Salomon Sonic RA Max

8.9
8.9 score
[Editors rating (8.9)] = Runnerclick score (8.9)/10

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Salomon Sonic RA Max Review Facts
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The Salomon Sonic RA Max is a high-quality performance shoe you can wear all day, every day, and not get tired feet or blisters. The midsole is made of a VIBE technology double unit EnergyCell+ and Opal which provides a great balance of responsiveness and cushioning. The RA Max dons a sporty look that can be really appealing if you’re into that fitness-meets-casual wear look. If you’re searching for a good stability shoe for overpronators and heel-strikers, cozy up and get to reading – this is your lucky day.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Good balance of cushioning and responsiveness
  • Wet Traction Contragrip outsole
  • Geometric decoupling outsole technology for better energy-return
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transition
  • VIBE two-unit midsole: EnergyCell+ and Opal heel foam
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Suitable for overpronators, heel-strikers, as well as neutral runners
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Outsole durability isn’t top-notch
  • Lacks a bit of flexibility

 

Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of the Salomon Sonic Ra Max unit is designed to provide a smooth heel-to-toe transition, with the help of deep, sectioned grooves that create three distinct parts of the outsole: the forefoot, midfoot and rearfoot part. This system is called the ‘geometric decoupling’. The grooves are strategically used here to have independent points of contact that don’t transfer the impact shock to the rest of the outsole. This design is believed to promote a smooth gait cycle transition because the restriction of the impact shock area increases the shoe’s responsiveness in an innovative way. The outsole also features the Wet Traction Contragrip compound, which is meant to increase the durability of the shoe and prevent an untimely wear and tear. This compound also helps the shoe grip to both wet and dry surfaces alike. In the forefoot area, you’ll find blown rubber compound which makes the outsole springy, yet adds a bit of softness to it.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

On the side of the midsole, you’ll find grooves continued from the outsole, and around the midfoot area, a discreet letter indent that says: ‘VIBE’. Vibe is a type of midsole that is comprised of two units. The first one is a full-length EnergyCell+ foam that provides cushioning, comfort, responsiveness and durable support so that the midsole doesn’t lose its form. The other VIBE unit, Opal, is located in the heel area, and its function is to provide a bouncy heel strike and good responsiveness, all while remaining lightweight. The EnergyCell+ and Opal together ensure great energy-return, and the Opal unit is especially beneficial for heel-strikers who prefer to jog, rather than sprint. Lastly, an Ortholite sock liner is positioned above the VIBE cushioning system. It’s contoured in the shape of the underfoot, providing additional support, primarily to the arch.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper of the Salomon Sonic RA Max is made out of breathable and flexible engineered mesh material that provides great comfort while keeping your feet cool and dry on the ride. The upper features some welded overlays and a collar binding, that provide a bit of stability and sturdiness to the foot. This welded Sensifit overlay system looks like a web that encapsulates the forefoot, lateral parts of the midfoot, as well as the heel area, and gives reinforcement to the upper stability. The tongue is slightly padded but adapts to the foot really well, and the traditional lacing system features a loop to put the shoelaces through so that the tongue doesn’t slip to the side while running.
Weight
Weight

Weight

At 265g or 9.3oz for a men’s half pair and 30g less for women, the Salomon Sonic RA Max is a lightweight shoe, although it’s not feather-light and unnoticeable. However, due to their bulky-looking midsole, most runners are left pleasantly surprised at the shoe’s weight. The RA Max has achieved a great balance of being lightweight while also providing the sole support of some heavier running shoes.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The Salomon Sonic RA Max is extremely breathable, due to the fact that most of its upper is just thin mesh material. The overlays on this running shoe are minimal and strategically placed so that your feet won’t overheat or sweat in this breezy shoe. Additionally, the mesh upper is in direct contact with the foot (without any stability cage or another layer of material) so you’ll feel the air circulating through the shoe even when you’re walking. This, however, makes this a spring/summer shoe; we’d definitely advise you to go for something a bit thicker for winter.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

The RA Max has indeed put the comfort to the max with this cushiony running shoe. It’s made for daily runs, so comfort has been the brand’s primary focus when creating the RA Max, and it shows. The shoe features a spacious toe box, a slightly wider base (the available widths are B – Medium for women and D – Medium for men), as well as an outstanding fit. This shoe has a somewhat curved shape that seems to follow the natural lines of the foot, which makes it extremely comfortable and suitable for everyday casual wear for when you’re running errands and walking for a long time.
Style
Style

Style

The general consensus is that the Salomon Sonic RA Max is a good-looking shoe. The design seems like it saying “oh yes, I’m a runner, it’s my passion and not just something I do because I feel like I need to, and what do you do?” The color options vary from subdued and neutral to bright and sporty. In short, this comfortable running shoe looks cool, although we wouldn’t go as far to say that it would fit your everyday style of clothing.
Durability
Durability

