Thursday, January 13, 2022

Salomon S/Lab Phantasm CF Multi Tester Review: Elegance in Motion! 9 Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum ,John Tribbia, and Alex Tilsely

Salomon S/Lab Phantasm CF ($225)

Introduction

The Salomon S/Lab Phantasm CF, expected to release Spring 2022, is Salomon’s entry into the plated super road shoe race. With a distinctly different approach, it combines a non rigid differentially flexing fiberglass plate with a ski camber based rocker geometry and  a stack height of 34mm heel / 25mm forefoot that doesn’t try to push to the “legal” 40mm limit.  


It joins an almost completely revamped 2022 Salomon line up for road and trail all sharing three new technologies implemented in different ways in each model for purpose and terrain.

  • Energy Surge midsole foam, an energetic softer non supercritical EVA Olefin copolymer block blend first seen in the trail Ultraglide and Pulsar  from what we can tell is identical in softness in the Phantasm CF

  • R-Camber geometry. A pronounced rocker from heel to toe shaped like that of a ski with at mid foot the high point. The Phantasm CF has the most pronounced  overall rocker.

  • Energy Blade. The most shoe purpose is customized of the three technologies. Non carbon made of varying materials ranging from fingers to here a differentially flexing full length fiberglass plate. 

  • And while not new, all models have Salomon’s excellent Contragrip outsole rubber.


The Phantasm CF is a long distance road racer/ trainer on what would now be considered a moderate 34mm heel / 25mm forefoot platform. It sits at about the stack height as the original Vaporfly and New Balance RC Elite 1 so with a heel lower than many of the newest super shoes such as Next % and Alphafly, Metaspeed Sky, and RC Elite 2 which all are at or close to the World Athletics 40mm heel maximum. 

It is a far more substantial and more forgiving shoe with more stack of softer Energy Surge foam (as in the trail Ultraglide) than the lighter original Phantasm above (RTR Review)although of course it shares Salomon red and a very similar if more supportive upper most notably now including a full robust heel counter. 


The differentially flexing plate sits at the junction of black and red layers of foam so can be considered bottom loaded. 

Sam: At 8.11 oz / 250g in my US8.5 sample it is somewhat heavier than some of the supercritical foam equipped competitors but still light for such a substantial shoe. 

The upper material is from Matryx, a French company which also supplies the upper of the Pulsar and Hoka’s EVO models. Extremely thin, very pliable, non stretch and super breathable the single layer mesh is reinforced on the inside with sueded overlays and on the outside with strategically placed overlays concentrated at the toe bumper and at the rear.

Sleek, beautifully simple and distinctive in all S/Lab red with the R Camber geometry the most outwardly noticed feature I was eager to take them to the roads. And I have, on multiple runs at varying paces as well as a race. I am joined in the review by John Tribbia, a former sponsored pro mountain and trail runner who is also mighty fast on the road. Read on to find what we discovered.

Pros:

  • Dynamic rocker and forefoot impulse at faster paces Sam/John/Alex

  • Agile. Feet and road are in the game yet with plenty of cushion. Sam/John

  • Not overly prescriptive or highly directed. Plate flex appreciated and propulsive. Sam/John/Alex

  • Energy Surge foam does just that, the more you put into it the more dynamic it becomes.

  • Excellent seamless blending of foam, plate, and outsole Sam/John/Alex

  • Very stable even on uneven pavement. Excellent climbing and descending for a plated shoe. Sam/John

  • Closest run feel to my all time favorite super shoe the very original baby blue Vaporfly Sam/John/Ale


Cons:

  • Energy Surge foam is heavier than now common super shoe supercritical foams, adding to shoe weight and reducing opportunity to increase stack of cushion. Sam

  • Rear pronounced rocker and far tapered heel area does not favor slower paces back on the heels and could be tuned down. Sam

  • Slight learning curve on how to maximize efficiency with running gait John

  • Thin tongue has a tendency to fold in towards the very front as it is not attached to sides and overall could be a bit more substantial. Does not affect lockdown but not as polished or pleasant to deal with as it could be. Sam/John/Alex

  • Inefficient lacing John

Stats

Approx. weight: men's 8.35 oz  / 236g (US9)  

  Sample: men’s 8.11oz  / 230g US8.5

34mm heel (measured) / 25mm forefoot (spec), 9mm drop

Expected May 2022. $225


Tester Profiles

John Tribbia (5' 6", 130lbs) is a former sponsored mountain/trail runner who has run with La Sportiva, Brooks/Fleet Feet, Pearl Izumi, and Salomon. Even though he competes less frequently these days, you can still find John enjoying the daily grind of running on any surface, though his favorite terrain is 30-40% grade climbs. He has won races such as America's Uphill, Imogene Pass Run, and the US Skyrunner Vertical Kilometer Series; and he's held several FKTs on several iconic mountains in Boulder, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. If you follow him on Strava, you'll notice he runs at varying paces between 5 minutes/mile to 12 minutes/mile before the break of dawn almost every day.


