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Salomon Sense Ride 4 road to trail running shoes review: a trail-sensitive feel that suits soft and muddy terrain

The light-feeling, quick-lacing Salomon Sense Ride 4 is designed for tackling soft, muddy trails at speed, with a bit of road thrown in for good measure

Salomon Sense Ride 4
(Image: © Salomon)

Our Verdict

A light-feeling, roomy, quick-lacing shoe that allows you to feel much of the terrain you’re running over.

For

  • • Excellent, durable grip
  • • Reasonably light
  • • Quicklace system
  • • Large range of colors

Against

  • • Lace lock housing covered by laces
  • • Shaped footbed may not suit everyone (but you can swap it easily)
  • • Fit slightly big
  • • No recycled production/materials mentioned

Salomon Sense Ride 4: first impressions

The Salomon Sense Ride 4s feel even lighter than they actually weigh, with a breathable upper and slim, bendy Optivibe foam midsole, which allows your feet to feel more of the terrain than a more cushioned road to trail running shoe would. This means that, for most runners, this shoe is better suited to softer terrain – like grassy, muddy trails – more so than huge expanses of rock and road, especially with the excellent All Terrain Contagrip outsole with wide-spaced 4mm lugs. 

The fit of the shoe comes up around a half size big, which is actually a good size for those after an even roomier toe box, and the padded tongue and gusset are very comfortable too (see also: How should trail running shoes fit?).

Salomon Sense Ride 4

The Salomon Sense Ride 4s are better suited to soft, muddy ground, so choosing a lighter color might not be a great idea (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

Salomon’s trademark Quicklace system works really well for most runners. However, in this model the top laces criss cross the lace lock housing, which makes it very tricky to stow them away quickly. Doh!

The OrthoLite footbed may not work for every foot shape, as the arch curve may sit in the wrong place for your foot; if this happens simply replace the footbed with one from another shoe that works for you. The wide range of colors for men and women is another bonus for this shoe.

Specifications

• RRP: £120 (UK) / $120 (US)
• Weight (pair UK 6.5): 526g / 18.6oz
• Colors: Men’s: Black / Blue / Orange / Gray Women’s: Peach / Turquoise / Maroon / Blue / Red / Purple
• Drop: 8mm
• Compatibility: Softer trails with not as much road or rock beneath the feet

Salomon Sense Ride 4: on the trails

Salomon Sense Ride 4

A refreshingly roomy fit, especially the toe box (Image credit: Claire Maxted)

These shoes are super easy to slip on and pull tight, but I found it more tricky to tidy the laces away with the lace lock housing obscured by the top criss-cross of lace. I ended up not faffing about trying to hold the lace lock it away from the laces, but rather just slotting the lace end into the laces near the toes and winding it round a few times, which worked just fine. 

Discovering the fit was on the larger side was surprising, as in the past I have found Salomon shoes to come up small. But this was a refreshingly roomy fit, allowing space in the toe box for wider feet. 

Inside, unfortunately, I found the OrthoLite footbed to be blister-inducing, as it rises in the arch area in just the wrong place. However, changing the footbed solves this problem immediately. 

Running on mixed terrain, I found the Sense Ride 4s a little different to most of the other road to trail shoes I’ve tested, because you can feel a lot more of the ground under your feet. So I preferred using it on softer terrain rather than jagged rocks and long distances on roads. I also found this encouraged more of a forefoot or midfoot strike, rather than a heel strike, which may be preferable for some runners (see also: How to choose trail running shoes: drop, sole, grip, weight and more explained).

The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.