Originally posted August 6, 2017. Updated January 25, 2018.
If I was forced to choose just one shoe for all of my runs, I would pick the current Salomon S/Lab Sense Ultra (read my review). Most importantly, it fits my small-volume feet. Beyond that, it excels on most surfaces and for most distances: from cruiser pea gravel to washed-out peak trails; and from 3-minute VO2 intervals to ultras. I wore it for the Bighorn 100, and will probably beg Salomon for a fresh pair for UTMB next month.
Apparently these sentiments are widely shared: the S/Lab Sense Ultra has become Salomon’s top-selling S/Lab product of all time.
Some might say that, “If it’s not broken…” Yet at Outdoor Retailer last month, Salomon was showcasing the second generation, the S/Lab Ultra. (Update, January 25, 2018: This shoe was originally called the S/Lab Sense Ultra 2, but Salomon created a new “Ultra” category that is separate from the longstanding “Sense” shoes.) Thankfully, the changes are mostly tweaks, not wholesale changes.
The next iteration of the S/Lab Ultra — which will be released around March 1, 2018 — makes no changes to:
- Stack Height: 26mm/18mm
- Drop: 8mm drop
- Outsole: Premium Wet Traction Contagrip
- Last and volume
- Endofit internal wrap
- MSRP: $180
Without wear-testing the shoe, I can only speculate about the impact of changes to the second-gen S/Lab Ultra.
A PU insert (“EnergySave”) has been added under the forefoot, instead of the midsole simply being dual-density EVA. This more resilient material should provide longer-lasting cushion, during both singular efforts and throughout the shoe’s lifespan — it shouldn’t feel “thin” underfoot as quickly. The firmness of the PU is apparently about the same as the old EVA, and therefore should not change the shoe’s ride.
Four external “wings” now wrap the midfoot, two on each side. This decouples the lacing eyelets, so that the tension is more dispersed and the fit becomes more dynamic.
Finally, the upper is beefier, with a thicker and more extensive TPU exoskeleton. Durability, lateral control, and “wet weight” should all improve.
Because of these three changes, and perhaps several less obvious ones, too, the second-generation S/Lab Ultra has put on weight. It’s now 300 g (10.6 oz) in Men’s size 9, versus 275 g (9.7 oz) for the current version. Per Jack Daniels, this adds 2 minutes 40 seconds to a 100-mile time, although it’s very difficult to look at this weight increase in a vacuum.