While Salomon has long been renowned for their superb range of trail running gear and shoes, the French company has also started introducing some of their cutting edge technology to the road running shoe game in recent years.
After releasing the Sonic lineup earlier this year, their latest road running model is the Predict SOC, and it’s quite a departure from their previous offerings.
Back in 2019, we saw the first iteration of Salomon Predict on the streets of Chamonix during UTMB. With great looks and a futuristic design that works in favour of natural foot biomechanics, it was a pair that turned heads when worn by the international Salomon team.
The recently-released Predict SOC sports the same design fundamentals as the 2019 model, reimagined for a fashion-forward audience. In addition, the shoe packs new features that have also contributed to an overall performance upgrade for more serious athletes seeking a versatile daily trainer.
Jiong How: Salomon hypes the Predict SOC as a shoe that never looks out of place before, during or after any run, which I concur with from personal experience. The soft premium knit and innovative half-bootie construction in the Predict SOC has allowed Salomon to do away with the EndoFit technologies without any performance compromises.
Ian: On the performance side of things, it is clear that Salomon has packed the Predict SOC with plenty of innovative attributes. Its standout feature is the soft, knitted upper that is reminiscent of Nike’s FlyKnit fabric and is designed to provide a sock-like fit. The combination of this upper, which hugs and flexes with your foot, and the seamless inner bootie, are what give the shoe its exceptional comfort.
The end result is it really feels like you’re wearing a sock. Equally important, the premium knit material of the upper breathes really well, ensuring your foot stays dry even during runs on those hot, humid days. That said, the stretchy upper and relatively roomy toe box also allows for thicker socks when the weather turns colder, or for runs in colder climates.
According to Salomon’s marketing materials, the sole unit comprises responsive Energy Cell+ cushioning. With the heel measuring at 28mm and midsole toe height at 20mm, midsole padding is thick, but remains highly flexible, and particularly so for a shoe that features so much cushion.
Little to no break-in time was required for this shoe with a generous 8mm drop. This promises a very plush and responsive ride, although we do wish it would provide a little more bounce in each step.
Ian: The Predict SOC features the same anatomical decoupled midsole found in the Predict RA, which is designed to provide a smoother ride inspired by the natural motion of your feet, a concept somewhat similar to the Nike Free range. Independent platforms on the outsole also work to stabilize your stride. At the same time, the Energy Cell+ material provides pretty impressive cushioning for a shoe this flexibility.
Jiong How: When these individual pods that map directly to specific joints of the foot, each pod is allowed to move independently, allowing the shoe to adapt to any foot strike and ensure support on landing. The goal here is to create a smooth yet stable ride that does not require traditional stability features that hinder natural movement.
At first glance, grooves are cut into the foam for the midsole to accommodate natural foot movement, highly reminiscent of earlier Nike Free designs. Deeper grooves are featured, along the entire length of the shoe’s anatomical last, separating the sole unit into various pods.
This feature distinguishes the Predict SOC from more minimalist natural running shoes, as the grooves serve a purpose in providing better stability with every step.
Without traditional stability features, the shoe proves to be remarkably stable for a wear tester with a neutral footstrike. Adaptive and dynamic stability is achieved, rather than depending on rigidity provided by a more traditional midfoot shank.
Outsole design is also podular, to work in tandem with the midsole design. Fully covered in durable Contagrip material, they have done well on concrete and tarmac, even on the wettest days. The grooves, however, make it unsuitable for any trail running as small rocks are likely to get stuck there.
Ian: If there’s one word that jumps out when you first slip your feet into the Predict SOC, it’s comfort. It’s clear from the moment you first lace them up that this is a shoe that is targeted at runners who prioritize comfort and a smooth ride. While it’s built for maximum comfort when running, it’s also been designed with a casual vibe that makes the Predict SOC the quintessential all-day shoe.
With an understated, lifestyle aesthetic inspired by the recent trend towards athleisure fashion, it is a versatile piece of footwear that you can wear for your tempo workout and then head straight down to the town with your buddies for a post-run drink without looking out of place or attracting unwanted stares.
One area where the Predict SOC really shines is on the uphills, because of its firm midsole that provides good response and the breathable, stretchy upper that hugs your midfoot and locks it in place, while simultaneously allowing your feet to flex naturally with the change in gradient or slope.
Jiong How: The Predict SOC falls into the same weight class as many cushioned, lightweight trainers, such as the Hoka Clifton series. The ride is consistently smooth at all paces. The flexibility of the upper works in harmony with the midsole, since the podular design maps directly to foot joints.
Most importantly, doing away with excessive toe-spring allows natural foot movement, which is Salomon’s intention here. The end result is a shoe that proves exceptionally reliable on the long miles and tempo runs alike. However, I would still prefer a stiffer shoe for the fast track or racing days.
Ian: While the Predict SOC is a versatile workhorse that is suited for most paces from easy days of mid-tempo type workouts, I concur that a shoe with a more responsive/ stiffer midsole would probably work better for the speediest workouts, as I found the Predict SOC’s midsole cushioning to provide a somewhat muted response at the fastest paces.
Jiong How: Overall, the Predict SOC still comes off as a very unique and luxurious shoe that combines a flexible upper with a supportive, yet anatomically sound sole unit. The unusual combination has already earned some compliments for good looks. Still, we are confident there are more subtle positives to discover in the miles to come, thanks to the biomechanically sound design of the shoe.
- Encourages natural running form
- Smooth, chafe-free bootie upper
- Thick but flexible midsole
- Great outsole durability
- Stable ride
- Thicker socks recommended
- Slightly higher heel
- Cushioning could be a touch more responsive
About Jiong How
Jiong How is a trail running athlete with a background in multi-stage races and floorball. He now specializes in short-medium mountain ultrarunning events around Southeast Asia, and coaches in his free time.
Born and raised in Singapore, Ian is a Switzerland-based mountain runner and an explorer at heart who loves the outdoors. Trail running and ultra-marathons have become the means for him to play in the mountains and discover new places and races around the world.