Salomon Glide Max TR Review: Glidin’ to the Max
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9.8 oz. (278 g) for a US M9,
9.2 oz. (260 g) for a US W7
36 mm in heel, 30 mm in forefoot (6 mm drop)
Trail runs with maximum comfort
3.5 mm Contagrip lugs, huge slab of Energy Surge foam, lightweight mesh upper
MICHAEL: I was but a young lad perusing the buyers’ guides of Runner’s World, studying up on stack heights and midsole foams like any normal middle schooler would, when I saw an ad for the latest Salomon S/Lab trail racing shoes (probably the S/Lab Sense 2, worn by none other than Kilian, of course). It looked totally awesome, the colorway was sick, and immediately I associated the Salomon name with cutting-edge trail racing. A few years later, along came this little brand Hoka One One, and the trail running landscape was changed forever.
Since then, brands have adapted to the high-stack craze, and while somewhat slower to respond than others, Salomon is no exception. In 2021, it launched what we dubbed the brand’s first “true-comfort” option, the Ultra Glide, with a soft midsole, rocker geometry, and an accommodating fit. Two years later, Salomon is beginning to build on the success of the Ultra Glide… vertically.
With a sky-high 36/30 stack, the Glide Max TR is certainly Salomon’s thickest, softest offering to date, promising comfort for miles on end. Interestingly, the launch of the shoe has been rather understated. We first saw the shoe at TRE, and since then, it just quietly appeared on Salomon’s website and at Running Warehouse without much spotlight from Salomon’s marketing. Don’t let this fool you, however, as Salomon’s first-ish foray into ultra-high stack heights deserves attention.
So, in this competitive and ever-expanding market, does Salomon have a true contender in its first go at the thicc boi department? Without spoiling too much, absolutely.
SAM: Michael has us off and running, and while your ears ease down from the clanging rimshot that chased that awful pun, consider, if you will, this shoe, the Salomon Glide Max TR. This is a Salomon for trails — hence the TR — with a thick (very thick) slab of Energy Surge foam, an accommodating and roomy upper, and a set of very normal not-quick-at-all laces. That is to say, is this even a Salomon at all?
Indeed, this shoe sits at a strange inflection point within Salomon’s offerings. It is, by way of naming conventions, simply a trail version of the brand’s first max cushion road shoe, the Glide Max. The Glide Max was, in turn, a road version of the well-loved Ultra Glide, which was Salomon’s initial foray into softer foams and higher stacks for the trail.
Confused yet? Well, the Glide Max TR is specifically not the Ultra Glide 2. That shoe was released recently, and we just reviewed it here at Believe in the Run. Spoiler: we really liked it. However, visually, the Glide Max TR is a complete top-to-bottom redesign from the Glide Max and more similar in design (but, again, notedly not the same) as the also recently released Aero Glide, a higher stack road shoe. Extra confused? I share the sentiment. Luckily, a convoluted pedigree has no effect on how this shoe runs — and run it does.
MICHAEL: If you could describe the Glide Max TR with a story, the Energy Surge midsole would, without a doubt, be the main character. The Goldilocks durometer, stack, and rocker all work together in perfect harmony to create what may be the most versatile high-stack shoe I’ve experienced. Landings are soft yet responsive, and there’s just enough stack underfoot not to warrant the need for a rock plate.
Additionally, the rocker kept my foot from getting sort of lost in the stack, promoting a good roll through the stride and keeping me on my toes through technical sections. Thankfully, foot landings in the shoe are not only plush, but a slight bounce from the Energy Surge foam put just enough energy back into my stride to keep the shoe from feeling like I was running on sinking memory foam.
Moving down from the midsole, the Contagrip outsole is dependable and performs well. I’m a big fan of the lug design and placement. Salomon had every opportunity to put 3 mm lugs on this shoe and call it a door-to-trail cruiser akin to the Nike Pegasus Trail, but instead, it opted for a slightly more aggressive 3.5 mm lug with sharp edges for some solid bite. It may seem trivial, but in my opinion, I felt like this really broadens the Glide Max TR’s capabilities over technical terrain and could even make this an excellent race-day pick. Sure, the stack may be unstable for some, but if that’s not a problem, in my experience, the Glide Max TR is perfectly capable of racing through all but the muddiest, softest terrain with serious confidence.