Durability

On some of the older Sonic models, the area of the upper around the ankle, and especially behind the Achilles tendon, had a tendency to wear off quickly and reveal the firm shoe shell underneath, but not the RA Max – the brand has heard the complaints and resolved this issue with this new model. However, there seems to be a problem with the shoe’s outsole. Some runners have noticed that it wore off well before they hit the 50-mile mark. While this is something to note as a potential problem, the number of people that have complained about the shoe’s durability isn’t substantial.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Protection-wise, the RA Max has focused on protecting your legs tiredness and soreness caused by the shock impact to the foot, hence the cushioned EnergyCell+ midsole. Compared to the Sonic RA and RA Pro, the RA Max offers the most protection, making it the best shoe out of the three to take on a long run. The forefoot is protected by the rubber toe cap/tip, that gives both the sole and the upper some extra firmness and sturdiness, while also providing enough toe space. Also, the toe part of the shoe is reminiscent of some trail shoes, given that it’s marked with 1-2-3 numbers and that it’s distinctly separated from the other parts of the outsole.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The Salomon Sonic RA Max creates a very satisfying blend of cushioning and responsiveness. With the combination of the two-unit VIBE midsole and the geometric decoupling of the outsole, the RA Max succeeds at being springy and soft at the same time. This shoe is almost completely shock-impact free, and the firm (but not hard!) sole provides a snappy ride, although most runners have noted that the RA Max performs best at slower paces. While the responsiveness is more than enough for slower-paced, daily runs, we’d recommend you put on a more responsive shoe like the RA Pro on race day.
Support
Support

Support

The RA Max is made to cater to the needs of those runners that have an overpronation problem and require mild to moderate arch support. It might seem like a fairly specific target group, but there are around 40-45% of runners who require this kind of support in order to maintain proper form while running. With the RA Max, we’re talking about a very supportive shoe with a wider foot platform, more medial support, and more vertical side walls. The geometric decoupling on the outsole actually has a support function as well, because it causes the shoe platform to skew in a more lateral direction that counteracts the pronation tendencies of the foot. However, this isn’t to say that runners who do not require a support shoe can’t run in the RA Max and be perfectly happy – on the contrary. If you find this shoe comfortable and suitable for your arch, there’s no reason whatsoever to not wear the RA Max daily.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

This lightweight running shoe is best for the road, gym, flat surfaces, light gravel and tarmac running. The heel cushioning combined with a flat, harder surface will provide a hassle-free ride for miles and miles, without any pain in the joints whatsoever.
Price
Price

Price

The Salomon Sonic RA Max price isn’t exactly what one would call a bargain – there are other high-quality running shoes that cost less – but not way less. A lot of recreational runners will hesitate to step in the triple-digit territory when buying their running shoes, but those who have been burnt will appreciate a shoe that delivers to the expectations that its price has set. The brand has decided to sell the RA, RA Pro and RA Max at the same price, possibly to send a message that one isn’t better than the other; it’s just a matter of needs and individual runner’s preferences.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The blown rubber of the outsole and the strategic groove placement allow you to feel the road, while the cushioning tunes out the shock-impact. The outsole dons the Wet Traction Contragrip compound that delivers great traction on wet and dry surfaces and grip to them with ease.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The Sonic RA Max is a slightly stiffer shoe that the RA, and that stiffness stems from increased responsiveness that assists the heel-to-toe transition. The ride in the RA Max is springy, firm and a little bit stiff, but the cushioning of the midsole makes it smooth and enjoyable. If there wasn’t enough room for the toes in the upper, the lack of flexibility would pose a greater problem; however, seeing that even during toe-off, the toes won’t be pressed against the firm sole, this lack of flexibility doesn’t have a great influence on the shoe’s quality.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The Salomon Sonic RA Max is a very stable shoe, thanks to the wider forefoot platform. In this support shoe, foot twisting and wobbling won’t be an issue. Wide-footed runners and heavier runners will be thrilled by the stability the RA Max has the offer. As a welcome addition, the wider forefoot platform combined with the Opal heel cushioning allows you to run without giving much thought to the correct form of your movements – in a way, the shoe will do most of the work for you. This shoe’s stability is very apparent when going downhill as well – that’s where the grippy rubber, wider platform and cushioning really shine.
Drop
Drop

Drop

With a heel height of 30mm and a forefoot height of 20mm, the Salomon Sonic RA Max has a commonly-seen 10mm drop. This is completely in tune with the Opal heel midsole cushioning and the general support characteristics this shoe has – it is a dream-come-true to heel strikers. The drop is a cherry on the heel-striking cake, which ensures that your ride will be comfy, your running form won’t be compromised, and you won’t need any time to adapt to this running shoe.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

● Wet Traction Contragrip outsole
● Geometric decoupling outsole technology
● VIBE two-unit midsole
● Breathable
● Extremely comfortable
● Overpronation, heel-striking, and neutral support
● Less durable outsole
● Road, track and treadmill shoe
● Not so flexible
● Sensifit overlay system
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Salomon Sonic RA Max is a great shoe for daily runs and exercise. It is aimed towards overpronators and heel strikers, but ‘normal’ runners can enjoy its perfect blend of responsiveness, protection and cushioning, as well. The shoe is supremely comfortable and pretty stable, the only downside to it is that the outsole durability is a bit lacking. However, seeing how this shoe is best for slower-paced runs, it’s certain they will last you for the spring/summer season. For those looking for a stability shoe with enough bounce and cushion, the RA Max is a reliable choice.