Shoe Reviews

Salomon Sonic RA Performance Review

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The Good

Thomas: The Sonic RA is a treat. I was expecting a modified trail shoe, basically, a Salomon with its trail treads sheared off. What I got was a legitimate road shoe that is super smooth. The Vibe midsole is soft without being mushy. The midsole has similarities to the FlyteFoam in the Asics Roadhawk FF, light with some give. The outsole has full rubber coverage, thicker in the toe and thinner in the heel. This may be why the shoe feels so smooth through the stride with traction upfront and no clunky heel. For this much cushion and rubber, you might think the Sonic RA would be heavy, but it came in at 8.95 oz. / 254 grams for my US size 10.5.  I ran in both the Sonic RA and the Sonic RA Pro, the Sonic RA is the softer feeling of the two shoes. Overall, the upper of the Sonic RA fits well and is breathable. The unattached tongue was unnoticeable and stayed in place. The look of the shoe is what you would expect from Salomon, very well designed and modern finishes. The Sonic RA hits the mark for its intended use, a lightweight daily trainer. The Sonic RA fits true to size and has an 8mm drop.

Meaghan: This is the first Solomon running shoe I’ve ever worn, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Sonic RA is one of three shoes in Solomon’s “RA” lineup, RA standing for running avenue. This model fits between the RA Max (more cushioning) and RA Pro (less cushioning). My first impression was that these shoes were very firm. That dissipated a little once I actually took them out for some miles. The midsole is designed with Solomon’s Vibe technology that “reduces fatigue by minimizing vibrations from ground impact.” I don’t know about all that jazz, but it’s got a snappy, bounce to it. If you told me this shoe was an ASICS, I would believe you. It feels similar to the ASICS FlyteFoam or maybe even the New Balance REVlite stuff. The outsole is designed with Solomon’s Contragrip rubber in the heel and blown rubber in the forefoot. It’s very grippy and durable and will definitely last for hundreds of miles.

The upper looks pretty fancy, but it’s actually fairly light and breathable. It’s designed with an open mesh and “sensifit” overlays that wrap around the foot. They do a nice job of keeping the foot in place and the welded heel collar is extra comfortable. The light padding in the tongue continues around the internal heel and collar, which gives the shoes a snug fit. For a neutral daily trainer, they are pretty light. My W7.5 came in at 7.55 oz.

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Salomon RA Sonic

The Bad

Thomas: In the summer I prefer thin socks. On my first run with the Sonic RA, I noticed heel lift almost immediately. I ended up stopping mid-run and using the extra lace holes to try to lock the heel down. Even with my lacing tricks, the heel lift was noticeable.  It wasn’t horrible as I was able to finish an 8-mile hill repeat session comfortably. Subsequent runs I went with thicker socks and heel lift was almost eliminated. On an 11-mile run in the Sonic RA, I felt like the softer cushioning may have sapped some energy out of my stride, it just started feeling dead and spongy. This could have also just been my problem as my legs were not having the best day. I have run in the RA since then and they continued to be softer and less responsive than I prefer. The Sonic RA Pro is firmer and provides the solution for this complaint.

Meaghan: This is definitely a shoe that leans on the firm side. After wearing this shoe on back-to-back runs, I felt like the bottom of my feet were sore.  I didn’t dislike the shoes out on the run, but I definitely craved some softer cushioning afterward. I also noticed the shoes ran a little large. I probably could have gone down 1/2 a size. Not a real issue for me, but worth noting.

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Salomon RA Sonic

Salomon Sonic RA Conclusion

Thomas: This one is a tough one if I only went off my first run, I would have been raving about this shoe. The Sonic RA felt smooth and perfectly cushioned. On subsequent runs, the shoes still performed well, but the softness of the midsole zapped some of the energy out of my stride. If you are looking for a softer lightweight daily trainer and are not concerned about the tradeoff of comfort for speed, then you will enjoy the Sonic RA. If you want a firmer midsole on a shoe that is nearly identical, go with the Salomon Sonic RA PRO. Ideally, you can have both and use the Sonic that fits your mood for the day. I started off liking the RA better and shifted to liking the RA PRO better by the end of my test miles.

Meaghan: The Solomon Sonic RA is a good daily trainer for the runner who prefers a firmer ride. It’s comfortable, light and will last lots and lots of miles. It can definitely compete with the daily trainers from the more popular brands like ASICS and Brooks.

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