Friday, August 03, 2012

Outdoor Retailer Summer 12: Salomon Sense Family grows for Spring 13

No shoe has had as much recent buzz as the Salomon S-Lab Sense. Designed in collaboration with Killian Jornet,  the Spanish mountain running phenomenon and specifically for his needs, this 6.5 oz wonderfully fitting trail racer that can potentially be run sock less. This racing machine's mid and out sole are not engineered for durability and long life.  While incredibly well cushioned for such a light shoe all the goodness doesn't last long, nature of the beast.  Might get a few hundred miles out of them before they are shot. If you are tempted Bryon Powell's store at irunfar has them as does Running Warehouse.

Salomon Sense
For Spring 2013 Salomon is extending the Sense line to 3 models: the S-Lab Sense ($200), the S-Lab Sense Ultra ($180), and the Sense Mantra ($120) . I tried both new models the Ultra and Mantra.

The Mantra is an  8.4 oz, 6mm heel to toe drop , introductory model to Sense minimalism. Where this model falls down for me is the upper, at least on first trying it on. Like the Salomon Crossmax it is narrow under the instep, a European cut which creates pressure on my foot down where the midsole meets the upper.  No other shoe brand does this to me in that area. The upper is not nearly the stretchy yet supportive "2nd Skin Seamless Construction" of both of the other Senses.  The ride will be firm. Of course it is also $60-$80 cheaper than those racing machines.

The 7.4 oz, 4mm heel to toe drop  S-Lab Sense Ultra is the one for me. I might even see it as a great road racer.
Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra

The midsole is a more durable foam than the Sense: namely, firmer and thus designed to last longer than the few hundred miles of the Sense. The outsole has slightly deeper lugs and more of them than on the Sense.  The carbon fiber based fabric rock protection in the  mid foot of the Sense is substituted for a  membrane embedded in the ProFeel midsole, the gray seen through the outer sole above  which I was told is akin  to a dense latex paint designed to prevent rock and other obstacle punch through. The Sense Ultra felt great on.

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