For 2018 Salomon has partially reconfigured the line architecture of its trail running shoes, to better leverage a few success stories and to create space for greater product differentiation. It created an entirely new category, Ultra, and then updated the S/Lab and Pro models in its longstanding Sense line.
The new Ultra category is more niche than Sense. It’s designed for longer distances, and therefore has more underfoot protection, more hydrophobic uppers, and more fit adjustments.
Its flagship shoe is the S/Lab Ultra, which is the second-generation S/Lab Sense Ultra (read my review). This shoe was co-developed with François D’haene, who last year proved that he was the best ultra runner in the world by winning UTMB in Septemmber and smashing the John Muir Trail FKT in October (by 12 hours, in 2 days 19 hours and change). Few run like Francois, but apparently many like his shoe — it was Salomon’s best-selling S/Lab trail shoe ever.
I wrote about the S/Lab Ultra after Outdoor Retailer in July 2017. Read that post for in-depth and updated specs. At the time, it was being called the S/Lab Sense Ultra 2. It will be available in March and will retail for $180.
An all-new model, the Salomon Ultra Pro, will be released for fall/winter 2018. It tries to be a more commercialized version of the S/Lab Ultra. Most importantly, it has a lower price point ($150 vs $180), more cushioned heel cup, and more generously fitting upper (especially over the instep).
Unlike the first-generation S/Lab Ultra, the Ultra Pro does not have a rock plate, which is a big reason why it’s lighter. Feedback was that the resilient TPU-based EnergySave midsole was sufficient. It shares the same outsole compound and upper material.
Key specs of the Ultra Pro:
- 10.3 oz (US 9M) / 8.8 oz (US 7W)
- 24mm/16mm (8mm drop)
- Premium Wet Traction Contragrip outsole, with 4mm lugs
- TPU-based EnergySave midsole
- 3D Stretch Air Mesh with Sensifit upper
- $150 MSRP
The consensus at Salomon was that the current S/Lab Sense 6 strayed too far from its roots as “the Kilian shoe” — a minimalist racer for featherweight runners with perfect biomechanics. The S/Lab Sense 7 hits that mark. The unisex Sense 7 will be available this fall/winter in two outsole versions, the Hard Ground and more aggressive Soft Ground.
Key specs of the S/Lab Sense 7:
- Weight: 7 oz (US 9M)
- 18mm / 14mm (4mm drop)
- Premium Wet Traction Contagrip outsole
- Profeel Film chassis
- EnergyCell+ and Dual Density Compressed EVA midsole
- Integrated sockliner
- $180 MSRP
The S/Lab Sense 6 may not have made a good shoe for Kilian, but it worked better for the rest of us. So Salomon reconfigured it as the new Sense Pro 3. I’m told that it runs more like the original Sense Pro, but has a more aggressive outsole akin to the Sense Pro 2. I considered the latter a bit stiff, and found it best for technical trails only; whereas I was willing to run just about anywhere with the Sense Pro.
More specs on the Sense Pro 3:
- Weight: 8.9 oz (9M) / 7.9 oz (US 7W)
- 20mm / 16mm (4mm drop)
- Premium Wet Traction Contagrip
- Profeel Film chassis
- EnergyCell+ midsole
- Molded EVA sockliner
- $130 MSRP
Questions about the S/Lab Ultra, Ultra Pro, S/Lab Sense 7, or Sense Pro 3? Leave a comment.
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