Monday, July 13, 2020

Salomon Introduces Ultralight S/Lab Race Shoes: S/Lab Phantasm Road Flat & S/Lab Pulsar Trail Racer

Article by Sam Winebaum

Salomon S/Lab Phantasm ($180) road & S/Lab Pulsar ($180) trail

On July 13th Salomon announced two new S/Lab racing shoes : The road 199 g / 7 oz S/Lab Phantasm ($180) and the 170g / 6 oz trail S/Lab Pulsar ($180) as well as an update to their long distance trail runner the Sense Ride 4 ($120). Both release February 2021.

Update: Please read our full Phantasm review: HERE

Update: Please watch our 2 Pulsar initial video reviews with comparison to Sense 8 HERE

Sharp followers of social media will recognize an early but confirmed but very close to the releasing Pulsar as the shoe Killan Jornet wore to victory and a stunning record around at 7:32 min mile pace / 4:41min km pace at the iconic Sierre Zinal 31K trail race in Switzerland. It's a course I have raced several times that features a massive steep almost 6,000 foot climb out of the gate, long stretches of smoother fast flatter terrain with rockier sections and then an elevator shaft down last 5K. So, a course requiring a fast and light all around shoe as the Pulsar for sure appears to be!. 

More recently Kilian has also been spotted on social media running and testing the Phantasm, a road racing flat. What is the GOAT of  trail and mountain up to on road?  He clearly is cooking something up as most notably he has put down incredible flat terrain workouts recently. Likely we will soon find out!  Kilian likes light!

Both racers have a 6mm drop with the Pulsar having a 23mm /17mm stack (note the S/Lab Sense 8 has a 20 mm heel / 16mm forefoot lower stack and drop, yet Sense 8 weighs 195g while the Pulsar weighs 170g so we get not only more stack and drop but considerably lower weight in the new speedster. Salomon told us Kilian wanted more cushion in his race shoe and yet lighter weight and the S/Lab team delivered The inclusion of a ProFeel rock plate is not called out but we will get confirmation one way or the other. The upper is a somewhat stretchy Matryx upper. Matryx

The Phantasm checks in with a 20/14 stack for its 7 oz /199 g weight. It is called out as having a "reverse camber" for a rocker effect which the Pulsar also more clearly seems to show. We wonder if the midsole stack is actually higher in the Phantasm given the  low profile (in comparison to Pulsar) outsole. It has TPU coated yarn upper designed for maximum breathability.

Both racers feature a new Energy Surge midsole. It is an Infuse foam from Dow with less EVA and more Olefin that the Optivibe Infuse midsole in the current Sense Pro/4, Sense Ride 3, and the three Sonic 3 road models and without the Optivibe vibration reduction insert of those models. Most notably Salomon tells us its "durometer" or firmness will be at around 45 or 10 points less on the scale than the earlier Optivibe midsoles which were quite dense in feel.

The Energy Surge foam story from Salomon:

“As for the midsole foam, it’s a new technology called Energy Surge, which is the Salomon brand name. The actual product is produced by DOW® and their name for this material is INFUSE™. INFUSE™ is an Olefin Block Copolymer (OBC) that can be used as a standalone OBC or mixed with other foams (like EVA) to fine tune the feel and performance. Key benefits of Energy Surge (Infuse™) include:

  • Softer Durometer (Comfort)

  • Significantly less compression setting (Durability)

  • Significantly faster recovery from compression setting (Rebound)

  • Lightweight

  • Flexible

Salomon will “tune” its use of Energy Surge to the targeted use of the shoe its incorporated in, so certain models may have slightly different versions of INFUSE™, but Salomon will brand all footwear with this technology simply as Energy Surge in order to avoid confusion. Salomon models with Energy Surge for SS21 (1st season for Energy Surge) will include S/Lab Phantasm and S/Lab Pulsar” with more Energy Surge models in subsequent seasons.

