Salomon S-Lab Sense 6 Review Facts
Normally, a standard track or running shoe will be designed in a drastically different way than a shoe designed for running on trails or mountain paths. However, the Salomon S-Lab Sense 6 aims to create a synthesis of these two designs, making a trail shoe that looks and feels more like a running shoe. This combination of two fundamentally different shoe designs is bold, but manages to result in a fascinating shoe that will be highly appealing to very specific runners.
As is standard with trail shoes
, the S-Lab Sense 6’s have rubber nubs evenly spaced along the outsole. These manage to provide excellent traction
on rough and inclined surfaces and even in wetter environments due to Salomon’s Wet Traction Contragrip. What’s perhaps the most impressive about this bottom portion of the shoe, however, is the fact that it offers this much stability and traction
without adding too much weight. This results in a feeling similar to more casual sneakers but with a level of control and resistance unheard of in these forms of shoe.
18 mm of cushioned material is used in the midsole to provide shock absorption and protection to your feet while they are worn. A slight heel drop of 4 mm is present to better facilitate heel striking, but for the most part these shoes favor a neutral running stride. Most trail shoes will have one or two more mm of cushion in their midsoles, but this small difference in cushion
helps to drastically reduce the total weight of this product. Another weight-saving design choice present in these Salomon trail shoes
is the addition of a ProFeel film instead of the standard rock plate. This provides a degree of stability that is common among running shoes, but also features enough give and a light enough weight to cater toward racers looking for something low profile.
Mesh fabric is placed in small pockets around key areas of these shoes’ upper portion, with nylon filling in the majority of the construction. This is a departure from the usual design of other trail shoes
, which focuses much more on breathable mesh material. This unconventional design philosophy was implemented as a way to make up for using less cushion and more lightweight
material. Fortunately, because this ends up with a shoe that weighs considerably less than more breathable trail shoes, the lighter feeling means that ventilation becomes less of a concern.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Salomon S-Lab Sense
6’s design is the surprisingly light weight of their shoes. These trail shoes
only weigh 8 ounces, making them roughly comparable to the weight of most standard running shoes
. This is all in spite of the fact that these shoes are designed to handle rough surfaces and incline running with a high measure of durability and cushion. The fact that all of these things are accomplished with the Sense 6’s design and that it weighs significantly less than most other trail shoes on the market is a truly impressive feat that deserves recognition.
In order to provide the level of protection needed from a trail shoe while maintaining a weight low enough to facilitate racing, these shoes use a combination of materials for its upper that slightly impede breathability. Ventilated mesh portions still make up a decent amount of the upper, which allows for a reasonable amount of airflow, but the nylon used for the rest of its construction doesn’t contribute much in this area. Add to that the internal bootie designed for a snug fit, and you end up with a shoe that doesn’t have the level of breathability present in most other trail shoes
. However, since these shoes are much lighter than these other models, it doesn’t matter too much that airflow isn’t as emphasized.
Much effort has been made to ensure that the Salomon S-Lab
Sense 6 is comfortable
on extremely uncomfortable terrain. This effort was not wasted, as several design aspects work in tandem to provide a smooth running experience for some of the least smooth surfaces you can run on. A surprisingly light weight and a snug upper fit ensure your legs don’t become sore from struggling to lift your footwear, and the generous amount of cushion present in the midsole prevents you from feeling anything on the ground beneath your feet. It truly is a miracle of design, making something so lightweight and yet so durable and comfortable when running off-road.
Only one color scheme
is available for the Sense 6. These shoes are mostly red with a small portion of white toward the rear. It’s a simplistic look that manages to look neat and visually distinctive, but the bright colors won’t stay that way for long if you use these shoes frequently. It’s a foolish idea to use bright colors on trail shoes
for this very reason; no white shoes are going to stay white after running through mud and dirt. Other than that, the general shape and design of these trail shoes more closely resemble common running shoes due to its low-profile and light weight. This makes these shoes viable for wearing in casual settings, but the lack of ventilation may dissuade some customers from actually doing this.
You shouldn’t expect these shoes to last as long as many other trail shoes
, and you shouldn’t expect these shoes to be as capable of accommodating the same types of running sessions that standard trail shoes excel at. This is because Salomon’s primary goal when designing the S-Lab
Sense 6 was to create the lightest possible trail shoe. The corners that were cut in regards to midsole cushion and protective material means these shoes will inevitably need to be replaced sooner than thicker, heavier brands. However, this design philosophy makes these trail shoes perfect for shorter sessions of high intensity sprinting on mountain
inclines and rough paths.
