Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Salomon S/Lab Spectur Introduction and Analysis: A Super Shoe for the Rest of Us?

Article by Sam Winebaum

Salomon S/Lab Spectur ($250)

Update: S/Lab Spectur Review 6 Comparisons

Releasing May 2024, the Salomon S/Lab Spectur is positioned as a marathon racer (and trainer) for “the rest of us”; namely,3 hour and up marathoners seeking a stable and less prescriptive ride from their super shoe.

Salomon’s theme for the S/Lab Spectiur is the “Democratizing Speed” for the everyday runner and racer. 

They have been working long and hard on this shoe. We actually saw a prototype a year ago at The Running Event  Over 200 runners tested multiple iterations over the last 2 years plus, including via a study that has since been published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology (Chollet et al. 2022). The study “ administered various physiological (oxygen consumption/energy expansion), biomechanical (stability and gait analysis) and sensory (assessment of heel stability and heel cushioning) tests to elite and non-elite runners running in popular “super shoes” that are designed for elite runners.'' 

The testing results indicated that “when everyday runners performed the running test with both the S/LAB Spectur and one of the best-selling shoes on the market, the team discovered that the 50 runners in the blind study were able to reduce their oxygen consumption while using the S/LAB Spectur..The competitive shoe is not named in the press release.

Spectur has a dual density foam construction with Energy Faom+ supercritical  PEBA based foam under foot and Energy Foam, Salomon’s customary quite energetic EVA/ Olefin copolymer block foam towards the ground for stability. 

Its full length carbon Energy Blade is said to be designed to “ deliver a balanced transition from heel to toe.”  I also note what appears to be rear stabilizing carbon wings similar to the Xtep racers. The Energy Blade is combined with Salomon's R Camber rocker.

With a 38mm heel / 30mm forefoot its stack height, it is for sure super shoe class as is its reasonable (given some EVA blend in the mix) spec weight of 8.2 oz /232g.

All of this, along with what appears to be stabilizing rear carbon wings, is music to my ears.  Quite frankly, the aggressive forward to midfoot striking geometries of most super shoes , as the miles pile on, can become a chore to move through as most non elites or near elites gets more back on the heels, and the vast majority of mid pack runners do end up further back.

I am curious to see if its plate also has some flex, also in my view essential in a more moderate paces super shoe. Our team at the Running Event today will find out.

It will be interesting to see how it matches up to the all Energy Foam + S/Lab Phantasm 2 (RTR Review), a racer with a less aggressive flatter plate and feel than the usual super shoe and which Salomon targets 2:59 and faster marathoners while Spectur is positioned for 3:30 and slower marathoners.

The  Phantasm 2 has been perfectly fine for me around 8:12 per mile for up to 7 mile training runs and I could go further and faster but, for a marathon which for me these days would besub 4 hours, the Spectur should be a safer and better bet..

Pondering its specs and construction, comparable shoes in its class of less aggressive plated racer/trainers would include the Hoka Mach X (with a similar dual foam construction but nylon plate, more forefoot stack and heavier weight), the considerably heavier (almost 2 oz) higher stacked Saucony Kinvara Pro, the SC Trainer from New Balance, Saucony’s Endorphin Speed 3, Nike's Tempo Next % and all the Xtep 160X series shoes with their flexible carbon plates and rear stabilizing carbon wings.

We can’t wait to test them. Increasingly (and maybe as I am now slower and older!) super shoes that are more stable and easier to roll even when tired are what I am seeking in a long racer.

Releases May 2024. ($250)

Update: S/Lab Spectur Review 6 Comparisons

S/Lab Spectur is available now 



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Anonymous said...

It must truly be a magical shoe if Salomon can combine a $250 retail price point with the tag line, ""Democratizing Speed” for the everyday runner and racer." /s

schroeder said...

Can you link to the 2022 study? I can't find it through the journal website or by searching for the text you quote. Thanks!

Jason said...

It's not Festivus, but it's a shoe for rest of us!*

*Denotes that it may not actually be the shoe for the rest of us given how reviews of Salomon's road offerings are typically on the harsher side...but hey, it's a start and well, there is a hell of a lot more runners at the "slower" paces and if you can take one percentage point of sales, let alone more, from Hoka, Saucony, Brooks, it's some serious $$.

Andre said...

Have you run in one of Salomons Road Shoes lately? I was quiet surprised. They came a long way the past 3-4 years on the roads. would even consider buying one now. (not the Spectur, as i dont spend 250$ on a shoe)

Anonymous said...

I mean, in the States democRcy is about buying votes and serving the corporate master, so…yeah…it kind of fits.

Anonymous said...

250$ ? a super shoe for very few of us