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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.