The Pulsar Trail Pro has been promoted by Salomon as a maximum cushion shoe with light protection and stability, and it’s also a unique looking shoe designed with forward propulsion in mind. The PTP is a more aggressive version of the Pulsar Trail, keeping the key Energy Blade construction, but using a stiffer TPU plate and a sleeker upper construction for improved speed. The Pro version also comes in with a very slight 10g weight decrease compared to the Pulsar Trail, and a price tag that’s $30 heavier.
The first thing you’ll likely notice about the PTP is the anti-debris collar, effectively removing the tongue from the equation. The upper has a sock-like appearance, with a stretchy elastic heel collar (it’s really more of an ankle collar as it completely surrounds the ankle) that also extends down the middle of the instep where a traditional tongue would be, before connecting to the rest of the upper. The effect is that of wrapping your foot and providing a light lock down while preventing unwanted trail debris from slipping into the shoe. One potential downside of this construction is that the fit can feel a bit sloppy on cambered terrain, as the elastic upper doesn’t provide quite as much lockdown as a traditional tongue.
For additional lockdown, the PTP has a Quicklace system that is effective in enabling a more secure fit. A low-profile elastic envelope at the top of the shoe’s “tongue” (the anterior portion of the ankle collar) allows you to stow the excess laces; it also improves the overall aesthetic of the shoe. Light cushioning on the underside of the tongue provides comfort and protection when the laces are locked down tighter across the instep of the foot. We found the anti-debris collar effective at keeping unwanted dirt out of the inside of the shoe without the need for a gaiter. The heel counter is soft and unstructured, made with a thin material to minimize weight, heat and water retention. The heel does have several small strategically placed cushions that provide a comfortable locked-in feel. We’ve put over 200 miles on our test pair, and the upper has been very durable with no holes or tears at points of frequent flexion. The flip side of this durability is that the material does retain some heat in warm conditions.
As with the Pulsar Trail, the Pro version uses Salomon’s Energy Blade technology which combines three elements: dense Energy Surge midsole foam, a TPU composite plate and geometric rocker technology. The PTP is a maximum cushion model in the Salomon lineup, but doesn’t have HOKA-like plushness; it’s definitely a more stiff and responsive shoe compared to something like the HOKA Speedgoat. However, despite not feeling like a marshmallow underfoot, the PTP is amply cushioned, and does have a softer feel on hard surfaces. The heel and lateral midfoot in particular have some nice little give to their cushion. You can also feel the cushion when stepping on moderate-sized rocks and roots, where the midsole is thick and soft enough to absorb these potentially uncomfortable trail hazards.
A stiffer TPU in the PTP contributes to it’s somewhat firm ride, but there is still a fair amount of flex giving the shoe some nimbleness. The difference in propulsion between the two models is noticeable but subtle; the Pulsar Trail is softer with a less aggressive roll to toe-off, while the PTP is firmer and has more responsiveness. The rocker geometry is also subtle compared to more aggressive models on the market, but that moderation makes the PTP comfortable for routine running and even casual wear. While not intended to function as a rock plate, the TPU energy blade also seems to contribute some light underfoot protection, particularly under the forefoot.
The outsole is a full rubber, abrasion-resistant All Terrain Contagrip MA with subtle but plentiful 3.5mm lugs that provide ample traction for most conditions, but also allow for a smooth transition across surfaces. This combination of the moderate outsole, an amply cushioned midsole and the propulsion assist from the energy blade technology make the PTP a great choice for someone looking for a daily hybrid (road/trail) trainer.
With over 200 miles of use in the PTP, the shoe is more comfortable than ever. This typically bodes well for overall durability and longevity of the shoe, but also leads to the conclusion that some users will likely need a decent break-in period to get accustomed to the stiffly cushioned Energy Blade midsole before it feels like a truly fluid and comfortable ride.
Features and Specs:
- Weight (men’s size 9 / women’s size 7): 9.8 oz (278g) / 8.5 oz (241g)
- Stack Height (heel/toe): 33 mm/27 mm
- Heel-Drop: 6 mm
- Uppers: textile/synthetic mesh with soft anti-debris collar
- Quicklace fastening system
- Midsole: Energy Surge combination EVA and Olefin (OBC) compound
- Energy Blade TPU plate built into midsole
- Outsole: Contagrip MA with 3.5 mm lug depth
- MSRP: $160