Alex Tilsley is a displaced trail runner, currently living in DC and finding dirt wherever she can. Alex discovered running in college and was a happy 3-miles-a-day hobby jogger until her mom tricked her into running a 10k and it was all downhill from there. She has since run several marathons (PR 3:38) and dabbled in triathlons, but her true love is the trails, whether running, mountain biking, orienteering, or long-distance backpacking. When she’s not running or riding, Alex works full-time in education policy and part-time putting on trail races with EX2 Adventures

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 64 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.


First Impressions, Fit, and Upper

Sam: Striking in all S/Lab red with lower midsole below the Energy Blade in black providing a contrast and accentuating the R-Camber rocker, the Phantasm CF conveys an unmistakable sense of speed, class and nothing but the essentials and all of a piece. The underlays and overlays are the same color providing very subtle visual depth. 


Standing in the shoe and walking slowly you will very clearly feel a high point in the platform at mid foot where essentially given the rear and front rocker you are at  “highest” point and this even given the 9mm drop. 

My pair is my usual true size US 8.5 and has a generous and secure fit which is not overly constricting and is distance and foot swelling focused. The very thin single layer Matryx upper and overlays wrap the foot very comfortably with a notably “light” and soft feel as the underlays are sueded next to the foot.

One might wonder with such a light thin super pliable upper why there is no gusset tongue. None is needed as the triangular underlays tie into the lace web loops. These triangular underlays extend all the way to the midsole on the medial side for some support and not as far down on the lateral side.  I found the hold truly spectacular at mid foot in the sense that without binding or over squeezing the foot you are very secure. 


The thin tongue material and construction could use some tuning some more stiffness and substance as there is quite a bit of folding to care for putting them on. 

The well bolstered collars are also incredibly comfortable and lined with a sueded material, totally locked down and as with the midfoot you literally forget you are wearing a shoe at all. 

The heel counter is more substantial, firmer and more extended than typically seen in a super shoe and in combination with the bolsters really locks and stabilizes the rear of the shoe.. 

The forefoot volume is generous for a race shoe and certainly not traditional Salomon narrow. 

Quite substantial external overlays lock the front of the foot and are needed as the front mesh is so soft, pliable and truly foot friendly.

The only fly in the ointment is the tongue. It is the same very thin Matryx mesh as the rest of the upper with a central and top of tongue laminated overlay which is effectively lightly padded down the center to keep the laces from biting and it does just that.  The laces are also thin and stringy. The issue is that the tongue is so pliable and is only attached way at the front that it tends to fold under, particularly up front. Not a performance issue but annoying. I wonder why it was not attached at least a ways further back to keep it from folding under. 


John:  Since I was able to test the original Phantasm, I was interested to compare that with the Salomon S/Lab Phantasm CF. The upper is minimal but has slightly more structure than the original, especially the heel counter. It has a conforming fit that also comes with a lot of ventilation, which I found to be off-putting in cold morning runs. My slightly narrow foot fits well in the shoe, but there is more ability to adjust for wider feet compared to the original Phantasm. The laces are secure, but adjustments are not as efficient as a traditional Salomon shoe without the quick draw. Similar to Sam’s observation above, the tongue is annoying. I had a similar problem in the original Phantasm and had wished this next version would have addressed the folding issue. I never experienced issues with the tongue during a run - in fact, it was non-abrasive on the inside, comfortable, and still provided a good foothold. But, lacing into them pre-run takes a bit more time to get the tongue placement right. 


Alex: This feels taboo to admit as a shoe reviewer in 2022, but I’ve actually never run in a super shoe before. In part this is is because most performance shoes don’t agree with my short, wide foot, but it’s also because over the last few years, I never really felt like I was running fast enough to justify the extra cash to maybe shave a minute or two off my front-of-the-mid-pack times. (Also the run specialty shop I worked at for a few years catered to more casual runners and rarely carried super shoes and so I couldn’t buy them with my store discount.) In any case, I was pretty excited by the chance to test the S/Lab Phantasm CF and dip my toe into the super shoe world.

