Salomon Sonic RA 2
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83% say it's true to size.
Overview of this review
Does Salomon make road shoes? I’m sure that’s what most of you are thinking. In the age of running shoes, Salomon has been around for some time but has been associated with trails and trails.
I mean they kill the trail game. They have many options and a shoe for any trail you can think of.
Unfortunately, I just never got into trail running and for that reason have never purchased any of their shoes or even wore any for that matter. Until now!
Follow me, as I break these suckers down and explain to you what you will be getting when you slip into these and hit the road.
So here's the deal. I need to like what the shoes look like in order for me to get them. Now I know that's vain or even irrational when it comes to shoe function but that's me.
When you check these things out on a screen, there is nothing super catching. But let me just tell you, get your hands on them in person. I was really caught off guard when I viewed these for the first time.
Tons of unusual and surprising aspects of this shoe really grabbed me and hooked me with interest right away - a lesson learned. See the shoe in person before a judgment is made.
Follow me as we take a peak. Top → Bottom
With the traditional shoe, you see the collar filled with cushion. Not this though. They attempted to provide a better fit and better aesthetics by putting special ortholite foam into the lower portion of the collar.
I’ve never seen this before. I was not a fan initially, but as I continued to run in these, I started to like it. The foam begins to mold on your feet and provides a secure fit. It takes some getting used to though, so be patient.
Due to less overall collar mass and cushioning, this lead to the shoe fitting big. But no fear just threw some cushion socks on and I was groovy. Salomon can perfect this collar/heel a bit more, but they are on to something good.
See that tongue? Yup, it’s super thin. But take a closer look, and you’ll find Ortholite foam again.
They strategically put this foam in the tongue wonderfully. It brings great comfort to wear. And like the collar, it will mold to the foot with use.
A hidden gem. The tongue is a big win in my opinion. I see many companies just making skinny tongues with no cushion, but Salomon is making a tongue that is light, functional and comfortable.
There is nothing special when it comes to the laces, and I like that! Too many brands try to be cute with the laces and screw them up. This shoe brings nice thick and traditional laces that stay tied.
Reinforced upper around the eyelets brings stability to the lacing system. It also allows a nice and tight tie that stays.
This is one of Salomon’s technologies they are marketing with this shoe. As you can see, the idea is to bring an even more secure fit around the midfoot which will help with comfort and performance.
They connect this to the lacing system somehow, and it works really well. Thanks, Salomon. Again, not very noticeable with the eye test, but another great surprise.
One word - Great!
All reflective. I love that it is simple and doesn’t stick out over the shoe. There they go again, keeping it simple and effective. Much love!
The heel counter is solid and supportive. It wraps around the whole heel and brings forth support. Same story here guys. Simple and effective.
This upper is amazing. I referred to the SensiFit technology above, but this is the key to success here. The integration with the fabric is seamless and brings forth good fit.
As you run in these, you will come to find how much tech is in there. For one, these things breathe great.
But that's not all. They protect. Around the whole bottom of the upper, an additional layer of protection was added. This area leads to keep water out and also protects you from the occasional run-in with rocks.
This is something I didn’t even notice until I ran in them 20 miles or so. In fact, I ran in the rain and snow with these, and my feet were barely wet. Great protection for a shoe that doesn’t even claim to be water resistant/proof.
Also, the wide toe box is splendid. Kept my toes, free bro!
Ortholite is made integrated into this as well. Nothing fancy here. Good basic insole.
We got 2-layer of foam here guys. Would you just look at it?
The top layer is the Vibe technology which is marketed to reduce the shock that you get from running. In return, this will improve in reducing injury risk and provide you with a more comfortable ride.
I can say I ran 50+ miles and never got injured. I can honestly feel like return impact when running. It was a surprise for me considering that this is not an overly cushioned shoe.
The second layer of foam is a great brother to the vibe foam. This brings a wonderful cushion and at the same time, a little pop. I was surprised by the comfort in these.
