We don’t necessarily rely on external awards to feel good about the footwear, apparel and gear we create (our own standards are awfully high as it is), but when an authority like Runner’s World confirms that we’ve produced a winner, we feel obligated to share the news. So here it is:
In its list of the Best New Running Shoes of 2020, which was published earlier this year, the magazine named the Salomon Sonic 3 Balance road running shoe the Best New Shoe of 2020. Runner’s World said that the Sonic 3 Balance “feels comfortable; yet firm and impressively responsive” and that “testers felt the shoe offered performance without compromising comfort.” We consider that to be a pretty big honor, so a big thanks to Runner’s World for the kind words and to its panel of testers who gave rave reviews.
After leading the sport of trail running for the last decade-plus and creating many of the sport’s most groundbreaking shoes, Salomon made the leap into road running footwear just a few years ago. Since then, the footwear development team has incorporated what the company learned from its expertise in trail running with the knowledge provided by fresh faces who arrived to the company’s French Alps-headquarters with years of experience in the road running world. Their mission from the start has been to create road running shoes that work with the runner, rather than against him or her.
To build their list of the best running shoes of 2020, Runner’s World relied on extensive testing by more than 200 runners of various abilities and preferences. Each tester fills out a detailed questionnaire, paying specific attention to cushioning (how soft or firm each shoe feels underfoot), flexibility (how smoothly the shoes moves with the foot from heelstrike to toe-off) and the height and weight of the shoe, including stack height and heel drop.
"We are excited to be recognized by such an influential voice in the running space. This award gives us increased credibility and confidence as we continue build our brand on the road," said Brent James, Product Line Manager for Salomon's road running footwear range. "For Salomon, the Sonic range sets a solid foundation that allows us to accelerate our innovation in the seasons to come."
An advanced training shoe for all-around performance, the lightweight Sonic 3 Balance has been packed with all the essential features needed to optimize road running, and nothing unnecessary. The star of the show is Optivibe, a unique combination of foams (one to dampen, the other to propel), helps reduce vibration on foot strike to decrease fatigue without affecting the overall ride. To create Optivibe, Salomon invested in a digitally-modeled human leg—including the bones, muscles, and ligaments—in order to study the effectiveness of different material combinations. In this case, the Salomon biomechanics lab focused on dampening vibration and how the shoe could help protect runners. Doing so led the product team create a shoe that is intended to reduce lower leg fatigue, and do so without sacrificing dynamic rebound. In fact, Salomon biomechanics experts were able to confirm a 15 percent reduction in the vibration when compared to traditional running shoes.
The Sonic 3 Balance also has a centered Geometric Decoupling axis to deliver a balanced, effortless forward transition from contact to propulsion. A lightweight Sensifit upper that was designed specifically for road running to fit the contours of the foot, gently securing it in place for dynamic comfort with no added weight. For the tech running geeks who love numbers, the Sonic 3 Balance weighs in at 252 grams in the men’s model and 215 grams in the women’s, and has an 8 mm drop. The shoe has a stack height of 28/20 mm.
The Sonic 3 Balance is one member of the Sonic family that also includes the Sonic 3 Accelerate and the Sonic 3 Confidence. The Accelerate is a lightweight training shoe designed to optimize speed training, while the Confidence is a structured training shoe for runners who need a bit more of it. All three models use Optivibe technology.