You can tell from the pictures that this shoe looks fast. But I was surprised when I tried them on that they don’t feel aggressively fast. And I mean this as a good thing! The fit definitely leans performance, with a structured heel collar and overlays that hold your midfoot in place, but the forefoot was surprisingly generous (I think perhaps because the shoes are unisex my wide foot benefits from being in a men’s width, rather than the standard women’s B), and the midsole was surprisingly soft. I think I expected some instability, given what I’d heard about super shoes, but found none of that in standing and walking around in the Phantasm CF. Yes, you can tell there’s a plate, but it’s perfectly stable. While the shoe clearly wants to run fast, it’s not going to make you miserable if you’re walking to the start line or jogging the cool down. 


(What might make you miserable, though, is the 5 minutes you spend adjusting the darn tongue of the Phastasm CF. Sam and John covered this, but man I wish the tongue were attached to the upper!)


Midsole

The midsole is made of a EVA Olefin copolymer block foam blend. My sense, but not confirmed, is that the black layer below the fiberglass plate is slightly softer which may help soften the impact of the plate above.  Regardless there is no plate harshness felt. This same foam with identical or near identical proportions of EVA and Olefin is also used in the trail Ultraglide and with a denser medial post in the trail Pulsar. This foam will come to most 2022 Salomon shoes for road and trail.


The foam feel is moderately soft and very energetic with what I feel is increasing sensations of rebound the more force is applied to it. It is not as soft as New Balance’s Fuel Cell in the Rebel and RC Elite 2 or ASICS Metaspeed Sky, not as springy light as ZoomX and for sure not as firm and dense feeling as Saucony’s PWRRUN PB. 


Of course we have a plate in the mix and in a clever twist the Energy Blade plate is made of fiberglass with a forked rear reminiscent of the hoof of the iconic Alps chamois.  I do wonder what a non forked rear plate would do to moderate the steep rear rocker and get the foot forward faster at slower paces.  Our contributor Jeremy Marie discussed the shoe and plate with Salomon at the Paris Marathon Expo and took the picture below which is in our Salomon 2022 previews article here

By weaving the matrix of material into which the composite is poured differentially (CF stands for Composite Fiber) along its length, different zones of flex in the stride’s path can be built in. And easily tuned as the process is: weave as required for the desired flex, place in a mold, pour in the composite, heat and mold. Recall S/Lab first and foremost develops custom shoes for Salomon’s elites and here they could potentially literally and easily tune the plate to specific athletes and specific courses unlike more monolithic carbon or even injected plastic type plates. According to Salomon this approach also generates less waste.


So what does the plate feel like? Well, flexing the shoe one finds a long, fairly stiff but nonetheless flexible profile. This is not a totally rigid shoe as carbon shoes are or a long mellow barely flexing high stack plateless shoe. There is a definite noticeable “snap” to the flex in hand. 

On the run the combination of Energy Surge Foam, Energy Blade and R Camber effectively blends together and becomes increasingly as one as pace increases. At slower paces, back on the heels, the rear rocker feels a bit awkward (firm and off balance) but as I got to sub 9 pace, and faster, the shoe came into its element with the forefoot rebound from Energy Surge and plate action delivering agility and a sensation of forward propulsion which gets increasingly evident at faster paces.  Yet, due to the plate’s flexibility, the Phantasm CF never felt overly prescriptive or rigid. For example, compared to the Saucony Endorphin there is no abrupt final Speed Roll after a rigid drive forward. A smoother more “natural” feel here if one that is a bit lower to the ground in feel than max stack 40mm super shoes or those with higher front stacks lower drops such as Metaspeed Sky where for me it is only at 5-10K pace I can really make them work smoothly. 

John: Sam summarizes the midsole perfectly. The Energy Surge foam compound has a soft feel after a few break-in runs and it noticeably rebounds quickly. Then comes the R Camber that is most noticeable just standing in the shoe - you can literally rock back-and-forth on a hard flat surface. With the foam, rocker, and composite fiber Energy Blade, the Phantasm CF has a pleasant mix of rebound and forward moving energy return. Moreover, as Sam mentions, the flexibility of the plate prevents the overly prescriptive feeling that other carbon plated shoes create. This makes the Phantasm CF a good shoe for sustained uphills and I have yet to experience the same post-run leg soreness I get from other super shoes. 


