Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Salomon S/Lab Genesis Multi Tester Review: Something Very Different from the Lab! 7 Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum, Jeff Valiiere, and Jacob Brady

Salomon S/Lab Genesis ($200)

Sam's earlier review is updated with the experiences of Jeff Valliere in Colorado and Jacob Brady in Maine, USA


Sam: Let’s get this out of the way right away. The Genesis is the most mellow and riding mellow, softest, spacious S/Lab shoe I have ever run and I have run almost all of them over the last decade plus. I can also even say it is the most friendly, easy going Salomon trail shoe I have ever run. 

In a sense it follows the trend set by the Pulsar and especially Pulsar SG and Ultra Glide as it shares the same energetic soft Energy Foam midsole. It is even softer, less structured and not as densely protective under foot than the Pulsar Trail and Trail Pro with their firmer lower layers of Energy Surge and Energy Blades.

Yet, the Genesis is the shoe that took Mathieu Blanchard to a spectacular 2nd place at the 2022 UTMB and was on the feet of Ryan Sandes, who help develop it in the S/Lab where athletes can custom specify their gear, as he went 1100 km in 17 days across Africa in his recent Navigate Lesotho project. 

Ryan describes the Genesis as “more of an adventure shoe for really long days in the mountains or being out in the environment (like 24hr missions) than a racing shoe.” 

The Genesis has not only that soft Energy Surge midsole foam but unlike the S/Lab Pulsar no firmer medial insert relying on rear TPU panels for support on a considerably broader platform at the heel leading to a weight of exactly 9 oz / 255 g in my US9 sample. 

Further, unlike the Ultra Glide and S/Lab Pulsar, its front rock protection is Salomon’s well tested Pro Feel film instead of a hardened foam as those two have or a longer firmer foam layer as the non S/Lab Pulsar have and all of this on a relatively low front stack height of 22mm for the Genesis. We have a Contagrip outsole with 4.5mm lugs. 

The upper is Matryx but unlike the S/Lab Pulsar’s is not as foot conforming (to my narrow to medium feet)  or dense being far softer and more pliable in feel.

I was fortunate to visit the Annecy Design Center and  S/Lab in 2018 (Article). I of course saw  the evolution of the Sense  (and later the Pulsar)for Killian’s needs and foot , the S/Lab Ultra for Francois d’Haene’s incredibly narrow foot, and v1 was indeed very narrow up front.  I saw the actual last used to make shoes to Ryan’s foot shape…so broad at mid foot that in regular lasting and shoe shape he had to size up multiple sizes.

So here with the Genesis, we have a shoe developed in part for Ryan with a broad fit that can be adapted, to a certain extent through the stretch rear and the panels drawn in by the overlays and quick laces. 

So yes all this adds up to a more mellow riding, light on the foot and on the ground feeling, broad fitting S/Lab shoe than any previous for me. Is it ultra worthy for the masses and if so what kind of courses, if any? What are its ideal uses? Who might it fit best and who not so well? How does it compare to other Salomon and to other contenders? Please read on to find out what we discovered.


Energetic, flexible and soft ride with lots of front ground fee: Sam/Jacob 

Forgiving bouncy cushion, especially at the heel: Sam/Jacob 

Broadest highest volume fit yet for a Salomon S/Lab shoe. Few if any should size up: Sam 

Fun ride on more mellow cruiser trails: Sam 

Versatile all terrain Contragrip outsole with 4.5 mm lugs: Sam 

Light at 9 oz / 255g for decent stack and especially for full coverage outsole: Sam/Jacob 

Softer padding under the tongue protecting instep Sam/Jacob

Snug fit around the ankle cuff making for no need for a gaiter Sam/Jacob

Comfortable and secure fit: Jacob

Excellent traction: Jacob

Jeff V - Comfort, cushion, reasonable weight, security, stability, fit, traction


Forefoot protection is on the thin side given soft foam and ProFeel: Sam 

Likely not the best option for technical trails at ultra distances : Sam .

