Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro ($150)
The Pulsar Trail Pro is Salomon’s new mid to long range trail running shoe that is built for moving fast, regardless of conditions. It is a quick and nimble shoe with a rockered design and Energy Surge foam energy-returning technology that offers enhanced forward propulsion. The Pulsar Trail Pro also features:
An embedded TPU Energy Blade adds underfoot stability while also helping to return energy to both promote forward motion and diminish fatigue.
Energy Surge foam in two densities with a softer foam underfoot and a firmer layer above the outsole
R-Camber geometry for a smooth roll from heel to toe off.
Contagrip rubber with a multi trail surface 3.5mm lug array.
With a Salomon trademark Quicklace design, the Pulsar Trail Pro has a thin mesh upper that yields a secure hold with a roomier than the typical-Salomon-style toe box. In short, the Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro is a race or fast training trail shoe with plenty of protection for mid- to longer-distance trail runs and even races.
Soft cushion and forgiving ride
Responsive on ascents
Midsole Energy Surge foam is light, soft, yet responsive
Upper volume in the forefoot provides more accommodating fit
Longer laces with easy to use Quicklace garage.
Lack of ground feel
Downhill instability due to higher stack and firmer dual foam + blade midsole making landings in technical sections unbalanced
Difficult to dial lacing with Quick Lace, making for an unstable forefoot and/or heel hold
John Tribbia (5′ 6″, 130lbs) is a former sponsored mountain/trail runner who has run with La Sportiva, Brooks/Fleet Feet, Pearl Izumi, and Salomon. Even though he competes less frequently these days, you can still find John enjoying the daily grind of running on any surface, though his favorite terrain is 30-40% grade climbs. He has won races such as America’s Uphill, Imogene Pass Run, and the US Skyrunner Vertical Kilometer Series; and he’s held several FKTs on several iconic mountains in Boulder, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. If you follow him on Strava, you’ll notice he runs at varying paces between 5 minutes/mile to 12 minutes/mile before the break of dawn almost every day.
Sample: men’s 9.06 oz / 257g
Stack Height: men’s 31 mm heel / 25 mm forefoot, 6mm drop
Available now. $150
First Impressions, Fit and Upper
I’m really excited to test this shoe! I tested S/LAB Pulsar and have watched in envy the tests of the other Pulsar versions. The shoe looks fast, feels light, and has a soft underfoot cushion that is noticeable as soon as you put it on.
With the added cushioning compared to the S/LAB Pulsar 1mm more and with a broader landing platform, the shoe feels cushy to me and yet does not produce a dull response when doing a quick jog down the driveway. It isn’t bouncy but still is responsive and seems like it will be a versatile shoe for longer outings that need additional leg-saving cushion.
Fit is true to size and a bit wider for my slightly narrow foot compared to other Salomons, giving it a more accommodating fit that can be locked in using the Quicklace system. The toe box has ample room.
The Energy Surge midsole foam is lightweight and responsive due to its dual density construction where a softer layer sits atop the injected TPU Energy Blade with a firmer layer underneath.
This duo provided excellent energy return, protection, and stability on varied terrain. I ran the Pulsar Trail Pro on dry buffed out trail, road, some technical trails, and off camber grassy hills.
With the exception of the technical running, I found the shoe to be predictable and stable while feeling incredibly well cushioned and comfortable.
In the technical sections, I felt like the Trail Pro was less stable – i.e. too high stacked – and lacked ground feel to feel confident navigating tight areas where an agile and nimble shoe would perform best. In particular, there was too much distance and lower foam firmness between my foot and the ground to feel confident in precise footsteps. Needless to say, the dual foam and blade combination yield a leg saving yet responsive feel when navigating any other terrain.
The Contagrip rubber outsole is grippy, though the 3.5mm lugs are not incredibly deep. I felt confident across varied terrains and the outsole functions well in wet or dry. Even as a lightweight shoe, the rock protection is noticeable from the lower firmer foam layer and is well suited for navigating off camber, mellow sections of mud and potentially snow/ice.
