I’ll start with a confession. I’m biased to dislike the Sense Ride 5. Years ago, a slightly confrontational and overly pretentious running store employee in the Roaring Fork Valley told me the Sense Ride was the shoe — none other would do.
I had blown out a pair of trusty Brooks the week before and was just looking for a 1-to-1 replacement of my beloved Ghosts. At the time, I wasn’t even doing much trail running, instead I was training for some local sprint-distance triathlons. Nonetheless, I succumbed to shoe salesman/peer pressure and bought the Sense Rides.
I hated the shoe. It fit strangely, rubbed at my toes, and I couldn’t figure out the Quicklace system. Unfortunately, I was on vacation when I bought the pair and was back home before I decided it wasn’t just an awkward break-in period, but the shoe itself. Even with the price of running shoes these days, a plane ticket still edged them out budget-wise (though it’s getting close).
So, I had low expectations when I unboxed the Sense Ride 5, determined to give them the ol’ college try and retire them to the “already tested” shelf in my home gear closet. To my surprise, they became my highest mileage shoe of 2023 and into 2024 — consistently my go-to when I could only bring one shoe on a trip.
Not just for trail running either; they’ve become a default bikepacking shoe for me, especially when I know there’s plenty of hiking and biking ahead of me.
In short: The Salomon Sense Ride 5s ($140) are a versatile, all-trail shoe that can handle a variety of terrain and running styles. With a combo of performance and style, they may be the only shoe you run in this season.
- Weight 293 g per shoe
- Drop 8mm
- Comfortable, all-around performance
- Tacky grip handles scree and steep paths, but isn’t overbuilt
- Quicklace System provides all-day security
- Lets in dust and debris
- Quicklace system hard on those with wide feet
Salomon Sense Ride 5 Shoes Review
Salomon has been making trail running shoes since before trail running was cool. And sure, now Rhianna’s wearing the French shoe brand during halftime shows and they’re showing up in streetwear roundups — but that hasn’t changed the brand’s commitment to mountain running.
The rest of the world has just caught up with what’s been working in the Alps for decades. Which is just a zeitgeist-y blend of cool colors and tech-focused shoes. Seriously, my Sense Rides got compliments everywhere I wore them, including my hard-to-impress local butcher.
Sense Ride 5 Performance
Comfort & Fit
In a world of max comfort shoes, like HOKA’s Speedgoat and New Balance’s Fresh Foam, it’s tough to describe any regularly padded shoe as supremely comfortable. But the Sense Ride is a comfortable shoe, in a way that feels well-earned.
Like any shoe, there’s a slight break-in period and the Quicklace system takes a bit to get used to. But once you find the right balance, the Sense Rides have that everyday comfort that a pair of broken-in jeans does: dependable and durable.
The lightweight 3D mesh upper is the heavy lifter here. Enough stretch and breathability to adjust as your foot swells during longer efforts, but enough abrasion resistance to take on rocks and brambles. Its one weakness seems to be dust.
Larger bits of debris are effectively deterred by the gusseted tongue, fine dirt and sand slip through and can build up during a run. While using a small trail running gaiter helps, I often choose a different shoe when running in those conditions.
The Quicklace system can be polarizing. Runners with wide feet complain about the constraints and tightness of the default lace setting. But for the knot-challenged (myself included — seriously, I must have learned to tie my shoes incorrectly, as I’m constantly stopping to retie on runs), the Quicklace is an easy system that won’t shift during your outing.
Ride & Durability
Salomon bills its midsole material as an “Energy Foam” that balances cushion and energy return. This is different from its “Energy Blade” technology, which is the kind of propulsive tech becoming standard in speed-focused road running shoes.
The Energy Foam is a comfortable, hardworking EVA-based midsole. Flubber it is not — you won’t leap to the summit in a single bound. Nor did I notice any significant extra bounce to my step on the trail. But it did remain comfortable, mile in and mile out, without losing cushion or support.
The 3.5mm lug depth is a great all-terrain performer. There were some runs, like on a few shale scrambles on trails around Golden, Colo., where I wished for some more grip. But in general, the Contagrip outsole handled most terrain with aplomb.
And, crucially, it wasn’t so luggy that running on pavement felt like a chore. This is especially helpful for any mixed terrain running, or when you rent an Airbnb a half mile from the trailhead.
Trail runners can have a notoriously small shelf life. They’re exposed to more adverse conditions than road shoes — you’re unlikely to attempt a stream crossing in a suburban setting.
I’ve adopted the Sense Ride as my shoe de rigueur on both trail running adventures and general outdoor pursuits: anything from bikepacking through the lower Appalachians in January to a multiday float trip on Utah’s Green River. The shoes have been up to the challenge. A little dirtier than the day I unboxed them, but what do you expect from a trail runner?
The most technical and finicky aspect of the shoe is the lacing system. I have yet to run into a problem. And in the rare case the Quicklace breaks down, Salomon sells a reasonably priced repair kit ($10).
Salomon Sense Ride 5 Shoes: Final Thoughts
Salomon’s Sense Ride 5 is a true workhorse mountain shoe. All terrain, all conditions, all distances. And while it’s a jack of all trades, it’s not a master of none. It excels in short to midrange runs with mixed terrain, but still has the performance capabilities for long days in the mountains.
While the Quicklace system may not be for everyone, those who like it will love the shoe. Turns out that the running store salesman was right: this is the shoe.