Requires good agility in technical terrain : Sam 

For Ultra distances, I think it has its place as a shoe for those whose feet are slightly stronger than say a Hoka wearer’s: Morgan

Requires good agility in technical terrain: Morgan

Outsole traction may not be the best for wet rock slabs: Morgan 

Jeff V - styling is a bit industrial


Sample Weight: men's 9 oz  / 255g (US9)  /  women's oz / g (US8)

Stack Height: 30 mm heel (spec and measured) / 22 mm forefoot, 8mm drop 

Available now from Salomon HERE. $200

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Sam: In various shades of gray with a few muted yellow upper highlights and a yellow medial midfoot midsole section which may be a very slightly denser Energy Surge foam.  

The eye is immediately drawn to black midfoot TPU panels, more extensive on the medial side than lateral side. Not the best looking S/Lab shoe but once dusted up a bit everything blends in. A note about trail dust.. The Matryx upper seems to do a really good job repelling it and not absorbing it as even after runs on quite dusty Park City trails they shine like new although the pics below are out of the box!

Matryx is a textile that includes aramid (Kevlar like) fibers for durability and also to deliver the  light weight with support. Here it is far softer and more pliable than the snug fitting Matryx uppers of the S/Lab Pulsar and is more similar in feel to the Matryx materials in shoes such as the Hoka EVO Speedgoat.

My purchased sample is a half US size up from my normal US8.5 and I could have easily and better gone true to size whereas in the S/Lab Pulsar I am at half size up US9. Very few if any should need to size up here given the wide Ryan Sands lasting of the shoe.

The heel hold is excellent from a combination of the thin broad densely padded inner bolsters, very pliable, high and forward reach plastic  overlay heel counter and the draw of the quicklaces forward of the rear. 

This said, being pliable, the heel counter is not the most supportive in more technical terrain, less so say than in the Ultra Glide's, a shoe I A/B tested against the Genesis on Park City single track for a few miles.

The midfoot is spacious. In addition to the somewhat effective side black panels we have a densely and well padded tongue whose upper knit ties into the rear knit collars as a single unit. This construction also keeps debris out with the sides letting water drain out. Recall Ryan running hundreds of kilometers across Lesotho.  

The tongue is attached to a full lower inner bootie of soft stretch material extending all the way to the front and ending before the toe box. I think it could be a bit less soft and stretchy and more supportive but again, likely for Ryan’s broad foot, it was I think speced this way. 

The quick laces are effective and easy to adjust and for once the lace garage is very easy to use. 

The front of the tongue has thin mesh covering to prevent dust and debris from entering.

Overall the midfoot is adequately supportive for my narrower to medium volume foot with the fit is focused for long distance comfort more than technical trails hold. 

The toe box also follows that theme here: broad, quite unstructured and very comfortable. It is similar in volume to the UltraGlide but with lighter more pliable less stretchy materials and with a less stiff but extensive toe bumper.

All in all a super comfortable toe box area for long distances at moderate paces and not the hyper dialed in, snug and precise fit of past Salomon S/Lab.  I got a half size up from my normal as I often do in S/Lab (such as Pulsars) and regretted it. Go true to size here.

Jeff V:  I had sort of forgotten about the Genesis after Sam’s initial review last September and did not think I would end up testing after he had to buy a pair himself, so was sort of indifferent, but when I was recently offered the opportunity, I was eager to give them a shot, as they look to be pretty unique and a bit of a departure from the Salomon norm.  

They have a somewhat industrial look, with the blocky side panels and dark gray/black styling and yellow accents, but don’t let the looks fool you!  I’ll just come out and say it, this is the best all around trail shoe Salomon has made to date and a co-favorite with the (lighter/faster) Sense Pro 4.  

