Sunday, October 17, 2021

Salomon Running Road & Trail 2022 Previews: Complete Revamp! S/Lab Phantasm CF Test Run. Multiple New Energy Blade Models

 Article by Marcel Krebs and Jeremy Marie


Editor’s Note: Our European contributors had a chance to hear about, see, and even do a brief run in new models from Salomon’s Spring 2022 road and trail collection this past week. The introductions represent a complete and exciting full overhaul of the Salomon lines for road and trail with multiple new models and a new propulsion and ride technology, Energy Blade, which combines varying plate geometries and materials, Energy Surge foam, and the R.Camber rocker.


Highlights include a S/Lab Pulsar SG and a composite plated higher stack S/Lab Phantasm CF as well as multiple new road and trail variants with differing plates and blades with progressively more mellow feels for both road and trail as well as even a focus on differing runner styles for the more heel striking runner in the road Spectur


All new road shoes are expected to feature Salomon’s Energy Surge midsole foam in the softer flavor first seen in the Pulsar and Ultraglide as well as the R.Camber rocker (first seen in Ultraglide, Pulsar, and Phantasm) with two of the new trail shoes, Pulsar Trail Pro and Pulsar also sharing these technologies. Other new trail shoes (Hypulse and Impulse), lower down in the hierarchy have R.Camber rockers with Hypulse having a soft Energy Blade plate and both feature another new foam from Salomon, Fuze Surge, an EVA/ 30% rubber natural blend called out as soft and bouncy.  


Due to the many issues facing supply chains worldwide, release dates, pricing and markets have not yet been communicated to RTR. We will update the article as we learn more including full specs.


Introduction


Marcel Krebs: Thanks to intensified contact to the Salomon PR agency in Germany, I received the press releases for the upcoming Salomon lineup 2022 a couple of days ago and was really pumped, because it not only contained all the new shoes I was informed about by the Salomon media team at the Rennsteiglauf a few days before but so much more exciting stuff. 


And to make things even better, my fellow RTR team member Jérémy from France had the chance to get his hands on and feet into the upcoming Salomon S/Lab Phantasm CF with also below coverage of several other new road shoes .


Therefore, read on to get all the details!


Salomon Trail 2022

François D'Haene did it at the UTMB 2021. Maude Mathys did it at the final of the Salomon Golden Trail Series (GTS) in El Hierro. They wore prototypes (François) or brand new models (Maude) of upcoming Salomon S/Lab shoes. We do not know for sure, which shoes Francois was wearing. 


Maude won the GTS in the upcoming Salomon S/Lab Pulsar Soft Ground (SG), which will be the companion to the highly successful Salomon S/Lab Pulsar a shoe which is most at home on less technical drier trails such as Sierra Zinal.



The Pulsar SG features a reinforced Matryx upper and has 4.5mm lugs vs the considerably lower ones of the original. 



They are also repositioned for best possible grip. We did not hear if it had a plate (almost for sure it does not) or not but as with original may have a hardened foam front protection insert. Weight is expected at 200g. 



At the Rennsteiglauf I was not only told about the upcoming Salomon Pulsar SG, but was also informed that there will be a whole trail product family many built around the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar and its exciting Energy Surge midsole material, non carbon plates and Salomon’s R Camber rocker technology we first saw in Pulsar, Ultraglide, and road Phantasm 1. 

MSRP: $180

Release Date: To be announced


Pulsar Trail Pro

And when I received the press releases, the Salomon Pulsar Pro caught my attention. It is the more training oriented version of the Pulsar, which is built on a wider base and uses a thicker midsole to create more comfort during longer training runs. 



Unlike the Pulsar it has a stiff TPU composite propulsion plate and has a decoupled flexible construction for stability and comfort. As with Pulsar and Ultraglide, it has an Energy Surge foam midsole, we expect of the same softness as the preceding two which Salomon says provides 40% more responsiveness than their “prior” foams, we can assume as compared to Energy Cell+ but will confirm. Contagrip MA outsole. 6mm drop. The Pro seems like a shoe sitting between the Sense Pro and Sense Ride in the lineup.




