Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro 2 Review (2024): Top Pick for Speed?
Published on: 06/08/2023Better than the first edition, the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar Trail 2 is a fast and lightweight shoe built for speed and racing.
A fast and bouncy shoe for less technical terrain combining forward propelling technology with max cushioning for an exciting update to the brand’s Pulsar range.
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
When Salomon launched the Pulsar Trail series, it brought the learnings from Kilian Jornet’s signature Salomon shoe – the S/Lab Pulsar – to the “masses.” It’s now time to learn from any shortcomings from the first editions and, while there’s no Pulsar Trail 2 yet (the less speedy of the series), we’re ready to welcome some exciting changes with the Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro 2.
With a responsive, light TPU plate (Salomon’s signature Energy Blade) and a max cushioning foam, this trail shoe walks the fine line between aggressive racing shoe and relaxed, comfortable long-distance trainer. It offers fast transitions thanks to the rockered design. It also provides an exceptionally roomy toe box and fantastic foot lockdown to delight all Salomon fans and even those with wider feet.
What the Pulsar Trail Pro 2 lacks is some lateral flexibility and perhaps a bit of softness in the ride. However, that’s not what it’s here for. It’s a running shoe for racing on less technical trails, with enough bounce to feel fast and (somewhat) nimble. It features a perfectly snug bootie design with a soft collar construction, breathable material, and protection from trail rubble.
Some of Salomon’s hits are present: the Quicklace minimalistic and strong lace design that allows one pull tightening for a perfect lockdown, enhanced by a better positioned pouch to stow it in; the lovely Energy Surge midsole foam that’s been giving a bit more bounce than other of the brand’s shoes in recent years; and good traction in mud and wet conditions thanks to the All Terrain Contagrip outsole.
A fast shoe made for racing and speedy days, but that can hold its own on longer distances and deliver a relatively smooth ride, the new Pulsar Trail Pro improves on the previous edition’s upper issues and packs a punch.
Please read our full review for more information.
- Great price quality ratio
- Bouncy and energetic
- Excellent foot lockdown
- Bonus toe room
- Sturdy and reliable
- Needs more flexibility
- Slightly stiff
- Not great for heel strikers
Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro 2 Complete Review Analysis
Salomon extended the design of the record-breaking S/Lab Pulsar to a new range of trail shoes in 2022, launching the Pulsar Trail and Pulsar Trail Pro. Focused on marrying cushioning with responsiveness while using some of the brand’ best features, this marked a new beginning for the brand, winning them some new converts.
But, as with any new design, there were teething issues. So, it’s time for the revamped Pulsar Trail Pro 2, where Salomon have invested heavily in an improved upper. Not very visible at first, when we compare the two, there are a lot of subtle improvements to be happy about. Here’s a detailed review of all that’s new with this edition.
The outsole has always been Salomon’s Achilles heel. Using All Terrain Contagrip rubber, this new edition promises to deliver decent stickiness. At the same time, the optimized lug geometry, with 3.5 mm lugs, avoids slipping uphill or downhill on technical terrain.
Grip is good on muddy trails and will certainly deliver enough stability in wet weather, especially if you wear them for shorter races and are looking to move fast.
By comparison to the Salomon Pulsar Trail, the Pro and Pro 2 shoes feature less flexibility to make them a bit bouncier and increase efficiency of movement on all terrain. As a result, the shoe is a bit stiffer, offering instead a faster, more fun ride.
The Pulsar Trail Pro 2 has been designed to offer maximal cushioning with a responsive ride for smooth trails. You’re not going to get a lot of ground feel with a stack height of 33 mm under the heel and 27 mm under the toes, but that’s fine for what it’s meant to deliver. Plush Energy Surge foam makes the ride bouncy with a soft underfoot feel, providing long-term comfort instead.
The in-built Energy Blade TPU plate offers some added forward propulsion, however. This keeps the Pulsar Trail Pro 2 feeling faster and bouncier than, for example, the Salomon Ultra Glide 2. This shoe is built for some extra speed and it shows. Beware, though: some reviews report feeling a little stiffness in the midfoot because of the blade – perhaps an acceptable trade-off for the faster ride.
The Pulsar Trail Pro was launched as a stiffer, more aggressive version of the Pulsar Trail (a versatile trail shoe that gives all-around performance but is not as speedy). By comparison, the TPU Energy Blade plate in the Pro version is slightly stiffer, giving more of a rocker feel (in fact, the Pulsar Trail Pro 2 is probably the most extreme rocker midsole Salomon has on the market). The upper was also designed to be sleeker and more pared back for better aerodynamics.