The fit is roomier than most Salomons, wider in the mid/forefoot and a bit long in my normal size 10. I could likely easily pull off a 9.5 here.  The heel and midfoot are very secure, very well padded and surprisingly plush feeling.  Sliding into the booty, sock like upper is not super easy, but once in, the shoe is remarkably comfortable, yet simultaneously envelopingly secure with no pressure or squeezing of the foot. 

I have a narrow, low volume foot and because I find the forefoot to be roomy and slightly stretchy (forgiving), I worried a bit that my foothold in technical terrain would be lacking. 

 I was pleasantly surprised however to find that the foothold is remarkably good.  On a recent run down a very steep and technical off trail/climbers access route, that drops 2,300 feet in 1.8 miles which requires rock hopping, log hopping, steep loose dirt singletrack and loose pine needle surfing, I was able to set a PR in the Genesis on what felt like was a casual run with no intention (where my previous PR was just a few days prior wearing what I classify as a dedicated technical shoe, the VJ XTRM 2 and pushing hard and with intention).  Foothold is good enough that I never once thought about it or experienced any movement on that steep downhill run, which was very surprising to me.

I will note how much I like the fit and construction of this upper.  The sock-like design and heel collar snugs perfectly around the ankle, working like a micro gaiter and is very effective at keeping out dirt, rocks and debris.  

The Matryx upper has just enough give to not feel confining or constricting, but offers excellent security, is protective and durable and breathes well.  The Quick Lace speed lacing is easy and secure, one and done basically with an easy lace garage.  The tongue is remarkably well padded offering great protection from any lace pressure or  from being able to feel the lace pull tab.

Jacob: The S/Lab Genesis is the first shoe I’ve tested from Salomon in a while, the first that I haven’t felt was slightly too narrow, and the first S/Lab shoe I have run. 

My first impressions when lifting the shoe out of the box were very positive. I like the simple styling with dark color and the construction and finish are high-quality. It is lightweight given all the features and level of cushion.

The design of the upper is interesting with a fairly thick inner bootie surrounded and supported by a thin and durable Matryx outer layer. The heel collar is part of the bootie and provides a tight fit around the ankle, limiting debris entry. The mesh overall is a dense weave so the Genesis is good at keeping out debris. A unique aspect of the Genesis upper/midsole is two flexible foam stability elements overlaid to bridge between the midsole and the upper. They add notable support and help keep the foot locked in on the platform.

The fit is snug and secure, well-sized with an ideal amount of forefoot volume for me at true to size with a medium to wide foot. 

There is enough space for all-day comfort and it is secure enough for technical mountain running. The heel and midfoot are tight and secure—I initially felt the medial support element (foam panel overlay near the arch) was a bit uncomfortable on my arch but with more miles I stopped noticing it.


The midsole is Salomon’s Energy Surge foam an EVA Olefin copolymer block blend. It is unclear if it is dual density to pressing but potentially the heel area with its welcome bevel is slightly softer.  The main midsole appears to be exactly the same firmness as the S/Lab Pulsar, UltraGlide, and the top layers in the Pulsar Trail and Pulsar Trail Pro. Even if somewhat dual density, essentially it is a single layer of softer foam as we do not have the firm medial insert of the S/Lab Pulsars or the firm lower layer of the Pulsar Trail and Trail Pro.  

The black midfoot panels provide some “flexible” to the foot shape and strike support but are not as supportive as they might appear. I personally would have included the firmer midsole medial insert of the Pulsars here.

The soft theme continues with the front rock protection as instead of the hardened foam protection (and propulsion) plate of the S/Lab Pulsars and Ultra Glide  or the firm more densely protective front  of S/Lab Ultra with its PU insert,  we have a ProFeel film layer as in many past S/Lab but here in a much softer foam platform than Energy Cell+. There is a lot of ground conforming trail feel and adequate if not super deep rock protection upfront.  Having a film instead of a foam layer upfront gives the Genesis a long easy flex if not as much response as the Pulsars so again that long mission focus Ryan was seeking.