Alex: Though super shoes are new to me, plated and rockered shoes are not. What I love about the way the S/Lab Phantasm CF is constructed is that it doesn’t force your foot to roll through a certain way. I think this is the R Camber construction – while I felt the pop from the Energy Blade, I didn’t feel the shoe forcing me into an unnatural stride the way some rockered shoes do. And while the Energy Blade definitely has a pop, the Energy Surge foam has just enough give to balance it out. It is not a plush ride – nor would I want that in a racing shoe – but it is not harsh, either. 


Outsole

The outsole is Salomon excellent Contragrip rubber with about the same firmness heel and forefoot although the front rubber may be a touch softer than the rear.


The front outsole is full coverage with unusual slightly thicker front wear bars protruding. I can see why they are there as the only place I am seeing much if any wear is to the front lateral ones on both shoes. I also think these bars may also provide some additional toe off grip. I like that the primary focus of the outsole design is forward in the direction of travel with some cut outs up front to help with flex. It’s a smooth running outsole with very good grip on wet and dry roads. Not sure I would take it on trails though. A bit more profile might have extended utility to light trails.


John: The outsole’s Contagrip FA technology is a similar layout of flat and wide lugs seen on the original Phantasm. In the CF, I ran on dry roads, wet roads, and hard packed dirt paths and felt secure when taking tight turns on all three. Like Sam mentions, it would be awesome to have a version with some lugs to use on looser dirt and light trails.

 

Alex: Sam and John cover the outsole well. I’ve taken it on dirt a few times in my test runs, and the grip holds up perfectly well. The front-to-back design of the outsole seems to complement the design of the midsole, keeping you rolling forward without forcing you to roll forward if you hit an off-camber step. 


Ride

Sam: I have done 8 runs at a variety of paces in the Phantasm. 

The ride is agile, somewhat more low slung in feel and for sure more stable than some of max height 40mm shoes.  It is well cushioned without being overly soft with a bit more of an old school race flat snappy flavor than more extreme geometry and higher stack competitors.  


The Energy Blade plate and R Camber deliver an easy to find, non prescriptive or overly rigid flow to toe off through the gait with the preferred landing zone off the heels and closer to the “high point” of the rocker closer to mid foot. While more forgiving in terms of flow at faster paces, slower paces back on the heels are not as pleasant so this is not a good slow paces option for me. Anything over 9 minute miles there is better out there. Unlike some competitors I am finding that once you are at faster paces, below 8:30 per mile it is easier, very easy to keep forward and rolling than say in Metaspeed Sky where the very soft heel and lower 5mm drop require a forward strike pretty much at all times.. 

My testing included a 4 mile race on a bumpier road with a few hills. They climbed very well, the best of any shoe to date for me and were very stable on the downhills. 


The ride neatly bridges longer racing (10K and up) and faster tempo training for me and I have used the Phantasm CF for both.


John: I agree, the ride is quite agile and very enjoyable. You’re not going to get a spring loaded response out of the shoe, but the subtle combination of R Camber, slightly firm foam, and the carbon fiber insert yields an efficient roll-through that encourages fast running. My first run was a 3K all-uphill road time trial and discovered that the less prescriptive ride (compared to other super shoes and those with carbon inserts) was better for a sustained climb. In addition, longer and flatter runs feel efficient and energetic during easy and faster paces. One thing I learned quickly, however, is that you need to let the shoe do the work for you. In other words, there’s a slight learning curve (no pun intended) in finding where the optimal gait will use the rocker most effectively. For me, it was somewhere between heel strike and midfoot plant. Once I discovered this nuance, my experience with the Phantasm CF was heightened. 


Alex: My first run in the S/Lab Phantasm CF was meant to be an easy run (I’ve been nursing some ankle tendonitis, for those following along), but the ride was so much fun I had to throw in some strides just to see what the shoe could do. This shoe does not feel bad to me at slow paces – though I am more of a mid-foot runner even when I’m at a jog – but it definitely wants to go fast, and you really feel the benefits of the shoe more on the faster stuff. The ride just feels efficient – like the shoe is doing some of the work for you, but without forcing you to run in any particular way. Doing strides during an easy run, I was struck by how well the Phantasm CF transitioned from slow to fast and back again. Sure, it comes alive most on the strides, where the Energy Blade really shines and you can almost feel the energy return (this isn’t a springy ride, but the shoe keeps your legs turning over). But the construction and the foam also make for an efficient and not particularly harsh ride on the recovery, and the fact that this shoe doesn’t force your foot to roll forward made it easy to switch between the two. I did find myself slowing down a bit on corners because I didn’t totally trust the shoe, but it never actually felt unstable or caused problems; I think the construction made me doubt the agility, but I shouldn’t have.


