Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 Review

Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 Review

Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 Review

When we say Salomon running shoes you say…probably trail, right? In the past few years, Salomon has actually been dipping their toes into the road running market and with typical Salomon panache, they’ve built shoes that are not just for fun, but for some serious kicking of ass. Today they shoe we’re going to talk about is the big daddy of Salomon’s road running fleet – the Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2.

Some people are critical of reviewers who don’t really have anything negative to say about a given piece of gear (we do have a bit of a thing with this shoe so hold your horses) but if we’re being honest, we don’t really have any problems with the construction, fit, quality or performance of the Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2. This is a great shoe and we think you’d be good to go with distance from 5K to marathons and beyond. Now that that’s been said, the price of this shoe, as with all S/Lab shoes (and other gear) is quite steep at $180. If you’re shocked by that then you likely haven’t seen prices on other S/Lab shoes before. It’s an expensive shoe but there are others in the Salomon road running line which bring a lot of the same or similar technologies to the table with a more approachable price tag.

Again, the Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 is a fantastic shoe and we think that it does a wonderful job of balancing performance and comfort from both sides. While it is expensive, it could be the shoe that you find as good as we do and that may just be worth it.

If you there was a shoe that was absolutely perfect for you, how much would you be willing to pay for it? Tell us in the comments!

Brandon Wood

Born and raised in the great state of Virginia, Brandon is a former opera singer (true story) who’s had the outdoors flowing through his veins since day one. Brandon now lives in Colorado with his daughter Sydney (AKA, Baby Gearist).

Trek Super Commuter+ 8S Review

Trek Super Commuter+ 8S Review

Ferrari calls it Rosso Corsa. Porsche has Guards. Prince even wrote a song about a Corvette in the color. Red. It’s the color of speed. And passion. After spending an evening with Trek’s product team and a little spin, I’ve got no doubt that they had a little of both in mind when developing the new Trek Super Commuter+ 8S.

No, we’re not going automotive here at Gearist and Trek isn’t either but they’re making a big push to replace at least one of those cars in your driveway with their flagship e-bike. Don’t have a car to replace? Then say hello to a viable option to the headaches of mass transit and goodbye to the downsides of a slow, sweaty bike commute.

Most manufacturers use off the shelf e-bike components when designing a bike, and Trek is no different. But the key word here is design, and what you do with those components makes all of the difference in the final product. Trek went with a pedal assist system for the Super Commuter. There’s no separate throttle to get moving, the motor kicks in once you start pedaling. Starting with an industry leading 350w Bosch Performance Speed motor, Trek uses a hydroformed aluminum frame integrating a 500w Bosch Powerpack battery (our test bike was equipped with a 400w) for a clean look and a low center of gravity. The combo is good for a pedal assist up to 28mph with a stated range of 18-80 miles.  A carbon fiber thru-axle fork up front coupled with high-volume Schwalbe Super Moto-X 2.4 tires on 27.5-inch rims rounds out the rolling part of the goods. Shimano hydraulic disc brakes handle stopping duties, working well to counter the added speed and weight (more on this later) in wet or dry conditions. A host of other parts help take care of the “commuter” part of the package: custom fenders with an integrated pannier rack in the rear and what I think is the coolest looking headlight ever, the Supernova M99 headlight with daytime run lights.

I was immediately impressed with the Super Commuter+ 8S at first sight. It really is a good looking bike with a refinement in the details not present on other “Commuter” labeled bikes I’ve tested – both traditional and electric. Nothing looked like an after thought. Running through a list of questions with a Trek product manager revealed every little detail was purposely considered for a comfortable, durable, safe, practical commuter bike. In the past, I’ve had hassles with seemingly small things like pannier fitment (Trek tested several brands) mounting lights (Trek included a killer setup) and fender misalignment after some use (not gonna happen here thanks to good design). After getting all my initial questions out, it was time for the most important one: How’s it ride?

With 4 different sizes available, I hopped on a 50cm, which is what i ride in a traditional road bike.  With a small adjustment of the Bontrager H1 saddle, I felt right at home. Not too stretched out, and not too cramped. The contoured Bontrager Satellite elite grips were a nice touch. They even had little bar ends to mix up hand positions.

