By Brian Metzler
It’s early May and, believe it or not, that means it’s almost time to start training for fall marathons. I’m signed up for the Chicago Marathon and have begun logging some moderately long road miles to build up my aerobic base. I’m fortunate to have many shoes to choose from, but one that I like a lot lately and keep going back to is the Salomon Aero Glide.
“Salomon?” you ask yourself. “Isn’t that a trail running brand?” Yes, it certainly is. But it’s been making road running shoes since about 2016, and some quite good ones in the past couple of years. The Aero Glide, a new surprisingly light max-cushioned everyday trainer, is one of the best road running models it’s ever produced and, by far, my favorite. It’s not exceptionally flashy and really doesn’t have many bells and whistles in its feature set, but its lightweight vibe and consistency are two of the main reasons I keep lacing it up.
What’s New: The Aero Glide is built with a small number of components and a very clean design. The Energy Foam midsole is a lightweight, responsive material made from EVA and Olefin that provides best-in-class cushioned-to-weight ratio. There’s also a grippy rubber outsole material and a uniquely styled engineered mesh upper that is supportive (with help from a light and lean TPU overlay) and a little stretchy, but also exceptionally breathable. Each of those high-quality components are great, but it’s the sum of those parts (and how they interact) that makes this shoe so extraordinary.
Fit/Feel/Ride: The Aero Glide fits true to size with a medium to slightly wider interior volume, but the upper, tongue and lacing system help effectively lock down narrow feet to the point that it won’t feel sloppy or too spacious. The underfoot feeling is a bit bland and not overly plush, but the rest of the interior is cushy and comfortable because of the soft, wide (and non-gusseted) tongue, the smooth interior lining of the upper and well-placed padding around the heel collar. The ride of the Aero Glide, though, is exceptional. The maximal midsole has a rockered geometry and a 10mm heel-toe offset, which combine to create a flowy, propulsive sensation in every stride. It’s not bouncy at all, but semi-soft and very stable on impact and buttery smooth as it rolls from heel to toe-off, no matter if you’re running half marathon race pace or jogging in recovery mode.
Why It’s Great: While it can be a very good everyday trainer with some amount of versatility, it’s really a great long run training shoe. It’s light and well-cushioned with excellent shock-absorbing capabilities and a little bit of energy return, but it’s great because it’s so reliable and consistent and it feels great mile after mile. I’ve run a 12-miler in Aero Glides and it felt as good toward the end of that run as it did when I laced them up and headed out the door. It’s capable of spontaneous fartlek runs and moderate tempo runs, but it’s best for cruisey longer runs in the mid-range of your speed spectrum (i.e. Zone 2 training).
Salomon Aero Glide
Weights: 7.7oz. (women’s size 8), 9.0 oz. (men’s size 9)
Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm (37mm in the heel, 27mm in the forefoot)
Why You’ll Love It: You’ll love it if you have wide feet or shapely feet that need more room in a particular area. The wider overall footprint of the shoe creates an inherently stable platform. It’s still considered a neutral-oriented shoe, but runners who tend to need stability shoes to offset overpronation will appreciate this shoe, and so will runners who suffered from gait fatigue deep into a long run. The wide footprint also contributes to the wider interior volume and roomy toe box that give plenty of room for toes to wiggle, splay and swell in hot weather.
Pro: Salomon says the rockered geometry was inspired by its reverse-camber ski technology. Wherever it was derived, it helps offset the relatively high heel-toe drop and excessive cushioning, while still getting the benefits of each of those elements. The Aero Glide doesn’t feel bulky underfoot like some maximally cushioned shoes do, thanks in part to that rocker shape. I definitely sensed a sweet spot at moderate paces as I fell into an easy-flowing rhythm for miles without thinking at all about the shoes on my feet.
Con: The Aero Glide isn’t very fast, flexible or agile so it’s not really ideal for running faster than 10K race pace. Because it’s not exceptionally springy, it’s not a shoe that’s going to serve up significant energy pop in every stride. While that doesn’t mean you have to work harder in this shoe, it does mean you’ll appreciate it for moderate-paced long runs.