The midsole is a win. I felt great cushion in these with casual wear and with running. Just goes to show you that you don't need an overly built running shoe to provide a great cushion.
The Contagrip tread is awesome. I ran in snow, rain, icy streets, gravel roads and never lost footing. That’s what I want.
The outsole seems very durable as well. After over 50 miles, I see no wear. I guess these things will last!
That's not all. As you look closer into it, you will see the Geometric Decoupling technology. What they did here is split the outsole into two different parts to help with the stability of the shoe
This technology is different amongst Salomon’s three "Sonic RA 2" shoes. The RA 2 is right down the middle. It is intended for a neutral runner that may need some mild support.
This line veers from 1 in the RA 2 Pro (a faster shoe) and 3 in the RA 2 Max (a more supportive shoe). I found this actually effective.
So that's the breakdown. Overall, I would say this shoe brings forth nothing fancy in tech but simple and effective concepts that make it a great shoe. I like simple. I like effective. I like this shoe.
Feel and performance
Now for the fun part!
Just so you know I am a Nike guy. I pretty much wear them exclusively, but in an attempt to try new things, I decided to ride with these. What I found really excites me. Yes, they are different than what I'm used to, but sometimes that's a good thing.
You can immediately feel the comfort of these. They bring a wonderful cushion, and you will feel that when walking and running alike. I do every type of run in these, and the same comfort came about.
It didn't feel awkward at all. They just hung right with me and let me plod along. As I have experienced with other shoes, sometimes in an attempt to go slow, the shoe gets sloppy. Not with these.
Run with me. They are very lightweight and have some snap to them. They served their purpose here too.
They provide great structure support without holding you back. I felt like I could run a marathon in these. In fact, I may in May!
The overall feel is comfort cushion with a dash of oomph, that gives you some help along the way. For me, it's a great combination that I’m not used to.
These shoes really are ALL PURPOSE. You can run any run in these and feel good doing it. It is such a relief to have a pair of shoes in the rotation that can do it all in.
How many of you have a pair of shoe for every type of possible run? Like you, I love having shoes, but sometimes I just want one trusty to do it all. This is it.
I would say everyday moderate paced runs, anywhere from 1-26 miles these things would carry you there. Literally any type of road-light trail terrain these things will perform.
However, I wouldn’t use these for short distance racing. They are a little too wide and not responsive enough for me. For that, I would try Sonic RA 2 Pro. I hope to try them one day.
- Ortholite collar and tongue
- Cushion and shock absorption
- Lightweight yet enduring for long runs
- Wide toe box
- Very protective from elements (snow and light rain)
- Fit about a ½ size bigger than what I’m used to (Nike and ON)
- Lack of full cushioned heel leads to lack of security and fit there
- Would like a little more responsiveness
I have learned many lessons from this shoe. One is I need actually to hold shoes before making a judgment.
There are so many hidden gems in this shoe that I just missed from looking at it online. So it will be better to go to a store and check different shoes out in person before buying. You’ll be surprised.
Second, there are shoes out there that do it all. It's really a great all around shoe. It can do whatever you need it to and will hold up. I felt extremely comfortable in this shoe no matter the need.
Lastly, try new things! I have been stuck in the "same old" brands for too long. Salomon has opened my eyes to the great shoe world out there! Open your mind a bit, go out of your comfort zone and buy a pair of Salomon road shoes!
Before the Sonic RA 2, I had never run in Salomon. But a few months ago, I tried on a friend’s pair of Salomons out of curiosity and was pleasantly surprised. I’d heard the brand’s fit was narrow, but my toes were happy inside my friend’s shoes.
If the Sonic RA 2 is anything to go by, Salomon has made its toe-boxes more accommodating. It’s an exciting development for folks like me. I am head over heels in love with this 8mm-drop, neutral road shoe. Why? Let me count the ways…
It’s fast, so it’s a dog-approved shoe!
