Expert Review: Salomon Sense Ride 4 GTX Shoes

This review is my honest opinion of the shoes, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2017, then again in August of 2020.

A woman crossing a stream and holding the Salomon Sense Ride GTX shoes.

Letting my dog dip in a river after a long hike in the Sense Rides! All photos courtesy of Hunter Reed

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About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the shoes, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2017, then again in August of 2020.

My take

The Salomon Sense Ride GTX Trail Running Shoe is an excellent option for those looking for a lightweight, comfortable, running shoe that will offer some protection from wet conditions without making your feet overheat!

A woman climbing a mountain.

Bad view of the shoes, but an example of some of the crazy terrain they have taken me on! Felt really secure and like I had great traction even when it was stuff like this!

About the gear

  • Model: Salomon Women's Sense Ride 4 GTX Invisible Fit Shoe
  • Size: Women’s 6.5
  • Width: Regular
  • Fit: Runs true-to-size

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: First pair in December 2017, second pair in August 2020
  • Days tested: 500+
  • Terrain: Rocky trails, dirt trails, pavement
  • Used for: Trail running, day hiking, backpacking
  • Where I’ve used it: All over Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: Summer, Spring, Winter, Fall

About me

  • Height: 5’3”
  • Weight: 115 lbs
  • Usual shoe size: Women’s 6.5
  • Foot Width: Regular
  • Foot Arch: High arch
  • Experience Hiking/Camping: 25+ years

How they perform

Breathability
4/5
Comfort
5/5
Durability
4/5
Support
3/5
Traction
5/5
Versatility
5/5
Waterproofing
3/5
Weight
4/5

What I was looking for

At the time of purchasing these shoes, I was just getting into trail running and wanted something that would be a good fit and not give me blisters. I didn’t know a ton about running shoes at the time because I was just starting to run, but I also wanted something that was lighter and that seemed to have good traction.

Why I chose this gear

I bought the Salomon Sense Ride shoes for a few reasons. I had done a little research on the best trail running shoes and these kept coming up. There were a few others that kept coming up too, but Salomon was a brand I had heard of and since I liked their ski gear, I thought it was worth a shot. I had also seen a lot of friends who ran a bit more than me wearing them, so that confirmed my suspicions that they must be good shoes. They don’t have a tie system, it's more of a cinch, and I thought that was a cool feature that might save me some time on tying my shoes. Added to that, I liked that there is a bit of weather protection with the GTX. I live in Utah where there are muddy trails in the winter and I didn’t want to have any days where I couldn’t run because I was worried about my feet getting wet.

The other options I kept seeing in my search were the Salomon Speedcross Trail Runners, and the Nike Pegasus Running Shoes. I thought the Speedcross shoes were a little too intense because they were heavier and had more rubber across the entire shoe to give it better waterproofing. Since this was my first pair, I didn’t want something so intense, and I thought the extra rubber might make them too hot in the summer. As for the Nike shoes, I was hesitant because I have a few of their shorts and sports bras that I found did not last very well. While I’m sure they make great shoes, my experience with other Nike items dissuaded me from purchasing shoes from them.

Top down view of some very muddy tennis shoes.

These do pretty well even in the muddiest conditions!

