Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 UltraReview Facts
Salomon is probably a less well known name in the running world, but is definitely known in the general sports equipment. Founded in France with the goal of making quality equipment, Salomon grew until it was eventually purchased by Adidas. Though a bit less popular than other common brands like Nike or Asics, Salomon definitely has some quality running shoes to offer.
The S-Lab Sense Ultra series offers lightweight, trail oriented shoes, designed to run quickly off road. The Sense 3 Ultra is not an exception to this design, and is a good choice for runners looking for a lighter trail shoe with good protection.
The outsole of a shoe refers to the bottom of a shoe, on the outside. This part of a running shoe is a very important factor in determining the traction and durability as it is the part that constantly strikes the ground while running. The outsole of the S-Lab Sense 3 Ultras is composed of Conta-grip, which is a material unique to Salomon. This material offers excellent durability and grip, particularly against hard surfaces, using triangular lugs located on the bottom.
This grip is still solid, but is a bit less effective against softer, or wet terrain like mud. Some have reported that the traction significantly decreases when the shoe is wet, which is definitely something important to consider. The outsole of the Sense 3 Ultra is also not very thick, unlike other common trail shoes
. This is done to promote the lightweight design of the Sense 3 Ultra. Overall, the outsole of the Sense 3 Ultras is quite good on hard trail surfaces, but a bit lacking on other surfaces.
The midsole is the part located between the inner sole and the outsole. The midsole is an exceptionally important part of a shoe, as it is responsible for protecting and cushioning the foot, while also being responsible for providing good energy return.
The midsole of the Sense 3 Ultra is made up of a polymer called LT muscle, which is essentially a variation of EVA, or Ethylene Vinyl Acetate foam. EVA foam is fairly common in shoes, but this variation of it is designed to be extremely light, while also maintaining the level of firmness needed for running on trails
. The midsole also contains two guiding strips that allow for great flexibility, called OS Tendon. Finally, the midsole features a plate for protection against hard rocks or materials on trails. The plate is composed of TPU or thermoplastic urethane, and is located in the forefoot. The midsole of the Sense 3 Ultras is a very strong aspect of the shoe overall.
The upper refers to the part that wraps around the top of the foot and also secures the foot in place. A well made upper will allow flexibility while still protecting the foot, and also be breathable.
The upper of the Sense 3 Ultras uses sensifit design, which features a two layered mesh with no seams. The result is a firm construction that supports the foot in place well, and allows for flexibility. There have been some complaints about breathability however, with some stating that the shoes are not very well ventilated. The likely culprit is the upper, which might not be allowing enough air to circulate through
. Overall the upper is fairly solid, except for the arguably low level of breathability it offers.
Weight may not seem a significant aspect of a shoe, but it certainly plays a role in running. Heavier shoes tend to offer more cushion, but less of a natural range of motion, while lighter shoes tend to offer a more natural range of motion, but less protection from injuries. The Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultras clock in at just under 9 oz for a men’s size 10 shoe. This would be decently light for a trainer, but is extremely light for a trail shoe which tend to fall on the heavier side for protection. The lightweight
design is good however, as the Sense 3 Ultra is designed for speed. The weight of the Sense 3 Ultra is definitely a strong component of it.
Breathability refers to the circulation of air within a shoe. This is important, because bad circulation can cause sweaty and cramped feet, and at worst, blisters. Unfortunately, breathability of the Sense 3 Ultras leaves a bit to be desired. The shoes are less breathable than other trainers probably due to the design of the upper. This may be a problem for those with sweatier feet, and is probably even a hindrance for those who don’t usually have sweaty feet. The breathability of the Sense 3s is definitely a point of weakness in the overall shoe’s design.
Every runner should understand the importance of comfort when considering a new shoe. It is important to remember that a shoe will likely be worn for many miles
, so any discomfort will definitely last a long time. With that said, the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultras are a fairly comfortable shoe. The midsole of the shoe is a proponent of this with its LT Muscle material. The Sense 3 Ultras are optimized for performance however, so they are less comfortable than more cushioning trail shoes or trainers. Overall though, despite being made for speed, the Sense 3 Ultras are a decently comfortable shoe.
Salomon offers a bit of a unique take on their shoes from most popular running trainers
on the market. The Sense 3 Ultras offer bold colors, decorated with touches of complementary colors, in combinations like Racing Red and White. Salomon may not be as well known for their running shoes, but the styling on the Sense 3 Ultras is still quite good. The color schemes in tandem with the shape and design of the shoe make for an overall appealing style.