The Sonic RA 2 has a reasonably wide toe-box that gives toes sufficient room to spread out. The Sensifit upper molds to the foot, though I feel a little slippage around the heel. I typically wear a women’s size 8.5 or 9 in running shoes.
The test available on the Salomon site guided me to select a size 9, but it feels a fraction long. However, I suspect that a half size down would be too narrow. I bought some thicker socks than normal - problem solved.
I’m pretty particular about laces. This seemingly small detail can make a massive difference. The laces are the perfect thickness, and once they’re tied, they stay that way. My midfoot is nice and secure.
The Sonic RA 2 has high-quality laces that stay the way you want them.
Salomon evidently put a lot of thought into the heel counter, which conforms to the foot. In my case, however, it fails to offer a firm hold.
The OrthoLite tongue forms to my foot perfectly and stays in place, so I’ll forgive it’s oddly ruckled shape.
While I’ve only run in cold conditions so far, the woven mesh upper should make this a breathable and comfortable summer shoe, too. The mesh fits nicely around my foot, feeling secure without being restrictive.
The Sonic RA 2 is a beautiful, clean-looking shoe. The women’s version currently comes in three colorways. There is some reflective detailing, which I especially value in a road shoe.
This shoe both looks and feels high quality. It boasts a simple, attractive design. This is theNavy/Dubarry colorway.
The Sonic RA 2 is not remotely waterproof (nor does it claim to be), so splashing through puddles has soaked my toes. Thankfully, the breathability of the mesh upper has at least helped to dry my socks out quickly.
Still, for a shoe this good (traction-wise) in wet conditions, a higher degree of water repellence would be a welcome addition.
It’s moderately cushioned, offering a pretty snappy ride with good energy return. Oh, and there is not much of a break-in period; it’s good to go right out of the box. The shock absorbency of this shoe is fantastic - thanks to Salomon’s Vibe Technology.
My perpetually tight calf muscles are grateful! Cold conditions can impact the effectiveness of cushioning. The fact that the shoe performs well in sub-zero temperatures is an excellent sign.
Moderately cushioned, offering a pretty snappy ride with good energy return.
The blown rubber outsole seems tough and offers impressive grip. Testing it on wet and icy trails, I haven't slipped once.
Great grip in wet conditions, but prepare for damp feet.
As I understand it, Salomon designed the groove, or "geometric decoupling" feature along the middle of the shoe to facilitate a smooth, balanced transition from landing to toe-off. They succeeded!
Notice the groove in the middle.
- Reasonably priced, considering the quality and durability
- Great traction
- Effective forefoot cushioning
- Lightweight (220g, comparable to a Saucony Kinvara 10)
- None, unless you want to count the slight heel slippage
If there’s one word that best summarizes this shoe, it would be 'balance'. The Sonic RA 2 offers everything in moderation, and it works. Salomon also wins bonus points from me for having some ambitious sustainability goals.
I love this shoe and I'm a Salomon convert. This has become a go-to for tempo road runs and treadmill use, as well as general gym wear.
I have to check out the Sonice Pro 2 ( the racing version of this shoe) but the Sonic RA 2 will be a candidate for races due to the combination of it being lightweight, responsive and comfortable.
However, Salomon makes road shoes too!
Learning to pick out the shoe that works for you can be a tedious process. As a self-taught runner, I explore a lot of options when it comes to shoes.
I have been running since 2014 and hired a coach in 2016 to learn more about the running game. I run right now in the following shoe brands: Nike, Hoka One One, Adidas, Skechers, and Saucony for road and Altra, Nike, and Inov-8 for trail shoes.
I am going to do my best to tell you what I think about how the Salomon Sonic RA 2 rides and feels during my 60-mile trial.
The price of $130.00 is a very affordable price, especially the way the shoe is designed and built. You can also get the older model between $90-$110.
Type of runs
As a trial shoe, I tried them in various distances and type of runs.