Overall the midsole is soft and bouncy with most notably a gentle friendly heel landing and a helpful bevel, a somewhat shaky midfoot in terms of stability and then a well cushioned if not deeply cushioned feeling soft forefoot that contours to obstacles more than eliminates them. 

Comforting and easy going for long moderate terrain and pace runs and hikes is this midsole's sweet spot. I would add it is also excellent on road but lacks the explosive nature there of the Pulsars where the lighter weight and plate like foam front insert make that shoe so fast on all surfaces. 

Jeff V:  Again, Sam describes the mechanics of the midsole well, but I have formed slightly different impressions of performance as I run on different types of terrain than he does.  I find cushioning to be very soft, plush and forgiving, but have noticed no compromise in stability, agility or control, even when running in technical terrain.  

The blend of cushion, protection and ground feel here is magical, perhaps the best balance of these 3 elements of any shoe I can recall.  I will note here that the Genesis is not the most bouncy, springy or energetic, most notably on uphills, the shoe however is light and while I am not feeling that springiness sensation on the uphill, because they are light and the Energy Foam EVA/Olefin blend has enough rebound to it I never feel bogged down by them either.  I have even had some surprisingly quick uphills that sort of snuck up on me when my legs are feeling good.  I never really even think about the shoes on my feet one way or the other, which is a hallmark of a great shoe.  

Cruising flats and downhills is pure joy in the Genesis, as the Energy Foam (EVA/Olefin blend) eats up the impact and dampens vibration.  While a 30/22 stack does not sound particularly maximal, I would not hesitate to pick them for a full day of running no matter the terrain or speed.  The flexibility and ground feel are remarkable here, where I feel in touch with the trail beneath, but I am also never bothered by the impact as they are quite protective underfoot, even when landing hard on rocks and roots.

Jacob: The midsole is Salomon’s Energy Surge foam (now renamed Energy Foam), the same as used on the revolutionary Pulsar. It is low-density, has great energy return and is soft but not mushy. There is a moderate depth of foam in the Genesis with protection for any distance but it’s not a super-soft, bottomless cushion feel, especially in the forefoot compared to some other high cushion shoes (such as Hoka Speedgoat, Saucony Xodus—both feel softer). There is nice medium flexibility and ground feel for precise foot placement and a natural ride. The midsole is lively while also being measured, not overly bouncy or dramatically energetic like some road shoes. I want to echo Jeff V that the blend of cushion, protection, and ground feel may be the best of any shoe I have run.


The outsole is Salomon’s Contagrip with 4.5 mm lugs in an almost full coverage pattern. The full coverage and big outsole for sure adds stability to the soft foam above. While I commented that the stability at midfoot was not ideal for me the lower you go in the stack the more stable the feel so at the ground things are very stable. They climb easy and very smoothly due to their flex. The lugs also play quite well on road. 

I have not run the Genesis in the wet but did take it A/B with the UltraGlide on my other foot on sandy/gravel moderate single tracks in Utah for a short run. The grip of the Genesis was noticeably better. Given the flexibility of the platform and the quite deep lugs I think they will be a great shoe on hard packed snow with the upper while not waterproof should not absorb alot of water and being spacious should be good for winter socks.

Jeff V:  Traction is outstanding!  The 4.5 mm lugs are a bit deeper and more aggressive than other Salomons, aside from the more aggressive “Cross” line of shoes and provide superb grip on a wide variety of terrain and surfaces.  I have run up/down a lot of steep rocky technical trails in dry/wet, on snow, loose off trail up and down, slabby rock scrambles, dry gravel singletrack, often fast and have felt confident with no slips or trepidation.  Thus far, durability is proving to be very good, with essentially no signs of wear. 

Jacob: The outsole is great. It has a versatile lug pattern with nearly full coverage rubber, with only a bit of exposed midsole in a heel/midfoot channel that provides I think a bit of bounce and softer underfoot feel. The lugs are medium height, well-spaced, directional, and fairly broad in the forefoot. They work well on all terrain . I think the Genesis runs remarkably well on the road and the outsole is a significant part of this.

