Sunday, January 28, 2024

Salomon Genesis Multi Tester Review: 13 Comparisons

Article by Jeff Valliere and Mike Postaski

Salomon Genesis ($150)


Jeff V:  The Genesis from Salomon is a new model building off of the S/Lab Genesis with a few key changes: a more accommodating fit, more padding in the heel collar and tongue, a more reinforced toe cap, slightly wider platform and now features an all new Contagrip rubber outsole with 4.5mm self cleaning lugs.  

It retains the Matryx upper (slightly retooled), the Active Chassis for stability and the same Energy Foam midsole with 30/22 stack.  With a bit more overall protection, the Genesis gains a bit of weight, yet drops $40 in price.  Like the S/Lab Genesis, the Genesis is one shoe quiver sort of shoe, in that it performs exceptionally well at just about everything.  Please read on for the detailed results of our testing.

Please put your name after pro or con. Add your name to those already there  if you agree so we can see where consensus may be or not.


Jeff V: Fit, comfort, cushion, traction, versatility, foothold, stability, durability, value


Jeff V. None


Weight: men's  9.63 oz / 273g (US9) 

  Samples: men’s  9.63 oz / 273g (US 9) ,  9.79 oz / 279g (US 10)

Stack Height: men’s 30 mm heel / 22 mm forefoot ( drop spec) 


Genesis Platform Width: 85 mm heel / 70 mm midfoot / 115 mm forefoot

S/Lab Genesis Platform Width: 80 mm heel / 65  mm midfoot / 115 mm forefoot

$150.  Available Feb 1, 2024 

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Jeff V:  While the Genesis is a bit more conventional in looks vs. the S/Lab version (which is a bit more stripped down and “race” looking), I find the overall styling to be better, some of which is due to the difference in the very visible changes to the TPU Active Chassis inserts.  

They are now more sleek and streamlined looking at the lateral side and somewhat camouflaged on the medial side as instead of being glued in they are molded as part of the midsole  (vs. the very blocky look in the S/Lab version).  

Of course I am splitting hairs here, as either way, the Active Chassis provides a very nice bit of additional stability and is very worthwhile no matter the look.

The Matryx upper is very secure and durable, as in the S/Lab version, providing a very compliant, comfortable and foot conforming fit.  

The toebox for the new Genesis is described as more accommodating than the S/Lab version and I would agree that it is slightly more so, particularly as it has a little more ceiling height, roomy enough for long distance comfort, foot swell and toe splay,  but with  a slightly more traditional shape.  

Security is very good and I have absolutely no trepidation or excess movement no matter how steep, technical or off camber the terrain may be. The Matryx material is slightly thicker than that of the S/Lab, so I am not sure if they will be as cool and breathable in the summer.  For winter use, I would say I feel some cool draft, but wouldn’t say they are particularly breezy or airy.

The reinforced toe cap is very protective and durable, integrating seamlessly with the Matryx upper.

The more conventional heel counter is beefed up over the S/Lab version, with more substance and padding overall and around the heel collar.  

Heel hold, stability, comfort and protection are all very good.

As mentioned earlier, the design of the Genesis is a bit more traditional, with a familiar padded collar, gusseted tongue (vs. booty style of the S/Lab version and stripped down heel collar/counter).

The Quicklace system is very secure and easy to use, as is the lace garage.  I do find myself snugging the quicklace, running for a bit, then having to snug them a little more.  Maybe the padding around the tongue just needs to break in, or I need to become better practiced on how snug I need to get them on the first try.  I do like my shoes pretty cranked down for the technical trails that I run and particularly on the descents.  I can achieve that desired secure snugness though, it just takes me an extra try.

Overall fit is true to size, but like the S/Lab version, a touch long in the toe.  I might be able to go down a half size and still have enough length, but wonder if the shoe might feel a bit snug.  I will maintain that true to size is the way to go here.

Midsole & Platform

The midfoot medial Active Chassis is now molded same as midsole vs glued in S/Lab

Jeff V:  The midsole is the same Energy Foam EVA Olefin copolymer blend as used in the S/Lab version (and most  other recent Salomon, with a 30/22 stack height.  As I said with the S/Lab, 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 amazing, one of the best balances of these 3 elements of any shoe I can recall and equal to the S/Lab version.  While the S/Lab has ProFeel film, I am not positive if that is the case here with the Genesis.  Regardless, I find protection to be at least as good, if not better in rocky, technical terrain.

I wouldn’t describe the Genesis as a super zippy race shoe, but it is certainly light and responsive enough to handle fast efforts on the trails, especially given all of the protection and stability that they offer.


Jeff V:  The Genesis has a completely new outsole, featuring Salomon’s new Contagrip all terrain rubber, called out as their most sticky rubber to date.  

The lugs are multi directional chevron shaped, 4.5mm that is more ample in coverage than the S/Lab version.  

