Salomon Sonic RA

Salomon designed their Sonic RA racing shoe to be equal parts agile and stabilizing. Its outsole features Wet Traction Contagrip for an incredible grasp even on wet surfaces. Geometric Decoupling is also included to balance out the runner's gait cycle. The brand's trademarked EnergyCell+ and Opal technologies combine to form Vibe midsole technology, cushioning the foot as it provides enhanced shock absorption and energy return. And the upper is outfitted with both a specialized mesh and Sensifit overlays to keep the foot completely secure. Though it's the brand's use of vibrant colorways that draw buyers in, it's the shoe's performance that keeps them happy. Reviewers have reported using this model for everything from races and intense workouts to casual runs and sightseeing.

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Pros & Cons

-Incredible traction

-Plenty of toe room

-Comfortable cushioning

-Easy to move around in

-Very short break-in period


-Lacks durability

-Does not fit true to size

Key Features
Blown rubber covers the Sonic RA's outsole to ensure more lightweight cushioning. But its the brand's trademarked Wet Traction Contagrip that truly makes its wear stand out. This feature not only increases overall durability but also ensures much stronger traction while running across wet surfaces. It also utilizes Geometric Decoupling, marked by two different colors on either half of the underfoot. This works to properly balance out the foot and, therefore, promotes a much smoother and more stable gait cycle.
Salomon's Vibe midsole technology is a combination of the brand's carefully engineered EnergyCell+ and Opal materials. EnergyCell+ ensures lightweight yet durable energy return, while Opal focuses more on giving the runner more comfortable underfoot cushioning. When combined to create Vibe technology, they form a highly durable midsole unit that provides enhanced levels of shock absorption and energy transfer. A highly breathable Ortholite Molded sockliner is put in place for more comfortable support. It also includes moisture-wicking and antibacterial properties to keep foot odor and possible infections at bay. As an added bonus, an Ortholite Impression makes up the top layer of underfoot cushioning. It utilizes 50% bio-oil content to ensure a more comfortable and customized wear.
Specialized Sensifit mesh is the primary material used for the Sonic RA's upper, offering much more pliability and durability than a standard mesh. Though it doesn't have any real structure on its own, the brand's Welded Sensifit technology takes care of this completely. It forms a sturdy midfoot cage that integrates with the shoe's traditional lacing system to wrap securely around the foot and ensure a truly stable fit. These overlays also take the form of a Welded Collar Binding, which wraps around the heel and underneath the curve of the ankle. A clear toe bumper and heel clip are also present for greater protection.
When it comes to the Sonic RA, men's sizes average out to 8.6 oz. while women's sizes are typically around 7.4 oz. Its incredibly lightweight wear makes the shoes ideal not just for competitions, but also for long distance running and even casual settings. It also enables them to reach their highest speed possible. Despite this, runners still say that they feel perfectly secure as they move and that they feel confident that the shoe doesn't sacrifice any level of stability for agility.
Aside from its flexible wear and surprising level of durability, the Sonic RA's mesh material is also extremely breathable. It's more exposed along the forefoot, where hotspots tend to occur most often. Ceratin areas of the midfoot and heel also have access to unrestricted airflow. The Ortholite Molded sockliner also permits ventilation and has both moisture wicking and antibacterial properties. These features work together to provide a cooler and more comfortable wear that greatly reduces the likelihood of foot odor and possible infections.
Reviewers are extremely happy with how comfortable the Sonic RA's wear is. The EnergyCell+, Opal, and Vibe technologies that make up its midsole unit keep the underfoot cushioned as they provide enhanced shock absorption and energy return. The inclusion of an Ortholite Molded sockliner and Ortholite Impression ensures even more comfortable cushioning and customized support. Its Sensifit mesh upper is easy to move around in and allows an incredible amount of breathability, while its Sensifit overlay systems keep the top of the foot supported. Runners feel completely comfortable after both long distance runs and intense races and are even able to wear this model in everyday, casual environments.
The Sonic RA's design manages to be sleek, sporty, and vibrant all at the same time. This is thanks to the use of specially engineered mesh and thin Sensifit overlays that don't add any extra bulk to the shoe. It also utilizes vibrant color schemes on both the upper and outsole, with the latter using them to mark its specialized Geometric Decoupling. Though many of its color schemes aren't meant for everyone, most runners are extremely happy with how eye-catching these shoes are. Hawaiian Surf/Blue and Safety Yellow/Black/Blue Bird are available in men's sizes, while Blue Curacao/Safety Yellow/Fiery Coral and Pink Yarrow/Surf The Web are available in women's sizes. There is also an all-over black option for men and an all-over coral option for women.
Most reviewers felt that the Sonic RA held up very well during their runs. The Wet Traction Contagrip outlasts multiple uses, even when going long distances. The Vibe midsole's various technologies ensure long-lasting cushioning that's able to retain its shape. And the use of both Sensifit mesh and Sensifit overlays allow the upper to keep its overall structure. However, some reviewers have noticed that parts of the sole wear down quickly after only a few runs. This could be due to the blown rubber, which provides lightweight cushioning but is known to lack durability.
