The Salomon Sense Ultra Pro has been my ‘Goldilocks’ trail shoe of the year so far. From upper to outsole, everything feels ‘just right’ for my feet. I’ve worn these on hikes and trail runs, and have yet to find something that I don’t like about them. The Sense Ultra Pro is built on the same platform as the SLAB Sense Ultra, and as much as I liked the SLAB Sense Ultra, I like the Sense Ultra Pro even more.
Buy The Ultra Pro: Amazon | REI | Zappos | Backcountry
Fit and Weight: The Sense Ultra Pro runs large, just like the SLAB sense Ultra. I usually wear a size 12 in Salomon shoes, but needed to go with an 11.5 for the Ultra Pro. My size 11.5 comes in at a lightweight 12.6oz (357g).
My foot is shaped like a duck’s with a narrow heel, a slightly wide midfoot, and a wide forefoot. Salomon shoes tend to fit my feet very well as they have narrow heels, locked down midfoots, and just enough room upfront to let my toes splay. The Ultra Pro is no different. For reference, the fit on the Ultra Pro is more similar to the XA Elevate than it is to the SLAB Ultra.
The heel of the Ultra Pro cups the back of my foot well and is nicely padded. The heel also has a nice counter which keeps the back half of my foot in place on slanted and off camber trails.
The midfoot uses the same dual wing design as the SLAB Ultra, but ulizes a lighter material with inner mesh panels. This allows the wings to wrap my foot a little bit better and doesn’t inhibit airflow or drainage. The midfoot of the SLAB Ultra holds my foot very securely, and I haven’t had any slipping or movement while running fast on rocky downhills.
The toebox of the Ultra Pro fits my foot just about perfectly. The big toe area has a straight profile that allows for toe splay and downhill comfort without feeling sloppy or loose. The toebox is made of a laminate overlay that provides really nice protection from toe stubs. I’ve kicked a few rocks with tired legs and have been surprised with how well this shoe has protected my feet.
Salomon utilizes an open mesh for the upper of the Ultra Pro with a welded overlay for added security and stability. The welded overlay partners very well with the Sensi-Fit wings to provide a very secure ride without constricting the foot. This is one of those shoes you can lace up for a 10+ mile run with 3500ft of vert and not have to touch the laces until you’re done with your run. As I mentioned above, the wings use mesh inserts for breathability and drainage, which helps make them more comfortable than the SLAB Ultra.
The Sense Ultra Pro uses Salomon’s new top loader lace garage which is a big upgrade over their old design. This top loading design makes it much easier and quicker to make adjustments on the fly.
The Salomon Sense Ultra Pro is built on an 8mm drop platform with 23mm in the heel and 15mm in the forefoot. The midsole is EVA and has what I detect as the same durometer as the XA Elevate, which is softer than the SLAB Ultra. There is no Pro-feel Film rock protection in this midsole, as Salomon has opted for a PU (Polyurethane) insert called Energy Save. This PU insert starts at the arch and extends into the forefoot. PU is a denser and more compression resistant material when compared to EVA.
I was a bit worried about the lack of Pro-feel Film at first, as it’s one of Salomon’s many shoe technologies I’ve developed a real love for over the years. I tend to run and hike on very rocky terrain, so underfoot protection is more important for me than most. In use, the EVA and PU combination has been better than expected. For example, I did a 13 mile run this weekend on some trails that cover quite a bit of scree and talus. There were a few stretches of trail with rocks the size of my fist that can pound and grind feet like a meat tenderizer. The Ultra Pro really held their own. The protection is not as robust as the Pro-feel Film and PU combination on the Ultra Pro, but it’s still pretty good.
By giving up the bomb proof underfoot protection of the SLAB Ultra, the Ultra Pro makes gains in comfort. The SLAB Ultra feels a little harsh while running on fire roads and smooth trails, which is why I like them for hiking and/or running on more technical terrain. As I mentioned above, the Ultra Pro is more of a Goldilocks shoe that sits in the middle of the comfort vs responsiveness spectrum. This shoe feels great underfoot on asphalt and fire roads, but also holds its own when things get nasty.
I’ve also worn the Ultra Pro with a heavy pack, and I was really surprised at how stable they felt. I wouldn’t want to push them too far past a 30lbs load, but they can probably handle it in a pinch. With my son getting bigger every day, I think I’ll keep using the more stable SLAB Ultra until I’m no longer strong enough to lug his quicky growing body around.
For the outsole on the Sense Ultra Pro, Salomon uses the tried and true Premium Wet Traction Contagrip with a new, but very familiar looking trapezoidal lug pattern. I really love the use of widely spaced trapezoids for lugs. They provide nice surface area for traction, bit deep into trails for grip, and they shed mud easily on sodden trails.