Durability is an important facet when considering any new shoe. Bad durability will lead to worn out shoes, which will need to be replaced. The Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra is a fairly durable shoe, due in part to the design of both its outsole and midsole. The materials used in both are durable, as necessitated by the strain of harsher trails, making the shoe last a fairly long time. When considering that the Sense 3 Ultras are lightweight shoes for their type, this durability is even more impressive. Overall, runners shouldn’t have to worry about these shoes wearing out too soon.
In terms of protection, the Sense 3 Ultra does quite a good job. First, the upper is thick and durable, which does a good job securely keeping the foot in place, and protects above the foot as well. Second, the midsoles' material as mentioned earlier is extremely light, but firm which protects the foot as it strikes the ground. Lastly, the plate in the forefoot made of TPU protects from stepping on rocks, or other hard materials that are frequently found on trails. Overall, the Sense 3 Ultra does a good job protecting feet from the common dangers of trails.
Responsiveness refers to how well a shoe returns energy with every impact on the ground. In essence, this is how well the shoe responds to a runner’s strides.
The responsiveness of the Sense 3 Ultra is fairly good, especially when considering that the shoe is designed for trails. This is due to the Sense 3 Ultra’s unique midsole design as mentioned earlier, as well as the less thick outsole. Together, these two contribute to the solid responsiveness of the shoe, which is necessary in order to facilitate speed, which the Sense 3 is advertised as having.
The Sense 3 Ultra offers decent support, though it isn’t particularly stellar in this regard. As is the nature of performance oriented shoes, the Sense 3 Ultra prioritizes speed, which results in it having less support than other trainers or trail shoes. That said, the support of the Sense 3 Ultra is still decent. The upper snugly holds the foot in place, and the firmness of the mid and outsole do a good job providing support as well. Overall, the support on these shoes is not amazing, but not bad either.
The Sense 3 Ultra is suited for most "runnable" terrains. In particular it excels, on trails and slightly rougher terrain. This does make sense, as it is designed to be used on trails in particular. In most other terrains however, the Sense 3 Ultra should be usable with no major issues. The only thing to note is that on wetter surfaces
, the Sense 3 Ultra might be a bit less usable, so that goes for rain as well.
Price is another very important facet when considering any pair of shoes. The Sense 3 Ultra is definitely on the more expensive end of shoes. It retails at a decently higher cost than most trainers or other running shoes on the market. This is in part due to the fact that it is a trail shoe, which tends to fall on the more expensive side, and the high quality of the materials. The Sense 3 Ultra is definitely not cheap, but for those seeking very high quality and speedy trail shoes, this shoe definitely returns its value.
Traction of running shoes refers to its ability to grip different surfaces. The traction on the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra is a fairly good feature of the shoe. The triangular grips located on the outsole contribute to this, as they are designed to grip the ground of trails well in particular. The grips do a good job, as does the material of the oustole at providing traction. Once again, though, the only point of contention with the traction of the Sense 3 Ultra is its ability to perform while wet.
Flexibility is key in protection from twists and potential strains, and in facilitating good movement.
The Sense 3 is a fairly flexible shoe, as it is designed for speed
. This is really seen in the upper, which not only secures the foot, but also allows for good flexibility, and range of movement. The midsole is decently springy and flexible as well. Overall, the Sense 3 Ultra is a decently flexible shoe.
A shoes stability is indicative of how well the shoe supports a runner’s natural steps, which is important for preventing injury. The Sense 3 Ultra is a fairly stable shoe, though it is important to note that shoes designed for speed are a bit less stable than more balanced running shoes
. With that said, the upper of the Sense 3 Ultra does a good job offering stability, by snugly holding the foot in place. In tandem with the sturdy materials of the outsole and the midsole, this shoe is solidly stable.
The drop on these shoes is about 4mm. Drop refers to the height of the heel, from the ground. A 5mm drop is very small actually, but not totally unreasonable for a speed oriented shoe. Most of these types of shoes have a small drop, so 5mm is right around the expected range.
• Lightweight design for fast trail running
• Plate for protection from trail obstacles
• Vibrant colors
• Unique midsole material
• Conta-grip outsole provides good traction on trails
•Durable and usable in most terrains
Overall, the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra is a very high quality pair of shoes. For those seeking a quick trail running shoe, the Sense 3 Ultra is perfect. The only major issues to look out for are the cost
, which is a bit high for running shoes, and their traction and use in wet areas. For the most part, the Sense 3 Ultra are a high quality trail shoe, seen in the midsole, outsole, upper, and overall stylish design.