Traction is excellent. I ran wet and muddy technical singletrack and at a few points lightly tried to force foot slips. I had no slips in mud or on wet roots or wooden bridges, and only slightly on wet rock. I thought it was interesting that it struggled more on wet rock than wood. Overall traction was great though, I wouldn’t hesitate to run or hike the Genesis on any terrain. The outsole is proving durable so far as well—I’m seeing minimal wear after 80 miles.


Ride and Conclusions

The Genesis performs as intended as a shoe for long ventures where a forgiving easy ride and broader fit are called for, say running 1100 km across Lesotho, or a day or more on moderate well groomed trails for most of us.  It for sure is race ready as Mathieu Blanchard proved at UTMB but don’t expect a super stable densely protective ride here. It’s more about bouncy/energetic, on the soft and roomy side with flex and great grip in the mix.

The Genesis is light at 9 oz / 255g and light on foot in feel from upper to platform..   

For sure it will be on my feet for snow runs or in muddy conditions as it is for me a soft ground type of shoe. 

It is not Salomon’s high mountain technical long ride for me, although its traction is certainly up to those tasks where I might select the more protective S/Lab Ultra  Sense Ride, or the Pulsar Trail. Neither is it for fast and agile quick stuff where the Pulsar SG or Pulsar Trail Pro play. 

With some improvement in the midfoot stability and a more substantial front protection I might change my mind but then you would end up with the Ultra Glide essentially a shoe that is 1 oz / 28 g heavier with a shallower less effective outsole. I think those with a broad midfoot will likely find the stability at mid foot better than I did and as stated before at a half size up as I usually go in S/Lab my Genesis was bigger than I ideal

I didn’t think I would ever call an S/Lab trail shoe mellow and friendly but here I can !  I  wouldn’t mind a more protective and propulsive hardened foam rock protection or a couple more millimeters of front cushion to bring it in at a 6mm drop shoe. 

While more than adequate, it could also use some improvements to the mid foot and rear stability and a bit less of an easy going flow down and forward which it has in spades. With these  changes it might become a more versatile shoe and thus at $200 a better value,

Sam: 9.00 /10

Ride: 9 Fit: 9 Value: 8 Style 8 Traction 9.8 Rock Protection: 9


Jeff V:  I find the ride of the Genesis to be very smooth, well protected with a great blend of cushion, protection and ground feel.  I was really pleasantly surprised by this shoe, surprised by how light it is for all the cushion and protection it offers, surprised by how accommodating, yet secure the fit is for me, impressed by the traction and the all around versatile trail and even off trail performance. 

I don’t necessarily view the Genesis as a speedster, but have had some sneakily quick runs in them, be it uphill, flats, rolling and even set a downhill PR on a steep technical route.  Going forward, I will be reaching for the Genesis for day to day training, no matter the terrain and would not hesitate to use them for all day outings or longer races.

Jeff V’s Score:  9.5/10 

Ride: 9.5 Fit: 9.5 Value: 9.5 Style 7 Traction 10 Rock Protection: 9.5

Jacob: The ride is both performant and smooth. It feels energetic and quick when I run fast, is light on the foot, stable, and is at home hiking rugged terrain as well as running fast on smooth descents or sprinting Strava segments. It is easy to run both slow and fast. At all paces, it is comfortable and forgiving. The protection is solid and there is enough midsole below the foot for noticeable energy return which is well-balanced with flexibility and ground feel.

The upper is comfortable, secure, and durable. My foot is locked for running fast on technical terrain but there is also great space in the forefoot for all-day comfort. The design is good at keeping debris and water out. 

Traction is excellent with confidence-inspiring grip—the outsole rubber is durable as well.

Overall, the Genesis is an amazing shoe. I will wear it for any distance daily training runs, longer efforts in any terrain, and ultra racing (>50km). I could ask for a bit more cushion in the forefoot for a bit more comfort and rebound as well as slightly less medial support, but those are minor changes.

