Salomon Ultra Glide Performance Review
TAYLOR: Salomon commands the throne as far as trail running goes. I consider them the modern pioneer of trail gear and they continue to push the envelope with their innovative and high-quality gear for all terrains. Their SalomonTV series alone has brought so much hype to the trail running game and their products live up to it. It also helps that they have the world’s best ultrarunners, from Kilian Jornet to Courtney Dauwalter to Max King putting their products through the wringer.
One thing that they have been lacking has been a true “comfort” option. By comfort, I mean that true mushy cushy ride for the long haul and an accommodating fit. Traditionally, many Salomon shoes will take on a more minimalist persona with a slim fit, low stack, and aggressive traction.
A couple years ago, Salomon started down that more “crowd-pleasing” comfort road with the Sense Ride series, which is still one of my all-time favorite trail shoes. But they still didn’t fill the same niche as something like the HOKA Challenger, Nike Wildhorse, Topo Athletic Ultraventure, Altra Timp, etc.
The Ultra Glide is Salomon’s answer to the allure of cush and fills a long unfulfilled gap in their trail running line. And if this is their first attempt, boy, am I excited to see what else is coming.
MEAGHAN: I train almost entirely on the roads and then will periodically jump into a 50K trail race and try to hang. To be honest, I’m usually disappointed in the fit and comfort level of most trail shoes, but I am happy to report the Salomon Ultra Glide is a real treat.
THOMAS: Trail shoes usually seem like a compromise compared to road shoes. Let’s be honest, sometimes companies just take their road shoe and throw some aggressive outsole under it. Sometimes it’s kinda fun and forgivable (Skechers Razor TRL), other times it’s a disaster.
Salomon builds their trail shoes from the ground up and it’s obvious they process every detail. Each of their trail shoes is built with a specific condition or race in mind. In the past, it’s made some runners diehard fans while others (like those with wide feet or those who want a more cushioned shoe) have been left out in the cold. Think of Salomon like Porsche. A Porsche 918 Spyder is tuned for incredible performance at breakneck speeds. But what about the times you want to ride without feeling every bump in the road. You may want the comfort of the Cayenne. The Cayenne is still a luxury high-performance vehicle while it serves more practical purposes. The Salomon Ultra Glide is the Cayenne in this scenario. The shoe offers more comfort underfoot and in the toe box, without watering down the performance you expect from Salomon.
TAYLOR: I’m taking this shoe for what it is. It’s a comfort-oriented trail shoe and it does that job in a very fine way. The Ultra Glide is like Fogo De Chao for your feet – it has plenty of protein to go around but gives you the sides and dessert to go along with your meat sweats. The result is a shoe that falls in the bucket of some of my most preferred trail shoes: Salomon Sense Ride, HOKA Challenger, and a splash of some Skechers Razor TRL in there.
Kicking things off is a more accommodating fit. That was my initial ‘wow’ moment with the Ultra Glide. A wider forefoot is evidence that Salomon is serious about making a truly comfortable option. The fit will please the majority of feet out there, which is saying something because Salomon shoes are known to be slimmer than a Slim Jim. Having used the Sense Ride series for nearly all of my ultra-distance races (ranging from 50k to 100 miles), I think this is the fit that many Sense Ride users are actually looking for.
For Salomon, this is a high-stack shoe (32 mm/2 6mm, 6 mm drop) that brings the cushion to push the distance. A new Energy Surge foam is utilized to give both a soft and bouncy ride. It is the exact same foam that is sported by Salomon’s new speedsters the Pulsar and Phantasm. Having a decently thick chunk of this foam gives plenty of protection underfoot. To me it feels like a mix between Hoka’s soft CMEVA foam and Skechers’ Hyper Burst midsole. You get the cushy experience and great energy return properties that make a wicked combo for a long-distance shoe. Even though Energy Surge feels different than Nike’s React midsole, it may rival its performance.
One of the new-age prerequisites to a well-cushioned trail shoe seems to be the rocker. The Ultra Glide’s midsole and outsole combo is molded with a rocker-esque shape to complement the Energy Surge foam. This helps with a very smooth landing and rolls through the toe over the non-technical segments and roads. It is not so rockered that it takes away from the Ultra Glide’s ability to handle technical terrain; which is where many high-stack and rockered shoes tend to find their performance ceiling pretty quickly. The Ultra Glide is a more viable all-around trail shoe than many other highly cushioned options out there.
