Storm Every Trailhead in the Salomon S/Lab Ultra


Salomon S/Lab Ultra

Matt Rainey

Price: $180
Type: Trail
Weight: 10.8 oz (M), 9.5 oz (W)
The Right Shoe For: Setting a new trail race PR

Buy Men’s * More Images

* The S/Lab Ultra is sold in Men’s sizes only.
Salomon’s S/Lab line is the brand’s crème de la crème shoes, featuring premium materials and geared toward competitive runners and its stable of professionals. While this means pairs like the S/Lab Ultra come at a slightly higher price point, it’s an investment worth making—especially if your trails are treacherous and your mileage is high.

Designed for ultrarunners, the shoe features an internal sleeve that wraps the foot in a snug cocoon, keeping you firmly in place while allowing the shoe to respond when your feet swell over hours on the trail. The updated Ultra also features a set of detached “wings” on the upper, that provide even more adaptability over the arch and midfoot. One tester found that this addition meant he no longer needed to stop and switch out his shoes during his ultra races, saving him both time and a huge hassle on the course.

Salomon S/Lab Ultra

Matt Rainey

The Ultra’s latest version also gets a redesigned outsole, making it even better for tackling technical trails, loose gravel, and adding an extra punch of stability. Plus, Salomon swapped out a few lugs right beneath the shoe’s arch for an extra sticky rubber pad that gives the shoe both a lighter feel and better grip on rocks.

“While the traction climbing and descending was fantastic [in the previous model], there was something lacking when you just needed steady footing on a big slab of hard surface,” one tester remarked. “This shoe fixes that.”

Midsole

The Ultra’s midsole uses the same high-rebound compound found in Salomon’s previous models, which give the shoe its superior energy return and durability over exceptionally high mileage. However, the S/Lab line supplements the standard midsole with a polyurethane foam insert in the forefoot, which gives the shoe added cushioning and longevity. Testers found that this made the shoe extremely comfortable, and those with narrower feet especially appreciated the extra snug fit.

“Perfect fit, perfect comfort,” raved one tester. “This shoe feels super protective and insulating without feeling bulky. It rolls over rocks without creating hot spots, even over longer distances.”

While the Ultra is not expressly a stability shoe, several testers found it offers excellent support when covering long miles on trails.

Salomon S/Lab Ultra

Matt Rainey

Outsole

While some testers wanted deeper lugs and a more rugged outsole, others liked that the smoother tread made the shoe more versatile across a wider variety of terrain. In comparison to other Salomon models, the general consensus was that the Ultra’s traction was satisfactory, but shoes like the Fellraiser obviously delivered more grip.

“I ran in these in wet and dry conditions, both times on very technical trails with lots of leaves, rocks, tree roots and loose gravel or stones,” one tester said. “I felt extremely stable and the shoes handled the terrain wonderfully.”

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Upper

Instead of a permeable mesh, the Ultra touts a durable “Skinguard construction” that helps seal out moisture and protect against sharp rocks and rubble. Testers also liked the shoe’s upper for its larger tongue, which extends higher up the foot to shun dirt and leaves, and also featured a lace-stowing pocket.

While testers liked being able to tuck their laces safely away from mud splatter, some still weren’t completely sold on the quick-pull lacing system. Fans of traditional lacing thought the cinched, locking laces would take some getting used to, but did agree that there was no chance of them coming untied during runs.

All the Stats You Need!

Men’s

  • Weight: Heavy | 10.8 oz.
  • Heel-To-Toe-Drop: Moderate | 6.0 mm
  • Heel Height: Moderate | 31.0 mm
  • Heel Cushioning: Firm
  • Forefoot Height: Moderate | 25.0 mm
  • Forefoot Cushioning: Firm
  • Flexibility: Stiff
  • Stability Features: Some
  • Energy Return: Moderate

    Women’s

    • Weight: Very Heavy | 9.5 oz.
    • Heel-To-Toe-Drop: Moderate | 6.2 mm
    • Heel Height: Moderate | 29.7 mm
    • Heel Cushioning: Firm
    • Forefoot Height: Moderate | 23.5 mm
    • Forefoot Cushioning: Firm
    • Flexibility: Stiff
    • Stability Features: Some
    • Energy Return: Moderate

      We put each shoe through real-world usage and a battery of mechanical tests in our lab to provide you with objective—and exclusive—data. In addition to measuring a shoe’s weight, we measure sole thickness (everything that sits between your foot and the road), how well the foam cushions your stride, and the flexibility of the forefoot. All this is taken into account in our reviews of each shoe.

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