What I love about them

  • Break-in period: They honestly didn’t have a break-in period. I didn’t find any hot spots or any areas to be uncomfortable the first few times either. I still haven’t had any issues with them that are break-in related.
  • Comfort: They are so comfortable. They are pretty lightweight and the sole has a bit of extra rubber without being so overly thick that it feels like you are walking in heels (as I have found that some running shoes, such as HOKAs tend to feel like). The lacing system is super easy to use and adjustable although I haven’t had to mess with that too much either because it was really comfy right off the bat.
  • Fit: I have a relatively average foot width, and am a pretty solid 6.5. That’s the size I went with for these, and they have been awesome.
  • Weight: These shoes are relatively light for all they do (the extra cushioning on the sole and the GORE-TEX membrane offering waterproofing) but they are by no means an ultra-lightweight trail shoe. There are more bare-bones shoes out there that are lighter. For me, it was my first pair of trail runners and I was mostly doing distances between 6-12ish miles, so weight wasn’t a massive concern. I was upgrading from some really old tennis shoes that I had bought eight years prior while in high school. Those shoes were really heavy and clunky, so these were an awesome upgrade. I also didn’t mind the extra weight because most of it was due to the EVA rubber cushioning on the bottom. As someone who has had two knee surgeries, I don’t mind the extra cushion! For the average person that isn’t looking to do ultra marathons, this shoe is a comfortable weight.
  • Material: The sole is made out of an EVA Rubber, which offers pretty good traction and better support when running downhill. The upper part of the shoe is a mesh material with a GORE-TEX membrane (this is what the GTX stands for in the name). Though this offers some waterproofing, it still feels pretty breathable.
  • Toe protection: These trail runners have more toe protection than many other trail runners. This is due to the rubber on the front of the shoe. Many trail runners have the rubber stop at the bottom of the front of the shoe, but on the Sense Ride shoes, it kind of wraps up a bit to offer some protection to your toes. As someone who runs on a lot of rocky trails and commonly kicks rocks, that has been an awesome feature!
  • Backpacking: These are usually the shoes I will use on backpacking trips. They have great traction, are light, and offer some weather protection. I don’t tend to love wearing boots with ankle support for hiking activities, so for me these are awesome backpacking shoes. If you are someone with ankle issues though I would recommend wearing a shoe with extra ankle support on backpacking trips.
  • Trail Running: I mainly use the Salomon Sense Ride shoes for trail running. They were my first trail running shoes and I feel indebted to them because I really feel like they showed me how much fun running was. They offer great traction, are comfortable for long runs, and offer more cushioning than other options which is excellent for those with knee problems.
  • Day hiking: I like these for day hiking though I usually wear my Chaco Sandals for day hiking, just because I prefer sandals. If the hike is really technical, these are a great option!
  • Durability: I have mixed feelings on the durability of this shoe, but overall I would classify them as super durable. I upgraded my first Sense Ride shoes after about 300 miles on them because they were starting to have problems with the waterproofing and the traction was really worn down. Three hundred miles is incredible, though normally trail runners should be good for closer to 400 miles. That being said, most of the wearing issues on the traction were in one specific spot at the back outside of the heel. However, that is a personal problem since I tend to strike really heavily there. So although I had to replace them at 300 miles, they are pretty durable all things considered. A lot of the wear was as a result of my running form.
  • Features: I like the cinch cord as opposed to the laces. I don’t have to tie them and there is a little pocket for the cinch to be tucked into so it’s not flapping around the way laces sometimes are.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Waterproofing: These shoes do alright on waterproofing, but I wouldn’t really say they are waterproof. They definitely keep my feet dryer than other shoes that don’t have the GTX, but I have found that a lot of days in light rain or running on snow (with microspikes on to offer traction and to keep my feet a bit off the snow so that they hopefully won’t get as wet) my shoes and socks are soaked after. It’s a little bit of a disappointment because the tradeoff of having a shoe that isn’t as breathable is that it should hopefully protect you from wet conditions. The Sense Ride does offer a little bit of protection, just not that much.
  • Insulation: This shoe is not insulated.
  • Ankle support: This shoe doesn’t offer any ankle support since it is a trail runner!
  • Arch support: There isn’t great arch support on the insole that comes with the shoe. That being said, I purchased a SuperFeet Green Insole and it fit really well into this shoe. My foot didn’t feel squished with the thicker insole as it does in some shoes, and this totally solved the arch support problem!
Two shoe soles, the one on the left is much more run down than the one on the right.

Replaced my first pair (left) after about 350 miles! As you can see there is still some tread left on them, but I just tend to run heavily on my outside heel, so needed to replace them a bit earlier than normal due to my form!

Favorite moment with this gear

It’s hard to pick out just one moment with these shoes that stands out because they were my go-to trail runners for years while I was getting into the sport. I appreciate them so much because I think if I had gotten a shoe that gave me blisters, was heavy, or uncomfortable, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with running as much as I did. I wasn’t sold on the idea of running enough that I would have wanted to spend hundreds of dollars trying different shoes, so I am stoked that these worked out and helped me progress my running abilities over the last five or so years. I wouldn’t like running as much as I do today if I had bought a shoe that I didn’t end up liking, or was hard to work with.

Value for the money vs. other options

These shoes are awesome for the price. Though they usually retail at around $120, both times I bought them they were slightly discounted because of a sale. For me, spending around $100 for a shoe that you can get at least 300 miles out of is a steal.

The Speedcross shoes I was looking at when I bought these are a bit pricer, and aren’t as versatile. Although they have more waterproofing, they would have been heavier than I would want to wear on long runs in the hot summer months. As for the Nike Pegasus shoes, they are around the same price as the Sense Rides, but I have not tried them. Given my experience with Nike products not holding up well, I would recommend spending the same amount on these because they’ll likely last longer!

Final verdict

The Salomon Sense Ride GTX Trail Running Shoe is a really comfortable and quality shoe that will offer comfort to your feet as you develop your running abilities. I have bought two pairs because I think they are truly great shoes. Five or so years into being really excited about running, these Salomon Sense shoes are in my top two favorite running shoes. They are versatile and are an awesome beginner/intermediate/advanced trail running shoe!

Selling Chaco on Curated.com
Chaco Women's Z/2 Classic Sandals in Going On Aqua Grey, Size 11
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Camping & Hiking Expert Hunter Reed
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Hunter Reed
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Growing up in Utah makes it hard to not fall in love with camping and hiking! Lucky for me my parents got me out at a young age and I've been enjoying trails and campsites all across the west since I was little girl! There's just something special about making some dinner over a fire and going to sl...

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