Salomon Sense Ride 4 review and lab test

I’m officially a Salomon fan!

The Salomon Sense Ride 4 is an aggressive trail running shoe that’s responsive and protective underfoot, with great grip, plus after a short break-in period, they fit my wider foot nicely. 

Salomon Sense Ride 4 pieces of the shoe

My past complaints about Salomon’s were they felt a bit too narrow for my liking, but the Sense Ride 4 was fun and nimble without a lot of downsides.  

Who the shoe is (not) for 

This shoe is a winner! Mainly I am in love with the lacing structure, but I was impressed with the overall fit, grip, comfort, and looks of the new Sense Ride 4.

Buy this shoe if you want a no-frills trail beast, with a breathable mesh upper, durable welded overlay protection, and a stiff midsole that’s responsive and nimble. 

Salomon Sense Ride 4 profile picture

Don’t buy this shoe if you want a:

  • super plush and padded trail shoe (then look at Sense Flow),
  • bouncy, wide-bottomed downhill shredder.

Sense Ride 4 runs ½ size long

To start, I’d recommend sizing down half a size, this shoe is a bit long. 

Finally, Salomon for wider feet 

Other than that, I was surprised at how much I liked how this shoe fit.

I’ve avoided most Salomons over my stubborn impression that they ran a bit narrow, but the Sense Ride 4 fit my wider foot well, especially after a short break-in period. 

Best for long or steep runs

The Sense Ride 4 is ideal on runs where efficiency is key like longer trail races or steep climbs. The firmer materials help translate energy into the ground making the shoe responsive and quick. 

Flying colors for the comfort department

The Sense Ride 4 is comfortable, there are no hot spots, no rubbing, the upper breaths nicely, and it hugs your foot.

Upper on Salomon Sense Ride 4

But, this is not a plush, padded, soft shoe by any means.

Salomon Sense Ride 4 is stiff and responsive  

The midsole is stiff and responsive. It’s made from two densities of foam, the main part measuring 35.5HA on the durometer, which’s 31.7% stiffer than the average midsole (26.8HA). Then there’s a second foam under the heel that is much stiffer at 55HA. 

Normally I’d want softer foam under the heel to help absorb more impact when landing, so it’s interesting Salomon adds firmer foam back here. With both foams being stiffer than average, the shoe feels tempered underfoot. It’s not bouncy and it doesn't absorb a ton of impact, but it doesn’t hinder the shoe from flexing with your foot, and it leads to a consistent ride and an efficient transfer of energy through every step.

Salomon Sense Ride 4 cut in half

Lastly, Salomon outfits the Sense Ride 4 with an Ortholite insole for a bit of added comfort, but it’s thin, at 2.8mm it’s nearly half the thickness of average insoles (4.5mm), again giving it minimal padding and catering to runners who desire a stiffer platform. 

Salomon Sense Ride 4 ortholite insert

Fun and energetic ride 

This shoe feels solid under foot. It’s stiff, I’ve mentioned this, but this doesn’t mean it’s bad. It's also low to the ground which I love, with just 19mm of the stack under the forefoot, I feel in touch with the terrain compared to most shoes with towering stacks in the high 20s-low 30s. 

It’s actually really fun to run in as every bit of energy you’re pushing into this shoe directly translates into power. None is absorbed in overly plush foams which make it great out on steep climbs or harder efforts. 

Sense Ride 4 has an insane grip

The lugged outsole grips insanely well thanks to deep 3.57mm lugs. 

Lugs on Salomon Sense Ride 4

You need to break it in 

One downside is this shoe needs to be broken in. It’s stiff, and a bit narrow out of the box, but after a few runs, the shoe opens up nicely and really starts to feel great on your feet. 

Love for the lacing system

One of my big hesitations on Salomon has always been their lacing structure. I couldn’t convince myself that proper lockdown and fit could be achieved with a 1.5mm round lace and a sliding toggle. 

Lacing system on Salomon Sense Ride 4

But it works, my foot didn’t move at all in the shoe, no heel slip, plenty of room in the toe box, and great lockdown over the top without excessive pressure. 

It’s quick and easy to lace up, adjust, and unlace at any moment, and I really like how quickly you can loosen and take these off, you never have to manually loosen the laces from each eyelet, brilliant! 

This is a small thing, but I also like that in the fully loosened position, the shoe still fits well enough to wear around, and there’s no lace ends dragging on the ground. I found myself just loosening these after a run and lounging in them a bit rather than feeling the need to immediately take them off post-effort. 

Sense Ride 4 doesn’t weigh you down

At 10.5 (297g) ounces the Sense Ride 4 is not really a lightweight shoe, but it’s not overly heavy either. 

