The Optivibe midsole in this design offers up an incredibly responsive and energetic ride. It’s important to note, however, that many runners felt that this midsole is a little too firm. It won’t offer that plush step-in feel found in many trail runners, but it really shines when it comes to energy return. Sure, it doesn’t offer that classic squish that is found in many trail runners, but what it lacks in cushioning it makes up for in energy return. Running in this shoe feels like strapping tiny trampolines to your feet!
While the midsole is a little on the firm side, it is really made to move. Runners love that it provides excellent flexibility and movement that is needed for difficult trailheads. Plus, it boasts an Ortholite insert that adds just a little bit of extra cushioning and support for those super long trail runs.
The upper of this shoe is designed to keep water out (although it is only water-resistant and not waterproof) and is super breathable to move hot air up and away from your foot. The upper has been completely redesigned to shave off a few ounces off of the overall weight. It is made from SensiFit materials that fit your foot like a glove and utilizes welded overlays to boost stability as well as protection on rocky and difficult trails.
The slim cut and low profile of the upper boosts agility and flexibility while locking it securely in place on your foot. One of the biggest updates to this shoe is the heel counter design. It offers modest cushioning around the collar and the sides of your foot, offering a stable heel that is locked in place, and the extra cushioning cuts down on uncomfortable rubbing and chafing on those long-distance runs.
A true test of a trail runner lies in the construction of the outsole, and this is where the Sense Ride 4 really shines. It is composed of Salomon’s patented ContraGrip outsole that boasts modest lugs and a slightly tacky finish that really helps you grip the ground under your feet. The design of this outsole is not only great for uneven terrain, but also slick trails and mud. Many runners feel that the ContraGrip design is one of the highest-performing and durable outsoles out there on the market.
This shoe has undergone quite a few changes over the years, from redesigned uppers to tweaked midsoles. The one thing that has remained unchanged throughout the life cycle of this shoe, however, is the contraction of the ContraGrip outsole. When you get it right, you know. And Salomon knows they got it right the first time around!
Through and through, this is a trail runner. It is packed with advanced yet subtle features that really shine out on the trails. The ContraGrip outsole has a slightly tacky feel that really grips the ground, and the modest lugs can transition easily from sidewalks to rugged trailheads. The durable mesh upper is also made for all types of terrain and weather conditions. If you love splashing through puddles, the toe guard and water-resistant upper ensures that your feet stay nice and dry without the use of stiff and heavy synthetic overlays.
The lugs on the outsole hit that sweet spot that makes this shoe so versatile. These lugs are deep enough to expertly grip even some of the toughest trailheads but are so aggressive that you can’t take these out for a spin on the sidewalks for nice and easy recovery days. Plus, the modest cushioning in the midsole offers excellent energy feedback whether you are on the trails or the treadmill.
One of the things that runners love most about this shoe is the SensiFit upper. Sensifit is a breathable and stretchy mesh material that acts as a second skin. Whether your feet run narrow or wide, this upper is designed to fit your foot like a glove. Plus, the unique lacking system ensures a tight and solid fit which means that this shoe won’t shift around on your foot as you run. Instead of using traditional laces, the Sense Ride 4 offers a bungee-cord style lace that locks in place with a central lock.
When compared to other Salomon running shoes, the cut of the toe box is slightly wider than most. For some, this is a big bonus because it allows their toe to naturally splay inside of the shoe for added stability and support. Previous Salomon fans that love the cut of their traditional toe box for their feet may be a little disappointed in just how wide this toe box fits.
The styling of this shoe isn’t walking any runways anytime soon. The styling and silhouette are fine and look like your basic running shoe. It comes in a few different color options that include various shades of gray with either blue, black, or red accents. If you are in the market for a bright and punchy running shoe, the Sense Ride 4 falls a little short. It’s not an ugly shoe, or overly bulky, it’s just a tad on the boring side. However, if you are a fan of low profile and modest colors, this is a great choice.
Overall, I feel that the price of this shoe hits that sweet spot. It’s not exactly a budget-friendly shoe, but it is nowhere near the most expensive trail runner out there on the market. When you consider the versatility and durability of this shoe, it actually clocks in at a very reasonable price point. It’s a shoe that you can wear on the trails or the sidewalk, which will give you a pretty big bang for your buck.
Many runners found that even after 100 miles, the very durable construction of this shoe shows little signs of wear and tear. It may be more than you are willing to spend, but it is built to hold up insanely well over hundreds and hundreds of miles together.