Salomon also comes through with a classic take on a supremely fitted upper. For starters, an internal Sensi-Fit mesh softly and securely holds the foot. Sensi-Fit wings are worked into the lacing system near the ankle collar/top of the midfoot. These cinch down to hold the foot phenomenally. External Sensi-Fit overlays have the final say on security. All of this combines to hug the foot quite nicely. Again, foot security is normally the issue with cushioned trail shoes, but not here. This is the most secure and best-fitting high-stack shoe on the market for the average footed runner.
Again, the Ultra Glide is oriented toward the oasis. The upper is like the cushioned lawn chair to relax in. Even with all those layers, the mesh upper is decently breathable. The cushioning over the midfoot and around the heel give 360 degrees of plush.
In some Salomon shoes, I’ve had issues with the Quicklace system digging into the top of my foot while trying to find an optimal fit. Not with the Ultra Glide. A heavily padded collar and integrated tongue allow for really dialing in this “pull string” method of lacing.
After a few practice runs, the Quicklace system always seems to be the most secure lacing system available for trail shoes. Thanks to the lace garage on the tongue, I’ve never had issues with the shoes “untying” or becoming loose after fastening. Quicklace really is the bow on the wrapping paper of comfort for the Ultra Glide.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Salomon trail shoe without a full rubber Contagrip outsole. It was consistently grippy over a variety of conditions. I feel that I can always count on it besides maybe through deeper mud. Four-millimeter lugs just don’t quite cut it in that case.
The whole kit and kaboodle comes in a crazy light package for what you get. Whether it be for daily running or your ultra race, at 10.7 ounces for a men’s 10.5, this is seriously one of the pound-for-pound best trail shoes out there!
MEAGHAN: The upper of the Ultra Glide is designed with a breathable mesh and a well-padded heel and collar. It feels relatively light, but also provides a really secure fit. The Salomon Quicklace System has been around for awhile, but it’s new to me, and I really dig it. It’s similar to the BOA lacing system, but instead of a spin buckle, it’s got a pull cord, complete with a pocket for any extra lacing. Pretty sweet.
The step-in feel of the Ultra Glide is really nice, especially for a trail shoe. There is plenty of room in the toebox to accommodate my wider feet and, in general, the materials are soft and cushy. Apparently this shoe was designed with a road running last (which might explain why I am such a fan).
Beneath the foot is Salomon’s Energy Surge midsole, which is fairly soft. It’s paired with a rocker design to create a responsive ride and full rubber outsole for all the durability and traction.
THOMAS: When Salomon said this was a wider shoe, I admit I got nervous. My narrow foot doesn’t like extra room in a shoe. The weird thing is, the shoe worked for Meaghan, but at the same time, it didn’t feel overly wide on my foot. The lacing system paired with the fit wings held my foot securely. I didn’t have any hot spots or heel lift. The overall comfort of the Ultra Glide is awesome on the trail and comfortable enough to be my traveling choice on the way home from Colorado.
The Energy Surge midsole is very forgiving on the trail with lots of soft landings and a rockered feel through the stride. There is a firmer puck of foam under the ball of your foot that keeps the toe-off feeling lively. The full coverage Contragrip rubber outsole is aggressive enough to give you bite on the trails while still being smooth enough to use the shoe as a door-to-trail runner. While in Colorado we ran on roads, sand, hardpack, pumice stone, and loose rocks. The Ultra Glide handled the terrain with confidence. My size 10 weighs 10.16 oz./288g.Shop Salomon Trail – Men Shop Salomon Trail – Women
TAYLOR: It’s hard to dog on a shoe that ticks every box that it wants to. I’d even give this one some extra credit.
One thing to note is that the “rocker” is actually closer to “rocker-like”. It has a tapered toe. So, you do get some of that smooth roll in the front third of the shoe. It’s not as noticeable as many Hoka models or as snappy as the Asics Trabuco Max. If you are looking for that full-on metalhead rocker, this won’t be your jam.
The Ultra Glide is a pretty versatile shoe. I’d easily take this out for a hundo based on comfort and performance. If the majority of terrain is highly technical, say like a Hardrock type or any sort of “sky racing” there are better options. Just to reiterate, don’t expect this to be as technically sound as the S/Lab line that is more directly designed for technical performance.
MEAGHAN: I found the shoes run a tad long. My W7.5 felt closer to a W8. As someone who doesn’t mind a little extra room in the toebox, this wasn’t a deal-breaker but you may want to drop down a half size. The second thing to note is the weight. My W7.5 came in at 8.7 oz. That’s not the heaviest trail shoe in the world, but it’s also not the lightest. One of my favorite trail shoes, the HOKA Challenger, is a full ounce lighter.