Salomon Sense Ride 4 weight

The shoe feels nimble under foot thanks to its narrower platform, so the weight is not noticed. It’s also lost about 20g from the previous model so Salomon is going in the right direction. I’d love to see the next version a touch lighter though. 

Salomon Sense Ride 4 was built to last! 

One thing I noticed, the outsole is also firmer than average shoes at 81.5HC durometer compared to 75.1HC. Everything is stiffer on this shoe and when it comes to the outsole that translates into durability. And the upper is crisscrossed with thick welded overlays. 

Salomon Sense Ride 4 on feet

It’s a stoutly built shoe that won’t pack out or deteriorate quickly. 

Lace garage difficult to access

One annoyance, the laces have a rubber pull tab and it bounces around a lot. Salomon did add a small mesh lace garage to the top of the tongue, but when the shoe is laced up tightly it’s really hard to get the excess lace into the garage… The poor design here, and if you have narrow feet, you may have a lot of extra lace hanging around. ]

No pull tab: a big oversight

The last thing I need to mention is that it really needs a heel loop.

Heel design on Salomon Sense Ride 4

That’s the one thing this shoe is missing. Since the lacing structure doesn’t allow you to fully unlace and open up the shoe, a pull tab would really help. Please add this to the 5, Salomon. 

Conclusion 

I really liked this shoe, I hated cutting it in half. It’s low, firm, and designed to go fast. There’s not an ounce of extra padding, and surprisingly I really enjoyed that about this shoe. 

I also really love the lacing system. It may be a challenge to get the fit perfect for some, but it works well enough and you never need to lace or unlace your shoes ever again which may seem like a simple pleasure but in actuality is a surprising luxury. 

It also looks awesome! This is a sexy shoe. 

In the end, if and when a day comes that I need to purchase my own trail shoes, these will probably be the ones I focus on.

Complete lab-specs overview 

Salomon Sense ride 4
Weight - Left 297
Weight - Right 299
Weight - Insole 14
Weight - Lace  4.8
Length - Overall 292.89
Length - Insole 273.63
Width Midsole - Forefoot  109.3
Width Midsole - Heel 87.7
Width Midsole - Middle  68.3
Width Upper - Forefoot 100.1
Width Upper - Heel 73.6
Width Upper - Middle 68.1
Stack - Forefoot with insole 19.2
Stack - Heel with insole 26.5
Stack - Forefoot without insole 16.3
Stack - Heel without insole 23.1
Insole Thickness 2.8
Drop 7.3
Outsole thickness (Forefoot) 5.51
Outsole thickness (Heel) 5.51
Lugs Depth 3.57
Laces (without stretch) 32.5
Laces (with stretch) 32.5
Lace Stretch  0.00%
Laces - Thickness (Height) 1.5
Laces - Width 1.5
Room temperature 57.7
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Room temperature) 81.8
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) 83.2
Outsole % of change from Heel to Forefoot (Room temperature) 1.63%
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Room temperature) 35.3
Durometer Midsole Forefoot 2nd layer (Room temperature) 55.0
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) 33.5
Durometer Insole (Room temperature) 23.7
Flexibility of the shoe  31.0
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) 88.3
Durometer Outsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour) 88.2
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) 40.5
Durometer Midsole Forefoot 2nd layer (Freezer 1 hour) 60.7
Durometer Midsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour) 40.3
Durometer Insole (Freezer 1 hour) 26.2
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 1 hour) 61.0
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (% change with temperature) 7.94%
Durometer Outsole Heel (% change with temperature) 6.01%
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (% change with temperature) 14.62%
Durometer Midsole Heel (% change with temperature) 20.40%
Durometer Insole (% change with temperature) 10.56%
Flexibility of the shoe (% change with temperature) 96.65%
Thickness - Heel Counter/Insert 0.9
Thickness - Ankle Collar (Front) 9.1
Thickness - Ankle Collar (Middle) 13.1
Thickness - Ankle Collar (Back) 5.3
Thickness - Tongue 4.2
Flexibility of the heel counter  54.0
Lace slip test with the knot 7.2
Longitudinal flexibility (0-5) 3
Torsional flexibility (0-5) 2
Heel counter material Starched fabric
Tongue: gusset type both sides
Tongue gusset material Spandex
Laces: profile  Round
Laces: material Cord
Laces: extra hole  no
Laces: are they long enough to use the extra hole  N/A
Heel: pull tab  none
Insole: removable yes
Control devices:
Multi-density midsole
Rigid heel counter
Elevated medial insole under arch
Supportive tensioned medial upper
Medial flare
Thermoplastic medial post
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
no
How minimalist the shoe is in % 26

Note: all the tests were done on a men's shoe US size 9. 

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Trail
Weight: Men 290g / Women 235g
Drop: 8mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: 19mm
Heel height: 27mm
Collection: Salomon Sense Ride

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Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.