I recommend the Genesis for all runners looking for a high-performance do-it-all trail running and racing shoe

Jacob’s Score:  9.67 / 10

Ride: 10 (30%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 10 (10%)  Style 9 (5%) Traction: 9.5 (15%)  Rock Protection: 9.5 (10%)


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Salomon Ultra Glide (RTR Review)

The Ultra Glide has a 32mm heel / 26mm, 6mm drop so about the same heel height but more forefoot stack. It weighs 28g / 10oz more than the Genesis.  I ran it side by side with the Genesis in Utah for a short run. 

With its included hardened foam rock plate it is more protective up front but has a less agile duller forefoot feel with a shorter stiffer flex than the Genesis. Overall it is less bouncy and soft.  Its upper is denser and more supportive towards the rear of the shoe as it has a full heel rigid heel counter and collars unlike the Genesis, but is less comfortable and light on foot. Its lower profile outsole has less grip but it is a bit more friendly on road.  For those “long missions” on moderate terrain and for a roomier upper Genesis, otherwise if you liked Ultra Glide stick with it and save some money.

Jeff V:  Sam compares well and I agree.  Adding in the UG 2, pretty much all of the above still holds true.

Salomon Pulsar Trail (RTR Review)

The Trail has a higher stack height is heavier by about 1 oz /28g , more cushioned and protective. It's upper has plenty of support but is denser and thicker. It has a more secure fit than the Genesis for me at the same size US9 and comparatively runs smaller as I was fine at half size up whereas I could have gone my true to size with Genesis and its lighter upper. The Pulsar Trail is rocker based with plastic rods with and has a firm lower layer of foam so is more protective but also a less flexible and bouncy i feel. At $130 it is a better value for an all around trail shoe. 

I only had one run in the Pulsar Trail Pro so can't compare in depth but can say it is a weighs about the same as the Genesis, has a rocker and Energy Blade, more stack height and is a more agile shoe than the Trail or Genesis intended somewhat more than those two for fast shorter runs. Our review is here

Salomon S/Lab Pulsar SG (RTR Review)

Same basic foam (plus I think the essential medial firmer post that the Genesis lacks) same 4.5 mm lugs but in a different pattern, Matryx upper but of the much snugger and precise variety, a much narrower rear landing platform, a more protective and much more propulsive front rock plate and far lighter weight and you get the Pulsar SG. A fast joy to run on any surface and even roads. The Genesis is much more mellow in fit and ride, more suitable for long slower runs on moderate terrain. If I had to pick one shoe regardless of use between the two it would be the Pulsar SG as there are other options similar to Genesis for its intended uses but none really quite like the Pulsar. 

Jeff V:  Sam again sums this up well, but I find the Pulsar SG tough on the downhills with the narrow heel and even with as much stack and protection underfoot and as such  I am inclined to dance a bit when running fast through rock gardens and such.  Genesis, while heavier, might for me be quicker on a mountain round trip despite not being as light and fast on the up, will likely more than make up for it on the down.

Salomon S/Lab Ultra (RTR Review)

It's been a while since I ran the Ultra but for sure it has a firmer, more stable, densely protective big mountain feel and purpose and while broadened a snugger more precise fit with the Genesis a softer bouncier roomier and more easy going S/Lab and quite a contrast. 

Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail (RTR Review)

Sam: I took the Zegama for an A/B test run with the Genesis on my somewhat rooty rocky New Hampshire trails. The Zegama has a more solid rear and mid foot hold, considerably more midfoot stability, almost too much, and a deeper cushioned more protective forefoot. It has a rockplate under the outsole that also acts as a moderate propulsion plate. 

It is stiffer upfront with a bit of a rocker and some far front flex. Its cushion is firmer than the Genesis and firmer than road shoe ZoomX with a sharp quick rebound.  

Its upper is overall more secure especially at midfoot and at the rear, somewhat warmer. It has a broad but low toe box while the Genesis toe box is not quite as broad but higher in volume and more pliable and comfortable. 

