Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro Shoe Review
Let me start by saying: I love these shoes. As much as a sane human can love shoes—I love them that much. I am a long-time fan of Salomon, and I’ve run and hiked a lot of miles in various Salomon shoes, including about 550 miles of the PCT that I did in Fellraisers and years of galavanting around the Winds that I did in Speedcrosses.
As I mentioned in my last shoe review, I’ve recently been on a quest to find a new trail running shoe as I continue to recover from a severe ankle injury I sustained a little over a year ago. I’ve been on the market for a heavily cushioned ride that also feels stable and secure. I’ve found it in the Salmon Pulsar Trail Pro, and I may never go back.
Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro At-A-Glance
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6mm
Weight: 230 grams
The Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro is intended for running and hiking on mixed terrain.
Circumstances of Review
I tested the Pulsar Trail Pro from fall into winter while trail running, day hiking, and backpacking. Trail running was mostly on relatively mild sections of the Mountains to Sea Trail in the North Carolina Piedmont. Backpacking was in the mountains of western NC, including a speedy Art Loeb trip and a section of the Appalachian Trail near Roan Highlands. Conditions ranged from sunny and warm to wet and cold, and terrain included slick rock, deep mud, loose rock, and packed dirt.
Pulsar Trail Pro Features
- All Terrain Contagrip® Outsole
- Energy foam midsole with Energy Blade TPU plate (TPU = thermoplastic polyurethane)
- Quicklace lacing system
- Anti-debris collar
Fit, Comfort, and Durability
From the moment I put them on, I knew I was going to like the Pulsar Pro. They have an extremely cushioned feel without feeling like you’re walking on a mattress like you do in a shoe like the Altra Olympus.
I also really like the feel of the collar. I’m well acquainted with Salomon’s quicklace system, but until the Pulsar Pro, I had never worn a shoe that simply doesn’t have a tongue. As you can see in the photo below, the collar makes the upper a lot like a sock; it’s stretchy but fits very close to the ankle and creates a wrapping effect that results in a nicely locked-in feel.
The laces tuck neatly into an elastic pocket for a sleek look (and reduced risk of tripping), but not at the cost of comfort. A bit of light padding on the underside of the top of the collar (where the tongue theoretically would be) prevents the drawn-up laces from irritating the ankle.
The toebox is, of course, a more narrow feel than something like an Altra, but—speaking as someone who has also worn a lot of Altras—I really don’t mind. And if you haven’t worn a lot of Altras, the fit simply feels secure; it isn’t overly narrow or constricting like I’ve experienced in some other shoes, and it does’t bother me one bit to have less space in the toe box. That said, if you have wide feet, this is a potential drawback of the Pulsar Trail Pro (and really probably any Salomon shoe).
I also have to be honest with myself: for long-distance hiking, I’m not sure that zero drop shoes best serve my body. I’ve written previously about the supposed benefits of zero-drop shoes, but again, if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I believe it (although, I do believe in the benefits of training barefoot). I’ll keep investigating my experiences with shoe drops, and in the meantime, I will offer that I don’t mind the Pulsar Pro’s 6mm drop.
In my opinion, the Pulsar Trail Pro’s ride feels highly responsive, light, and fast. The Energy Blade TPU plate in the midsole generates a super smooth step, and the Contagrip outsole makes me feel confident on any terrain. After my ankle injury, I’ve had a harder time trusting my shoes. But with these, I felt confident, even on slick rock. The 3.5mm lugs are also just right, and I had several great runs in very muddy conditions.
Finally, I’ve probably put about 250 miles on these shoes and they are holding up beautifully. No undone stitching, no quicklace issues, no holes. They are also comfier than ever.
One thing of note: in my experience, they do run slightly large. As previously discussed (and pictured), I have worn a ton of Salomon shoes—all size 6.5. For whatever reason, the 6.5 in these was a little too roomy and didn’t hit quite right at my arch. I sized down to a 6, and that was perfect. I’d be curious to know if others have experienced this as well.
Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro: Pros
Unique Design: I did my best to test the collar’s anti-debris effect as thoroughly as possible, and in my experience, it’s very effective at keeping debris out without gaiters. That said, I’ve only been able to test these on the east coast and would be curious how they hold up in drier, dustier conditions.
Comfortable: I really just love them.
Responsibility: As always, I care a lot about where I buy my gear. I want to give my money to companies that are expressly concerned with issues like inclusivity and climate change. Salomon is openly committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, using and making responsible products, and promoting community. You can read more about what Salomon is up to here.
Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro: Cons
Time to wear in: I didn’t realize it at the beginning, but now that I’m a couple hundred miles in, I’ve discovered that these take a little time to wear in. As I’ve said, they were very comfortable to me right from the start—but they hit their sweet spot a little later.
Overall, the Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro is a huge win in my book. I love pretty much everything about it. As with most things these days, I have to acknowledge that they’re a little pricey. But! It is very worth it, in my opinion, for such a stand-out shoe. If you’re looking for a slim, sleek shoe with a super responsive ride, the Salmon Pulsar Pro is worth your dollars.
Shop the Women’s Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro
Shop the Men’s Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro
- MSRP: $145
- Heel-toe drop: 6 mm
- MSRP: $180
- Heel-toe drop: 0mm
- MSRP: $130
- Heel-toe drop: 11mm
The Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro was donated for purpose of review.
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