Speaking of race day, I want to dedicate an entire paragraph to one aspect of the Glide Max TR that totally sets this shoe apart from the competition: the weight. At 9.8 oz for my US M9, it beats out other shoes in its class, like the Asics Trabuco Max 2, Brooks Caldera 6, and even the Hoka Speedgoat 5, with a higher listed stack than all of them. Never before have I felt this much plush comfort in such a light and surprisingly nimble shoe. Honestly, all Salomon needs to do is throw on a Matryx upper, add some quick laces, turn this thing red, and it *might* have a potential Speedgoat killer on its hands. Can we say 2024 S/Lab Glide Max, anyone? Yes, please.
While I would love to see a pared-down racing upper on this midsole, I should mention that the OG upper here is no slouch. With a more accommodating fit than most other Salomon models, the Glide Max TR should appeal to a large group of customers looking for a comfortable easy day or long-run companion. Similarly, the choice to opt for traditional laces over the typical Quicklace is also intended to draw a larger customer base. The jury is still out on how Salomon fans will receive this, but I personally preferred the traditional lacing. Fit around the heel counter is excellent, and the toe bumper and lockdown through the mid-foot helped keep the shoe secure on the technical stuff. Lastly, while some of the colorways are *yawn*, the white/peach fade Sam and I received is beautiful.
SAM: This is one for all those Salomon fans who loosened their Quicklaces in search of roomier pastures when the characteristic narrow Salomon toebox got too constricting. The Glide Max TR is topped with a generous and surprisingly spacious upper made from breathable engineered mesh. There are limited overlays, and what is there serves a specific purpose: protection in the toebox and adaptable support in the midfoot and heel.
Salomon’s recognizable zig-zag for midfoot structure joins its Quicklaces in technology purgatory and is replaced by a figure eight overlay that runs on each side of the foot from the heel to the midfoot. Tightening or loosening the laces in the midfoot is supposed to allow the figure eight to adjust around your heel, offering variable fit through the heel counter. Crazily, it works, although not quite enough to overcome some heel looseness (which we’ll get to). I appreciated the padded tongue, and although it isn’t gusseted I didn’t have any issues with slippage.
Below the upper is the real star of this shoe. The thick and cushy slab of Energy Foam is absolutely a pleasure to run in. It’s very soft, somehow plenty responsive, and feels stable for even moderately technical trails. Salomon built a very aggressive rocker into the Glide Max TR, so much so that the shoe is a little awkward to walk in. They call this R.Camber, and it allows the thick hunk of foam to feel quick and nimble on turnover. It also makes this a perfectly suitable road-to-trail shoe. The foam is cushioned enough that the pavement feels just fine underfoot, and the rocker contributes to an effortless stride. The fantastic low weight of the Glide Max TR also helps in the transition to roads.
Underneath that wonderful chunk of Energy Surge is Salomon’s proven Contagrip outsole. The formulation of the rubber for the Glide Max TR is slightly softer and stickier than it has been on other Salomons I’ve tested recently. While the 3.5mm lugs might not be the most aggressive you can find, the stickier rubber combined with those lugs offers excellent grip in all but the wettest and muddiest of conditions. This outsole handled all kinds of trail terrain with ease and did just as well on wet pavement and wood.
I similarly love the gradient tan/blue/peach colorway Michael and I got our test pairs in. Salomon’s color game has been on fire this season, and I think this might be my favorite I’ve seen.Shop Salomon Glide Max TR - Men Shop Salomon Glide Max TR - Women
MICHAEL: There’s no gusseted tongue. I mean, c’mon, people, it’s 2023. While I never really had any issues with the lack of gusset, this sort of set the tone for some aspects of the upper and fit that I found to be generally underwhelming (and hence why I’m begging Salomon to release a pared-down performance racing version of this shoe).
