Fast, light… flow. Pretty much sums up the new S-lab Sense Ultra
For those of you with some S-lab experience, I would describe the new S-lab Sense Ultra as a mix between the S-lab Wings SG and S-lab Sense 6 SG. Colours, lacing system, Endofit and Ortholite impressions all standard on the flagship of S-labs premium race trail shoes – so what’s the difference?
Well, for those of you who haven’t quite run in Salomon’s range for very long, here’s a couple of handy tips to help find out if this shoes right for you.
Trail/Mountain/Skyrunning/Soft trail – Yes
Road – Very capable, but not its sole design
Normal to Wider fit preferred – Yes
Narrower fit preferred – No (in fact I would say this fits a fairly standard foot, as opposed to some runners I know who find the Speed and Speedcross slightly narrow)
Support/cushion underfoot – Yes
minimalistic/zero drop flat shoes – No
Long distance training/competing (including 100 mile) – Yes
Short distances/speed shoe – can definitely still fit this range but not first choice
Dirt/rock/wet/loose – Yes
Deep mud/steep wet grass – not so much
How I use this shoe…
As the Sense Ultra has a heel drop of 8mm (275g), is super light and has the feel of a race shoe with the added bonus of good cushioning and rock protection, I’ll be using this as my main long distance (40km+) race shoe.
I’ll combine it with the S-lab Wings SG shoe which has a 9mm drop (285g) and use this as my long haul training shoe. There is a definite difference in feel from the Wings to the Ultra, enough to make it feel like come race day – you are strapping on some fast wheels. Yet the two are similar enough, that for conditioning purposes your muscle fibres/lengths etc will be utilised in a similar bio-mechanic.
One thing that was very noticeable about the Ultra is the rocker on the heel of it. Its actually the first S-lab shoe I’ve had that really looks like it will just bounce along the trail from heel to toe (see pic at top).
The other main differences would be the grip. The Sense Ultra has a less aggressive grip than the Wings SG (which has a chunkier, more aggressive grip), yet I have found to be very effective on many surfaces including loose rock/grit, mud, snow, large wet boulders. The rubber compound Salomon has used on the Sense is definitely worth its weight in performance. Any trail with a combination of these surfaces, you’ll have no problem going from one to the other in this shoe.
The Wings SG I would take out where the condition were maybe a bit wetter, more fist sized rock/obstacles or you were really going to descend/ascend with some power in slushy conditions.
I’ve only put 300km on this new Sense Ultra, but found it absolutely awesome on anything from single trail, fire road, steep loose rock, wet boulders to snow lined trail.
A bit of a personal rough guide to what S-lab I’d chose when…
5-15km steep/technical/fast – Salomon S-lab Speed
15-30km steep/technical – Salomon S-lab Sense 6 SG or Speedcross
42km Skyrace – Salomon S-lab Sense 6 SG or Speedcross
50-100km Skyrace – Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra or S-lab Wings SG
100km+ Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra or S-lab Wings SG
Note. The S-lab Wings and Sense 6 also come with a standard grip pattern that is not as aggressive as the SG (soft ground). These would be a better choice for trail races that are not as steep, aggressive or technical.
The S-lab line-up. Shoe Vs Race Australia
please note, this is my own personal preference but I have been wearing these for a little while now.
Bogong 2 Hotham- Salomon S-lab Sense 6 SG/Wings SG
GSER- Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra
UTA 100- Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra
UTA 50- Salomon Sense 6 SG
UTA 22- Salomon Sense 6 SG
Buffalo Stampede Ultra – Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra
Buffalo Stampede Marathon- Salomon S-lab Sense 6 SG
Buffalo Stampede 26- Salomon S-lab Speed/Speedcross
Cradle Mtn Ultra- Salomon S-lab Wings SG
4 Peaks- Salomon S-lab Speed/Sense 6 SG
6 ft track marathon- Salomon S-lab Speedcross
Mt Solitary- Salomon S-lab Sense 6 SG/Speed/Speedcross
Mt difficult Skyrace- Salomon S-lab Sense 6 SG/Speed/Speedcross
Wandi Cross- Salomon S-lab Speed
Snowtrail- Salomon S-lab Speed/Sense Ultra
GNW100- Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra
Hounslow 68- Salomon S-lab Sense 6 SG/Speedcross
Local fun run- Salomon S-lab (any of them will be fun!)
Alpine Challenge 100 mile- Salomon S-lab Wings SG
Coast 2 Kosci 240 – Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra
GOW100- Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra/Speedcross
To sum it up…
The S-lab range by Salomon definitely have a shoe to match any mountain trail you wish to go play in. I have been running/racing in these shoes for nearly 10 years now, over many terrains, from Skyrunning World 100 mile races to the local fun runs in my home town. To me, fit and feel is what counts most when you are out running in the mountains and thats exactly what I find in the S-lab range.
#salomonrunning #suunto #playinthemountains #feelandfit