Recovery runs, tempo runs, and runs that lasted between 3 miles to 16 miles. For me, the shoe can handle long runs at a steady slower pace (8:30-10:00) because they are cushioned.
However, they feel more like a stability shoe than a neutral shoe. I tried using them for tempo runs and my foot started to hurt.
The shoe did not feel like it could handle the instant switch from slow to fast. My slower recovery runs, which felt fine, are usually heart-based so there is a lot of relaxation in the stride and pace. The shoe felt like it handled this run better.
The midsole construction uses EnergyCell+ and Opal to attenuate fatigue-causing vibrations for a cushioned responsive ride.
I do believe that this is why the shoe felt better for a long ride versus tempo runs. The fatigue is limited since a long run is usually targeted for a steady pace and even a minute under the targeted goal pace of any run you are training for.
Geometric decoupling axis is designed to deliver a balanced, effortless forward transition from contact to propulsion.
All new engineered mesh and the road-specific Sensifit Upper conforms to the contours of your foot and secures it in place.
In my opinion, this was a factor that made the shoe feel very snug and heavy. It does not have a “slipper feel”. It felt more like a snug heavier feel.
Here are specifications from the Salomon website:
- Weight: 7.76 oz or 220 G (US women’s size 8.0)
- Category: Neutral
- Drop: (> =8) Regular Drop
- Fit: true to size
- Road Biomechanical Fit - Balanced Transition
The way they are designed makes them very stable and sturdy. They do promise cushion and stability and it does not hurt you.
These shoes will be great for your feet and run. I believe these shoes can last over 300 miles because there was hardly any wear with 60 miles.
I think though that they still need a longer break-in period. I do not recommend wearing these out of the box which I have done before.
I am not exactly a road runner. I am more of a trail junkie. However, I find that my performance does benefit from an easy run on tarmac every so often. Also, I find speedwork sessions easier to plan when the terrain is more predictable.
Long story short, I tend to choose light, but responsive shoes for my road running stints. I am always on the lookout for a versatile piece of kit that performs well on long and slow runs, as well as faster workouts.
However, because of my terrain preference, I tend not to invest too much on high-tech road trainers. This being said, I am also very aware of injury risks, so I try not to compromise on quality.
Why Sonic RA 2
On paper, the Sonic RA 2 seems to summarise all the characteristics of a good running shoe, at least for my needs. Let's break these down:
- Price: The list price for the RA 2 does admittedly sit on the upper end of my budget. Good news is I managed to get my pair at a discounted price. That’s a good start!
- Stability and cushioning: Salomon describe these shoes as ‘balanced’ and with average performance. This is precisely what I am after.
- Weight: With a weight of 260g, the Sonic RA 2 is at or slightly below the average for a running shoe. This bodes well as I figured that they probably wouldn't feel too heavy and clumsy to wear.
- Look: Let's face it; the look of those pieces of blown rubber and mesh can sometimes be the one thing that tips the balance when it comes to choosing running shoes. The overall look and the interestingly patterned outsole (more of this later) made the RA 2 worth a second glance.
- Performance: The RA 2 sits between the lighter Salomon Sonic RA PRO 2 and the more responsive Salomon Sonic RA MAX 2. The price difference is negligible.
Conclusion: The Sonic RA 2 seems to meet my expectations. They are a fairly affordable, but nice looking pair of trainers, with decent responsiveness and stability.
Spoiler alert: I got pretty much what I was looking for—with some perks!
First things first: She’s got the look
The Sonic RA 2 is available in a somewhat limited range of colours. I have to say, the offer I got did not allow me to select a specific colour, although the pic on the website deceivingly showed a dull-looking pair of black trainers.
Bracing myself for a rendezvous with Major Disappointment, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box and found myself looking at a very cool-looking pair of electric blue Sonic RA 2!
The Sonic RA 2 is very stylish and feature a breathable mesh upper, which merges into an elegant and compact heel counter. The latter has almost a sheen to it, and this gives almost an impression of a classy leather finish.
