Monday, July 17, 2017

Salomon S-Lab Sense 6 Trail Shoes

Salomon S-Lab Sense 6 Trail Shoes

I'm a strong advocate of Salomon trail shoes but my S-Lab soft Ground shoes, reviewed here, have been giving me big problems in the last 12 months.

Essentially for any run over 15Km they produce enormous blisters and considering they are almost 2 years old it was time to search for a replacement

Why Trail Shoes
Trail shoes in general have a firmer sole that can cope with a non tarmac environment.   This enables the shoe to be better planted over a rough and uneven surface.   

Above that base difference you can add perhaps
- waterproofing
- protection on sides against rocks, sharp things
- Quick lacing systems
- Special treads and even studs to cope with rocky terrain, ice/snow etc.

As usual thought there is a tradeoff between what gizmos your trail shoe has and its weight.

What about the Weight
Both Marcus and Agata are very weight sensitive, because is a long race all things being equal the heavier shoe will significantly slow you down

The headline feature of this shoe is the astonishing 220 gram per shoe weight.  Any single shoe that is under 300 grams is light and anything under 250 grams is ultra light.

So the design compromises here have resulted in a very lightweight, non waterproof, and thin walls on the sides of the shoes that can come into contact with rocks.  (Ouch).

These shoes have a drop i.e. front to back of only 4mm so they are designed for running on the front foot strike not on the backfoot.

This means, to run in these shoes

- You need to front foot strike not backfoot.  If you backfoot you will literally bust up your achilees and tendons.

- If you backfoot strike then you need to change your running style when using these shoes

- You need to be very careful when running over and thru rocky surfaces.   You need to try and anticipate trail sections that are going to likely sharply jut into the sides of your shoes and run carefully through them

- In wet weather you are going to get really wet, I mean I can see my socks thru the upper mesh!

Other Shoe features

The tread is pretty modest.  Don't expect these shoes to last for very long!

Salomon quick lacing.  Something I absolutely love.  Allows you to stop and quickly change the tension, either because you got it wrong, or perhaps to tighten it up on a tricky descent  (tighter and the foot has less movement in the shoe and you have more control)

As Marcus is flat footed I can report that I can only run in shoes without a insole bump.   This is one of them!  Flat arch friendly :-)

The inner sock design is made to be silky smooth inside.  I'd never run without socks but in principle the inside is comfortable enough to do so

This is a 130GBP, race oriented shoe.  It is flimsy and sculpted to be just right for the dedicated athelete who knows that a 220 gram shoe will help you fly along the trail.