I was only able to put in a few miles here in NYC on the Super Commuter+, with everything from stop-n-go tight turns through the lower east side and a fast wide open climb over the Williamsburg Bridge. Seeing that bike weight comes in at around 52 lb. with comfort-oriented geometry, I was expecting the bike to feel and handle like the other commuter bikes I’ve ridden – slow and steady. It was more like riding a high-end mountain bike as opposed to a delivery truck.  Trek opted to forgo a suspension fork, relying on the high volume tires and carbon fork to soak up bumps and keep the front end pointed in the right direction.

This was my first experience with the Bosch system. Similar to other e-bike systems, Bosch uses their small, easy to use Purion display to show battery level, range and speed along with four selectable power levels to assist the rider, but this is where the similarities end. The application of power with the Bosch was smoother than any other system I’ve tried, resulting in a natural bike like feel opposed to a bike-with-a-motor feel. While the differences aren’t noticeable when cranking at top speed on an open road, unpredictable slower speed power surges are all but absent. The result is better low-speed handling, a huge plus when you’re trying to squeeze through stop and go auto traffic.

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The Trek Super Commuter+ 8S is my current clear favorite of all the bikes I’ve ridden in the commuter category, but nothing is perfect. Two issues stand out to me. The first is the pannier rack. Like everything on this bike, it looks sleek and serves its function well but is missing a top shelf. This kills a little of the versatility for me. The second issue is a big one: the price tag. $5k (yes five-thousand dollars) isn’t cheap. It’s actually downright expensive. Or is it? If you own or have owned a car, you know they’re not cheap either. Not cheap to buy, and definitely not cheap to insure and maintain over time. If you’re legitimately looking to replace an auto or delay the purchase of new one, the Super Commuter+ 8S price tag starts looking a lot more reasonable. Even stacked up against the costs of train or bus tickets for a mass transit commute, it starts to make perfectly good sense.

It’s tough to get a long-term impression with a short-term ride, but the Super Commuter+ 8S definitely warrants a look if you’re even remotely interested in an alternative to the usual.  And by usual I not only mean autos and mass transit but lower-end e-bikes as well. If the price tag scares you a little, Trek has an entire line up to consider which you can check out here: https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/ebike_collection/.

Qalo Silicon Ring Review

Qalo Silicon Ring Review

Recently, a friend of mine posed a question to her friends on Facebook wondering if there really was merit to the silicon wedding bands she’d recently been seeing in a bunch of ads. Many people had comments to add and almost all of them were advocating for the rings. I made a comment myself in which I told a quick story of a time when I WASN’T wearing a silicon ring.(BY THE WAY: We’re working on a giveaway with Qalo on our YouTube channel so be sure to SUBSCRIBE!)

Qalo Ring Review | GearistCome with me, if you will, all the way back to March of 2016. On that day I headed to Beaver Creek in search of some fresh pow in hidden glades on a stunning day with bluebird skies. Finding powder in the trees was tricky and I often found myself in narrow pathways with quite skied-out snow. In one such area, I made a move to turn to the left and my skis didn’t quite hold the turn as much as I’d have liked and I had to stop myself against an Aspen tree very abruptly. While I didn’t think much about it at the time (and kept on skiing) my fingers on my right hand felt a bit jammed – including the ring finger on that hand on which I wear my Masonic ring (that’s right, kids, I’m a Freemason!).

Upon getting back to my car and removing my gloves, I was greeted by a ring finger which was easily the size of my thumb and all different shades of bruised. Try as I might, the tungsten ring on that finger would not budge. I drove home and directly to a nearby fire station whose crew busted out their ring-cutting tool (pictured to the right) which they applied and quickly realized that tungsten simply laughed off the tool. Together we decided that going to a jeweler was probably the best course of action and I headed to a local shop to get things sorted. (Before anyone suggests it, I did try the “string trick” with the ring with the fire department as well, but that didn’t work at all).

Upon explaining my predicament to the jeweler – and watching my finger grow progressively larger – they had just the tool to set things right. However, the ring I wore would be no more. Tungsten is a metal which is incredibly strong and cut-resistant BUT, it is also quite brittle and where other metals would bend, tungsten cracks. I inserted my beleaguered finger into the ring cracker tool (left). After a few twists of the vice wheel, I heard the first crack but saw nothing. Two more twists and the ring exploded into about a hundred smaller pieces. Sadly, no more ring, but I’ve still got all ten fingers.

