Article by Sam Winebaum
Salomon Aero Blaze ($140 ) & Aero Glide ($160)
Sam: Of course we all know Salomon for their trail running shoes and other mountain gear. Over the years they have also had road shoes in their line, some mighty fine such as the Sonic Accelerate of several years ago. All had a bit of “trail running shoe” vibe with stout uppers and copious outsoles.
The last few years Salomon has standardized most all its midsoles (for both road and trail) around an EVA/ Olefin blend from Dow called Infuse with the more Olefin in the mix the more rebounding and return from compression. First called Energy Surge, it is now called Energy Foam and is featured in almost all their 2023 road and trail running shoes. And following the common themes of most all new Salomon, we have R.Camber geometry and Contagrip outsoles.
What we don’t have in either the Blaze or Glide are Salomon Energy Blade finger like plates found in several of their recent road shoes and I must say I don’t miss them at all.
One might wonder what is new here as both the Glide and Blaze have the Energy Foam, Contagrip rubber outsoles, and R.Camber geometry are still in the mix.
Well quite a bit, as increasingly it is the midsole geometry as much as the foam that dictates the ride and here the midsole geometries are thoroughly updated here.
The weights at 9.05 oz / 256g for the max cushion Glide at 37mm heel / 29mm forefoot and 8.36 oz / 237g for the Blaze uptempo daily trainer at 31mm heel / 23 are more than competitive.
It takes 2 years to create and deliver a new shoe and the last 2 years Salomon has had a new road crew hard at work on product. They are really fine road runners with the product manager winning the big The Running Event trade show for running retailers 5K in under 14:20 two years in a row and I heard the “team event” as well. All the “big” brands were at TRE…
Introduced at the Running Event, we have now had the chance to test both here in Park City and while the foam is identical in both they give Salomon a thoroughly modern one two max cushion and up tempo trainer punch that leans performance, reflecting the team, as opposed to over plush.
Leg friendly Energy Foam has a distinct quick rebound at faster paces
Copious rubber coverage
Light weights for stack and rubber coverage.
R. Camber (plus flex and 8mm drop) is effective in both shoes at faster paces.
Glide fit is high volume foot friendly, also a potential con for lower volume feet
Blaze fit is performance oriented narrower lasted and comfortable
Glide is distinctly less mushy riding, less upper sloppy than last year’s Glide Max
Narrower lower volume feet may struggle for solid midfoot hold in Glide. Needs a gusset tongue
Both take some midsole/outsole break in and neither is particularly slow paces friendly
Glide’s far front flex point could extend further back to help slow pace toe off.
Energy Foam is purposeful and quick rebounding but lacks supercritical foams wow factor
Glide: 37mm heel (measured) / 29mm forefoot (8mm spec drop)
Weight US sample: 9.05 oz / 256g
Spring 2023. $160
Blaze: 31mm heel (measured) / 23 (8mm spec drop) on a narrower platform with a more performance fitting upper
Weight US9 sample: 8.36 oz / 237g
Spring 2023. $140
First Impressions, Fit, and Upper
The uppers of both are similar in materials and feel to the touch but I note the Blaze has 56% recycled content and the Glide 32% with a slightly softer feel to the touch. The mesh in both is considerably softer and more pliable than Salomon’s mesh in older shoes.
The construction is fairly conventional with the single layer fairly dense mesh backed up by overlays.
The tongues are moderately thick, quite long but not over puffy. They could be shorter and less present.
Neither shoe has a gusset type tongue and I think the Glide with its high volume midfoot clearly should help lower volume foot foot lockdown.
Both have a smooth fit front to back, plenty of toe box room and a touch of stretch. I prefer the fit of the Aero for my narrower lower volume feet.
My test pairs are a half size up from my normal.
I tested both shoes with a Darn Tough hiking sock getting excellent hold in the more streamlined fit Aero and adequate in the Glide for my narrower to medium feet.
I would recommend true to size in the Aero (above) and for sure true to size in the Glide (below).
I can say the fit compared to last year’s Glide Max with similar volume is somewhat more secure but for sure the Glide is a high volume shoe, and certainly is yet more so than usual for Salomon.
The midsoles are a single slab of Energy Foam (renamed from Energy Surge). The foam is an EVA / Olefin block copolymer blend. There is no plate in either shoe and none is needed as the outsole (and R.Camber geometry) provides plenty of propulsion. The foam feels identical in firmness in both shoes and I think it is.
Of course with 6mm more stack height front and back on a wider platform at 37mm heel / 29mm forefoot, the Glide is more cushioned but it does not feel as much so as one might expect as it has a more extensive outsole coverage.
The foam feel is for sure energetic and increasingly so as the pace picks up being a bit dull at jogging paces. The return from compression is quicker than say Saucony’s PWRRUN or ASICS Flight Foam Blast+. It is not a plush soft foam. It is not as bouncy soft as say TPU based foams such as PWRRUN+, Boost, or Skechers new Hyperburst Pro are and neither is it as springy light feeling as say ZoomX.