Conclusions

Sam: Salomon enters the super road shoe game with a more flexible, agile and “natural” feeling, somewhat lower (than at the legal limit) stacked racer/trainer. The result is a very elegant, fast and dynamic ride. 


A long race and long tempo focused shoe, it is versatile and fun to run especially as you get up on to that flexible front plate and stack of Energy Surge foam which together are seamless in feel, “returning” energy and driving you forward, really shining the faster you go. 


The upper is accommodating, secure, and highly breathable with the tongue needing some minor tuning.


While I understand the R-Camber geometry principle, I would like to see it tuned down, less extreme at the rear of the shoe with the front nearly perfect for me. While Energy Surge delivers a fantastic and yes very energetic ride it is clearly heavier than supercritical foams.  The weight for the stack puts the Phantasm CF at the upper limit of modern super shoes and this even with its slightly lower stack than many. 


The tradeoff is that the Phantasm is among, if not the most, stable of the super shoe options at faster paces with the foam delivering lots of rebound without being over firm, mushy soft or bouncy bouncy and hard to control. It climbs the best of any super shoe and descends very well too.  If it was lighter and the heel geometry modified my ride score would be higher.

Sam’s Score 9.22/10

Ride: 9.25 (50%) Fit: 9 (30%) Value: 8.8 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)


John: The Salomon S/Lab Phantasm CF is a versatile racing shoe that I think could work for a lot of different types of runners. Once you find the sweet spot in the rocker within your running gait, the shoe brings energy and rebound from 5K to Marathon. The combination of the Energy Surge midsole, R.Camber rocker, and fiberglass plate  provides a unique combination of flex, firmness, and cushion to efficiently transfer energy into fast paces. The mesh upper is highly breathable, soft on the foot, and has enough structure to provide decent support. 

Score 9/10

Ride (9/10) Efficient, responsive, and smooth transitioning

Fit (9/10) Point deduction for tongue fit

Value (8.5/10) 

Style (10/10) I always love the Salomon red


Alex: Without the benefit of comparing with other super shoes, I found the S/Lab Phantasm CF to be a fun ride that felt surprisingly good at slow paces (even if it was trying to push me to run faster), and great at faster paces. Had I gotten the PT’s ok to run that 10 mile race I was signed up for, I absolutely would have taken the Phantasm. The ride is energetic without being harsh, encourages turnover without being perspective, and offers protection without being mushy. The tongue and laces could certainly be more dialed in, but the upper is breathable and the fit accommodating. This isn’t going to become my easy day shoe, but I’m excited to have it for tempo runs, races, and possibly even fartleks or days where I just want to feel a little faster. 

Score: 9.28/10

Ride: 9.75/10

Fit: 8.5/10

Value: 9/10

Style: 10/10


Comparisons


Salomon S/Lab Phantasm (RTR Review)

Sam: The first Phantasm was considerably lighter and firmer. There is really no comparison here except the upper color and its general construction of a similar if lighter mesh with the CF having a more substantial heel counter. The Phantasm ride is punishing in comparison, less dynamic and more akin to a broader base traditional racing flat whereas the CF has considerably more stack, softer more energetic Energy Surge foam (more Olefin in the mix) and a clearly felt propulsion from the plate.


John: Sam points out all of the key comparisons here. I especially echo his thoughts on the punishing ride of the original Phantasm - my legs are always sore after running in them, regardless if it is 5K or any longer distance. 


Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: Only slightly lighter, the Speed has 1.5mm more heel stack and 5mm more forefoot stack of expanded PEBA beads foam. It is more cushioned and more densely so whereas the Phantasm CF is clearly more flexible with its long plated flex contrasting with Speed’s more rigid flex and final more distinct Speed Roll. The Speed’s upper is heavier, more secure and likely not as breathable. It comes down to preferences here: a more prescriptive, aggressive slightly more cushioned ride from the Speed vs. a more natural one with more forefoot agility and rebound sensation from the Phantasm’s combination of lower front stack, more energetic foam and more flexible feel.