So why am I telling you this long story? Because I honestly wish I was wearing a silicon ring. Even in the worst case scenario I might have had to cut the ring but that’s simply a pair of scissors or a knife and it’s more likely that I could just stretch the ring enough to get it over my swollen phalange.

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Qalo (pronounced KAY-low) rings are made entirely from medical-grade silicone which is super durable, water and fireproof as well as being mildew-resistant. Upon picking up a Qalo ring for the first time, what struck me most was the almost imperceptible weight of the thing. True, most rings don’t weight very much, but this is next-level. In addition to the weight, the ring disappears on your hand. Now, of course, this could depend on the style which you choose as some rings sit off the finger more than others.

About the look and design of the rings; there is always the classic wedding band looking ring. This ring has a smooth transition to the finger and comes in a good selection of colors including special editions for the U.S. Military, Lupus and a collection called Barbells for Boobs which promotes early detection of breast cancer.

Apart from the traditional ring, the bands come in a lot of styles, some of which I’ve included below since explaining them all would probably be a lot more boring than simply looking at cool pictures, so here ya go!

women’s styles

men’s styles

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How exactly does a ring “perform”? At Gearist we decided to measure performance based on some very simple factors which are:

 

Is it noticeable?

 

Does it stain?

 

Is it durable?

The fact is that Qalo rings are extremely light. It’s not like typical, metal rings are heavy but these are next level. Once on your hand, even if you’re not used to wearing a ring, it just seems to disappear. Now, of course, some rings that sit off the hand a bit more, such as the women’s Crossover style may be a bit more obvious at first but in all our testers, the rings just seemed to go away.

Not that we noticed. Like, at all. In our testing, this was worn washing dishes, taking out the trash, rock climbing, working on bikes – and their greasy gearing, building and tending to campfires and pretty much anything else you might come across in your daily routine (or not-so-routine) and nobody saw anything that couldn’t simply be washed away. Now with that said, we do have one more test which we’re going to be including here soon and that is the dreaded tree sap test. I’m fairly certain that some sap was around while building fires but we want to put it in some sap and see EXACTLY what happens so check back soon!

Well, yes! Probably the biggest thing with Qalo rings is their sort of duality; With day-to-day use, they’re incredibly durable but, when called on to give up its life by being cut or broken, it’s right there to sacrifice. In the story I described earlier, I’d have loved to be able to stretch my ring over my very swollen finger. Or, in some sort of worst case scenario, I easily could have cut the ring and not been out hundreds (and potentially thousands) of dollars.

Another part of Qalo that I like is the ability to customize the rings. For several styles, you can choose an engraving of some text or an available pattern. This offers people the opportunity to make a ring more catered to their taste. However, there is no option as of now to go completely custom (i.e. uploading your own designs and such). I know this because I asked if I could get a ring with the square and compasses (Masonic symbol) which is not among their options as of now and I was told that there would have to be a rather large order (or demand) for that to happen but I’d assume that we may see the ability to do something like that one of these days!

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It would not be surprising at all if silicon rings such as Qalo became our everyday wedding or decorative rings with our more formal rings being reserved for more formal events like date nights, church, weddings, etc. Now, of course, there are a large number of people who wouldn’t really be down with that because they like their shiny jewelry and that’s completely understandable but if you’re active, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

Finally, the price of Qalo silicone rings. The most expensive ring in the Qalo line (as of this review) is $40 and there are several of their designs for as little as $20. Even if you just wear the ring sometimes, it’s kind of a no-brainer for anyone who uses their hands – especially if you’re rough on jewelry. Check out Qalo at the link below and let us know what you think in the comments!

Brandon Wood

Born and raised in the great state of Virginia, Brandon is a former opera singer (true story) who’s had the outdoors flowing through his veins since day one. Brandon now lives in Colorado with his daughter Sydney (AKA, Baby Gearist).

