Salomon’s Latest S-LAB Ultra Could Be The Secret Weapon You’ve Been Searching For
When legendary French athlete Francois D’haene provides invaluable input into the design and testing, it’s no wonder the S-Lab Ultra feels like a race-winning shoe the moment you slip it on.
Salamon has been at the leading edge when it comes to running and trail running shoes for years, with numerous race wins under their belt whilst adorning some of the worlds top athletes. It’s no wonder that when they release a new line we all get a little bit excited.
The S-Lab Ultra is a good looking shoe with an aggressive tread, an elegant quick lace system and a hefty and stable looking heel design, all wrapped up in a bright and very attractive looking design. But we were particularly excited to find out that ultra trail runner legend Francois D’haene had direct input into the design of these shoes, working closely with the Salomon R&D team.
After winning multiple ultra-marathons in recent years, many have wondered what Francois D’haene’s secret weapon is. It turns out that he was wearing prototypes of these shoes!
The S/LAB Ultra has been built so that each shoe size meets the needs of the runner wearing them. For sizes above 10 UK, Salomon designers increased the shoe stack height to have more proportional cushioning for runners who have longer feet and are slightly heavier.
The Salomon S-Lab Ultra incorporates several unique features which go towards making an incredibly comfortable shoe. First off, the Sensifit™ system essentially wraps and cradles the foot, providing a snug and secure feeling from the midsole all the way to the lacing system.
Secondly, the S-Lab Ultra features Salomons Endofit™ inner sleeve design. This neoprene style material hugs the foot like a glove, improving the foot wrapping sensation and heightening trail feedback.
The toe box has the traditional Salomon shape, so if you prefer a wider square toe box, these may not work for you.
The S-Lab Ultra features a minimalistic yet incredibly efficient and durable Quicklace™ system. Salomon has been using this system in their runners over the past few years and it makes a lot of sense in these particular running shoes.
The Salomon S-Lab Ultra has been designed for wet weather, so they need to be able to cope with wet conditions such as running through streams. Traditional laces will soak up the water and flap around, adding extra weight to the shoe. The minimalistic Quicklace™ design does away with all that.
On each side of the shoe is what Salomon call Sensifit arms. These link to the Quicklace eyelets so when you pull on the Quicklace, the Sensifit wraps the foot to help deliver a precise foothold and footstrike.
Coupled with this is the advanced super-light chassis, which delivers an efficient, stable, and responsive ride. The chassis maximises motion control, energy management and push through protection.
Salomon has added an Energysave® foam insert in the forefoot for long-lasting cushioning and protection from rocks and rough ground, plus an Energy Cell+ foam in the bottom section, ensuring a smooth and consistent ride.
The outsole uses a Contagrip® material that combines three major components: density, compound and geometry, to keep you in control on the trails and provide maximum comfort and protection.
For excellent traction and durability, especially in wet conditions, the lugs on the heel use a reverse design, giving them superior grip abilities, especially on downhill sections.
Out On The Trails
We took the S-Lab Ultra out for a few tests at our local trails which have a good mix of up, down and rocky terrain. First off, the S-Lab Ultra feels amazingly light! So much so, I felt an increased sense of energy and forward spring out on the trails.
Another area that became obvious was the level of support and comfort the S-Lab Ultra provided. I felt I had more energy and was having to focus hard on not turning my jog into a full-on sprint. The Endofit and Sensifit technology made the shoe feel incredibly comfortable even on longer runs.
Those features alone added a degree of comfort, support and trail feedback that was instantly noticeable and not simply a marketing gimmick.
On steeper and loose downhill sections, the aggressive reverse lugs on the rear of the shoe kept me upright and grounded and I was able to push it a little more than usual. The super-stiff heel area kept my foot in check on off-camber, steep and rocky sections, even on wet days.
The S-Lab has an impressive amount of protection for such a lightweight shoe. The toe area, heel and chassis all provided me with high levels of protection and support from multi-directional impacts. During the tests, I smashed my foot several times and cringed as I stepped down on sharp-edged rocks, but the pain never came.
- MIDSOLE HEIGHT: 26mm/18mm (8mm drop)
- OUTSOLE: Premium Wet Traction Contagrip®
- MIDSOLE: Compressed EVA, EnergyCell +, Dual Density Compressed EVA, Grading Construction
- CHASSIS: Profeel Film
- SOCKLINER: Anatomical EVA footbed
- WEIGHT: 300g
Where To Buy / Price
Available now at most good sports shops.
Price: $$289.95AUD approx
Salomon® is a world leader in adventure sports footwear. Since 1947, the company has built a reputation for quality and innovation, manufacturing leading-edge footwear for hiking, climbing and trail running.
Author: Jason Lorch
Born and grew up in Wales but now a fully fledged Aussie. A passionate mountain biker, hiker and general nature addict. I’m also a bit of a muso and enjoy a good craft beer every now and again (probably too often).
I hope what we do here at Tyres and Soles will inspire people to get out there and experience first hand, the natural wonders that surround them.
So, pump up those tyres, don your favourite boots. Grab a mate, a partner, a pet… and head out into nature. But tell us all about it when you get back.
Chief editor at Tyres and Soles.