I found the Zegama faster on smoother terrain, more stable but not quite as friendly in cushion feel if more amply cushioned. It is for me a better long distances option, only lagging the Genesis a bit in agility and climbing ability. No question the Genesis traction is superior and on all types of terrain and for all kinds of conditions whereas the Zegama’s is best kept to drier conditions due to its rubber and stiffer platform up front. 

Saucony Xodus Ultra (RTR Review)

Sam: A close comparison. The Xodus Ultra has a core of soft PEBA foam surrounded by an EVA frame. It too has a friendly softer (but not quite as soft as Genesis)  ride, generous upper fit (more secure in v2 (RTR Review), and easy flowing ride. It has a higher stack height especially at the forefoot (about 3-4 mm more) and includes Saucony woven rock plate which delivers similar flex to the Genesis and with the added stack height more protection. 

It has a similar 4mm lug outsole to the Genesis that is decent for sure.

Its upper in similar fashion to Genesis has a quite broad and easy midfoot fit and a much more rigid heel counter, almost too rigid.  It is about 1 oz /28 g heavier but still just sub 10 oz and is a better value at $150.

Jacob: I really like the Xodus and initially thought it was similar to the Genesis (both soft, energetic, cushioned, modern), but after a back-to-back test, the Genesis is on another level in foothold and performance on technical terrain and is much lighter (290 g / 10.2 g compared to 331 g / 11.7 oz for the Xodus Ultra). The Xodus 1 feels loose and sloppy in comparison with notably worse traction. The Xodus also has a much softer forefoot with deeper cushion and a more overtly bouncy ride—however, it is less quick moving and more spongy compared to the Genesis. The Xodus is more casual in ride and $40 cheaper. I prefer the Xodus for easy runs on less technical trail and recovery runs, and road/trail mix. However for more difficult terrain I would take the S/Lab Genesis and prefer it overall, mostly due to the more secure fit and traction.

Topo Ultraventure 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: the Topo has more forefoot and heel stack height at 35/30  At about 10 oz / 283 g it is 1 oz / 28g heavier but is also considerably higher stack and thus more cushioned. 

Its upper has a similar focus on a generous fit and pulls it off somewhat more smoothly than the Genesis with a better mid foot hold, a broader yet toe box and a full heel counter. 

Underfoot we have a similar riding softer foam, Topo’s Zip Foam 2.  The Ultraventure is somewhat more rigid in flex and does not include a rock plate but none is really needed given the 30 mm front stack and outsole.  

The Ultraventure outsole is lower profile with 3.5mm flatter broader less aggressive lugs, more partial in coverage and less aggressive so not as suitable for big mountain and wet grip as the Salomon’s. Both have equally pleasant rides with the Topo a better value at $150. 

Hoka EVO Speedgoat (RTR Review)

Jacob: Despite being a few years old, I have still been running the EVO SG recently. I think it has a similar use to the S/Lab Genesis for training and racing at any distance on technical trail. The EVO SG is narrower, notably so in the toe box which leads to less comfort on long runs. The EVO SG is more cushioned and softer underfoot which makes it more forgiving and easier to cruise along without precise foot placement, however, it is less energetic and feels slower than the Genesis at fast paces. The Genesis has more natural flexibility and ground feel. Both have excellent traction but the Genesis has full-coverage outsole rubber (likely leading to better durability) and even so is lighter by 20 g / 0.7 oz in my US Men’s 12.

S/Lab Genesis is available now at our partners 



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Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 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 if he is lucky, 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.

Jeff loves to run and explore the mountains of Colorado, the steeper and more technical the better. He has summited all of the 14ers in the state and can be found on mountain trails daily, no matter the weather, season, conditions or whether there is daylight or not.  On the side he loves to ski (all forms) bike and hike, often with his family, as he introduces his 12 year old daughters to the outdoors. Jeff was born and raised in New Hampshire, but has called Colorado home for over 25 years. He is 5’9” and 145 lbs.

Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for over four years and averages around 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances from 5k to 50k. He has a recent PR of 2:49 in the marathon. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), and nordic skiing. He is 27 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava.

The Genesis was a personal purchase. 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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Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention how much easier this shoe is to get on versus the s lab pulsar. Big deal for us old folks trying to out on shoes.

Anonymous said...

Hello RTR not sure what direction Salomon is going with in this shoe. Guess it’s good that Halloween is coming because this shoe looks like it was made by dr Frankenstein.

Nick said...

I love your reviews, but I do disagree with it being unstable and loose on the midfoot. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised with how stable it has been, especially given the wide toe box and me having a very narrow foot. I felt like the heel was very locked in, and the midfoot, though wider than most Salomons still had a decent hold, on the sides but mostly from the upper holding it in. I think it's a much better version of the UltraGlide with a much better foot hold and stability. It is more dense, and a little more form witting than the UG, even with a wide toe box. I didn't like the UG because I didn't feel like it had any hold on my foot.

Perhaps having a bigger size through this off for you? Or, sometimes opinions are just different. But again, I do love your reviews.

CJun. said...

How about a comparison with the Hoka Speedgoat 5? Seems they fall into similar categories. I love my Speedgoats, but had to retire at only 360k due to midsole packing out. A more durable alternative is of interest!

Sam Winebaum said...

Genesis softer and for me less stable at midfoot. More ground feel than Speedgoat, less deep dense protection up front. Genesis has a more agile less protected front feel and about the same heel cushion. As far as upper fit, in regular sizing Genesis clearly has more room especially up front.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

I was also surprised as east coast Canadian runner (lots of roots and rock) this seemed like the ideal ultra shoe vs the slab ultra 3

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised too by the review.. as far as i'm concerned, it's my best mountain shoe since a long time. I,ve ran in french alps and they have been perfect in stability, traction and cushion.

Antoine said...

I am a big fan of RTR!
What I will say is not a criticism but an observation. This review is the only one quite negative about the S/Lab Genesis among numerous extremely positive reports (especially from Europe, so far).
Would it be a good thing to make a multi tester review on RTR?
Thank you for this great resource for us, runners.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Antoine,
Thanks for your comment. Since this review I passed this pair on to Morgan Elliot who ran them at Golden Trail Madeira and will be joining the review shortly. He is usually a US9.5 and I am a US8.5 and this pair is a US9 it fit him well so there is a slight sizing issue here which in part caused the fit and mid foot stability issue for me. I do think the midfoot is usually broad for a Salomon. I now have a pair in my US8.5 and things are better. Both pairs purchased as Salomon did not provide samples. We will be updating the review with Morgan's and my updated take after a few more runs
Sam, Editor

Antoine said...

Thank you very much for your reply, Sam. Looking so much fw to the feedback of Morgan Elliot!

Jeff Valliere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Valliere said...

I was able to get a review pair, as has Jacob Brady, so our input will be added here soon. In my normal size 10, I have been especially pleased with them and find them to be excellent in technical terrain, despite my narrow, low volume feet. I think they are the best long distance Salomon to date (if you don't judge the look of them), or great for any distance/terrain for that matter (though the Sense Pro 4 is my favorite go fast Salomon).

Antoine said...

Thank you for letting us know, Jeff.
Looking so much fw to reading your views on the overlooked Genesis.
I haven't been able to run as much as I'd liked due to an ankle injury, but I've put my feet in a few times. And they sound like the long-distance counterpart to the beloved Sense Pro 4, maybe...
Please post a comment when the update is released.
Greetings from Switzerland!

Jeff Valliere said...

Updates to review posted.

rms said...

I can't imagine why the Ultraventure 3 was included in the comparison, and not the MTNR2 (or 3). The UV3 is a 'fast-hiking' shoe with essentially zero grip on rocks (IMHO it loses all reason for existence with the MTNR3 coming out).