MSRP: $150

Stack Height: 31mm/25mm (6mm drop)

Weight: 270g/8.1oz (US Men’s 9), 270g/8.1oz (US Women’s 7)

Release Date: To be announced


Pulsar Trail



The Pulsar Trail shares an Energy Surge midsole, R.Camber rocker, and a TPU plate (the ensemble of the three technologies what Salomon calls “Energy Blade”)  with the Pro with its plate slightly softer and more flexible. Contagrip MA outsole. 6 mm drop. This shoe may be a replacement for the Sense Ride 4.


MSRP: $130

Stack Height: 32.6mm/26.6mm (6mm drop)

Weight: 280g/9.8oz (US Men’s 9), 280g/9.8 oz (US Women’s 7)

Release Date: To be announced


Hypulse

The Hypluse has a softer yet TPU plate, R.Camber, with a different midsole foam than its siblings above: Fuze Surge which is an EVA with 30% natural rubber in the mix called out as “super soft” . Hard to say at this point, but this might be the ultra length race shoe in the lineup for many due to its softer more flexible yet still stable and responsive ride. 6mm drop



Impulse

No plate here but we do have R.Camber and a Fuze Surge midsole with a light upper. It is targeted a door to easier trail runs. Could this be a blend of the very original Sense Ride and the road Accelerate? 8.5mm drop. 


Fun fact as a side note: What I found really interesting beside the bunch of information regarding upcoming models was what the media team told me regarding the Speedcross lineup and the customer base of Salomon in general.


I was informed that only a low percentage of the Salomon trail shoes are bought by trail runners. In fact, most of the shoes are sold to people who just walk around in the shoes. Interestingly this does not result in those consumers wanting to buy Speedcross models with say a lower profile (lugs or stack). These folks request the “original” which resulted in a clean-up of the Speedcross lineup as even those people who use it for casual wear, want the high profile "big lug" versions.        


As far as the road lineup is concerned, Salomon introduced the Salomon S/Lab Phantasm at almost the same point of time as the Pulsar. It is fair to say that it did not receive by far the same attention as the Pulsar and in my opinion this was totally justified. Even the (failed) world record attempt of Kilian Jornet could not change this fact. That’s because the Phantasm was neither very propulsive, as it was missing a plate and didn’t have the bouncy/softer flavor of Energy Surge midsole foam as Pulsar and Ultraglide do, nor was its fit nearly as excellent as the Matryx upper of the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar. Therefore I was very happy to see the brand new Salomon S/Lab Phantasm CF, which features a Matryx upper and also a plate for efficient propulsion as well as the other shoes Jeremy and Sam discuss below.



Salomon Road 2022 Introductions

Salomon is launching 4 new road shoes in Spring 2022 in a coordinated collection for differing run needs and even runner strike styles.  


Phantasm CF-is the pinnacle composite plate max cushion racer with a Matryx upper. It has 23/32 stack height without sockliner, so it should very closely approach the IAAF limit for stack height of 40mm including the sockliner. Read Jeremy detailed initial analysis below.

Weight is 225g /7.9 oz US9 /EU 42.5 200 Euros. 

Potential Comparables: RC Elite 2, adios Pro 2, Craft Race Rebel.

Release Date: Expected February 2022


Other new models include:


Phantasm

Same basic geometry as CF but with a polyamide and fiberglass plate with a geometric shape that aids forefoot striking runners. The plate blades will not be continuous as CF's but more like the rods in the Adios Pro to ease flexion. Potential Comparables: Endorphin Speed, Skechers Razor Excess, ASICS Magic Speed, Nike Zoom Fly


Glide Max

The most cushioned of the collection and with no plate, the Glide Max will have an 8mm drop and weigh 275g / 9.7 oz. It will have a more mellow R.Camber rocker. 

Apparently this will be a really, really max cushioned shoe, according to Salomon team. 

Potential Comparables: Endorphin Shift, Craft CTM Ultra, Fresh Foam More, Hoka Bondi.

 

Spectur

At a lower drop of 6mm than the others above which sit a 9mm, Spectur drop racer/ trainer with a polyamide and fiberglass plate shaped to aid heel to mid foot striking runners through a more balanced heel to toe transition than the others. Potential Comparables: Sonic Accelerate, Scott Pursuit, Endorphin Speed, Skechers Max Road.