New Balance 910v4 Review

New Balance 910v4 Review

The last time we looked at the New Balance 910 was in its second iteration (Which you can read about HERE). Now in it’s fourth go-round, this popular shoe, built to tackle almost any terrain, finds its way onto the feet of both Lori and Brandon. Additionally, the New Balance 910v4 was Lori’s race shoe at the Deception Pass 50k this past weekend (as of this writing). Keep on reading to see why Lori thought it worthy to be on her feet for so many grueling miles!
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Starting at the bottom of the 910v4, the outsole is made of New Balance’s proprietary Hydrohesion rubber that is durable and sticky when wet. The lugs are not super aggressive at ~3mm deep and are a cut-off triangle design which we’ve seen before in several other NB trail shoes which are ostensibly meant to address the challenge of omnidirectional traction.

There are four flex grooves in the forefoot with the Rockstop rock plate exposed beneath and a midfoot flex zone. The shoe is still pretty stiff even with these flex grooves, but thankfully that does not take away from its great performance on the trail. Lori has 155+ miles (before the race) in this shoe on many different trails/terrain (wet/dry & rocky/buffed-out) and there is little-to-no sign of wear. Traction and ground feel has been great as well and the Hydrohesion is impressive in keeping feet dutifully stuck to the ground, even when wet.

New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist
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Moving onto the midsole, we see that it is made up of single-density, Revlite foam with a stack height of 26mm to 18mm (so a net drop of 6mm). Brandon could definitely tell there was some drop but was still comfortable in it and didn’t feel anything over the top. Lori, since she runs like a fairy princess up on her toes, didn’t really notice much of the drop at all.

The midsole is fairly cushioned (albeit a bit stiff but we’ll talk more about the flex in the RIDE section below, so read on!) and holds up well to rocks. The embedded Rockstop rock plate appears to be only in the forefoot and did well on all terrain without killing the ground feel. Finding a shoe that’s not too harsh or with too dead of a ground feel can be tricky – and certainly open to interpretation for each individual – but these seem to ride that line nicely

There was no noticeable break-in period for either of us and the 910v4 was good to go right out of the box.

New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist
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The New Balance 910v4 has quite a heavy upper from the feel of it. There are a lot of overlays and the only area with the Airmesh mentioned in the shoe’s description on the New Balance website seems to be over the toes (the vamp). While it IS breathable in that area, that’s really the only breathable spot on the upper. This is a trade-off since a more closed off upper means less debris, mud, water, etc. You will have the added protection from those things, but at what cost? How would it do in hot weather? How is the drainage after a water crossing?

The remainder of the shoe is a lot of bonded overlays from the midfoot, back which do well to support the foot on off-camber and more technical terrain.

Even with all of the overlays giving the shoe a bit of a “plastic-y” feel, it is very comfortable. There are generous amounts of foam around the collar and on the top of the tongue. This, along with the partial bootie construction gives a nice locked-down feeling to the foot. Over Lori’s 155+ miles, she found no sign of wear apart from being just a bit dirty…and we all know that “dirty” = a good day on the trail.

New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist
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As far as fit goes, both Brandon and Lori found the New Balance 910v4 to run true to size with lots of good interior space for toe splay and wiggle. They loved the locked down feel and bootie construction even on long runs on rough and technical trail. No hotspots or issues for either Lori or Brandon whatsoever with the fit.
New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist
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Both Brandon and Lori found the ride in the NB 910v4 to be quite enjoyable, feeling stable and capable on various terrain. The stiffness of the midsole, which could be a detractor for some, actually gave the 910v4 a good amount of response and pop.

As we mentioned in the Intro, Lori chose this shoe for her last 50k (Deception Pass in Oak Harbor, WA). She needed a trail shoe that would be comfortable enough to go the distance and nimble enough to handle the slippery muddy, rocky terrain. Although feeling stiff, she found the cushioning of the NB 910v4 combined with the Rockstop plate & flex grooves gave a nice feel underfoot and allowed for a smooth easy feeling ride. Lori finished the race without any foot issues and has once again chosen the 910v4 for her next 50k (Terrapin Mountain in Sedalia, VA).

Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3 Review - Gearist
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The NB 910v4 is a solid trail shoe and has been Lori’s go-to for many training runs as well as a couple of 50k races. That being said, again, it may be a bit on the stiff(er) and heavy(er) side for some runners with the women’s size 8 weighing 9oz and the men’s size 9 at 10.4oz.

If you are looking for a trail shoe and want something that will tackle a lot of different terrain, we feel the comfort and ride of this would suit you nicely. Coming in at $109.99 (or as low as $60(!!!) at the links below) seems like a reasonable price to pay for such a capable and versatile shoe.

Check out the New Balance 910v4 at our partner links below!

New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist
New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist

Brandon Wood

Born and raised in the great state of Virginia, Brandon is a former opera singer (true story) who’s had the outdoors flowing through his veins since day one. Brandon now lives in Colorado with his daughter Sydney (AKA, Baby Gearist).

Saucony Zealot ISO 3 Review

Saucony Zealot ISO 3 Review

Check out the Saucony Zealot ISO 3 at our partner links below!

New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist
New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist
New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist

Now in its third iteration, the Saucony Zealot ISO 3 is a shoe that many consider to be their do-all, daily driver. With this being my first time in this shoe, I was focused on how versatile something like this would be with everything from long, steady distance runs, to more poppy, tempo efforts.

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I’ll start out by taking a look at the Zealot’s outsole. Saucony has used a high abrasion rubber outsole using their TRI-FLEX design. This version has less rubber than its predecessor which saves some weight, especially since it is only on the lateral side & rear half of the shoe (since you really don’t land or abrade the medial side of shoes in that area). The forefoot, where I spend most of my time (being a forefoot runner), has generous flex grooves. I have run 50+ miles on both road and buffed out trail in the Zealot and there is no sign of wear. They are holding up very well.

New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist

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The midsole is made up of single-density EVA (including the crash pad in the heel). On top of that is the full-length Everun topsheet. So, you won’t experience as much “spring” in the Zealot as you would in something like the Freedom ISO, which has a full length Everun midsole. This is one of the places where you see most of the “daily-driver aspects”. While this shoe is capable of speedier “pick-ups” it would probably not be your “speedy-day” shoe.
With a stack height of 26mm at the heel and 22mm in the forefoot, the Zealot has a 4mm drop.

New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist

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The Zealot ISO 3 upper has been redesigned for a much cleaner look than the previous version. Right out of the box I noticed how light they were (7.3oz). The super supple engineered mesh upper only has a couple of support elements – A lacing cage, which at first, I thought looked a little odd, and a small amount of overlay. The ISOFIT bootie construction brings the lacing cage all the way down to the midsole. As I said, I thought it looked a bit odd, however, I found it to be quite comfortable. There is a good amount of foam in the tongue which keep the cage and laces from digging into the foot and allows for a comfortable feel. This along with the fairly soft padded heel counter gives a good secure lock down. The upper is soft and breathable, but that does not affect its durability. There are no picks or threads pulling out and they are in good shape after my 50+ miles.

New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist

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The Saucony Zealot ISO 3 runs true to size. I always go up in size and find that my size 9’s gave me lots of interior space with room for toe splay and wiggle without feeling too “swimmy”. I loved the locked down feel and bootie construction of the ISOFIT system. So far, I have only had one run where I felt a hot spot under my big toe, which is unusual so we’ll chalk this up to being an outlier.

New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist

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I have enjoyed running on both road and buffed out trails in the Zealot. I slip on these shoes with confidence when I head out the door for my daily workout. I know that I won’t have to worry about which route I choose to take (pavement or dirt) or what the workout turns into, they will be the right shoe. Yes, these are my “daily-drivers”, but I know that if I feel like throwing some speedy pick-ups in there, which I have, they will allow me to get the job done. The ride is smooth and comfortable on short runs in the neighborhood or longer double digit outings. After 17 & 20 mile bridge repeat runs (on concrete), I can say that my feet were pretty happy. The cushion and comfort is a winning combination.

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The Zealot is not only light, comfortable and durable, it is versatile. I think it is important to have a solid shoe like this in your line-up. The combination of Single-density EVA & full-length Everun top sheet, along with the soft mesh upper with the ISOFIT bootie is a winning recipe for a great everyday trainer. It is a shoe that I love to grab heading out the door for daily workouts.