The lugs have a “mud shedding” design and between the lugs. You can see a grooved surface in the picture above that is supposed to help shed mud and which perhaps provides a little extra hold in the toughest conditions.

I have had ideal conditions to put this outsole to the test, with melting snow from a previous storm, warming temps (a range of temps from 20’s to 50’s). There has been a lot of mud, slush, packed snow, ice, etc… where the outsole of the shoe is wet, gritty or muddy for the entire run.  Grip is confidence inspiring on all of those surfaces and even on wet rock, water bars, logs and steep grades, I have not had any slips.  

Of course, on true hardened smooth ice, you need spikes, but on hard frozen icy granular surfaces, they have held surprisingly well.  

Mud shedding really seems good, but have only tested in “normal” mud, vs. the super sticky clay mud which pretty much sticks to anything.

The added lug coverage not only helps with grip in snow and loose off trail, but also provides a bit of extra protection underfoot.

I have not put in enough miles to truly judge durability, but am not seeing any wear despite a week of very rough running and if the S/Lab version is any indicator, I am confident they will last a very long time.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Jeff V:  The Genesis offers a very smooth ride.It is reasonably lively, fun, stable, well cushioned  and well protected.  They are a great lower price, more conventional option to the S/Lab version and I think for most, they are a no compromise, versatile shoe that can easily satisfy those looking for a one shoe quiver, as the Genesis performs amazing well for just about any distance, any terrain and at any pace. They are quick, lively and fun to run, adept in technical terrain, yet they are equally at home at slower everyday training paces, recovery runs, hiking, door to trail or any daily training.  Comfort, cushioning, stability, traction, protection and durability are all superb and I would highly recommend the Genesis to just about anyone for just about any run.

Jeff V’s Score:  9.6/10

Ride: 9.5, Fit: 9.5, Value: 10, Style: 9, Traction: 10, Rock Protection: 9.5


Mike P: I did an extensive video review comparing the Genesis vs. the S/LAB Genesis on the RTR YouTube channel HERE.  Please check that out for all the details. I find the Genesis to be a great all-around trail running shoe - more versatile than the race-ready and more technically-oriented S/LAB Genesis. The “regular” Genesis reviewed here has a bit more cushion underfoot, as well as a more versatile outsole that handles a wider variety of terrain more smoothly. I find the Genesis upper to be slightly tighter in the toebox than the S/LAB version - I might consider sizing up to a 10.0 if I wanted to take them as long as I’ve taken the S/LABs. At $150 the Genesis is a great deal and highly recommended for all-trails usage.

Mike P’s Score:  9.58 / 10

Ride: 10 - Every bit as good as the S/LAB version - little less flex, little more cushion

Fit: 9 - Toebox feels slightly less roomy at TTS, ½ size up may work well

Value: 10 - Great value for a shoe that can go anywhere

Style: 10 - Fantastic look, aggressive yet not over the top

Traction: 9.5 - More versatile than S/LAB, highly durable

Rock Protection: 9.5 - Excellent, yet still flexible and cushioned

Smiles 😊😊😊😊😊

Please Watch Mike Potaski's Genesis vs. S/Lab Genesis Comparative Video Review (15:54)

13 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 

Salomon S/Lab Genesis (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Compared throughout.  The S/Lab is lighter and slightly more nimble, but you save $40 with the Genesis and it is a bit more protective, overall more conventionally padded, with a slightly more accommodating toe box and better traction.

Mike P (9.5): Please check out my extensive video comparison on the RTR YouTube channel HERE.

Salomon Ultraglide 2 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Genesis has softer cushioning, is more responsive and  dynamic and overall more protective with superior traction.  If you tend to do more road miles though, the UG2 would be a great option.

Mike P (9.5): I found the UG2 to have a rocker-focused ride underfoot - from the heel all the way through the toes. It really guides you into more of a rolling foot strike. The Genesis is much more flexible and versatile in all terrain. It is much more fun to run in rather than just having to “glide” along in the UG2. The UG2 is narrower underfoot, perhaps too narrow for my taste, but again, I didn’t find it suitable in more technical terrain. The Genesis has a wider and naturally more stable platform. 

Salomon Sense Ride 5 (RTR Review):

Jeff V:  I really like the SR5, a great everyday trainer or for everyday use, but the Genesis has a much softer and more compliant midsole and is lighter, quicker, more dynamic and responsive, with superior stability and traction.

Mike P (10.0): I didn’t get along with this one - way too firm underfoot and the toebox was too tapered for my foot. I tried to size up from a 9.5 to a 10, but it was still too uncomfortable. It could be a nice shoe for those with narrow feet. As Jeff says, the Genesis is way more cushioned, and a much more versatile shoe. The Genesis Matryx upper is far superior to the more rigid and tight SR5.  

