Preview: Salomon’s S-Lab Ultra and Ultra Pro
Two new running shoes designed specifically with the ultrarunner in mind
Last year, the S-Lab Sense Ultra became Salomon’s bestselling S-Lab product to date. The shoe, co-designed with John Muir Trail FKT holder and two-time Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc champion François D’Haene, was the brand’s first foray into an ultra-specific line of shoes.
On Thursday, the French brand launched an updated version, called the S-Lab Ultra. (The shoe launched online last month and is now available in retail stores.)
This shoe is made to support ultra-distance-style pounding. To that end, it features a graduated stack; sizes above nine have increasingly higher levels of cushion to account for the fact that taller runners put more stress on their feet. It also has a polyurethane insert, intended to help prevent the shoe from packing out and breaking down over the course of a long race.
The new version is largely the same, with slight updates to the upper. Most noticeable: a striking red-and-purple graphic and an external cinching system, which tightens around the foot when you draw the laces in. Like all of Salomon’s S-Lab shoes, the S-Lab Ultra is unisex.
D’Haene famously wore a single pair of the S-Lab Ultras on his way to victory at the 2017 UTMB, a 106-mile race around the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps. To celebrate D’Haene’s victory and the launch of the new shoe, Salomon has also released a special-edition version with D’Haene’s signature and the UTMB course profile printed on the heel. The brand made just 171 pairs to commemorate UTMB’s 171 kilometers.
Unfortunately, the special-edition shoes are available only in Europe, so U.S. readers won’t be able to partake. However, the regular S-Lab Ultra is now available worldwide, and a more consumer-friendly Pro version ($150) is set to launch in August. The Pro will be slightly wider and not as lightweight, due to differences in the upper and the last.
I haven’t had the chance to test the new Pro version yet, but I’ll have my hands on a pair soon and look forward to sharing my first impressions.