Salomon S/Lab Phantasm
While many neutral trainers work to dial in the cushioning in favor of speed, the S/Lab Phantasm adds a responsive layer of Energy Surge foam with a 6 mm drop to reduce the strain on your joints.
It’s a super fast and lightweight running shoe and the added cushioning prevents your legs from being torn up the next day when running on hard and unforgiving surfaces. Overall, you get the speed of a minimalistic trainer with the comfort and support of a highly cushioned running shoe.
I also love that the durable rubber outsole is built to grip anything from slick sidewalks, snow, and can even tackle a little bit of ice. It’s lightweight, offers up a little bit of flexibility, and offers an excellent ground feel to keep you in control.
The Salomon S/Lab Phantasm is a running shoe that begs you to go fast. It’s a lightweight neutral daily trainer or race-day shoe that utilizes a unique geometry to make your transitions surprisingly fast.
Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the unique features that make the Salomon S/Lab Phantasm a shoe worth checking out.
ContaGrip FA outsole really grips wet or icy sidewalks or roads
Energy Surge midsole is lightweight, responsive, and durable
Very lightweight and breathable upper
Reverse camber helps to naturally propel you forward
Includes an Ortholite sock liner
Drains fast and dries quickly
Not very cushioned
Not ideal for running long distances
Stiffer than expected
The humble midsole in this daily trainer is composed of Salomon’s Energy Surge material. What makes this midsole unique is that it is composed of a blend of EVA foam and Olefin.
Now, I am quite familiar with the feel and cushioning offered from EVA foam, but what exactly is Olefin? I did a little research, and this synthetic fiber is primarily used in the manufacturing of things such as wallpaper and carpeting. If you have ever tried to strip wallpaper, you know just how tough this material is!
It has a waxy feel to it, which helps to wick away water and moisture, and it is designed to withstand hundreds of miles without breaking down into a pancake. The EVA foam is soft and responsive, and the added Olefin blend to the foam boosts its durability and overall performance.
What makes this shoe unique is the overall geometry of the midsole. It boasts a reverse camber design that works to propel your feet forward. The slight curve in the midsole gives this shoe an unusual fit at first, but most runners get used to it daily quickly.
The curved design speeds up your gait cycle essentially, and it acts as a rocking chair to make each toe-off light and snappy. If you are looking for speed, the design of this very unique midsole really delivers.
The upper of this design is so lightweight and breathable that it feels as if you aren’t wearing anything at all. It is composed of a stitch-free single layer of breathable mesh that you can see through. This mesh is not only lightweight and breathable, but it also dries incredibly quickly.
This design of mesh is anything but waterproof, but the unique design dries moisture in a matter of minutes to keep your feet cool and dry. If you need a shoe that will keep your feet cool when running in the peak temperatures of the summer, this shoe is a great option.
It also boasts a stretchy heel collar that contours to the shape of your foot, and the entire upper is padding-free to give you enchanted movement as well as breathability.
The molded Ortholite sock liner offers a little bit of extra cushioning to keep your feet comfortable, cool, and dry. This sock liner contours to the shape of your foot to boost overall lockdown, and helps to wick away moisture when your feet start to sweat on hot days.
The breathable mesh upper and the moisture-resistant sock liner are perfect for runners that detest hot and soupy socks.
Many neutral trainers use a blend of rubber and exposed EVA to provide a lightweight and snappy outsole.
The S/Lab Phantasm, however, utilizes quite a bit of rubber on the outsole with a small space along the arch of exposed foam for heightened flexibility. The rubber used on this design is Salomon’s proprietary Contagrip® FA rubber material that is built incredibly tough.
Contagrip is primarily found on Salomon’s thick hiking boots or trail runners, so you know that it is built tough.
By utilizing a very thin layer of this durable rubber compound, runners get the superior grip and performance of a hiking boot with the speed and flexibility of a neutral running shoe.
What I love most about the outsole of this shoe is that it boasts a slightly tacky finish that sticks to almost any type of road terrain. Whether you are running on rain-soaked sidewalks, snow, or even a bit of ice, this shoe is designed to stick to the ground for excellent stability and control.
The Salomon S/Lab Phantasm is a shoe designed for speedy sets, but not necessarily long distances. While the outsole is built tough, the midsole doesn’t quite give runners enough cushioning or responsiveness to tackle long distances.
Overall, I would recommend this shoe for neutral runners that want something that is lightweight to keep their gait cycle nice and bright.
It’s also important to note that despite its minimalistic appearance, this shoe is surprisingly stiff. While the upper is made to move, the midsole and outsole are stiffer than expected - even without a carbon plate.
It’s a great option for speedy sets on the track, but you will lose a little bit of agility if you wear them while cross-training. The stiff design of this shoe may not be great for agility, but it’s a great option for weight training!
Overall, the Salomon S/Lab Phantasm runs true to size. Some runners felt that this design is slightly shallow and narrow in the toe box, especially for runners with feet that are slightly wider than normal.
Due to the unique geometry of this design, it’s a good idea to head to your local shoe store to give them a try before you buy them.
If you have never worn Salomon shoes before, be sure to take good measurements of your feet and compare them to Salomon’s sizing chart.
The lacing cage of this design really helps to boost the overall lockdown. The lightweight frame on the upper reduces the pressure and strain on the top of your foot, and contours to the shape of your foot.
The construction of the minimalistic heel counter really hugs your heel and reduces uncomfortable rubber and chafing.
I love the simple yet modern design of the Salomon S/Lab Phantasm. However, if you don’t like the color red- you are out of luck. This shoe is only offered in a muted red shade.
Personally, I love the modern silhouette of this shoe with matching red mesh upper, laces, and outsole. It’s slim, sleek and modern, and doesn't quite look like anything else out there on the market.
The downside of this shoe is that it comes in at quite an expensive price point. When compared to similar neutral trainers out there on the market, the S/Lab Phantasm is slightly more expensive.
Overall, shoes that come from Salomon’s S/Lab are slightly more expensive than their other running shoes because they use newer technology and materials in the S/Lab series of shoes, so you know that you are running on the bleeding edge of running shoe innovations.
Sure, it comes in at a higher price point, but it may be worth it to runners that are always on the hunt for new and unique running shoes.
It is composed of high-end materials that help to keep your gait cycle light and bright, while still offering modest cushioning that is kind to your joints. Runners love this shoe because the upper is insanely breathable and helps to wick away moisture to keep your feet cool and dry.
The outsole is composed of high-end rubber that sticks to the ground under your feet. If you like to run in rainy or even snowy conditions, the outsole helps you to maintain stability and control less than ideal surfaces.
It may cost a little bit more than your standard neutral trainer, but it is well worth it for runners that like to experiment with new and unique designs.
The reverse camber is a great example of how geometry (and not just the materials used) can boost overall performance and fit.
The design, materials used, and overall performance of the Salomon S/Lab Phantasm is worth a look for runners that have a need for speed!