Salomon Glide Max TR (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  While not as light, the Glide Max TR feels very light and dynamically fast, with gobs of soft, but responsive cushioning.  With 8 more mm of stack, the Glide Max is ideally suited for long miles on less technical terrain, although can handle some moderately technical terrain with some finesse.  The Genesis however is far superior on technical trails, off trail and for all mountain use, with superior rugged protection, traction, stability and agility.

Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro 2 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): I love the forefoot/toebox fit of the Pulsar Trail Pro 2 - absolutely the most foot-shaped toebox from Salomon. I wish the Genesis was a bit more rounded up front on the lateral side - similar to the PTP2. But underfoot it’s an entirely different story. The PTP2 is very stiff with little flex both front-to-back and laterally. You can see in my video review of the Genesis how flexible it is. PTP2 is the opposite. I find that I can’t run it in any moderate/technical terrain because it’s too unstable. It could work well if you really like a stiffer and firmer ride. But hands down, the Genesis is a superior shoe in all other aspects.

Merrell Agility Peak 5 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Both are quick, well cushioned and responsive, with amazing cushion, protection and traction.  The Agility is $20 less, but weighs about 1 oz /28g  more.  The Genesis is more stable in technical terrain and thus a better choice for all mountain use, but the Agility is great too.

Mike P (9.5): I really like the Agility Peak 5, it’s certainly a good deal for the price, and in comparison to other max-cushion options. It’s a little bit stiffer, firmer, and less flexible than the Genesis, but that could be what you’re looking for over longer ultra distances. I think it’s more in the long ultra, i.e. Speedgoat comp range as opposed to the Genesis which is likely more of a mid-duration/distance shoe. The Genesis upper is a bit more comfortable and secure, although the AP5 does a good job. AP5 is a bit looser in the heel cup area. AP5 also had great lugs and might get a slight edge in traction. 

Merrell Long Sky 2 Matryx (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): This is a close comp in terms of do-it-all, every day, all-trail shoes. I think the Genesis does have a bit more range though due to its higher level of cushion, while still maintaining similar flexibility as the LS2. The LS2 is narrower overall, but I find no issues with the fit. I actually had more tightness on the pinky side of the Genesis even though it’s a wider shoe. Just goes to show that overall width isn’t everything - sometimes it’s just the shape/taper of the toebox  for your specific foot. The LS2 is a full ounce lighter and does feel oh so light and disappears on your foot on the run. Only minor issue I have with that shoe is the inside of the heel which is a bit firm. Genesis wins by far with a more comfortable heel cup. Both shoes are great options and I love running in both.

NNormal Kjerag (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Kjerag is way more minimal in feel compared to the Genesis, and most trail shoes for that matter. It’s still amazing to me that some can run these for technical 100 milers. The Genesis is much softer and much more cushioned underfoot, definitely a better option for 99% of trail runners in that department. I think the Matryx upper gives a better fit as well - the Kjerag is wider and gives more ground feel, but I think it’s suited for wider feet though. The Kjerag toebox also has better vertical space - I haven’t heard of anyone being cramped in that shoe. The Kjerag is nice for certain cases where you want a more agile feel, and for those with bullet proof feet, but for the rest of us, the Genesis would be a better and more useful pick.

Topo MTN Racer 3 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The MTN Racer 3 has a bit more cushion, but it is firmer than the Genesis and not quite as responsive or as plush feeling.  The Topo definitely has more room in the forefoot and is nearly an ounce heavier.  While the Topo has great traction, the Genesis is superior and also has better protection.

Mike P (9.5): I think the MTN Racer 3 has the same cushion feel of the Genesis, but as Jeff says - it’s definitely not as responsive. It can feel like you’re absorbing a lot of the ground in the MTN Racer 3.  I agree with Jeff - it’s also a highly flexible shoe - but you can feel the ground at times getting through. I like the MTN Racer 3 for comfortable, flexible training miles, but the Genesis is overall a better shoe. 

Brooks Catamount 3 (RTR Review):

Jeff V: Close in weight and stack height, the Catamount has a more snappy response with Sky Vault propulsion plate and is a much faster shoe over more mellow terrain and in my opinion a better option for shorter distances.  The foam in the Catamount is very firm and personally, I prefer a softer midsole such as the Genesis’s for longer distances.  For shorter, faster running on less technical terrain, the Catamount would be a better choice, but for all mountain, technical running or longer distances, sustained downhills or anywhere traction and stability are paramount, the Genesis is a better choice.