The foam feel in both shoes very nicely balances an aggressive quick and stable return, leg friendly cushion with a clear performance oriented feel. I have never been tired after runs in either shoe. Both shoes, and especially the Blaze shine at faster paces better than at slower ones. The harder you push the more the Energy Foam kicks back, and decisively so, making for fast non plated riding shoes.
Top: Blaze Bottom: Glide
The outsoles are Salomon’s always excellent trail heritage Contagrip rubber. While not highly profiled or lugged (smooth trails only here if you go there), contact is smooth and quite firm, magnifying the shoes responsiveness, pop off the road, and the outsole is well balanced with the foam’s rebound.
In terms of flex, and indeed affected by the difference in cushion stack and outsole, the Aero is somewhat more flexible than the Glide with a longer flex but not at the flexibility level of say a Saucony Kinvara which has no outsole to speak of but with a clearly snappier flex than say the latest Saucony Rides, the 15 and 16 with their less extensive rubber coverage.
The Glide relies on a single front flex point at the groove in the outsole (above left) and it is very flexible there and quite rigid behind. I think it might benefit from some longer, easier flex as while the R.Camber rocker is clearly felt from the heel through the mid foot, toe off relies a bit too heavily on that single front flex point which at slower paces is harder to get to for me.
The Aero has a longer flex noting in the photo above its more extensive front openings and lower stack. The Aero too could use a touch more flex, although I found after a few miles things got smoother as the shoe broke in.
Ride and Conclusions
Simple, modern, and “serious” both shoes cater to faster pace running and quick rebounding returns over mellow plush rides although both have plenty of forgiving cushion. The Glide is an excellent max cushion option for long runs which can also range to most daily training while the Aero harkens to workouts and faster daily training. They make a nice pairing although I wish the Aero was slimmed down yet more at the outsole level to reduce its weight and give it a touch more flex. Neither is soft and plush underfoot but both are highly protective, vibration absorbing and with noted “energy return” of the quick as opposed to soft and bouncy variety.
They are slightly softer than prior Salomon Energy foam “Optivibe” road shoes, which included the elastomer disk at the heel (now removed) with the geometry now also clearly more smooth flowing. That includes the older Sonic models as well as the more prescriptive plated Spectur and Phantasm. Both here are more pace versatile and easier to run, especially at slower paces and from a heel to midfoot strike than the Energy bladed Phantasm (RTR Review) and Spectur (RTR Review) were for me.
The Aero can be thought of as a successor to the Sonic Accelerate (RTR Review) weighing about the same and adding a welcome 2mm more heel stack, as the Accelerate for me was just a touch too low slung and firm for daily training.
I also thought of the Saucony Ride 13/14, New Balance 880 v11/v2 and various Pegasus running the Aero but in the Salomon with a more dynamic midsole. The new Clifton 9 (RTR Review soon) is clearly softer overall even if its foam is about the same in firmness. It has less outsole coverage and I feel its foam is also not as quick returning of down forces. That said it is more pleasant run slow than the Aero if soft.
As far as the Glide, I think of an easier to roll Saucony Endorphin Shift 3, no accident there as we have an 8mm drop with the Shift 4 mm and in the Salomon with a more dynamic midsole foam. Overall the Glide is firmer due to its more extensive outsole coverage. The Glide gives strong competition to the new Invincible Run 3 with its for sure springier ZoomX midsole which is now hamstrung by its not as well implemented outsole and more awkward front geometry. The ASICS Nimbus 25 is another in the class with a more forgiving overall ride but with blockier heel and not quite the decisive faster feel of the Glide.
My only negatives are that the Glide, while improved in upper hold and with less mushy foam than its Glide Max predecessor, (RTR Review) is still in my view overly high volume in midfoot fit and lacking a gusset tongue. It could also use a touch longer flex for my tastes.
The Aero upper is just fine with its more streamlined last. It too could use a touch more flex but with both that appears to be coming with miles run.
All in all these two fine all new offerings from Salomon deserve serious consideration in their respective categories of max cushion up tempo leaning trainer (Glide) and more daily trainer all arounder (Blaze). Check them out if you are seeking a thoroughly modern, durable trainers with great rebounding foam and a more old school, snappy firmer get up and go ride, and that for, and also unusually for a max cushion shoe, in the Glide as well.
Sam’s Score Aero Blaze: 9.2 /10
Ride: 9.1 Fit: 9.3 Value: 9.3 Style:9.3
Sam’s Score Aero Glide: 9.11 / 10
Ride: 9.2 Fit: 8.8 Value: 9.3 Style:9.4
More detailed comparisons to follow as we update the review with more testing.
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range, if he is very lucky, training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run or nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.
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Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors’.