THOMAS: SIZE DOWN! I usually wear a size 10.5, I received a size 10 and there was still some room in the length. The only other thing I will mention is, the wider toe box on aggressive turns gave my toes a little space to slide, not enough to slow me down, but enough to notice.Shop Salomon Trail – Men Shop Salomon Trail – Women
TAYLOR: Ultra Glide is something entirely different yet very familiar for Salomon. This shoe just might be my dream daily trail trainer. I’d trust it to be a pretty amazing long ultra racer as well. It has some of everything to provide true trail comfort whether you’re going all night long or getting your pre-work run in.
Comfort was the moving target that Salomon was looking to hit. Bullseye! A thicker slab of Energy Surge foam gives high-quality cushion and responsiveness. Sensifit and a thicker mesh upper provide comfort and security up top. There are not many high-stack trail shoes (if any) that can give you this amount of comfort and equal security for just about any trail endeavor. This is a steal at $140.
P.S. If you’ve wanted to try Salomon shoes but have been worried about fit, this will be the one to try!
MEAGHAN: I may have been influenced by Garden of the Gods or cruising next to Courtney Dauwalter, but the Salomon Ultra Glide has definitely made it onto my list of favorite trail shoes. It’s comfortable, responsive, durable and feels great on just about any terrain. If you’re new to the trail or just want a little extra comfort with your trail shoes, this is definitely one to try.
THOMAS: Salomon is looking to take a slice out of HOKA’s deep-dish pie with this shoe. They nailed it. If you are looking for a shoe that can eat up miles and keep you in comfort while it does, then you have a winner right here. I will admit I was worried, as we flew out to Colorado for a Salomon running event with the greatest female trail runner in the world, Courtney Dauwalter. What were we going to do if this shoe sucked? We’d have to tell you that it sucks, because that’s what we do.
Lucky for us and Salomon, this is a really good trail shoe. Good enough for Courtney and Max King too. Salomon is stating that you can get 500 trail miles out of the Ultra Glide after testing pairs that they got back from Max. That should be good enough validation for any trail runner. With a $140 price tag, the Ultra Glide should be on your list to check out.
You can pick up the Salomon Ultra Glide for $140 on August 1 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop Salomon Trail – Men Shop Salomon Trail – Women
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How’s the fit compared to the S/lab ultra 3?? Both have been describes as more accommodating than the typical Salomon fit, but I assume the Ultra Glide is a bit roomier?
I have very narrow/low volume feet, and typically run on really technical New England talus, so I need something snug and secure. But I also need something that can go all day pounding on rocks, and the softer cushion really appeals to me. But I also like to go fast.
Curious to know what you’d recommend between those two (or otherwise!). Thanks and keep up the entertaining reviews!
Hey! Kinda funny, but I just saw this comment immediately after I finished a run with the S/Lab Ultra 3! So, Fresh off the press for this one.
The Ultra Glide fit is a little different partly because the upper is a lot more cushioned rather than sock like. Both have a very secure fit between the midfoot and heel. The difference comes in the forefoot. The Ultra Glide has a purposefully more accommodating forefoot. I didn’t have any issues with slippage. I have a fairly average sized foot and appreciates more room. With that being said, I don’t have any issues the the slabs either because of the knit upper being flexible enough for my forefoot.
Overall, I would almost always choose the Ultra Glide because it is that much more comfortable of a ride with a similarly secure fit. Again, because of the different materials in the upper it will have a different feel on foot.
The only time I would choose the slabs over the Ultra Glide would be for the more highly technical longer days. But even then it would be a hard choice
Awesome, thanks so much man!
I’m a little torn because so much of the running I do is really is quite technical. I’ll have to think about that one.
Do you have any other options you’d think to reach for if you had a super narrow/low volume foot?
Actually I thought of a better question:
How does the fit (volume) compare to a Speedgoat 3 or 4? I had a few pairs of the 3 and loved them, but when they made the 4 a little more “accommodating” it crossed a threshold where they were now too wide/spacious for my feet. Would either of these Salomon options be comparable to the SG3? Or does S/lab ultra 3 = SG3, while Ultra Glide = SG4? Or something else?
Thanks in advance!
I wish I could answer truthfully on the SG3 comparison but it is one of the few shoes that I have not been in!
Have you ever checked into LA Sportiva? They have the Jackal which is very similar in terms of a snug low volume fit to the S/lab. It has a much more soft cushioned feel though. The Karackal just came out too and is almost identical with a little less cushion underneath. Both have the capability to move rather swiftly in technical terrain.
Otherwise, the new Adidas Terrex Speed Ultra has a nicely snug fit and the foam is great but not a lot of it. They are coming out with a more cushioned version in the future though.
Also, I can’t believe that I didn’t mention the Inov-8 Terraultra G 270 if youre okay with 0 drop