Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ride 3 Trail Shoe

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Salomon has updated their Sense Ride model to version three, and after a few months of use, I’m finding them to be the best version yet.

I loved the door-to-trail abilities of the Sense Ride v1, but wished it had a little more cushion in the forefoot. The Sense Ride v2 had the same midsole as the v1, and also retained the less-than-roomy toebox. The Salomon Sense Ride v3 has fixed all of the complaints I had about versions 1 and 2. The upper is brand new, with the same precise fit in the midfoot and heel, but more room in the toebox. The midsole is also brand new, with Salomon’s Optivibe midsole technology. The outsole on the Sense Ride v3 is mostly unchanged from versions 1 and 2, which is a positive in my book, as I didn’t have any problems with the outsole on the previous versions. I’ve been hiking and running in the Sense Ride 3 since their release early this year, and will share my thoughts in this review.

Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ride 3 Trail Shoe

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Upper

Sizing and Weight

My size 11.5  pair of Sense Ride 3s fit true to size, and are the same size I wear in other Salomons shoes like the Sense Ride v2, SLAB Ultra 2 and Sense Ultra Pro. The Sense Ride 3 weighs in at 12.17oz per shoe, which is heavier than the 10.95oz Sense Ride v2 and 11.94oz Sense Ride v1. The Sense Ride 3 has a lightweight upper and a similar outsole to versions 1 and 2, so I’m guessing that all of the weight was gained in the thicker midsole.

Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ride 3 Trail Shoe

Fit and Build

The base of the Sense Ride 3’s upper is constructed using a breathable single layer mesh. I’ve used the Sense Ride 3 on hot days approaching triple digits, and have found them to be the perfect warm weather shoe. I’ve also worn them in a few light showers, and found that they dried out very quickly.

The heel of the Sense Ride 3 has a well padded and friction free internal collar, with a rigid counter. This makes for a very stable ride on off kilter terrain, and has provided many hotspot free miles on a wide variety of trails. The heel fit is traditional Salomon, with a slightly narrow build that hugs the back of my foot.

Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ride 3 Trail Shoe

The midfoot is built around Salomon’s tried-and-true sensiFit system. The Sense Ride 3 has a new implementation of this technology, with a fabric that is sandwiched in between layers of the one piece mesh upper on the lateral side of the shoe, and overlays on the medial side of the shoe. This new sensiFit design has performed flawlessly, providing optimal lateral support without any pinching or hot spots. The fit of the Sense Ride v3 is wider through the midfoot when compared to the Sense Ride v1 and v2, but is not sloppy or loose for my foot.

The tongue on the Sense Ride 3 uses Salomon’s one piece endoFit bootie system wraps the tongue to the base of the foot. The lightly padded tongue sits below kevlar speed laces that loop through fabric eyelets. Salomon has ditched the plastic eyelet loops found on the Sense Ride v1 and v2, which makes the Sense Ride 3 much more comfortable when the laces are latched down. I’ve used the Sense Ride 3 for slow day hikes and fast trail runs, and have found the comfort of the lacing to be perfect for any use.

Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ride 3 Trail Shoe

The toebox of the Sense Ride 3 is wider than previous models, and also has a bit more vertical volume. The narrow toe box on the Sense Ride 2 is what kept me from wearing those shoes more often, so this change is very welcome for my foot shape. The toebox is protected with a thick laminate overlay which has done a great job protecting my feet. The only issue is that it took some time for the overlay to break-in and soften. The overlay on the medial side of each shoe wraps up and over the base of my pinkie. At toe-off on very steep terrain, this overlay crinkles and puts pressure on the foot. This had me worried about long-term use initially, but the overlays softened after 30+ miles.

Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ride 3 Trail Shoe

Midsole

The midsole of the Sense Ride 3 is built on an 8mm drop platform, with 25mm of cushion in the heel and 17mm of cushion in the forefoot.

The Sense Ride 3 uses Salomon’s new Optivibe technology.  Optivibe utilizes two foams with a foam puck in the heel to dampen impact, and a base foam layer to assist with propulsion. I’ve found this combination to work very well for hiking and trailrunning.

Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ride 3 Trail Shoe

The midsole on the Sense Ride 3 is naturally very stable, with guide rails that raise up on the lateral and medial side of the heel for additional support. The Sense Ride 3 is a little stiff at toe off and also has quite a bit of torsional rigidity. This combination is what makes the Sense Ride 3 a great pick for trail running, hiking, and lightweight backpacking. The cushioning might be a bit firm for those that like the ride of a Hoka or Altra trail runner. Those of you that like the stable and firm ride of Salomon and La Sportiva shoes will feel right at home for any distance.

Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ride 3 Trail Shoe

Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ride 3 Trail Shoe

Outsole

For the outsole on the Sense Ride 3, Salomon uses a variation of the trapezoidal lug pattern found on almost all of their trail shoes over the past few years. The Sense Ride 3 is built using the higher durability Contagrip MA of the premium wet-traction Contragrip found on SLAB shoes. The MA blend is a little less sticky than the blend found on SLAB shoes, but the added durability makes the MA a great choice for hiking, backpacking, and door-to-trail running. The Sense Ride 3 has provided impressive grip and traction on many desert trails this winter and spring, with only wet and slick granite providing a performance challenge.

For underfoot protection, Salomon uses a thin TPU layer called ProFeelFilm in the forefoot. There are times I’ve wished Salomon had gone with a thicker layer of TPU for sharp rocks, but I appreciate how the thin layer keeps the shoe rolling like a road running shoe.

Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ride 3 Trail Shoe

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Closing Thoughts

The Salomon Sense Ride 3 is a major improvement over the Sense Ride 1 and 2, with the a wide fit in the midfoot and toebox, a dynamic new midsole, and a great performing outsole. The Sense Ride 3 has gained a bit of weight, but the added weight is in the right places. For road to trail applications at home and for treks like Camino de Santiago, the Sense Ride 3 would be my top pick. The comfort of the upper and stability of the midsole would also make this shoe an option for peak bagging, mountain trail running, and treks like the JMT and Tour du Mont Blanc. At $120, the Sense Ride 3 is a bargain pick when compared to shoes with a similar feature set. If you’re looking for a comfortable pair of trail shoes that can do it all, give the new Sense Pro 3 a try.

Salomon Sense Ride 3

120.00
9.5

Fit/Feel

9.5/10

Upper

9.8/10

Midsole

9.2/10

Outsole

9.5/10
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12 thoughts on “Gear Review: Salomon Sense Ride 3 Trail Shoe”

  1. How do you compare them to Salomon Ultra Pro? Which one would you choose for a technical rocky terrain?

    Reply
    • Hi Ivo. I prefer the upper on the Sense Ride 3. The wings on the Ultra Pro are unnecessary. The fit is pretty similar on both shoes. The outsoles are about the same as well. The midsole on the Ultra Pro might be a little better for long days. For technical and rocky terrain, I would go with the Sense Ride 3.

      Reply
      • Thank for your advice. I run in Nike Terra Kiger 5. Good shoe, but the sharp rocks ripped the outsole in the forefoot.

        Reply
    • Hi Drew and thanks for the review and all the reviews.
      My question is how would you compare these to the new LaSportiva Lycan 2? (had high hopes for Jakal but yours is not the only review that made me hesitant) So cushion, toe box room, grip especially on slab or wet rock, overall comfort for possibly 24 hours of hiking/running? I live in the Northeast and am going to attempt what’s known as a Hut To Hut Traverse in the White Mountains (just a brutal unforgiving environment for shoes) It’s approximately 50 miles with 17,000+ feet of gain/descent. Object is to tag all 8 huts in the Whites in 24 hours or less. Some spots can take 30 minutes to go 1 mile. Just miles and miles of rock, roots, mud, and elevation. Shoes are a critical choice and you need something that’s not going to destroy your feet, supports really well, comfy in the toe box and sticks like a gecko to everything. I wish Salomon made this shoe with their TA compound which is stickier than the MA but perhaps it’s ok. Never had a Salomon shoe.
      Currently testing (and I strongly urge you to test as well) the new Saucony Xodus 10. After 60+ miles in the Whites it’s a fabulous shoe short of wet slab grip (arguably where most shoes fall short). You just forget they are on your feet. Great lockdown, rock impacts are well muted and they run and hike great and toe box is definitely ok. Just wish they were a tad stickier. Put them on your list to test along with the totally reworked Altra Olympus 4 which looks awesome.
      So I’m looking for that nirvana shoe for those conditions what are your thoughts? 5’ 11” 165lbs usual size is 12 for thumb width spacing in front of big toe.

      Thanks,
      Jeff in MA

      Reply
      • Sense Ride 3 has a more comfortable upper, a softer midsole, and a less aggressive outsole. The smaller flatter lugs provide traction on smooth and wet surfaces a little better.

        The Lycan 2.0 has a much more rugged upper, though not as refined, a firmer midsole, and a deeper lugged outsole. The outsole grips loose and rocky surfaces like few others, but the tall and firm lugs aren’t as functional on smooth and wet surfaces.

        The toebox room is about the same on my foot and both are comfortable for all day wear, but the softer midsole on the Sense Ride 3 would give it the edge.

        I started testing the Xodus 10 a few weeks ago and love them. One of the most surprising shoes for me, as I have not liked previous versions. The Olympus 4.0 looks pretty nice, but I’m not a huge fan of max cushion shoes.

        Depending on the dates of your trip, the S Lab Ultra 3 might be an option. I love the SLAB Ultra 2, but the upper was a bit much. The new version looks like my nirvana shoe.

        Reply
  2. Thanks Drew,
    That S Lab Ultra 3 is definitely a bit different in that upper and will be interesting to see reviews.
    In the meantime they have the X Apline Pro which looks to be made for exactly my intended purpose and it has their uber sticky TA compound. However for 50 miles may not be forgiving enough. Nice rounded toe box.
    Then I also discovered a new XA Elevate 2 that has a more accommodating fit than the original and maybe some additional cushioning also. Great looking shoe with one problem that’s is not available in the US. Seems only Europe gets it but that’s what shipping is for LOL.
    To many shoes not enough time!

    Reply
  3. Do you think this shoe works well for mainly for day hiking in SoCal and occasional short backpacking trip in the Sierras?

    Reply
      • Thanks! Do you think the heel would be unstable with a 15-25 lb pack on? I’m making my first foray away from traditional GTX Hiking boots, so I’m a bit nervous. I’m also considering the Bushido II X Ultra 3, and the Cascadia 14. Love your site, btw!

        Reply
  4. Very interesting. The choice of trail shoes is baffling, I can’t even begin to navigate the vast ecosystem of the Salomon website. I’ve hiked several trails in X-Ultra Primes, because I preferred the traditional laces, but these look less structured and I like the sound of a wider toebox. Thanks.

    Reply

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