Road runners listen up! Salomon has a new running shoe headed our way that is as comfortable and well-designed as any that I’ve ever used, offering up a new level of support and protection for our feet. The new Predict RA is lightweight and features some impressive new technology that promises to reduce stress on the hips and knees, but unfortunately most of us are going to have to wait a few months to get our hands on them.
If you’re like me, the first thing you’ll probably notice when you take the new Predict RA out of their box is just how soft and light they are. Tipping the scales at 9.4 ounces, these shoes fall squarely into the medium range in weight however, neither sliding into the minimalist category, nor seeming bulky in any way. They do have plenty of cushion however, which may conjure up images of some of the shoes offered by the team over at Hoka One One
. That said however, I’ve always felt that Hoka’s offerings were a bit too overly cushioned, reducing my connection with the ground as a result. That isn’t the case with the Predict RA however, which provides good protection for your feet while still maintaining a connection with the road at the same time.
The Predict RA’s new upper is surprisingly smooth, soft, and supple. So much so that it doesn’t feel like any other upper that I’ve seen on a running shoe. It doesn’t perform like most of them either, providing a high level of comfort and breathability, even in warmer weather conditions. Where I live, that is something I value highly, as more often then not, during the warmer months I return home after a run with soaked feat due to excessive perspiration. It isn’t a pretty sight.
As nice as the upper on this shoe is however, it doesn’t compare to the mid- or outsole in terms of technical achievements. The midsole has been designed to mimic the human foot quite closely, right down to the movement of the bones and joints found inside. As a result, the Predict RA offers a high level of support in places where most shoe manufacturers haven’t even considered adding cushioning and flexibility. Intuitive runners will feel this out on the road too, with shoe moving and shifting its pattern based on how your foot strikes the ground and the response it gets from the pavement.
The outsole takes things to a new level too. Salomon’s designers have integrated ten individual platforms that also conform to the major bone structures within the foot. What separates these platforms from those found on other running shoes is that they have each been built to move and react independently of one another. This allows the Predict RA to once again shift its support and cushioning to different parts of the foot as needed. The result, at least according to Salomon, should be better all around protection, less leg fatigue post-run, and reduced stress on the hips and knees.
I’ve been running in the Predict RA for several weeks now, logging up close to 100 miles, and have to say that I am very impressed. These shoes are extremely comfortable to wear and require virtually no break-in right out of the box. And while I’d have to run in them for extended periods of time yet before truly commenting on how they impact my knees and hips, I can say that my legs do seem to recover faster and experience less fatigue after a run.
I do have a couple of quibbles with the Predict RA, but they are mostly very personal opinions. First, the shoe uses standard laces for lacing them to your feet, which work nicely and are very comfortable. But as someone who has used Salomon running shoes for awhile, I do miss the Quicklace system, which is great for getting them on and off quickly, while holding shoes firmly in place throughout a workout. Also, when I first ran in my pair of Predict RA shoes there was a very noticeable squeak coming from one of the soles. It went away after five or six miles of running, but it was definitely driving me crazy for awhile, even when wearing earbuds.
Those few items aside, the Predict RA is one of the best road running shoes that I have ever worn. They are exceptionally comfortable, stable on a variety of road surfaces and weather conditions, and offer a nice level of cushioning and protection too. Durability also seems high, as my pair don’t even look like they’ve been run in yet and I’m nearly a third of the way through their lifespan.
As mentioned above, the bad news is that most of us will have to wait awhile to get our hands on these new road shoes. Salomon officially launched them today, but they’ll only be available in a few speciality shops across the U.S. until February of 2019 or online at a few outlets. In February they’ll go into wider release and be available pretty much everywhere. Until then, here’s where you can find them:
NYC Marathon Expo
Reno Running Company – Reno, Nev.
TC Running Company – Minneapolis
San Francisco Running Co – Mill Valley, Calif.
Shoes and Brews – Longmont, Colo.
Marathon Sports – Boston
Gazelle Sports – Grand Rapids, Mich.
Salt Lake Running Company – Salt Lake City
Footzone – Bend, Ore.
Fleet Feet Sports – Rochester/Buffalo, N.Y.
Salomon Brand Store – Salt Lake City
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