Salomon lists many of their shoes as having the Premium Wet Traction Contagrip, but I’m starting to think that there might be different blends with different durometers. The Premium Wet Traction Contagrip on Salomon’s SLAB shoes feels a tad bit softer and stickier, but also wears down a little quicker. For instance, I wore through the lugs on the heel of my SLAB Ultra after walking around 150 miles on the Camino Portuguese. The blend of the Ultra Pro is identical to that of the XA Elevate. The rubber is very sticky on all but surfaces that are super smooth and wet. I’ve worn these on sandy rutted ridge routes, scree and talus fields, fire roads, and damp forest paths. The Ultra Pro has held up well and provided superb traction and grip on all surfaces.
Salomon Sense Ultra Pro vs SLAB Ultra
Many readers looking at the Ultra Pro are probably comparison shopping against the SLAB Ultra. I wanted to put together a quick list of the major differences.
The overlays on the SLAB Ultra are thicker, less breathable, and less flexible. The heel of the SLAB Ultra has less cushion in the collar and has almost no counter. The toebox on the Ultra Pro feels a tad wider. The eyelets on the Ultra Pro use friction free plastic grommets which allow for a more comfortable lace up.
The midsoles are what separate these two shoes the most. The Ultra Pro uses a softer EVA, has a smaller and seemingly less dense PU insert in the forefoot, and has no Pro-Feel Film rock guard. Both shoes have an 8mm drop, but the SLAB Ultra has 18mm in the forefoot, 3mm more than the Ultra Pro.
In use, the SLAB Ultra rides more stable and firm, providing more protection underfoot. The Ultra Pro is the more ‘runable’ shoe, with a softer EVA in use.
The outsole design is pretty similar for both shoes, but the SLAB Ultra has no lugs in the middle of the outsole. From there, you’ll just see minor pattern variations. In use, I find the SLAB Ultra to provide a tad more traction and stick, but at the cost of longevity.
Salomon SLAB Ultra (My Review): Similar shoe. Thicker upper and more protective midsole. $30 more expensive at $180.
Salomon Sense Ride (My Review): One of my favorite shoes last year. Has a similar fitting upper, but less underfoot protection and cushion. A high value pick at $120.
Salomon XA Elevate (My Review): At $130, another high value pick. One of my favorite light hikers this year. The Elevate has a similar fitting upper to the Ultra Pro, a very similar midsole, and a near identical outsole. The Elevate is a little more firm and stable underfoot and has a full length Pro-Feel Film.
La Sportiva Lycan (My Review): The Lycan comes in at $115, and features a secure upper with a wide toe box. The midsole is firm and works well on all surfaces. The outsole lugs are a little shallow, but still seem to find traction on loose trails.
Nike Wildhorse 4 (My Review): A similar ride underfoot when compared to the Ultra Pro, but the comparisons end there. The upper doesn’t fit my foot very precisely and the outsole doesn’t stick to much. Still a nice pickup for $110 though.
The Salomon Sense Ultra Pro is a premium trail shoe that retails for $150. That price might seem a little high compared to the shoes I shared in my comparison above, but I’ve found the cost per mile on Salomons to be pretty comparable when evaluating the shoes I wear long enough to wear out. The Ultra Pro has a comfortable and secure upper that handles warm weather and nasty trails with ease. Although the midsole doesn’t have as much protection as the SLAB Ultra, it rides like a dream. The outsole has a grippy outsole that keeps me on my feet wherever I go. It can be difficult to write a review about a shoe I enjoyed this much, because part of me feels like I must have missed something. Every now and again though, a Goldilocks shoe comes along that makes all of the near misses and outright disasters worth the miles testing footwear for this blog. I hope those of you that give this shoe a try enjoy it as much as I do.
28 thoughts on “Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ultra Pro Trail Shoe”
How do you compare ultra pro vs sense pro 2(size and fit).
How long is your foot?Im always in problem with salomon because every model is so diferent in sizing( i hawe sonic pro-road shoe in 47 1/3 and is litle too long and sense ride in 46 2/3 but is litle short).
So i would like to order sense pro 2 now but i dont now in which size😊my foot is 29,3 cm long…
Hi Marko! They are two different shoes. The Ultra Pro has a wider fit overall and a more forgiving midsole.
My feet are just under 29cm. I have a narrow heel, a slightly wide midfoot, and a wide forefoot. I wear a size 12 in the Sense Pro 2. At 29,3cm, the size 12 for the Sense Pro 2 might fit a bit tight if you prefer a little wiggle room.
Love your reviews Drew! You cover all the details that go into making a good trail shoe and I really appreciate your comparisons to other models. I somehow managed to find a site that actually still has a size 10 in stock. Can’t wait to put these to the test in northern India in November.
Awesome! I’m glad you found this review useful. I’d love to come hike around northern India some day!
