Yesterday the "Salomon Trail Tour" pulled into the Concord NH EMS for a demo day. They are traveling across the US letting people try their trail shoes. When my friend Joe, who works at EMS, told me they were coming I asked if he could let me know if they had the new S-LAB Sense. While I was on the way into work he called and said yes!! I immediately made a detour and stopped to check them out.
|Brand new, never worn Salomon S-Lab Sense|
I won't go into the history of this shoe. I'm assuming if you've read this far you already know about how it was the shoe that Kilian Jornet designed with Salomon after his first attempt at the Western States 100. It is the shoe that he wore for his win of the same race last year. It is a 4mm drop shoe with a very unique seamless interior that should be great for runners who don't wear socks (but will be fine for those who do).
My purpose of trying them on was to see what size I would wear if I get a pair. I normally wear a size 11 but the size 10.5 was even a little on the long side. I tried a size 10 and decided that my toes were to close to the front. If you do buy a pair I suggest going down at least a 1/2 size from your usual. One other thing, it carries a ridiculous price tag of $200. Yes, $200. I spend a lot of money on shoes, but even I am having a hard time with that price. On top of all that, Salomon claims that this is a race shoe with a very short life, due to the exposed EVA foam sole.
The guys from Salomon asked me where a good place to do a trail run was, and I offered to meet them after work and take them out to the Quarries. With one condition...they had to let me wear the shoes! They said of course I could, as that was the purpose of the demo anyways. So after work I took them all up for an hour tour of my local hotspot.
|Good traction and carbon fiber rock plate|
The quarries has a lot of rocks (duh..) with everything from little pebbles to big jagged "baby head" rocks. I was surprised to find out how well the carbon fiber rock plate worked. The shoes have more protection than my usual New Balance MT110's and more cushioning as well. I think it would make an excellent 100 mile shoe. Even though it was my second run of the day, my legs felt fresh and my feet were comfy. The tread pattern provided adequate traction, but I did find that on very steep climbs that were covered in leaves they were a little lacking. Other than that, the rubber felt sticky on wet rocks and didn't slip any more than what you would expect in mud. No rocks got trapped in the channels under the mid-foot.
|Bottoms, after an hour of all types of terrain.|
|Uppers, after the run|
Thank you so much to the gang at Salomon for letting me get a brand new pair of $200 shoes wet and dirty!
|Josh, Kristine, David and me|