Review: Salomon Predict RA Road Running Shoe
FYF Ambassador Review:
By Chris Price of Hobart Performance
Who over the last few months has spent more time running on the roads near home?
When the Tasmanian Parks were closed early into our COVID-19 restrictions this was certainly the case for me. As a trail runner my running environment had changed overnight and my shoe options were not as ideal for the situation I was in.
It so happened that through some COVID forced, work related research I came across a road shoe that might help with my situation. Its technology and concept really appealed to me and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair. This shoe is the Salomon Predict RA.
After running 160+kms in the Predict to date I’m going to say right now that this shoe is for a runner that either uses the road to compliment their trail running pursuits or for someone who runs regularly as a means of just staying active. It provides fantastic stability, reduces the risk of running related injury by reducing the impact forces on the body and is super economical so you get great return for your efforts.
If you run with more performance goals in mind then you should consider Salomon’s Predict 2 (launches September 1st 2020 in the USA) or their Sonic range with the Opti-vibe Sole Technology - all part of their 2020 Spring launch.
Now for the shoe geeks the Predict RA comes in at ~260 grams and has an 8mm drop. Before this shoe my biggest was 198 grams with a 4mm drop so this was a bit of a shock to the system. I’m a minimalist at heart so as the shoe gets bigger, the more cumbersome it feels - but that’s a personal thing.
Despite my apprehension regarding the size of the shoe it certainly feels very comfortable when you first put it on and with a thicker sole that’s what you would expect but don’t be fooled, as when you look at the science, a thicker sole doesn't necessarily mean it’s better for your foot or your running performance - we’ll get to that.
My first session wearing the Predicts was hill repeats and the thing to note here was the efficiency of my downhill recoveries. I’ve done this session many times before and for this one I was able to reduce my recovery time by an average of 26secs for each rep! And they felt easy! Previously I would have to consciously work to reduce my recovery time and I might get an 8sec average improvement but this was something different. Now fitness may well be a factor and there are too many variables to be certain but the freshness in the legs on the way down cannot be ignored when considering the sole technology in the Predict RA.
My next session was a 30min Out and 30min Back run “to feel”. I was excited about the performance that could occur and to get to the point I was impressed. The size and weight of the shoe became irrelevant after the first few kms as the feel and efficiency took over.
As I’m running I assess my efficiency by the sound that my foot makes on the pavement. Do this yourself and pay attention to how it sounds at the start of a run and towards the end. The heavier or louder the sound the compliance of your lower leg spring is less - the stiffness in the tissues is compromised. And visa versa.
Running in the Predict RAs was super smooth. Despite a bulkier sole and heavier structure my contact with the ground felt energetic. My contact felt firm which is not something I would expect with a traditionally thicker sole, but this is where the technology of the Predict RA begins to shine.
My first 30mins out was the longest distance to date, so pace was quicker with no less signs of fatigue and my 30min back, while marginally slower, was the closest I’d come to an equal distance split (the run back is uphill). The spring in my step was still present and despite it being the first longer run in these shoes, my feet were super comfortable with no hot spots or signs of needing to “wear” them in.
Now I’ve mentioned the word technology a few times so let’s get into the specifics.
In 1977 a study was done that proved that harder soled shoes produced lower ground reaction force through the lower leg than cushioned sports shoes. SAY WHAT? This was largely ignored by all the sports shoe companies even though the study was reproduced in 1987 and the manufacture of thicker soled running shoes for greater “cushioning” continued - all with the idea of reducing the risk of impact injuries.
When you land on a softer surface you change the way your lower leg functions as a spring. The stiffness of the spring changes - it becomes less compliant or more rigid and this greatly affects how the ground forces are absorbed by the body.
As a cool fact - running at 4:10min/kms produces ~14 x our body weight of force going through your lower leg! (~8 x BW force from the ground and another ~6 x BW from the tensile force of the muscles pulling on the bones). Think about how much you weigh...
The reverse occurs with a harder surface - your lower leg spring becomes more compliant. Greater compliance results in a more efficient system and as such your running economy is improved and the absorption of all that force is more systematic.
Here’s the kicker. Despite the Predict’s thicker sole, the unique foam composition of the midsole and its anatomical decoupling design, which continues from the outer sole through to the upper, creates a significant platform of stability.
There are 33 joints in the foot and the Predict sole is split into individual pods that articulate (move) independently with each of these joints. So when an area of your foot strikes the ground it is provided with optimal stability, making the entire foot strike extremely efficient in terms of energy expenditure.
The composition of the sole has been proven to reduce torque on the knee by and average of 12%. If you are someone who experiences knee pain when running on the road then it may be worth trying this shoe.
One other aspect that I want to mention is the construction of the heel collar. This 3D moulded cup feels amazing. Like, literally amazing.
I take my hat off to Salomon for the Predict concept and learning about the technology and design really got me excited for its possibilities. The shoe is well built and I feel they are going to serve me well for many miles on the road.
At $249.95 the price is up there but when you consider the amount of work that has gone into the design you can quickly weigh up the benefits. This shoe is a great addition to my collection and when I do hit the pavement I know that my feet and lower legs are in good company.
I feel that this shoe hasn’t achieved the attention it deserves so hopefully this review helps in your decision to try them. Find Your Feet still has plenty of stock despite it being superseded towards the end of the year with the Predict 2 so do your legs a favour and consider the Predict RA as a reliable, safe and super economical option with all the reduced injury benefits you need.