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Know your running kicks | Ultra Pro

Byline Linda Doke

Linda Doke has been running in Salomon’s for 12 years and is, in her own words, biased towards the brand because they work so well for her particular feet. She does say up front however, that all feet are different, and Salomon won’t necessarily be the show for you.

 “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 might consider 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 from the outset: these reviews just give you my opinion, and I hope they help 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.”

 This week she takes the Ultra Pros for a test run – here’s the low down.

Ultra Pro

One of my all-time favourite trail shoes was the S/Lab Sense Ultra. I have broad feet and need a wide toe box, so there’re many models of Salomons that don’t suit my feet. 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. If there weren’t, believe me, I wouldn’t have been running in Salomons for the past 12+ years!

 I’d read much about the Ultra Pro before I received mine. Various reviews reported it has a wider toe box than the S/Lab Ultra 2, a shoe I recently wore for a very rugged and technical 40km race, Oorlogskloof Trail Run. My feet had felt perfectly happy during that race, and trust me, that course puts shoes and feet through their paces. Hearing the Ultra Pro was wider, I was interested to give it a test run. Surprisingly, I found it narrower than the Ultra 2, despite reviews saying otherwise.

Some specs for the techies:

  •  Long distance comfort – with sturdy midsole tread, this shoe is designed to provide cushioning, comfort and support over ultra distances.
  • Dynamic ride – the “energy save” midsole (see pic) allows a rolling profile as your foot strikes the ground.
  • Adjustable foothold – the shoe is designed with two Sensifit “floating wings” that allow you to adjust the forefoot and midfoot support as your feet-needs change during a long distance event.

(Note:  I’ve not tested the shoe yet during a long distance event, so I can’t speak from experience on that last point.)

  • Intensity of usage – training and racing
  • Biomechanical fit – designed for midfoot strike
  • Lacing system – Quicklace®
  • Drop – 8mm
  • Weight – my size (UK6) 264g

 What I love about the Ultra Pro:

  • Its treads cover the entire sole of the shoe – there’s no gap in the arch. This means the shoe is for mid-foot strikers, and makes for solid protection on rocky ground, particularly if the rocks are sharp and small.
  • The grip of the tread is great – one of the test runs I did in this shoe was in rain, on a steep descent coming down Blackburn Ravine above Hout Bay, Cape Town. I felt confident there was no slipping happening.
  • Salomon’s slick Quicklace® design has an advancement in this shoe – the little pouch that usually holds the lace loop is now a tuck-in-on-top design, sort of marsupial style (see pic), making for an even neater hideaway for the lace loop than with the original design.

 My only gripe with the Ultra Pro is that unlike its predecessor, the Sense Ultra, it’s for the normal to narrow foot, so not ideal for me. Like the Ultra Pro 3, I’ll happily run 30kmk races in this shoe, but with my broad feet, it wouldn’t suit me for ultras.

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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.”

 This week, Linda Doke test drives the Ultra Pro and gives you her run down of the shoe, the experience and why they might be a good fit for your feet and running goals. 

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Its treads cover the entire sole of the shoe – there’s no gap in the arch. This means the shoe is perfect for mid-foot strikers.”

 Want to find out more about the Ultra Pro? This week Linda Doke takes the Ultra Pro to the trails and gives you her run down of the shoe, the experience and why they might be a good fit for your feet and running goals. 

 Are the Ultra Pro’s your perfect shoe?