Since these shoes are lighter than the average trail shoe, the level of protection it offers is going to take a hit. The place where this tradeoff is most visible is in the midsole, with a slightly thinner amount of cushion and a less rigid plate. This can potentially lead to increased soreness and cramping over longer running sessions. However, some decisions have been made to compensate for this lighter weight while still offering the protection needed from a reliable trail shoe. This can mostly be found in the upper portion, where nylon has been added in places that would usually be entirely made of mesh.
The way in which these trail shoes are able to respond to your foot striking is impressive, and easily comparable with the way a good pair of track shoes handle on an Olympic-style running track. This is accomplished with the assistance of a bottom portion that emphasizes efficient energy dispersal and an upper portion that provides a very stable and secure fit. It may take some runners off guard just how light and responsive these shoes feel when compared to most other trail shoes on the market.
Support is negligible with the S-Lab Sense 6’s. Think about it this way; if you’re an individual who specifically looks out for support in their running shoes, these aren’t the shoes for you. With the limitations placed on weight and material used, providing support for conditions such as plantar fasciitis simply isn’t viable with this design. If you are an experienced runner with conditioned feet that can handle running for a long time without becoming sore, these shoes are a decent pick.
As a pair of trail shoes, the Salomon S-Lab Sense 6’s are designed to be used most effectively on rough trails. For these reasons, the midsole and outsole have been engineered specifically to handle paths that are full of natural obstacles, such as jagged rocks or overgrown roots. One type of terrain these shoes are especially effective at handling is rainy and slippery environments. This is due to the addition of Wet Traction Contragrip material in the construction of its outsole, which work to provide sticky and stable traction even while the ground is slick with moisture.
Prices for these shoes vary wildly depending on where you look. At its full price, this pair of shoes is perhaps a bit too costly for what it offers; however, it is frequently discounted on most popular online retailers. Finding a discounted pair of these shoes is the best way to get your money’s worth, as they do offer enough positive features to make them worth purchasing, but are simply priced too high normally to really justify the investment.
In order to provide an ideal level of traction for running on slippery, rough, or inclined surfaces, Salomon implemented two key design choices. One is the use of special proprietary Wet Traction Contragrip material on the outsole’s nubs, allowing it to retain a comfortable level of stickiness when running on wet terrain. The other design choice is an emphasis on a tight-fitting upper, with a snug internal sleeve that keeps your feet in one spot while running. Couple these design aspects with the considerably light weight and you get a pair of shoes with excellent traction for a fraction of the material.
One major way that the Sense 6 manages to distinguish itself from other trail shoes is in the midsole. Instead of using a rigid rock plate like many of its kind, these trail shoes have a ProFeel film. This functions similarly to a rock plate as it provides a degree of stability, but it differentiates itself from most rock plates by having considerably more give. This allows for some rebound when running that is extraordinarily useful for mountain racers
who need a pair of trail shoes with greater energy efficiency.
The Salomon S-Lab Sense 6 accomplishes a very difficult task by striking the perfect balance between flexibility and stability. As previously mentioned, the ProFeel film used in place of a traditional midsole rock plate offers a great deal more flexibility than the alternative. However, despite this generous give these shoes still manage to provide a high amount of stability that is mandatory for running on unforgiving terrain. This impressive feat is accomplished with the help of an exceptionally snug fitting upper portion, which more than compensates for any loss of control that could come about from the more flexible lower portion.
Most shoes designed for handling unconventional terrain will feature a neutral or near-neutral drop, and these Salomon shoes are the same in this respect. With an approximately 4 mm difference in height from the heel to the forefoot, this subtle elevation provides a tiny bit of extra heel support. This is common practice for most trail shoes, but it fails with the Sense-6’s where it often succeeds with those models. This is because the lessened degree of cushioning in the midsoles that are present in Salomon’s shoes result in diminished heel comfort regardless of the extra drop, making the design an empty gesture.
- Wet Traction Contragrip outsole that accommodates wet running environments
- Profeel film added to midsole providing stability and flexibility
- 4 mm drop emphasizing heel support
- Mostly nylon upper with pockets of mesh fabric
- Lightweight construction
- Single color option
Salomon tried a lot of new things with the S-Lab Sense 6, and not all of them work. The lighter weight and increased flexibility make these shoes fantastic for faster running, but they lack the same level of support and cushion you would find in something heavier. For many individuals looking for trail shoes, this will be an immediate turn-off. However, for those who are looking for something that can handle both track events and mountain runs and don’t mind a lack of cushion in their soles, these shoes can be an excellent addition to their collection if purchased at a discount.