Salomon Sense 8 Trail Running Shoes | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Trail and Scramble Shoes

Salomon Sense 8 Trail Running Shoes | Review

Can the lightest trail running shoe across all of Salomon's line hack it on the UK's trails?

The Sense from Salomon has been an athlete favourite ever since its inception in 2012.  It’s a shoe with relatively minimal lugs, paired with a slim midsole and an extremely lightweight upper.

Salomon’s aim with it was to offer a trail running shoe that’s lightning-quick over short-mid distances and that can keep up with the demands of the likes of Kilian Jornet and whatever ludicrous high level traverse he can throw their way.

The formula has clearly stood the test of time (even following the recent surge in highly cushioned runners), having remained at the pinnacle of Salomon’s performance focused ‘S/Lab’ range.

Photo: Holly Burns

But how does the latest version, the Sense 8 perform on the typical trails we get here in the UK? Can it hack long rocky miles in Snowdonia or extended periods through a classic Lakeland bog minefield? We here at Outdoors Magic had so many questions before slipping into these featherweight runners.

Luckily enough, our samples arrived at a time where lockdown restrictions had begun to ease, allowing us to get them out on terrain where we’d expect them to thrive and perhaps most importantly, in terrain where we perceived the minimal lug depth may struggle.

Over 300 kilometres later, we can now happily say that we’ve put our Sense 8s through a classic British fell running test. Jack’s Rake, Striding and Sharp Edge have all seen ascents, along with countless hours pounding across featureless English tops.

Photo: Holly Burns

Perhaps the most noticeable change to the Salomon Sense with the new eighth iteration is the upper. Looking pretty similar to a modern-day road running shoe, the upper feels more like a sock, than a shoe, and really hugs around your foot giving a great feel all-round.

Reinforcements have been added in the heel, to give some much-needed stability. You’ve also got the traditional Salomon Quicklace system, which people either love or hate. We’re personally fans of this lacing system which gives a no-thrills (and quick) way of lacing the shoes.

It goes without saying that this lightweight upper isn’t waterproof – far from it, in fact. Even when you’re exposed to the slightest hint of water, you’re almost instantly going to get soggy socks. This wasn’t too much of a problem for us, as although the shoe will let in water at a fast rate, it’ll let it out almost as fast, allowing the shoes to dry at a surprisingly impressive rate.

Don’t expect a cushioned ride from the Sense 8s. The low profile midsole, combined with a drop of just 4mm, allows for a massive level of feedback from what’s beneath you – though with a decent enough shank/chassis to provide protection from the sharp stuff. It gives you fantastic proprioception on the trail, particularly along technical sections.

Photo: Holly Burns

An outsole with a very considered lug pattern has been used to further decrease the weight of the shoes. These shallow lugs are optimised for hard packed trails, and rocky scrambles – think many of the classic trails surrounding Chamonix.

All of this creates a shoe that barely tips the scale at 195g. This is something that we noticed right away – the Salomon Sense 8 had an extremely agile feel to them. 

Photo: Holly Burns

Although we’d not trust the shallow lugs when things get extremely wet (Salomon make a Sense 8 ‘soft ground’ version), the feeling that these shoes give you underfoot does allow for you to quickly anticipate, and react, to any loss in traction you may be experiencing.

Photo: Holly Burns
Photo: Holly Burns

The Sense 8s are able to hack it in wet conditions, but a little extra care is required. That goes without saying, really. Where these shoes excel (far above many other shoes in their class) is over technical terrain. These are the shoes that we’d be reaching for to set a new personal best up our favourite hill climb, or along a well worn trail, but not sliding down squelchy trails.

And in terms of durability, we’ve seen no issues there whatsoever. The synthetic upper seems to be pretty tough – so it’s fared well. That’s not to say these aren’t going to see any durability issues in the long run, but they’ve certainly impressed us so far, and we’ve not been particularly precious with them.

Full Specifications

Available in men’s and women’s versions / Contagrip sole / profeel rockplate / welded upper / dual density midsole / single layer mesh / 195g / 4 mm drop / slim fit.


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