The 3 first options ( S/Lab Phantasm CF, Phantasm, and Glide Max) are lined up in similar fashion to Saucony’s Endorphin (Pro, Speed, Shift) so a to cover a full range of racing and training needs with the interesting angle that a 4th shoe in Spectur is intended for midfoot to heel strikers. So we also see a focus, as with ASICS Metaspeed Sky and Edge, to deliver shoes not just with plates and stack variations but for differing runner types.


All feature Energy Surge midsoles (an EVA/ Olefin block copolymer blend) with Phantasm CF having a foam softness as in Pulsar and Ultraglide so softer than the 1st edition Phantasm.  While not confirmed as of yet, we expect the Phantasm, Spectur, and Glide Max to also have the same softer energetic midsole foam firmness as CF. 


All have R.Camber rocker geometry and all but Glide Max have plates of differing make ups for each shoe’s purpose, although none are carbon and deliberately so as carbon could not achieve the performance specs and sustainability goals Salomon was seeking.The combined technologies of plates, Energy Surge midsoles, and R.Camber geometry is being called as Energy Blade.


The pinnacle racer Phantasm CF has a composite plate with its weave having differing stiffness along the length of the plate to optimize propulsion from landing to toe off. That is a first as far as we know as the Carbitex plate flexes differentially between its top and bottom layers and not as far as we know differentially along its length. 


In total, Salomon's road running lineup for spring/summer 2022 includes the speed shoes

S/Lab Phantasm CF, Phantasm and Spectur, the new Glide Max long-distance shoe, and the

S/LAB Phantasm CF, Sonic 5 Balance, Sonic 5 Confidence, Predict 2, Predict Soc 2 and Predict Mod training shoes.


Sonic Accelerate does not appear to be continued in 2022; closest alternative will be the above mentioned Spectur even though it has a plate inserted into midsole.


In addition, the Index.02 - the evolution of the company's first recyclable running shoe

- has been optimized with a new upper.


Phantasm CF

Editor’s Note: Jeremy was able to speak at length with the Salomon product team at the Paris Marathon Expo and actually run a bit in the Phantasm CF.

 

Jeremy: The S/Lab Phantasm CF features Salomon's Energy Blade technology, R.Camber rocker sole geometry and a super-soft foam compound, and is said to be the fastest road running shoe Salomon has ever developed. 

The shoe features a CF composite fiber plate that is made using a special knitting process that allows the stiffness to be varied in specific areas under the foot to achieve faster propulsion from landing to toe-off and a more comfortable, less monolithic feel. Basically, a knitted matrix is built with more or less space between the knit to tweak the stiffness. It’s put in a foot shape mold and then hot composite is poured in to build the final plate. 


Sam: We can well imagine this approach will allow fantastic plate customization for Salomon athletes and the S/Lab is all about creating shoes designed and built for Salomon's elites. I visited the S/Lab a few years ago and the S/Lab can literally create, totally in house, entire high end elite products from run shoes to ski boots to skis, to apparel, to much more.


For example, the Pulsar was created specifically for Killian Jornet and the Sierre Zinal course in particular. We don't know but did Francois d'Heane's 2021 UTMB winning shoe, similar in appearance to the Phantasm CF in some ways have a custom designed plate for Francois? I wouldn't be surprised.


In any case this new approach also has tremendous potential for the average runner as while maybe not custom custom the plates can be more tailored to the foot's mechanics in multiple dimensions than most carbon plates.


Jeremy: The only waste in this process is the heel cut out. The process also reduces production waste versus standard carbon fiber plates that are cut from a big wafer. 


Salomon's signature rocker geometry, R.Camber, provides fast step changes, which allows the runner to spend less time on the ground and more time in forward motion. 


Energy Surge is a lightweight, resilient and super-soft foam compound. It accelerates the stride and, together with the R.Camber sole geometry supports fast, smooth transitions from one stride to the next. 


Durability was also one of the key performance indicators during the shoe’s conception. Salomon wanted their midsoles to last a minimum of 600kms before bottoming out. During the tests, shoes were tested to between 600-900kms, depending on the runner and their foot strike, and conditions…Clearly a message sent towards other super shoes using soft foams that die way more quickly. 