The Pulsar has an anti debris Matryx upper. Matryx uppers incorporate kevlar like threads to provide the structure and support while reducing weight and improving breathability and drainage. The Cross Pro includes a Matryx saddle which is said to be less stretchy than the Pulsar. We also see Matryx on race grade Hoka models.  The Contagrip MA outsole has 3-4mm all purpose lugs.

The Sense Ride 4 gets an upper update with a new anti debris mesh this said to be more durable, lighter and softer, new heel collars and external SensiFit support. It retains its Infuse midsole, ProFeel protection, and rear vibration reducing insert with no changes from the Sense Ride 3.

Weight is called out at 10.2 oz / 290 g for men’s and 8.3 oz / 235 g for women. The Sense Ride 3 checked in at approximately 10.7 oz, so while catalog weight may not be final we expect a small and welcome weight reduction. Price remains at $120 so a lot of value in a heavy duty trail shoe. Available Feb 2021.

RoadTrailRun will be testing all the new models as they become available in the 3d quarter of 2020.

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was a provided at no charge. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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kiwirevo said...

Definitely going to need a comparison to the S/Lab Sonic 2 (some of us still haven't found marathon racing shoes to replace those beauties)

Bentos said...

Sorry if this is already clear, but when do you guys plan on testing them? February 2021 will be a tough wait...

Andrew said...

Maybe my favourite shoe ever.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Bentos,
We hope to test in the next month or so.
Hi Andrew,
Cool! Did you wear test? What does it compare to for you?
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our index page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Marcel said...

Hi Sam, thank you for the promising outlook! Do you also have any information regarding the Salomon SLab Ultra 3 which should be released in August?

Xavier said...

Sold on the white Pulsar pair!! Literally what I have been looking for in a shoe for a while now. I still need a replacement for my aging sonic ra pro 2 to be used on road and flat trails.

Mike said...

Wish they would offer a laced version for trail. I always get bite from the Sensifit...

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Xavier,
Figured you would be pleased by this news! Now the wait..
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

Hi, I see that the S/Lab Phantasm is avaliabel on the Salmoon official store on tmall (Chinese online shopping site). Is it really has to wait until 2021?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
We were told it would release much sooner in China

Xavier said...

Any details on the plans for the Pulsar and Sense product lines? They kind of overlap and the Pulsar looks to me like a better overall product even if the lugs seem to be even less pronounced. Testing is going to be interesting! And is the Phantasm essentially an slab Sonic?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Xavier,
One should think of S/Lab and Pro. Both of these new shoes are S/Lab and I think Phantasm is a successor to Sonic whereas for Kilian Pulsar is a logical and he has used (Sierre Zinal) successor to S/Lab Sense.
Sam, Editor

Jon A said...

Now released in Asia - Ultra 3, Phantasm etc

Andrew said...

Sorry for the confusion! I meant that my S/lab sonic 2 was was my favourite shoe ever, and that this new Phantasm looks like it.

I hope it's as good.

Marcel said...

Hi Sam,

any plans to review the S/lab Ultra 3 which goes into sale these days? Furthermore, i recognized an almost "silent release" of the Salomon S/Lab Cross ( a couple of weeks ago which is neither featured on their website nor could i find any reviews yet. Will you do a review of this beauty too?

Sam Winebaum said...

Testing underway! It was hard to get pairs. Very short supply in US

Marcel said...

@Sam: Great news! really looking forward to it!

Marcel said...

in Germany also already available

Bobcat said...

My Salomon Pulsars are on the way!
Hope to give feedback here.
Are you guys at RTR reviewing it yet?

Sam Winebaum said...

Great news Bobcat! Where did you get yours from? We expect to get a single pair soon. Care to join the review? If so drop me a line via contact box on right side of pages.
Sam, Editor

Bobcat said...

I'm in Zürich and the Salomon site was quickly sold out, so I got from Achermann Sport for cheaper anyway. Sure I like to help with the review.