Namely, I found the fit through the forefoot to be a little sloppy, and the while the bathtub construction is great for adding a little stability, I had a similar issue in the Glide Max TR as I did in the Brooks Caldera 6. In thin socks, the sidewalls of the midsole have a tendency to pinch and blister my big toe and the medial side of my foot. No fun. It should be said, though, that these issues shouldn’t deter someone else from the Glide Max TR if they’re looking for that aforementioned accommodating fit. The midfoot and heel still held very comfortably and securely, but the fit through the forefoot just maybe isn’t for me.
Lastly, I did notice some potential for premature compression in the midsole throughout my test period. So while the durometer and responsiveness are amazing out of the box, time will tell whether or not that feeling is going to hold on for 300-plus miles.
SAM: I can’t believe I’m putting this into a review of a Salomon shoe, but the overall fit of the upper on the Glide Max TR is sloppy and could use a little sucking in. I had similar issues to Michael in the forefoot fit, as well as some looseness in my heels. The foam is soft enough, and the sidewalls of the shoe are tall enough, that the upper edge of the cuff would irritate my ankles in short ankle socks as the foam compressed on downsteps. Easily fixed with taller socks, of course.
On longer runs with sustained downhills, I got some forward creep from the insoles, which caused really uncomfortable rubbing on the medial side of my big toe from the toe guard. None of this was bad enough that it was seriously problematic on easy runs but was certainly surprising given Salomon’s penchant for sleek, tuned fits.
As much as I love the feel of the midsole, there is noticeable compression in the forefoot after my test miles. This could be planned, as it sharpens the rocker further and increases the trail feel of the shoe, but it definitely started to feel less like a max cushion shoe, especially at the end of long efforts.Shop Salomon Glide Max TR - Men Shop Salomon Glide Max TR - Women
MICHAEL: For Solomon’s first real foray into the world of ultra-high-stack shoes, the Glide Max TR is a total success. A delicate balance of high-stack energy foam goodness, a pretty solid upper, and a capable outsole in a surprisingly lightweight and nimble package result in a versatile winner. Long runs, easy days, and even races are certainly within the Glide Max TR’s wheelhouse, as is looking good while doing it.
Going forward, it will be very interesting seeing the development of the Glide Max TR and where this goes for Solomon, especially with the brilliant success of the Ultra Glide series contrasting with a weirdly understated launch for the Glide Max TR. For a brand historically rooted in slim, thin, fast racing shoes, it’s pretty awesome to see Salomon land two absolute home runs in the more accommodating thicc boi market this year, and hopefully, we see version 2 of the Glide Max TR soon.
SAM: The Glide Max TR is a great shoe for easy-to-moderate days on easy-to-moderate trails. Throw in some tarmac, and it will handle that just fine as well. The run and underfoot feel are similar to the Asics Trabuco Max 2: there is a similar big cushy slab of foam that remains stable and responsive and a slightly sloppy upper that could use a touch of refinement. If you read our review of the Trabuco Max 2, you know this is ultimately quite high praise. I’ll be keeping an eye on the compression in the midsole, but this is an excellent offering from Salomon, especially if you want the familiar Salomon construction with a little more room.
You can pick up the Salomon Glide Max TR for $159 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) using the buttons below.
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Sam lives in Baltimore with his wife and two kids and spends his days fixing espresso machines for Ceremony Coffee Roasters. He runs with the Faster Bastards when he can, races ultras, and has been working on completing the AT section by section. He thinks the best days are made of long miles on nasty trails, but that a good surf session, a really stunning book, or a day of board games are pretty all right too.
All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Xodus Ultra, Topo Athletic Ultraventure 3, Altra Lone PeakMore from Sam
An engineer living with his wife and cat in Birmingham, Ala., Michael loves chill morning runs in the neighborhood, but especially enjoys soaking up long miles of technical southeast singletrack. Occasionally, he’ll get a racing itch and actually string together some “organized” training for a trail race or FKT. In his free time, Michael enjoys books, backpacking, and hanging out with friends.More from Michael