After hundreds of miles through dirt, rocks, mud and snow, through numerous races and scores of training runs, I finally had to retire my trail runners.
Salomon had generously provided those shoes to me back then, with the idea of testing them out and letting all of you know how I felt. They performed well and lasted a long time, especially considering the abuse I put them through.
Salomon approached me again about testing their Sense Pro – an upgrade from the Sense Mantra I tested previously, and I was all too happy to oblige. Would the Sense Pro live up to the reputation of its predecessor? The final verdict has yet to be given, but some of my initial thoughts are here.
The Sense Pro comes in with a sole that is 10 mm at the forefoot, and 16 mm at the heel for a 6 mm drop – still light enough to give you a feel for our running surface, but thick enough to protect your feet.
The sole’s traction system is designed to give you grip in multiple directions. This is particularly helpful on uneven surfaces, and on uphill and downhill stretches where trail-grip needs change. The nugs are not as large as you would see in a more aggressively cleated design but I can tell you from experience that you’ll be able to climb walls with the traction you get, and in a variety of conditions.
The Sense Pro also includes Salomon’s OS Tendon, which is geared to give you proper flex in the sole as well as energy return.
The lace-up system is also different than your typical shoe lace. The Quicklace system allows you to tighten up and stay tight, and the loose end tucks under is a small pocket on top of the tongue. I want to say that the system is improved; my prior pair was a little more stubborn, whereas with the Sense Pros, it’s been smooth and easy, yet secure when tightened. This was a minor annoyance before (and a common gripe with some runners who prefer traditional laces) that seems to be moot now.
As in prior models, Salomon also included an extra layer of material called Profeel Film built in to the sole that extends from the arch to the toes, giving you a little extra protection from rocks, roots and stumps.
The Sense Pro also has a sleeve on the interior of the shoe that hugs your foot. So no sliding around in the shoe, a concept that dovetails nicely with the security you get with the Quicklace system. Anyone who runs any sort of distance can appreciate blister-free training, which is just one benefit here.
At 8.8 ounces, it’s also lightweight, though a tiny bit heavier than the Sense Mantra (8.5 ounces).
Finally, as you would expect in any decent trail shoe, there is added, tougher material around the toe box.
I had no reason to believe the Sense Pro would not live up to the experiences I’ve had in the past, and I was correct. My initial run took me through muddy and at times watery singletrack, and with the exception of the sloppiest grades, I had no trouble keeping my footing.
On another test run – hill repeats on a steep, loose and rocky incline – I found similar security on the uphills and downhills. Truthfully, I could have probably pushed harder downhill had I not been a little banged up in my knees.
Needless to say, in dry conditions, I hugged corners, climbed hills and bounded down slopes with high confidence. My feet were comfortable and the weight of the shoe was not a burden. The fit was snug and secure, but not tight, and I had plenty of room in the toe box.
Salomon is marketing the Sense Pro as a “city trail” shoe, but on the wilder, rougher and more technical trails I run, they did just fine.
I’ll come back to these shoes for a second look when I’ve put a bunch more miles on them. If they show the same durability of my previous pair, I’ll likely be running in the Sense Pros for a long time.
The Sense Pro retails for $130.