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Photo credit: www.salomon.com

Salomon S-LAB Sense 5 Ultra shoes review

19-Jul-16

Last updated: 20-Aug-18

By Fiona Outdoors

This is the fifth version of Salomon’s S-Lab Sense ultra shoes. They claim the footwear offers “extreme lightweight, balanced with the right level of protection for ultra-distance trail racing”.

And add: “Lightweight materials and welded construction make this the lightest Sense shoe yet.”

Features

  • SensiFit: To cradle foot to provide precise and secure fit
  • Quick drying and breathable upper mesh
  • EndoFit: An internal sleeve helps with feedback and footwrapping
  • Dual Density EVA for superior cushioning, stability and motion control
  • Moulded EVA for cushioning, stability and support
  • ProFeel Film for lightweight forefoot protection
  • Non-Marking Contragrip for optimal traction on varied surfaces
  • OS Tendon for better rolling and a soft rebound
  • Eva Shaped Footbed for cushioning and support
  • Lace pocket
  • Weight: 220g
  • Midsole drop: 4mm
  • Price: UK RRP £145

Pros: What’s good about the Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra shoes

I like the lightweight feel and fit of the shoes. I usually require a female fit shoe but these appear to be unisex fit. However, it’s a nice and fairly slim fit (even the UK 8.5).

All too often I find I need to go up to a UK9 these days because the shoes are too short but not in Salomon shoes.

My foot felt fully supported in the snug upper and the whole fit is very comfortable. I have a bit of spare room in the volume of the forefoot but because the mesh upper is lightweight it doesn’t bother me. (Sometimes excess room means the creased upper rubs on my foot but not with these shoes.)

Thanks to the internal foot sleeve and tensioned lacing I can get the fit just right. In fact, the shoes feel as good as slippers!

The footbed is pretty flat and there is only 4mm of sole drop so this is a shoe for people who like to keep things on the natural side. If you need a lot of underfoot and arch support I’d look elsewhere.

The shoes are also meant for racing and being so light I think they are a good choice. I would happily wear these for training in, too, although I would expect them to wear out far quicker than other more durable looking shoes.

The shoes are very easy to run in and offer good grip in summer conditions. I found they work best on hill paths and light trails.

The flex of the sole is what I’d call medium. It’s not super flexible but nor is it too stiff. This is the style I prefer.

The shoes are very breathable. That’s because they have a thin mesh style upper. They also let in wet and rain but I would imagine they are meant for summer running. (I have seen that Salomon state the shoes grip well in snow but I would find these too light and airy for winter running.)

Any water does get out of the shoes fairly easily although not as easily as shoes that have mesh meeting the sole.

The S-Labs have a thin EVA rubber style surround for protection. While this does inhibit some water from escaping, it also offers fairly good protection from stones and muck on the path. I think the design is a good compromise of breathability and protection.

I know that looks should not matter when it comes to choosing running shoes but I like the design of these trainers. They are fresh and simplistic in style.

Cons: What’s not so good about the Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra shoes

I wish that shoe companies would make descriptions more “layman”. All this SensiFit, EndoFit, ProFeel Film stuff annoys me. Salomon are not the only company that do this. I am not impressed by made-up words and I often struggle to understand what they mean.

Isn’t it better to make the descriptions and technology of shoes easier to understand?

Salomon rate the sole grip as being “optimal traction on varied surfaces”. This makes them sound like they are good for all surfaces but I’d say they are only suited to summer paths and light trails.

There are three slots/holes in the forefoot of the sole. I can see that these help to keep the weight of the shoe to a minimum. However, I ended up with a stone stuck in one of them!

Running on anything too rocky is quite painful in these shoes so I would recommend sticking to hills, mud-based paths and non-rocky trails.

The lace pocket is a bit of a pain. It works well once the lace toggle is tucked away but you have to fiddle around with the lacing system to access the pocket in the top of the tongue. Other Salomon shoes have a design that makes the pocket easier to use.

Although I like the colours of red and white they do quickly mark and become dirty, especially the white.

Conclusion

The look is simple and the fit is straightforward and good. It’s a shoe that is easy to like and it’s a great choice for racing. I wonder about the durability of the shoes and I would reserve these for less rocky terrain and for racing, not training.

Score  
Design 8/10
Features 7/10
Performance 8/10
Value 7/10
Total 7.5


Other trainers you may want to consider:

Inov-8 Race Ultra 290
Hoka One One Tracer
Hoka One One Speedboat
Brooks Cascadia 11
Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra SG

All images unless stated: Fiona Outdoors.

About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions.

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