Foot lockdown (upper)
One of the noticeable differences from other Salomon designs is that the Pulsar Trail Pro 2 has a pretty naturally shaped toe box, much wider than other usual trail shoes from the brand. Whereas Salomon is usually a favorite brand for runners with a narrow foot, and this one is certainly tight through the midfoot, any runner will welcome the added room in the toe box. The whole forefoot is actually quite a lot wider than we’ve come to expect from a Salomon shoe, leaving ample room for feet to swell on a longer run.
Some of the Salomon hits are still in place, notably the Quicklace system that guarantees a secure fit through the midfoot and laces that won’t come undone while you run (thanks to the lace garage pocket).
Additionally, the Trail Pro 2 is breathable and flexible, with tightly-woven mesh that doesn’t appear to stretch too much. This contributes to the foot lockdown while also promising to be durable to wear and tear, giving users extra confidence on tough terrain.
Finally, the Pulsar Trail Pro 2 features a specially designed anti debris collar that provides heel hold while avoiding rubble getting into the shoe. In fact, the structure of the upper is that of a bootie that rides up to the ankle, with an integrated gaiter that enhances both the fit and the protection from trail debris. This bootie design has also made the Quicklace garage easier to access (an issue for most other Salomon shoes) and is one of the best features this shoe offers those who prefer to do their mileage in the mountains and through mixed terrain.
Overall, the Pulsar Trail Pro 2 enables forward propulsion thanks to the Energy Blade plate, while also offering some comfortable cushioning. The Energy Foam midsole puts a spring in your step and makes medium-difficulty trails feel smoother. And, thanks to a decent stack, you’ll feel more stable and protected on rocky terrain without losing ground feedback.
The TPU plate does create a rather stiff feel through the midfoot, but that’s a small price to pay for the bounce and propulsion. At the same time, some users complain of a too-firm midsole on hard surfaces, especially for heel strikers – so perhaps not the best pair to use on the road if that’s your running style.
We would take the Pulsar Trail Pro 2 out on longer runs on mixed terrain any day of the week. They’re great for recovery and easy runs, as well as for longer tempo training. Salomon has designed these shoes for racing in (vs. the Pulsar Trail, more of a Jack-of-all-trades), but they’re also good for any distance and pace in training.
Thanks to a sturdy looking mesh upper, decent-sized lugs and good quality Contagrip MA outsole, the Pulsar Trail Pro 2 promises a decent life and good value for money. It is not a very lightweight racing shoe, although at 9.2 oz / 260 g in men’s size 42 and 7.9 oz / 225 g in women’s size 40, it’s not heavy or cumbersome. The combination of weight, cushioning, and sturdy design and material bodes well for doing many miles in the Pulsar Trail Pro 2.
Heel strikers will find the Pulsar Trail Pro 2 a little harsh and stiff, but it’s great shoe for mid and forefoot strikers. It holds its own in technical sections thanks to a clever sole geometry and relative stability, also bringing a good balance of plush cushioning and responsive bounce. And it’s one of the best fitting Salomon shoes, with a high heel collar (thanks to the bootie design), a precise lacing system, and a generous forefoot (very rare with Salomon!).
The Pulsar Trail Pro 2 is deliberately more responsive and aggressive than the Pulsar Trail, but the midsole foam and overall design make it relatively comfortable. It’s not for beginners or for slower runs, but rather for more experienced athletes who are ready to put it through its paces.
|260 g/9.2 oz
|225 g/7.9 oz
|Energy Foam, Energy Blade TPU Plate, Reverse Camber
|Mesh, Quicklace, EVA Sockliner, Anti-Debris Collar
|Mid, Long, Ultramarathon
|Daily running, Racing
Comparisons – Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro 2 vs.:
Original Pulsar Trail Pro
Like the original version, the second iteration of the Pulsar Trail Pro continues to deliver energy return and a fun ride on uneven terrain, but falls short in stability for less experienced athletes. However, the big improvement is with the upper, which features a reworked sock-style design that cradles the foot without encumbering it with too much material. It’s breathable and sturdy, but it also provides excellent lockdown and superb fit. And it protects from trail debris on steep trails – a win for trail running!