled and refused to run trail.
Packing a technical punch
Salomon never shy away from loading their shoes with technical doohickies – or putting little graphic tech labels all over them – and the Sonic Pro is no exception. As already noted the Sonic Pro is an exercise in bringing the trail know-how to the streets, so much of the shoe technology will already be familiar to their dedicated off-road fan-base.
Inside, the footbed is an OrthoLite Impression, made from ‘slow recovery foam’, which shapes to the foot over time (although it’s perfectly comfortable straight out of the box.) Also under the hood is the ENDOFIT sleeve; whilst an increasing number of shoes are shifting to the all-in-one bootie inner, the cross-shaped band inside the Sonic Pro is designed to target the midfoot and improve ‘hug’ and comfort. It works well and good to see that Salomon are sticking to their guns here rather than following the herd.
The lightweight midsole (ENERGYCELL+) foam is designed for longer-lasting rebound and feels properly responsive, whilst the combination of open and closed mesh upper beneath the welded overlay works well for breathability, yet keeps out a degree of water in unfavourable conditions.
Add to this speedlaces (love them or hate them, you can always replace them) and a tongue pocket to safely tuck away loose ends, and the Sonic Pro looks to prove that Salomon are taking road as seriously as they take trail.
Hitting the streets
Of course all this would count for nothing if the Salomon Sonic Pro didn’t perform on the run. Fortunately they did. Even box-fresh the shoes felt responsive and comfortable; a slight crease to the outside uppers with toe-off looked like it was going to be problematic for the first few miles, but the overlay soon bedded in and delivered the goods.
Weight is well judged – 235g (470g pair, UK 8.5) – coming in at less than the similarly specced 275g inov-8 ROADCLAW, yet they feel robust and likely to go the full distance. Flex through the sole is also impressive, delivering smooth, fluid transition. With an 8mm drop from a 24mm/16mm heel-to-toe difference the Sonic Pro is a heel-striker’s road shoe – RunningMonkey would love to see what Salomon could do with a more minimalist drop…
Of course the grip for the road-specific Sonic Pro is much stripped back from the likes of the S-LAB Speed (or even the Sense 5 Ultra for that matter) but you can still detect the trail heritage. The triple-decoupled fore is deeply lines and the grip throughout certainly more substantial than many road shoes; there’s a feeling that the Sonic Pro is going to deal more than adequately with anything the British winter can chuck at it with the exception of thick ice. That’s a real plus as it means they are shoes you can use almost year-round rather than swapping out your road shoes the minute autumn hits.
Fans of Salomon on the trail will find it an easy shift if they’re looking for a road option, but, as with the marketing battle that inov-8 have faced, it’s a case of selling a traditionally off-road brand to dedicated roadies. There’s much to admire about the Salomon Sonic Pro and hopefully enough traction can be found to bring them to the wider audience they deserve. Your feet will thank you.
The Salomon Sonic Pro retails at £110 – further details and online purchase at salomon.com/uk