I read some reviews of the Sense Pro Max last year and they looked like a good pair of mixed surface running shoes. However they came with the usual Salomon price tag and I didn’t have a specific need for them.
Fast-forward to January this year and I started getting worried about the footwear I was going to use in my first 50 Miler, the Liverpool to Manchester Ultra. Then I spotted that the Salomons were half price on Wiggle. €73 was an absolute steal so I immediately ordered them. The mix of very high stack plus that grippy sole seemed to be the perfect combo for LIVMAN.
Initial signs were good apart from the speedlace mechanism being very stiff on one side.
I did a few 8-10 mile mixed road/trail runs which seemed ok. I’d been having some achilles problems due to the mileage increase so I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that my knees werea little bit sore after each run.
This past Saturday we headed up West to do a small local Marathon. This would be the final test of the shoes to decide if I’d use them for LIVMAN.
The first flaw kicked in after a mile - a relentless loud squeak from the left shoe on every footstep. Yup, 26 miles and 5+ hours of squeak squeak squeak. The same thing was mentioned in the review on Ultrarunner Podcast. So it’s clearly not a one-off, there is a sole design problem.
As the miles added up, I noticed a pain on the outside of both knees increasing. By mile 16 or so, it was very sore. Then I discovered it was worse when I walked. And then I discovered that it was excruciating when going from walk to run. Every drink stop from then on was torture.
I finished with both knees in agony. The left side seized as I walked away from the finish. Luckily I had voltarol gel in my bag but I had to jog back to the hotel because I couldn’t walk. 2 days later and the pain is still there, albeit much reduced (yay voltarol).
I’ve run in a ton of different shoes - Asics, VFFs, Hokas, Altras, Skechers and Inov-8s. None of them have ever caused anything like this. And again, this isn’t unique to me. Running Shoes Guru had exactly the same problem. There appears to be a fundamental design flaw in these shoes. I don’t know what it is, but you really need to avoid them. The fact that they are half-price after less than a year on the market hints that Salomon are either going to cancel them or replace them soon.
On a positive note, I also got the Salomon Advanced Skin 5 hydration vest for LIVMAN and it’s superb. I ran the Lusk marathon with it as a test and it worked brilliantly. The only glitch, as mentioned in reviews, is that it’s difficult to get the soft flasks back into the vest when it’s on. Not exactly a deal-breaker.