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Weighs 9.8 oz. (280 g.) for a US M9 / US W7.5
It’s almost the same as the Pulsar Trail Pro… almost
Still slim, still stylish, still Salomon
Could it be the best entry point for plated trail shoes?
Available now for $130
SAM: When I worked at Eastern Mountain Sports before they purged all stores south of New England (RIP EMS Annapolis), I’d fit customers for shoes along what I called a “footwear needs scale.” On one end, people just needed basic, casual hikers. They’d find their way into the Merrell Moab, the Vasque Breeze, or whatever Oboz was rolling with at the time. As customers decided they needed more, they’d try to push for something burlier, like the Vasque Sundowner — a boot whose price tag seemed to describe its weight more than its comfort. My goal, as a mostly bored retail worker with a limited set of options, was to push them to the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra instead. It checked the boxes for weight, support, and price, with an unbelievable construction to match.
Since then, hiking boots have fallen prey to the rise of the trail runner. Salomon still offers its eighth-generation XA Pro 3D Ultra, but now they’ve expanded far beyond that point. The brand’s most recent introductions are the Pulsar Trail and Pulsar Trail Pro — two entries into the red-hot plated trail market.
Both versions of the Pulsar share Salomon’s proprietary Contagrip outsole, dual density Energy Surge midsole (32.6mm in the heel, 26.6mm in the forefoot), Endofit sleeve, and Quicklace pull laces. They also share an Energy Blade TPU composite plate sandwiched between the two layers of Energy Surge foam. It almost sounds like Salomon messed up on design day, but there’s one key difference. The plate for the standard Pulsar Trail (this shoe) is softer and more pliable than its stiffer, more expensive partner in the Pulsar Trail Pro.
This should be a recipe for a winner of a shoe. We’ve enjoyed some recent shoes with similar non-carbon plates, like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 (which has a nylon plate), and some other Salomon options with Energy Surge, like the S/Lab Phantasm. That said, we all know how easy it is to mess up a recipe, so how did the Pulsar Trail fare?
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