This might be a silly question. But on the Salomon website and your review you list the name as the Salomon Sense Ultra Pro, but on all your links to buy, they just say Salomon Ultra Pro. I’m guessing it’s the same shoe, but just making sure. Sorry for the silly question.
Hi Jesse. Yes, it is the same shoe. It falls in the Salomon Sense lineup, but most sites don’t use that in the name. Salomon also has the new SLAB Ultra and last year’s SLAB Sense Ultra… They really need to clean up their naming! It gets really confusing.
I am in really doubt between this model and the Hoka Mafate speed 2. For ultratrails! The only two models avalible in Brazil.
I’ve never worn the Hokas, so can’t compare the two.
I’ve been hiking and running in the XA Elevates for the last few months. Really like their stability and precision on technical trails and off trail, but been thinking about something similar with a bit more padding for longer runs. Would you think these fit that ?
I think they’d be a nice addition to your shoe rotation. The Ultra Pro has a more cushioned feel underfoot and a more relaxed fit upfront.
Hello, I have a hesitation between the Ultra Pro, SLAB Ultra, and XA Elevate. Which would you recommend best as your reviews for the 3 are all saying they are great?
It depends on your intended use. I like the Ultra Pro for running, as they have a more plush midsole and a better fitting toebox. I like the Elevate for hiking and more technical terrain, as they have a firmer midsole and a more precise upper fit.
First. love reading your reviews. Your review and comment replies, led me to the XA elevate. I used them in last year Big Horn 50 (for the first 50k). Only two drawbacks I have with the XA elevate is that they are firm (less flexible). the helps with ground protection, but as I’m still trying to recover from torn plantars, I need to switch out the XA for “softer” shoes. For me thats the New Balance Leadville. the second issue with the XA is I habitually lift my big toes for some reason when I run, so I often bust through the uppers. That happened with about 170 miles on the XA. No a deal breaker, but would like the overlay to a bit larger. Given the above.
You seem to say the Ultra Pro might be less firm (meaning softer?) Ideally I wish I could have softer heal cushion, which I why I am tempted to experiment with the new Challenger ATR (wider) but hoka does usually work for me. I’ve planning on pushing my more this year. SO multiple 50k and 50m this year, in hopes for a 100 in 2020. Can you share any more about the XA elevate compare contrast specifically in the firm/flexiblity, cushion, and toe box. Still cant find that altra like toebox, and topo just doesnt work for me. Maybe sizing 1/2 up in salomon would get me the few extra mm in the toe box.
Thanks, Ted. I’m glad you find them useful. The Ultra Pro rides softer than the Elevate, and has a little more volume in the toebox. I wear a size 11.5 in the Ultra Pro, which gives me more room up front than the 12 in the Elevate.
The new Topo Terraventure 2 is a huge improvement over old models, so you may want to give them a second chance.
As for Hoka, I’ve been wearing the new Speedgoat 3, Challenger 5, and Evo Mafate. I’m really loving the Evo Mafate as they ride firm and stable. I’m not a huge fan of the rough upper on my toes though.
I would like to know if you would redommend Salomon Ultra Pro also for easier trails (running and hiking) as well as some more technical trails (higher rocky mountain trails)? So somehow “universal” shoe 🙂
Or would you recommend different shoe
Absolutely. This is my universal shoe of choice. I love it for travel when I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. I can walk, hike, and run in the shoe on just about any terrain or road.
Hi Drew, I’m running an ultra that has some really steep packed-dirt declines. My second toe is a bit longer than my first (big). Consequently, if my foot slides a bit in the shoe, my toes hit the front on the downhills and I lose that nail. You indicated that the Ultra Pros have a more “relaxed fit upfront” and I’m worried this might mean the there will be some squishing. I’m trying to find a shoe that stays put on the downhills and is firm enough to prevent toe bumping. I wear a 10.5 normally, but have recently been going up to 11’s in my shoes. I’m hearing these also run large. Thoughts?
They do run a half size large. I would size one have size down. Other than that, the fit is superb.
I love the first version of the S-lab Sense Ultra (did not have the wing wraps) and I’ve been trying to find a similar shoe. So far I have found the Ride to be the closest as the new S-lab Ultra 2 seemed so different from what the original S-Lab Sense Ultra was. How does the this new Ultra Pro compare to the first version?
Yes, the Sense Ultra 2 was a huge departure from the original. I don’t know why they kept the same name. The Ultra Pro has a much better fit throughout the shoe, especially in the toebox. If you like the Ride, you’ll probably enjoy the Ultra Pro as well.
hey there, i was wondering how these would compare to the sense 5 ultra sg ?
Much more cushion underfoot.
Hi Drew, I see you wear both shoes that I’m interested in. How would you compare the Ultra Pros vs Speedgoat 3 and which would you choose for a mountainous 100k (Never Summer)?
The Speedgoat is much softer and not as stable. For this reason I prefer the Ultra Pro. I’m in the minority on that though 🙂