The Sonic RA protects the runner from most of the potential hazards that they would find while racing. The outsole's Wet Traction Contagrip ensures a strong grasp even on wet surfaces, while the Geometric Decoupling works to balance out the gait cycle and prevent potential injuries. The various technologies within its midsole unit all work together to provide comfortable and customized support while also absorbing impact, greatly reducing the amount of pain and fatigue the runner will feel by the end of the day. While the mesh upper gives complete breathability to keep the foot chamber cool and dry, its Sensifit overlays and Welded collar binding work with the shoe's lacing system to prevent the foot from wobbling for accidentally slipping out.
All good competition shoes need to have a high level of responsiveness, as this is what allows the runner to keep moving along smoothly and to power forward during their races. The Sonic RA's midsole unit takes care of this by utilizing two of Salomon's trademarked technologies. EnergyCell+ provides lightweight energy return, enabling the runner spring forward and reach their optimal speed, while Opal works to cushion the foot and retain its normal shape. Together, they form a layer that the brand calls Vibe technology. Aside from ensuring a stronger rebound, it also provides a high level of impact absorption to keep the runner free of pain and fatigue.
Most feel that the Sonic RA gives them a good amount of support, thanks to the materials packed into its midsole unit. The Vibe technology combines EnergyCell+ and Opal for an incredible amount of cushioning and shock absorption. This unit is topped off with an Ortholite Molded sockliner, complete with Ortholite Impressions that follow the natural curves of the foot for more customized support. And the upper's Sensifit mesh and Welded Sensifit technology wrap around the midfoot area to keep it secure and comfortable. Despite this, there are some reviewers who feel that it doesn't give them enough arch support.
Based on its overall construction, and the experiences of many reviewers, it's clear that the Sonic RA is meant to be used on paved roads. Its substantial cushioning and stabilizing upper make it especially useful for long distance runs, as it's able to cushion the runner without losing its shape and can keep the foot secure while still providing a great deal of airflow. Even better, its Wet Traction Contagrip outsole enables this shoe to be worn on wet or slippery surfaces and even during runs through light rain.
The Sonic RA is definitely on the higher side of average when it comes to its price. On multiple online retailers, from JackRabbit and Holabird Sports to Salomon's own website, it runs for $130. To a number of buyers, especially those who don't typically purchase high-quality footwear, this is considered extremely expensive. Yet it's actually quite reasonable when compared to similar models on the market. And its price is even more understandable when taking its levels of comfort and traction into account. However, its inconsistent durability does cause some to hold off on making a purchase.
Aside from its lightweight comfort and vibrant color schemes, reviewers are also extremely impressed with the Sonic RA's level of traction. Though its outsole's blown rubber compound does help somewhat, thanks to its durability, it's the brand's Wet Traction Contagrip that truly enables its strong grasp. Heavily textured and shaped like a grid all along the forefoot and heel, its tread pattern keeps the runner moving safely as they race on concrete and cement. And it works just as well on wet surfaces, making it a great choice for several different types of weather.
Based off its product descriptions and overall design, it's clear that the Sonic RA focuses more on stability. However, since it is a competition shoe it does have to be pliable enough for racing. Along with the WetTraction Contagrip and Geometric Decoupling, which allow secure yet smooth movements, the outsole also features several deep flex grooves that run both horizontally and vertically. This gives the runner an even more agile wear that also enables them to move faster. And though it features a series of overlays, including Welded Sensifit around the midfoot area, its Sensifit mesh upper still gives a sock-like fit that allows the foot to bend and stretch where it's most needed.
Despite its lightweight design, the Sonic RA's wear is actually incredibly stable. As its Wet Traction Contagip outsole provides a secure grip even on wet surfaces, its use of Geometric Decoupling enables a smooth and balanced gait cycle. The highly responsive Vibe midsole completely absorbs shock to keep the runner moving along, and its Ortholite Molded sockliner and Ortholite impression ensure total underfoot cushioning and support. Though its engineered mesh provides a sock-like fit on its own, Welded Sensifit technology wraps around the midfoot an integrates with the lacing system for a truly secure fit. And a Welded Collar Binding further ensures that the foot won't wobble around or accidently slip off.
With a heel height of 28mm and a toe height of 20mm, the Sonic RA features both an 8mm drop height and a substantial amount of underfoot cushioning. Aside from the amount of support that it offers the runner, it's also low enough that it won't interrupt the natural gait cycle. This particular drop height is also good for long distance runners, as it will enhance their sense of balance and posture as they move along.
Key Features
-Wet Traction Contagrip outsole with blown rubber
-Geometric Decoupling for a smoother gait cycle
-EnergyCell+ and Opal cushions the foot
-Vibe technology for enhanced responsiveness
-Breathable Ortholite sockliner gives greater comfort
-Road-specific Sensifit upper secures the foot
-Several vibrant colorways available
Bottom Line
Although there are certain aspects of this shoe that could definitely be improved, the Salomon Sonic RA has been incredibly well received by many racing and fitness enthusiasts. Though it's designed for neutral runners, its outsole design and specialized overlays still ensure a great deal of stability. Buyers also appreciate its level of comfort, thanks to its cushioned midsole and breathable mesh upper. When paired with a selection of vibrant colorways for both men and women, runners of all levels have an incredible piece of footwear that's every bit as functional as it is eye-catching.
Where to Buy
Backcountry Link
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Holabird Sports Link
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By Jessica Pilla
Last updated:
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Best offer on: Jul. 27. 2021

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