What is slightly worrying is the heel collar, which looks alarmingly thin. I can already see blisters cropping up like mushrooms.
Surprise surprise: a number of protective pads not immediately visible are cleverly hidden inside the heel collar to wrap the back end of the foot.
These are presumably part of the Salomon SensiFitTM design and provide a comfortable 'anatomical fit' as well as protection to the rearfoot and ankle. I have to admit Salomon did an excellent job here!
The tongue is also extremely thin (see picture). But, again, with the SensiFitTM technology at work, this wraps comfortably around the upper foot and gives no trouble whatsoever when the shoes are in action.
Both heel counter and vamp have reflective inserts, which come in handy when running in the dark.
The Salomon Sonic RA 2 comes with built-in 'vibration dampening' technology. According to Salomon, this is achieved by increasing responsiveness by reducing the vibrations that arise with foot impact.
This tool—called Vibe Technology—combines Salomon's EnergyCell™+ and Opal, if you are a nomenclature nerd like me.
Is this effective? Definitely! The midsole is quite responsive, and I can hardly tell if I am running on a smooth surface or cracked tarmac.
The RA 2 has a rather wide outsole. My first impression when I saw this up close was that the shoe was going to feel rather clumsy to run on.
Salomon took me by surprise with this one. The RA 2 benefits from the Geometric DecouplingTM concept, which allows the shoe to provide support through the forward rolling motion of the foot.
This aims at matching a natural stride and should, in theory, reduce the amount of energy used during a given run.
Does this work? Now, I cannot say I feel these shoes particularly effortless to run on, but I can definitely say that stability stands out. Whether you have to thank the Geometric DecouplingTM or just the wide outsole, I shall leave it for you to decide.
Stability: Thanks to the wide outsole, the Sonic RA 2 provides impressive stability. This is particularly evident on rapid direction change and steeps bends, where you feel almost as if your feet were glued to the floor.
The Salomon Contagrip® outsole is designed to enhance friction grip and adhesion. I also found these trainers also perform well on wet hard surfaces.
Water resistance: These shoes are not meant to be fully waterproof. Despite this, the wide outsole—with a pronounced mudguard—manages to keep most of the water out.
This is true even when you try to downright wade shallow puddles. In some occasions, it feels like riding on a pair of speedboats.
A very peculiar thing about these shoes is…well, smell. Fresh out of the box, after only a short—admittedly wet—run, my RA 2 acquired a distinctive seafood fragrance.
Yes. King prawn to be precise. No, seriously peeps. I love my crustaceans, and I really considered mentioning this as a pro, but I really cannot find anything obviously wrong with these shoes.
For the records, the smell has now disappeared.
As long as you manage your expectations, the Sonic RA 2 is going to be a very nice addition to your running toolbox.
Beware: They are no ultralight winged boots. Also, they should probably not be a first-choice for the runner who is after stability and exceptional responsiveness.
They do, however, meet beautifully in the middle in what turns out to be a neat and versatile pair of road trainers.
Good to know
- An update to one of Salomon’s Running Avenue line is the Sonic RA 2. It is released to with a revamped, sleek new look but it still features a technology design similar to its predecessor, the Sonic RA 2 was designed with ultimate comfort in mind, and it continues to offer an improved comfortable fit with an enhanced smooth ride.
- One of these neutral shoe’s new update is the Geometric Decoupling Axes which are oriented to deliver balanced and effortless forward transition from contact to propulsion.
- Similar to the Salomon Sense Ride 2, the Sonic RA 2 also features the unique Vibe Technology midsole construction that uses EnergyCell+ and Opal to attenuate fatigue caused by impact vibrations for a more cushioned yet responsive ride.
- Newly updated engineered mesh and road-specific Sensifit uppers conform to the contours of the runner’s feet and it also gently secures them in place providing a virtually customized fit.
- Also improved in the shoe’s outsole is the blown rubber Contagrip which provides grip and flexibility from foot strike to toe-off.