The upper of the S/Lab Phantasm CF is made of Matryx, an extremely

high-quality, extremely durable, mesh-like material that is lightweight and extremely

breathable. Matryx is a long term partner of Salomon (and some other brands including Hoka, TNF…) and has developed this special mesh for the Phantasm CF. The result is an elite road running shoe that makes high speed hold possible and provides a dynamic running feel. 


My Phantasm CF Running Experience

I only had a short run in the Phantasm CF, yet its character and difference with the previous edition are striking. 


Style-wise, to each his opinion. But I find that the shoe screams fast. The trademark S/Lab red is highlighted by the black part of the midsole, which also lightens the silhouette of the shoe, visually minimizing the stack height. 


The step-in is as comfortable as the first Phantasm thanks to the soft Matryx upper. As airy as the previous TPU upper, but yet it feels sturdier, more supportive. Runners having an issue with the barely there, minimal foot hold of last year's shoe will be delighted with the changes in hold. 

There are also more overlays to improve foot hold, and for taking sharp turns at speed in the mini track built inside the Running Experience (formerly called Running Expo) My brief test run clearly shows that it has greatly improved. 


If you take a look at my review of the Phantasm 1 from last year, you can see that there were basically no heel counter. 

The new version completely revamps this part of the shoe. 









A rigid heel counter and more narrow shape here ensure a firm and efficient hold. 

The little pillows on each side of the Achilles tendon are now thicker, but still soft, and both larger and longer on each side. 


In fact, all the rear part of the shoe now feels sturdier thanks to a layer of suede like inlays.


The suede like material grips the socks, the padding is soft and apparently plays its role perfectly, as far as I can tell.


As for the front, I have nothing more to say. The tongue is reminiscent of last year (I need to check with both shoes to see the differences), asare the laces, and the breathability seems equal despite the slightly denser mesh. 


Anyway the new Phantasm CF seems like a big step up in foothold from last year's incarnation.


Now, the billion dollars question: 

How Does it Ride?


Well, from the short time I had…it rides nice, very nice, smooth, very smooth, snappy, cushioned, light, and springy. 


The very natural ride I enjoyed in the former Phantasm is still here, and the plate does not seem to change that- in fact I think it improves on it. The feeling of being gently helped by the R.Camber profile is here, but is even smoother thanks to the softer foam used.


The landing is not as firm as with the Phantasm. The Energy Surge foam compresses to absorb the shock at landing and then quickly expands out to “return” energy, helped by the plate which adds a tremendous amount of snap during toe off and directs this energy to the front. 


Ground contact really feels minimized and the shoe encourages -and helps- a quick cadence.


It is not a bouncy midsole such as PEBAX ones, or even ASICS FF in the Novablast. Thanks to the heterogenous flexibility of the plate, the rigidity is hardly felt during the stride. 


Landing midfoot, the foot easily rolls forward and I didn’t feel overly constrained by the plate. 


During toe off, where the plate is more rigid, and where the foot applies more force to it. It flexes naturally as then ejects the foot forward. It was an enjoyable ride, natural, protected, and really " optimized" by the Energy Blade platform. 


I can’t wait to get my hands on a review sample!


Watch the Video Version of the Salomon 2022 Road Previews (4:30)



Photo Credits: Salomon and Jeremy Marie


The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and currently preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

RUNNING WAREHOUSE
USA  Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns
EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
AUSTRALIA Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
 
ROADRUNNER SPORTS
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Join VIP Family, Get Free Shipping and 15% in VIP Benefits on every order, Details here

FLEET FEET
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

SHOPPING FROM EUROPE?
TOP4RUNNING 
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products
FREE Shipping on orders over 99, 30 days return policy, no questions asked.

HOLABIRD SPORTS
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

REI 
Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

AMAZON  
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE REVIEWS ON THE ROADTRAILRUN CHANNEL


Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook: RoadTrailRun.com  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun


17 comments:

Marcel said...

following

Alessandro said...

Sonic accelerate will end in 2022??

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Alessandro,
Looks that way but will confirm. Closest shoe will be Spectur I think.
Sam, Editor

Nic said...

Very interesting that Salomon is using a fibreglass instead of carbon composite plate. I work in the composites industry, so I have a bit of background knowledge. Cost-wise a fibreglass composite will be approx. 25% of the cost of an equivalent carbon construction. Generally speaking, fibreglass is also more freely available and has a lower environmental impact to produce, compared to carbon.