Mike P (10.0): Note that I go up ½ size in the Catamount (based on experience from V2) and that works perfectly for me. It has a great, secure fit, so the ½ size up still feels secure. I think I’d likely be the same in the Genesis - US 10 would give me just as good security, and also eliminate that little pinky side pressure that I get. The Catamound V2/V3 is one of my all-time favs, and I agree with all of Jeff V’s assessment. I’ll just add that personally I like a firmer ride in general, and I think I may be a little lighter than Jeff, so I have no problems taking the Catamount further. It’s definitely faster and snappier feeling, but the enhanced cushioning of the Genesis is very, very appealing. I’m not going to make a pick though, as I’d have to try the Genesis in a 10.0 to be fully comfortable in them.

Brooks Cascadia 17 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Unfortunately, the Cascadia is continuing to creep up in weight, roughly 3 more ounces / 85g per shoe than the Genesis, which is very noticeable.  The Genesis has a more accommodating upper, yet secure fit, superior traction, softer more responsive cushion, is more stable and comfortable overall.

Norda 002 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The 002 is the same weight, but has less stack/cushion, is more flexible and less protective underfoot. The Genesis is better suited to longer distances and technical terrain with better protection, more cushion and better overall traction.

Mike P (9.5): Agree with Jeff V - same feel of softness, but less of it, and more flexible - probably too flexible for me. The Norda sizing is a bit off too - I have a 10.0, and I still feel squashed in the front. The Genesis is a better, more versatile, and much cheaper shoe.

Hoka Speedgoat 5 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Both are very well cushioned and adept on technical terrain, great for long distances, both are durable and a top pick for tackling just about any trail.  The Genesis is slightly lighter and has a bit more room in the forefoot.

Saucony Peregrine 13 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Close in stack and weight, the Peregrine is a top choice for all around trail use and technical trails with a secure upper, great protection, traction and stability.  The Genesis feels a little softer underfoot and has an edge when it comes to traction overall, mainly in wet.

Mike P (9.5): As I recall, these shoes feel very similar in terms of underfoot feel. The Genesis upper is a bit more secure for me, and also it has a wider platform making them more stable. I found the Peregrine 13 to be a bit unstable - perhaps too soft on too narrow of a platform. Good and versatile for even surfaces though. I think the Genesis is a better shoe though, just a cut across all categories.

Tester Profiles

Jeff Valliere 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.

Mike Postaski currently focuses on long mountainous ultras - anywhere from 50K up to his favorite - 100M. 5'10", 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker - he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to 100+ mpw during race buildups. A recent 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 - 9:00/mi. From 2022-23 Mike has won the Standhope 100M, IMTUF 100M, and Scout Mountain 100M trail ultras. He also set a CR of 123.74M at the Pulse Endurance Runs 24H and completed the Boise Trails Challenge on foot in 3 days 13 hours, besting the previous record by 7 hours. Mike's shoe preferences lean towards firmer, dense cushioning, and shoes with narrower profiles. He prefers extra forefoot space, especially for long ultras, and he strongly dislikes pointy toe boxes.

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Marvin said...

Hi Jeff -- thanks for the review! Any thoughts on how these compare in fit and ride to the Sense Pro 4?

Jeff Valliere said...

Hi Marvin, the SP4 has a bit of a more narrow race fit, great for shorter distances on more tech terrain (where the shoe excels), where the Genesis is more accomodating (also the Matryx has some give to it), while still retaining amazing foothold.

Anonymous said...

Great review as always Jeff, thanks!
I appreciate the comparison to the Peregrine 13. I loved that shoe last spring as the trails were melting out and muddy. You noted traction in the Genesis is better and it’s a bit softer. Can you compare fit? Is the toe box wider in the 13 or the Genesis?

Mike P said...

I just got a test pair for review. Only tried them on and haven't run them yet.

Genesis toebox is definitely wider than the Peregrine 13 - broader across the ball of the foot and also less tapered towards the front.

Jeff Valliere said...

Agreed. Thanks Mike!

Anonymous said...

Great review and promising shoes. If you can, would you please share how these compare to Sense Ride 4? Those were the best shoes for me ever and still struggling to find the successor. SR5 is a disaster for me.

Mike P said...

Honestly - SR5 was a disaster for me too. Way too pointy up front. I also thought they were thin underfoot and a bit stiff. The upper wasn't comfortable all around didn't work at all for me.

Genesis has night-and-day a more cushioned feel. The upper is also way better fitting and more comfortable. I noted some slight pinky side pressure, but that's just subjective I think. The SR5 was way narrower and uncomfortable in the toebox for me (even sized up in a 10.0). I would pick the Genesis over SR5 100%.

juan said...

Hi! How would they compare Vs the La Sportiva Prodigio? I'm considering both for my next marathon (+4000 accumulated height) in quite technical terrain all through the race. I'm now using Sense Ride 4 for daily runs and my Sportiva Akasha (which I tend to use in longer/weekend runs) are asking for mercy already (even after resoling with Vibram) thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

Juan, you really couldn’t go wrong with either depending on fit/preference. The Genesis has beefier tread and perhaps feels a little more substantial under foot.