The ride is lively at any pace, but excels when the cadence is high. I found that technical trails weren’t the Pulsar Trail Pro’s cup of tea, but I would be fine running in them nearly everywhere else. The midsole of Energy Surge foam + Energy Blade plate yields a responsive forefoot action that efficiently supports faster paced running. I wouldn’t say the shoe propels you forward like other super shoes or even the S/LAB Pulsar, but it delivers a forward leaning ride thanks to that midsole combination and the well shaped rocker. The added stack height and Blade dampens the ground feel quite a bit, so there isn’t much jarring and there is substantial protection, but I felt like those characteristics took away from the performance somewhat. It is probably more of a preference than anything, but I feel disconnected from the ground in the Pulsar Trail Pro, simply because of the stack and midsole plate and foams. It’s fine for paced running on rolling trails or dirt/paved roads, but I lacked confidence in terrain that required precise footing.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The Pulsar Trail Pro is a great shoe for mid- to longer-range uptempo runs boasting a faster running experience with responsive cushion. It is snappy on the uphills and smooth on the downhills. I took the Trail Pro on a variety of terrain and found it was a capable shoe and performed really well on roads, smooth gravel track, buffed single track, and on uphills. Although not as performant on technical trails, it provides good ground protection and stability for the long haul. This shoe will make you want to run faster thanks to the smooth transition and especially if you are forefoot runner. With a subtle rocker and dual foam / blade midsole, the Pulsar Trail Pro is a go-to shoe for the runner where speed is not just needed, but expected.
Score: 8.33 / 10
Ride – 8 (responsive and efficient, but lackluster in technical terrain)
Fit – 8.5 (lacing was challenging to get dialed and my narrow foot prefers the traditional Salomon fit)
Value – 8.5
Style – 8 (Colorway was okay, I really like the dramatic look of the rocker from side view)
Traction – 8.5 (solid traction for multiple types of terrain)
Rock Protection – 8.5 (TPU Blade and cushion provide sufficient protection)
Smiles – 😊😊😊 out of 5
Index to all RTR reviews: HERE
Salomon Sense Pro 4 (RTR Review)
The Sense Pro 4 is lower stacked, more precise, and has a more stable platform. It is a decent uphill shoe and an absolute beast on the downhills. The Pulsar Trail Pro is lighter, more responsive, and has more cushioning. Even though the Trail Pro is lighter by over 1 oz, the Sense Pro 4 is one of those shoes where I forget I’m wearing one, and especially in technical terrain.
Salomon S/Lab Pulsar (RTR Review) and SG (RTR Review)
The S/Lab is superb on steep uphills and rolling terrain, efficient on road (dirt or pavement), excellent and precise across chossy footing with solid grip to those surfaces, and (as long as your legs are happy enough and you are not a heel striker) an absolute beast on the downhill. While the Trail Pro is reasonably capable in those situations, it seems like the design use-case is for longer sustained paced outings where cushion and efficiency are paramount. Not to mention, the S/Lab is nearly 2 oz lighter than the Trail Pro, so the S/Lab is ideally kept for race day or Strava segment PR days.
Pulsar Trail (RTR Review)
Editor’s Note: Sam had only one run (road) in the Pro before sending our sole pair to John. He had several runs in the Trail and will be sending that sole pair to John for closer comparisons. He notes the Trail had a more pronounced rear rocker than the Pro, so better for slower paces and heel striking. The Trail has 1mm or so more stack height and a bit more mellow flexing Energy Blade.
The lower firmer Energy Surge foam, same dual layer construction as the Pro, is a bit thicker and thus should provide a bit more protection underfoot but likely less agility.
Its outsole has somewhat broader surfaced less angular and more spaced out lugs.
The key difference is weight with the Pulsar Trail 9.95 oz / 283g and the Pro 9.06 oz / 257g with most of that weight appearing to come from the denser (warmer) and more protective (and supportive) upper of the Trail, a shoe that will lean ultra a bit more than the Pro for most.
Brooks Catamount (RTR Review)
The Pulsar Trail Pro is lighter, equally responsive on runnable and paced efforts, and has more cushion. On the other hand, I find the Catamount to be more secure and stable, which equates to better control and confidence at speed on trails and particularly steep and technical trails. Both are great choices for longer, less technical runs and especially mixed running where any extended sections of pavement might be involved.
Saucony Peregrine 12 (RTR Review)
The Saucony Peregrine 12 is nearly 1.5 oz heavier than the Pulsar Trail Pro and is more stable, firmer and the upper has a better and lower profile upper that has great foothold and security. The Peregrine’s traction profile is more aggressive while the Pulsar Trail Pro performs really well on crossover terrain such as road and groomed paths. Peregrine 12 is a stiffer shoe with a bit more rock protection and is somewhat runnable on the roads, but not as enjoyable as the Pulsar Trail Pro.
Hoka Torrent 2 (RTR Review)
Hoka Torrent 2 is one of my favorites. The Salomons are more sock-like and form fitting in the upper and produce an energetic and responsive rebound, while the Hokas provide more ground feel, more stability in the forefoot, more protection, and a larger base to absorb the terrain. If I am going fast and relatively long in mostly non-technical terrain, where I need some pep in my step, I’ll go with the Pulsar Trail Pro, but I will pull out the Torrents on for most anything else.
The Pulsar Trail Pro is available now including at our partners below.
Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes by Salomon RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors’
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