I was running in Salomons long before I became sponsored by the brand in 2008. So, let me put this out there straight up: I’m biased. There’re many, many reasons I believe Salomon is the best trail brand out there. But that’s not what I’m here to chat about on this blog. I’m here to talk shoes, specifically Salomon’s latest trail kickers, the Ultra Glide.

Before I begin, let me say upfront that feet are hellish things to keep happy. We runners ask and expect so much of them – some of us hammer them over scary distances, and across terrain so rugged even donkeys wouldn’t consider venturing.
Some even run ultras on the black stuff <shock & horror>.

And wherever we run, regardless of terrain or distance, we expect our feet to never whinge. Suffice to say, hundreds of books have been published on how to keep runners’ feet happy – blister prevention techniques, advice on bunions, management of callouses, methods of toughening the skin of the feet, the do’s and don’ts of cutting toenails, how to pop toenail blisters… the list is long.

But the No.1 port of call for happy feet is, you guessed it, what the foot wears. There’s a massive global industry for running shoes, and I’m not about to claim that the brand I believe in is the best for everyone. No brand can claim that. The foot is a complex thing, and everyone’s feet are unique. Hey, even our own two feet are different from each other. What one runner considers a fantastic shoe won’t necessarily work for the next runner. No single design of shoe is perfect for everyone. So, that’s my caveat, and I’m putting it out there clearly from the outset: this review, as with the others I’ve written give you my personal opinion (see my reviews on the Salomon SA blog page here ), and I hope it helps you to choose the shoe that’s right for you. That shoe won’t necessarily be a Salomon shoe at all – but equally, it might.

My take on the Ultra Glide

I need to say upfront that my feet are broad. They spent the better part of their first decade of life running around the garden, climbing trees and scrambling over rocks without shoes – out of choice. Those happy years groomed them into far-from-dainty and rather broad feet that for all the decades since whinged if I tried to cram them into shoes of fine fashion (thankfully!) or shoes that felt narrow. These feet of mine need a wide toe box, so there’re many models of Salomons that simply don’t work for me. Yes, Salomons have a reputation for being for the narrower shaped foot, but for those of you with broader flippers, there ARE Salomons for us too. And hey, if there weren’t, then trust me, I wouldn’t have been running in Salomons for the past 14+ years!

My favourites over the years have been the various models of the Sense Ultra, the three models of the Sense Mantra, and more recently the four models of the Sense Ride. All of these were for the broader foot, and in them I’ve covered tens of thousands of km. The one thing they, nor any of the other Salomon shoe designs (nor, it must be said, most other shoe brands over the years) did not offer is a very cushioned sole. We didn’t need cushioning, we thought – we’re rugged, we run trail. In fact, 90% of all trail shoe brands (bar one obvious one which I won’t mention here) ensured their designs were fairly UNcushioned, and quite aggressive underfoot. Minimalistic designs even became quite the trail rage. (Personally I never opted for that thinking.)

But lately, styles of trail shoe have changed direction and moved towards a plush, cushioned feel underfoot. And the Ultra Glide is exactly that! If the ultra-distance kickers of yesteryear were the equivalent to the trusty rugged Landrover that has been the go-to 4×4 vehicle for decades, then the Ultra Glide can be compared to the Range Rover, just as capable of traversing tough terrain but offering “peerless luxury and refinement”. This is the luxury version of its predecessors, whilst still offering the aggression needed to cope with hundreds of miles on rough terrain.

Check out the specs:

  • Intensity of usage: training and racing
  • Biomechanical fit: designed for all strikes – heel, toe and midfoot
  • Drop: 6mm offset (32mm heel stack and 26mm forefoot stack)
  • Weight: my size (UK6) = 244g (that’s 8g lighter than my Sense Ride, and a whole 20g lighter than the Ultra Pro)
  • Lacing system: Salomon’s Quicklace® – the best speed-lacing concept ever!

The Ultra Glide (R) has a broader midsole than the Ride (L).


My opinion of the Ultra Glide:

  • The Ultra Glide is designed for ultra-distance comfort – it provides cushioning, comfort and support over ultra distances, on all terrain. It has a soft (yet sturdy) deep midsole, constructed using a new compound Salomon calls Energy Surge – a lightweight, responsive foam created by combining EVA and Olefin to deliver long-lasting cushion and bouncy energy return. (Ok, that last sentence is Salomon’s description, providing far more detail than I need as a user, but I can confirm the midsole feels super-cushioned AND bouncy!)
  • The 4mm lugs of Contagrip® MA provide good grip on all surfaces. I tested the shoes on rough and smooth rocks, in both wet and dry conditions, and I was impressed – there was great grip all round.
  • There’s quite a substantial “rocker” worked into the midsole of the shoe. The Salomon designers refer to this as the “reverse camber”. It’s inspired by the brand’s ski heritage, and the rocker geometry is there to offer an efficient feel and substantial spring to our gait.
  • As with most of Salomon’s shoes, the Sensifit® technology in the banded tongue cradles the foot snugly and firmly so there’s no lateral movement as you cover long distances.
  • My feet felt well supported, secure and cushioned during my various runs, and yet I still felt in good contact with the terrain underfoot. This surprised me, I expected the thicker sole to make me feel out of touch with the trail, particularly on the rougher stuff, but instead it felt responsive.
  • And for me the biggest plus of all was the width of the shoe. My wide feet were 100% happy – the Glide fits my foot better than the Ultra Pro used to, and as well as (if not even better than, because of the cushioning) my Rides do.

My ONLY criticism of the Ultra Glide (and it’s really only a whinge) is the colour, of the women’s sizes at least. I’ve no idea why Salomon so often selects naff namby-pamby colours for its women’s shoes. Don’t we run through mud too? Hopefully the next version of the Glide will be brought out in more dynamic colours!

Showing shoe widths (from L to R): the Sense Pro 3, the Ultra Pro, the Ultra Glide, the Ultra 2.

Happy feet, particularly over the longer distances = happy me!

I thought my feet were happy before, but now, sheeeeez, the Ultra Glides are my best ever foot forward!