Coming in at about $130 seems a bit pricey, but again, I think it is important to have a versatile, capable shoe in your line-up. For me, this one checks all the boxes.

Check out the Saucony Zealot ISO 3 at our partner links below!

New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist
New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist
New Balance Vazee Pace Review | Gearist

Brandon Wood

Born and raised in the great state of Virginia, Brandon is a former opera singer (true story) who’s had the outdoors flowing through his veins since day one. Brandon now lives in Colorado with his daughter Sydney (AKA, Baby Gearist).

Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 Review

Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 Review

When I say Salomon running shoes you say…probably trail, right? In the past few years, Salomon has actually been dipping their toes into the road running market and with typical Salomon panache, they’ve built shoes that are not just for fun, but for some serious kicking of ass. Today they shoe I’m going to talk about is the big daddy of Salomon’s road running fleet – the Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2.

You can buy the Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 at:

AMAZON     |    BACKCOUNTRY

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As we begin with the outsole of the S/Lab Sonic 2 we see an outsole which is almost entirely covered in Salomon’s premium, wet traction Contagrip. I’ve spoken about how amazing this rubber is in the past but since it’s been a while, let me assure you that this is still one of my favorite compounds on the market today. In the case of the S/Lab Sonic 2 the Contagrip is arranged in two primary sections (check the image below); The heel of the shoe has a segmented crescent of Contagrip which allows for flex in the heel of the shoe. The front half of the shoe, in front of the arch, is a series of segmented rows of rubber which appear to be a nod to the skeletal structure of the foot and, once again, allows for generous flexibility in the front half of the shoe. Rounding out the outsole is the visible, silver section of Salomon’s 3D Profeel Film. Where some other shoemakers us a fairly rigid shank or other torsional feature in this area, 3D Profeel Film is a bit of lightweight TPU film which, while it may not have quite as much aggressive snap as other technologies, definitely makes for a controlled and smooth transition from the rear to forefoot.

First, allow me a second to comment on the Contagrip rubber which abounds on the S/Lab Sonic 2. The traction of this material is wonderfully sticky and I’ve found that it is most obvious when compared side-by-side with other rubber on a wet surface. A couple of years back Salomon had a demo at the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow which had an angled slab of marble (if memory serves) which had a sheet of water flowing over it. The object was for someone to stand on the marble in one shoe containing the previous version of Contagrip and one shoe with the new, premium wet traction Contagrip and see the difference. To say it was shocking is an understatement and I’m thrilled to see this version of Salomon’s rubber compound carrying on so successfully. Its durability is also very impressive and with about 50 miles on it, I can see no significant wear apart from the blazing red picking up some darker colors from the pavement.

As for performance, the grip of the S/Lab Sonic 2 had me dying to see how this could handle some light trail and guess what… they crushed it. Seriously though, while this isn’t a particularly “luggy” shoe, I definitely think that if you’re mostly running on groomed trails that aren’t super rocky or rooty, this could be a great option. I’ve got a lot more to say about the performance of this shoe but you’ll have to read on to see.

Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 Review | Gearist

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The midsole of the Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 is almost certainly my favorite part of this shoe. Made primarily from a single-density EVA foam called EnergyCell+ the midsole actually uses a system called VIBE which also incorporates another material known as OPAL. Opal is made from TPP (Thermoplastic Polypropylene) foam and is similar to, though softer than, TPU foam (things like BOOST or Everun) and with VIBE, 6mm deep units (or pods) of OPAL are inlaid in the heel of the EnergyCell+ midsole material. Each of the foams are certainly meant to work independently but they’re also meant to interact with one another to attenuate (reduce) impact shock. For a bit more on the technology, check out this video:

Now I guess you’d like to know what I thought of the midsole of the S/LAb Sonic 2, right? I will get into this more in the RIDE section of this review below but I can tell you that the shock absorption of the midsole on this shoe if impressive without deadening ground feel. Additionally, I felt that the road pop in the Sonic 2 is one that makes this a shoe which can go for shorter,  more aggressive miles but also one which can throw down a very good marathon. It’s cushioned without being squishy and responsive without having too harsh a ground feel. For my geometry nerds out there, the stack in the heel of this shoe is 24mm and 16mm in the forefoot for a net drop of 8mm.

Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 Review | Gearist

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If you’ve been in Salomon S/Lab running shoes before then the construction of the upper on the Sonic 2 will come as no big surprise. Made from a super-breathable, single-layer mesh, the Sonic 2 may not be a shoe that you would want to wear on cold-weather runs – unless, of course, your feet can handle things like that. Personally, I ran in them in temperatures of about 15°f with some thicker socks and I was fine.

The support structure is Salomon’s Sensifit system and is a series of bonded overlays which are very lightweight and flexible yet the arrangement and number of them give plenty of support to the foot and create a secure connection of the upper down into the midsole, Apart from going from the misdole to the laces, the overlays also extend in a light toe cap as well as back into an externally reinforced strap around the heel counter. I love the lightweight feel of this upper as it enhances the overall performance of the shoe and simply feels less constrictive on longer runs.

Internally, Salomon’s Endofit system appears again with its lightweight and stretchy, bootie construction. This, again, enhances the lightweight upper construction and brings along with it a very secure feel without the foot feeling cutoff. The lacing in the S/Lab Sonic 2 is of the traditional variety (rather than speedlaces) in the form of very lightweight laces with a tiny bit of stretch thrown in to keep the foot comfortable with movement without being too loose.

From a durability perspective, I’ve noticed no wear on the upper of this shoe at all. I would add that this does include a bit of light trail thrown in for good measure and still, no picks or wear spots.

Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 Review | Gearist

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The fit of the Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 is interesting if you’re used to Salomon. A brand that is well known for a more Euro / racer-y fit (see: narrow), with this shoe Salomon has gone with a much more relaxed fit. Now, while I didn’t have a problem with the narrower fitting shoes with my completely average foot, the fit of this is fantastic and on longer runs I felt fantastic. Conversely, on runs which ask for more agility or torque, found my foot completely comfortable without getting slide-y on turns. Now, I’m not saying it’s “wide”, I’m just saying it’s “wide-er”. If you’ve steered clear of Salomon in the past because of width, I definitely think that this is well worth checking out.

As for sizing, the S/Lab Sonic 2 fit my very average foot perfectly in my normal size 11’s.

Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 Review | Gearist

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When I was outlining the RIDE section of this review I was thinking about all the things I’d like to say. However, now that I get into it I find myself wanting to go with a bit of a less-is-more approach. The ride of the S/Lab Sonic 2 is one that I thought was going to be aggressive with potentially too much ground feel for some people. However, Salomon’s VIBE system is something does a fantastic job of providing a peppy ride without sacrificing on cushion. At the same time, it’s not soft or overly cushioned to the point of sacrificing performance or ground feel. The Sonic 2 does a great job of riding in the space where you can wear it for just about any distance of run. To be honest, while I have some time to make my decision, this is a shoe which is in serious contention for my shoe for Ironman Boulder in June of 2018. TIme will tell!

WHILE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT SHOES, DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE SOCK OF THE MONTH CLUB! [JOIN HERE]

Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 Review | Gearist

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Some people are critical of reviewers who don’t really have anything negative to say about a given piece of gear (I do have a bit of a thing with this shoe so hold your horses) but if I’m being honest, I don’t really have any problems with the construction, fit, quality or performance of the Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2. This is a great shoe and I think you’d be good to go with distance from 5K to marathons and beyond. Now that that’s been said, the price of this shoe, as with all S/Lab shoes (and other gear) is quite steep at $180. If you’re shocked by that then you likely haven’t seen prices on other S/Lab shoes before. It’s an expensive shoe but there are others in the Salomon road running line which bring a lot of the same or similar technologies to the table with a more approachable price tag.

Again, the Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2 is a fantastic shoe and I think that it does a wonderful job of balancing performance and comfort from both sides. While it is expensive, it could be the shoe that you find as good as I do and that may just be worth it.

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Brandon Wood

Born and raised in the great state of Virginia, Brandon is a former opera singer (true story) who’s had the outdoors flowing through his veins since day one. Brandon now lives in Colorado with his daughter Sydney (AKA, Baby Gearist).

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