Testing Salomon S-LAB Sense Ultra
After having been running with the Red/White Salomon S-LAB Sense I have been looking forward testing the new S-LAB Sense Ultra shoes. The Red/White S-LAB Sense is truly nimble and a true running friend, but being a trail runner spending a lot of time off trail and running animal trails, but also I also run to/back from the trails (approx 15+15 mins) on harder surfaces, I have felt that I would be more comfortable with somewhat more grip and cushioning. My initial thought when running with the Red/White S-LAB Sense was: OK this shoe might work in the UTMB for Kilian Jornet, but I wouldn’t dare to use it in a long race like that. Now having tested also the S-LAB Sense Ultra I can inform you that the two are pretty similar, with a few improvements in the Ultra model, as I see it. My impression from running is that the Ultra model has more cushioning than the Red/White, making it suitable not only for very experienced runners – and it’s an excellent choice for the runner looking for a lightweight semi-minimalist with good trail running qualities. But you better make sure first the sole fits your feet.
Thus, the Ultra model is a more commercial shoe than the Red/ White S-LAB Sense, making it suitable for a larger group of runners, who can’t run very far in thin minimalist shoes. But with the S-LAB Sense Ultra they/we can. Thanks!
Fit: excellent for my narrow feet, with a tight fit around the midfot, which worked very well also for off-trail running – no thanks to firm wriststraps around the midfot (there are none) but thanks to the endofit system, a sock-like interior strap over the wrist, which keeps the foot from moving inside the shoe. One thing that impressed me was that I could tighten the lacing without getting numb feet, which isn’t always the case.
Lacing: the quick lace system on the S-LAB Sense models is somewhat different than the usual Salomon quick-lace system. The lace garage in Sense models is smaller and you tuck in the quick-lace with the plastic lock from the top. This didn’t always work, leaving loose ends on the outside. The garage needs to be a bit bigger. But if you’re running with gloves it’s really practical with the quick-lace solution.
Grip: very good, also for technical trails. The Ultra model has more pattern than its Red/White sibling and approx 1 mm longer triangular studs. You will however bring home gravel sticking to the outsole.
Comfort: particularly in the heel part the Ultra model has a bit more cushioning compared to the Red/White model.
Weight: S-LAB Sense Ultra: 226g and the Red/White S-LAB Sense: 202g
Profile: S-LAB Sense Ultra: 20/17 mm, the Red/White S-LAB Sense: 16/13 mm. (I measure all shoes I test the same way, which is the thickness of the sole, including studs and inner sole.)
The Salomon S-LAB Sense Ultra is featured in the Trail Shoe review I have made for Utemagasinet 2013 March Issue. Other models in this review are: Scott Kinabalu, Pearl Izumi Trail N1, Brooks Pure Grit 2, Saucony Peregrine 3, Haglöfs Gram XC, New Balance Leadville 1210, Asics Gel-Fuji Elite, Adidas Adizero XT 4, La Sportiva Anaconda, The North Face Hyper Track Guide, Dynafit MS Feline, Inov-8 Roclite 243 and Karhu Flow Trail. More trail shoes will be reviewed in the same magazine later this spring.