You mention that Salomon is already "tuning" the fibreglass composite to have different flex/stiffness in different areas. This is done fairly simply by arranging the amount and orientation of fibres in the different areas of the composite construction.

This "tuning" can then be taken a step further, and done on an individual basis, based on the runner's specific characteristics e.g. weight or stride.

My questions is, is this allowed in the first place, and if not, how is anyone to know if shoe "X" has been "tuned" for an individual, compared to shoe "Y" that visually looks exactly the same, but with a normal plate? Surely this will be a huge unfair advantage for top/elite runners that work closely with the shoe manufacturers.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Nic,
Thanks for your knowledgeable comments. Salomon is very focused on reducing environmental impact with this approach and others. The tuning from what we understand is being done as you describe by varying the density of the fibers in the knit across and along the plate. I don’t know if Salomon is customizing these plates for their elites as of yet but seems like it is possible in prototypes. As far as unfair advantages elite shoes can already be somewhat customized but must follow for road and track IAAF guidelines for stack height and other rules. Trail not sure rules are in place It is interesting that the original S/Lab Ultra which was commercially available had an upper for « the rest of us » that had been designed specifically from what I can tell for Francois d’Haene’s foot (as I saw his custom foot last at the S/Lab) as far as I can tell and was incredibly narrow in the toe box.
Sam, Editor

Xavier said...

Excellent news, thank you for the great insight.

These trail models are just getting better and energy surge is a game changer for Salomon.

A minor detail that isn't my favorite is the return of real eyelets on the Pulsar line. The current first generation of Pulsar doesn't have eyelets and that means there's one less thing to worry about ripping or failing. These darn eyelets always ripped on the sense and sense pro, or if they didn't rip its because they ripped the shoelace...

The Pulsar Pro seems like a good bargain and with the added midsole stack should be even more comfortable on long runs. The colorway is awesome too!! Throwback style to Salomon from 15 years ago or so.

Mike P said...

Xavier - Good catch, I knew something looked different about those Pulsar SGs but I didn't look that closely at the pics. Definitely potential to be a real bummer. I really like the Pulsar eyelets - they seem to allow non-uniform tension across the front of the foot, i.e. having different areas either looser or tighter. Also I felt less lace bite than other quicklace shoes. To be honest I usually cut off the quicklaces from my Salomon shoes - Pulsar was one of the only ones I kept. Hopefully this won't be a step backwards.

Dan said...

The Ultra Glide has been a complete game changer in trail shoes for me. It was an incredible ride for my 100 miler this year. I can't wait to see the same foam used in more shoes. It's a bittersweet goodbye to the Sense Ride, but after version 2, the shoe just went downhill and lost the fun of v1. I can't wait to check out these new ones next year.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hey Dan,
Glad you like the Energy Surge and congrats on your 100 miler. Really fine stuff! How is holding up? How many miles do you have on them and what do you weigh how do you strike?
Sam, Editor

Chris said...

Pulsar Trail looks excellent, but was confused about the specs. In the description it says “8.5mm drop” but in the specs “6mm”.
6mm I’m hoping?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Chris,
Yes 6mm drop and corrected. Thanks for pointing that out.
Sam, Editor

Chris said...

Excellent! Thanks.

Chris said...

Follow up…is the Ultra Glide set to return or update? And will there be a replacement for the Sense Pro, a lower to the ground, lower stack trip shoe?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Chris,
So far these are the new models Salomon is talking about. UltraGlide is so new it may be a while for an update but one could imagine a GTX and/or SG version. No news on Sense Pro but your thought makes sense in the line up.
Sam, Editor

zeguard said...

It is what I was searching for is really informative. It is a significant and useful post for us. Thankful to you for sharing video like this. Hacksaw Blade for Jigsaw UK

Anonymous said...

Will Salomon also be continuing with the Sense line? For example, an S-Lab Sense 9 and further Sense Pros?

Xavier said...

Sense is dead based on the expanding Pulsar product line. And the last slab sense was the 8, replaced by the Pulsar. Pulsar SG and Pro coming out soon will replace the Sense 8 SG and Pro 4.