Video Comparison Review Phantasm CF to Speed 2


New Balance Fuel Cell RC Elite 1 (RTR Review)

Sam: Another close comparison with the lighter RC Elite having a similar stack height and ride feel if more one that is more rigid due to its carbon plate. The RC Elite’s heel landing is softer with its rear rocker less pronounced, a good thing.  The Phantasm CF is more fun to run and has a superior lighter upper and obviously more front flexibility,.

 

Nike Vaporfly 4% 2017 OG (RTR Review)

Sam: Close to the same stack height  with the same drop and considerably lighter at 6.8 oz, the OG Vaporfly is still my favorite super shoe. Not as it was, or is now, the most cushioned but because it had the easiest to find forward roll to toe off, even when tired. The two here have similar amounts of cushion feel. The Phantasm CF gets close to my “reference” standard but its over rockered heel and midfoot compared to the Vaporfly makes it harder to “re” find the front and keeps it from dethroning the VF. Upfront, I prefer the flexible more natural feeling dynamic impulse of the Phantasm CF. A more flexible plate as in Phantasm  in Vaporfly and Zoom X and I would be heaven.


Hoka Carbon X 3 (First Impressions Video)

Sam: An interesting comparison.. Both can be considered the brands’ most current marathon race shoes. The X 3 is 0.2 oz heavier with a slightly lower (2mm) heel and slightly higher forefoot (2mm) stack and a 5mm drop. So why heavier? Likely its super secure engineered stretch knit upper vs whisper thin Matryx for Phantasm. 


It has a full rigid carbon plate and Hoka’s new supercritical foam which is slightly firmer than Energy Surge and springier and more vibration shock absorbing. It runs far “flatter” than Phantasm as it is lower drop, rigid plated and broad on the ground with not nearly the pronounced heel rocker (a good thing) or forefoot flexible rocker (not so good). As with all older school Hoka and Hoka’s carbon shoes the X 3 requires strong knee lift drive, something I have little of these days. I find them kind of ponderous and flat yet…looking at the watch I always run faster than expected in them.  The Phantasm is way more fun but I would choose the X 3 for a marathon before the Phantasm, particularly on a flat course.


Nike Vaporfly Next % 2 

Sam: Higher stacked, lighter than the CF with a pleasing if more subtle roll effect than the OG VF, the Next% has a considerably more mechanical stiffer feel than the Phantasm CF but if I run a marathon or half the Next % will be on my feet before the Salomon. For shorter, hillier and more general training I would lean towards the Salomon.


361 Flame (RTR Review)

Sam: Firmer, stiffer and equally as stable I include the Flame as it shares some of the same hump at mid foot sensation as the Salomon. Both are along with the Brooks Hyperion Elite (a far duller riding shoe than the CF) the most stable super shoes for me.


ASICS Metaspeed Sky (RTR Review)

Sam: A shoe like the Phantasm CF with a low feeling heel for me the Metaspeed Sky with its lower 5mm drop and very soft Turbo foam at the heel is only useful at 5K-10K fast paces whereas the CF has a much broader pace range and utility. They actually share a similar rebounding dramatic forefoot with the more flexible CF’s impulse not as dramatic or as hard to maintain as the Sky’s.  


New Balance Fuel Cell Elite 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: Softer and bouncier with a considerably higher stack height, the RC Elite 2 is lighter and “friendlier”. Almost too soft (especially at the heel) and friendly for me as I prefer more road feel and firmer response which the CF delivers better. If a marathon was in the cards and I had to choose I would select the RC Elite 2 but for shorter races the more agile, quick feeling Salomon even if it is heavier.

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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3 comments:

Nic said...

And here I was thinking it will be sub-$200 shoe because of the fibreglass plate instead of carbon fibre... doesn't seem like the manufacturing advantages are being passed on to the customer. Once prices go up, they never come down.

Xavier said...

Excellent review as usual! Although the beach run photo is funny since it's for show (I hope), especially with that road outsole. And anyone who pays full price for these shoes can't blame anyone but themselves! ;). So far I'm very happy with the first generation Phantasm, it does what it needs to do but ultimately its all about the runners abilities.

Sam Winebaum said...

Thanks Xavier! Not to worry the sand at low tide is quite firm up higher and about 2km long.