- The Sonic RA 2 also features an enhance OrthoLite die-cut sock liners that have antibacterial materials. It is responsible for the underfoot cushioning of the shoe while reducing if not preventing odors.
The Salomon Sonic RA 2 comes in standard measurements for both length and width. The shoe is available in medium D for men and medium B for women. s
The shoe has a unique ankle padding pattern and a roomy toe box which makes the shoe fit comfortably giving that customized fit feeling. And based on some of the online reviews, if the wearer’s measurement falls between two sizes, it is suggested to choose the smaller size for a tighter fit.
The Sonic RA 2’s outsole utilizes the Geometric Decoupling axis. This technology works in balancing the foot and assists in the effortless forward transition from contact to propulsion. This prominent feature in the shoe’s outsole runs down the middle of the sole to create a balanced load distribution.
The shoe also uses the Blown Rubber Contagrip that is a precise combination of geometry, density, and compound which are optimized for the most extensive variety of surface conditions. The Contagrip technology provides lightweight and durable traction. It also ensures confidence when running on wet, dry, hard, and loose surfaces while still providing long term durability.
The Salomon Sonic RA 2 has an innovative vibration dampening feature thanks to its Vibe Technology midsole. This technology is a combination of the EnergyCell+ and Opal compounds. This combination significantly helps in absorbing shock and vibration to the foot, reducing muscle fatigue and providing a more fluid progression from heel strike to toe-off.
The EnergyCell+ is a premium level compound that has elevated levels of energy return, cushioning and durability. This midsole foam functions to provide long-lasting energy rebound by absorbing shocks to the foot during impact with the ground and using this energy to propel the runner forward. This functionality helps to improve the foot’s natural gait and movement.
In addition to the effective EnergyCell+ compound is the Opal which is a lightweight, durable and highly cushioned compound that is inserted in the midsole for unparalleled comfort during road runs. These soft inserts also work as responsive cushioning while distributing the shock evenly from the shoe’s high-impact areas.
An all new engineered mesh and road-specific Welded SensiFit upper are introduced in the Sonic RA 2. This upper technology is breathable, lightweight and conforms to the contours of the foot while gently wrapping it and securing it in place for a more customized fit. It cradles the runner’s foot from the midsole to the shoe’s traditional lacing system. The SensiFit wrapping guarantees a stable, accurate and an all-around snug fit which helps in reducing the weight while also aiding in the shoe’s comfort and stability.
The shoe also incorporates the Welded Collar Binding to its upper. This reliable technology offers added comfort and helps in locking the heel in place ensuring no random shoe slip-ups will happen during the run.
Completing the midsole is the molded Ortholite sockliner. It is composed of anti-bacterial material that provides excellent moisture wicking properties. It also helps with the shoe’s breathability, odor management, and also works as an added comfort directly underfoot.
The Sonic RA 2 is a new road model that comes from the Salomon Running Avenue line. It is the middle of a three-shoe design spectrum ranging from lightweight performance to structural ability.
The logic behind Salomon’s Running Avenue line is that as the runner gains strength, improves technique, and gains more lean muscle mass, he can progress from one shoe to another within the avenue. It is basically a running shoe line to help simplify the shoe selection process by directing the runner into the optimal shoe within the range which starts with the Sonic, and proceeding from there depending on the runner’s need, may it be for structure or guidance (the Sonic RA Max), to lighter and faster (the Sonic RA Pro).
Salomon believes that Sonic RA 2, like all the other shoes from this road running footwear range, has been built based on the science of biomechanics and innovative solutions, providing the optimal shoe for every runner.
Every shoe in the Running Avenue is equipped with Salomon’s innovative Vibe Technology, a combination of materials and structure specifically targeting the impact vibrations that contribute to fatigue on the body. The technology uses a combination of lightweight, cushioning elements in the midsole that reduce shock and return energy with a unique midsole assembly to help diminish vibrations more efficiently.