Salomon has updated the popular door-to-trail Sense Ride with a release of the Sense Ride 2. Fans of the original Sense Ride will be pleased to hear that the outsole and midsole remain the same as v1, with the major changes coming to the upper on v2. Those of you that read my review of the original Sense Ride will know I was a big fan, and my only real complaint was the cramped toe box. I’m disappointed to say that the tight toebox remains on the Sense Ride 2.
So, does the new upper, dynamic midsole, and grippy outsole make up for the narrow fit? I’ll cover all of that and more in this review.
Size, Weight, and Fit
My size 11.5 Salomon Sense Ride 2 comes in at a very light 10.95oz per shoe, and fits true to size. I wore a size 12 in the original Sense Ride, but I’ve noticed a half size decrease on sizing as Salomon’s production has shifted from China to Vietnam. I also wear a size 11.5 in the Ultra Pro and SLAB Ultra 2.
The heel on the Sense Ride 2 has the same narrow and snug fit that most of Salomon’s shoes have. The original Sense Ride had a little bit of slip in the heel for my feet, so I’m glad to see that this is no longer the case.
The internal heel collar is lightly padded and seamless, which makes for a very comfortable on-trail experience regardless of trail conditions. The heel has a fairly rigid counter, which keeps my feet locked into place on off kilter terrain.
The midfoot of the Sense Ride 2 is on the narrow side of things, but more spacious than Salomon’s SLAB lineup of footwear. I have a wider than average foot, and find the midfoot fit on the Sense Ride 2 to be comfortable.
The toebox on the Sense Ride 2 is where the fit doesn’t work for my feet. This shoe has a low volume toebox with a narrow fit that has caused my pinkie toe to develop hot spots and blisters on a few runs. I had a similar issue with the original Sense Ride, and things improved as the shoe broke in. The Sense Ride 2 has a similar break in period, but I’m not sure why Salomon doesn’t just widen things up on all of their shoes like they’ve done on the Sense Ultra Pro.
The new upper on the Sense Ride 2 is the biggest upgrade over the original Sense Ride. Salomon uses a tight knit mesh in the heel and midfoot and an open knit mesh in the toebox. This mesh breathes very well, and has drained and dried quickly when I’ve gotten the Sense Ride 2 wet.
The toebox of the Sense Ride 2 is protected by a durable laminate overlay that does a great job of protecting my feet. The toebox might be a little too rigid and protective though, and doesn’t pair well with an already narrow toebox last. You’ll want to have narrow feet when hitting long downhills in this shoe.
On top of the mesh upper, Salomon uses their sensi-fit overlays for a secure hold on the midfoot. I love the way the sensi-fit provides a secure and movement free wrap of my feet for technical and steep trails.
For the tongue of the Sense Ride 2, Salomon uses their bootie wrap ‘endo-fit’ for a snug hold on the top of my feet. The lacing on the Sense Ride 2 is Salomon’s standard kevlar quicklace system with a bottom loading lace garage on the tongue. The Salomon Sense Ultra Pro has a top loading lace garage, which I find to be a much better design.
The Sense Ride 2 midsole is built on an 8mm drop with 24mm in the heel and 16mm in the forefoot. The base of the midsole is a firm and stable EnergyCell+ EVA with OPAL inserts. This combination is what Salomon calls their Vibe technology. As I mentioned in my review of the original Sense Ride, the Opal inserts do a great job of absorbing vibration. The vibration and impact dampening is really noticeable when running or hiking on steep downhill stretches of trail. The Sense Ride is the kind of shoe that can be used for short and quick outings, but is equally well suited for longer days on the trail.
With such a firm and stable midsole, the Sense Ride 2 can handle a pack for backpacking up around 30lbs. The shoe has a little bit of torsional rigidity in the heel and midfoot, and is flexible in the toe area. Because of the firm midsole, I actually prefer the Sense Ride 2 for hiking and backpacking, but find it a little harsh for trail running on fire roads and buffed out single track.
For underfoot protection, the Sense Ride 2 has the Opal insert in the forefoot and a sheet of Salomon’s pro-feel film for push through protection. This combination works well to protect my feet from sharp rocks and tenderizing gravel, but I would still prefer a more traditional rock plate or PU puck like the one found in the SLAB Ultra.
For the Sense Ride 2, Salomon uses their Premium Wet Traction Contagrip compound. I’ve used this compound on quite a few models now, and have nothing but good things to say. The traction provided by this compound has proven reliable on a variety of surfaces, including mossy rocks, wet logs, sandy slabs, slick granite, and loose talus.
For the outsole on the Sense Ride 2, Salomon is using the same trapezoidal lug pattern found on almost all of their trail shoes at the moment. This is one of the best features for this “quiver killer” of a shoe. The flat trapezoid lugs have good surface area to provide traction on slick surfaces. The lugs are deep enough to provide grip on a multitude of trails, and the lugs are spread widely enough that they don’t collect mud or clay. There were a few occasions on muddy trails that I wished the lugs were a little longer, but that would affect their performance on hard pack. It’s a trade-off all shoes have to make.
What separates the outsole of the Sense Ride 2 from some of Salomon’s other trail offerings is the decoupled outsole. The flex grooves on the outsole help to provide additional flexibility at toe off.
The Sense Ride 2 is a very nice update to the Sense Ride, and is sure to please those of you that loved the original. I wish Salomon would have addressed the cramped toe box when they designed the new upper, but I know some people prefer a more precise and close to skin fit up front. At $120, the Salomon Sense Ride 2 is a high value pick in the world of trail shoes, and gets my recommendation provided it fits your foot shape.
The Salomon Sense Ultra Pro is my favorite Salomon trail shoe right now. The upper has a snug fit it the heel and midfoot like the Sense Ride 2, but is wider up front. The Ultra Pro also has a little more cushion in the midfoot.
Nike Wildhorse 5
At $110, the Wildhorse 5 is a high value pick much like the Sense Ride 2. The Wildhorse 5 has a similarly snug fit in the upper, a softer midsole, a bomber rockplate. The slick outsole is where the Wildhorse starts to give ground to the Sense Ride 2.