Salomon S-Lab Speed 2

The Salomon S-Lab Speed 2 is the second model in a line of highly durable and efficient trail running shoes. It includes all of the same features that runners enjoyed about the previous version with a more minimalist design. Its tread pattern still offers incredible traction and is now made from Premium Wet Traction Contagrip. The compressed EVA midsole has returned to provide cushioning and shock absorption while being sturdy enough to withstand rugged surfaces. And its tight-fitting anti-debris mesh upper is still equipped with Sensifit straps, an Endofit inner sleeve, and a Quicklace system for a more secure wear. Runners are especially relieved to know that it still permits breathability and drainage depending on the runner's environment. The only severe downfall, however, is that its narrow fit makes it unsuitable for most foot shapes.

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Pros & Cons



-Excellent traction

-Very stabilizing

-Protective yet breathable


-Narrow fit

-Expensive price tag

-Gripping lugs can get clogged

Key Features
As a trail running shoe, the S-Lab Speed 2 has to be fully equipped to take on a number of challenging terrains. The brand’s trademarked Premium Wet Traction Contagrip makes up the entire length of its outsole. This ensures both a completely secure grip on many different surfaces but also keeps the rest of the shoe and the underfoot protected against potential hazards. The tread pattern consists of multi-directional gripping lugs that are placed along the forefoot and heel, which really come in handy during down-hill runs.
The S-Lab Speed 2 relies on a highly durable compressed EVA midsole to cushion the foot and give consistent shock absorption. Though not as substantial as some other models, it still provides the runner with a decent amount of cushioning to keep them comfortable and protected as they run across challenging landscapes. The only downside, however, this that the process of making this particular feature does mean that it won’t be as pliable as some would like.
The bulk of the S-Lab Speed 2’s upper is made of a very protective anti-debris mesh. As the name suggests, its tight construction keeps dirt and debris from entering the foot chamber while still providing a decent amount of airflow. Thick overlays blend into this fabric for a minimalist look, and feature a stabilizing heel clip and a protective toe cap to guard against potential hazards. Giving it even more security is the brand’s Sensifit system, a form of webbing on either side of the shoe that connects to the lacing system for a more secure fit. On the inside is a seamless Endofit sleeve, which further encourages breathability while preventing skin irritations. For added security, it features a Quicklace system with Kevlar laces and a pocket within the tongue to prevent trips and falls.
Weight between 9 and 9.5 ounces for both men's and women's sizes, the S-Lab Speed 2 is definitely a lightweight model. Though trail running shoes are typically on the heftier side, due to their protective and stabilizing features, this particular model has been engineered to ensure that all of these features are actually as light as possible. This also greatly helps with overall performance, as it allows the runner to move easily across difficult terrains without feeling weighed down or cumbersome. Its lightness even allows this shoe to be used for obstacle courses and other trailing competitions.
The S-Lab Speed 2’s upper focuses much more on protection than it does on breathability, ensuring that no debris can enter the foot chamber and cause irritations. Though there isn’t any indication of how it measures up against regular mesh materials, reviews still show that it gives runners a decent amount of air flow. Some reviewers have also said that it provides a fair amount of drainage when moving through wet conditions. But considering its tight fit, this shoe might work best in cooler temperatures.
One one hand, some reviewers enjoyed the S-Lab Speed 2’s glove-like fit. They claimed that not only did it feel smooth on their feet, but they also enjoyed the fact that dirt and debris couldn’t get in and cause irritation. Others were satisfied with its level of lightweight breathability and the cushioning that its compressed EVA midsole provided. However, this shoe’s tight construction and very narrow fit doesn’t take most foot shapes into consideration. Several reviewers have developed blisters after wearing it for a relatively short time. Some also say that it’s not quite as breathable as they would have liked.
The second version of the S-Lab Speed line has the exact same silhouette and tread pattern as its predecessor. Reviewers are especially happy since they enjoyed the first model's sleek and minimalist design, which pairs just as well with most casual outfits as it does with activewear. In addition, it's also available only in black with small red and white detailing. The most obvious difference is that the second version's overlays blend in more with the protective mesh, not being nearly as shiny. It also has much less color detailing than before, only appearing under the ankle in the form of the brand name and in small areas of the toe and instep.
Reviewers are extremely impressed with just how resilient the S-Lab Speed 2 is. The Premium Wet Traction Contagrip outsole is designed to withstand use on many challenging surfaces as also serves as protection for the rest of the shoe. Its compressed EVA midsole is constructed to last longer than injection-molded models, making it a better fit for trail running. And aside from keeping dirt and debris away from the foot, the anti-debris mesh upper also withstands extensive use and can easily resist wear and tear. This is aided further by the shoe's overlays and toe bumper. Finally, the use of Kevlar for its laces mean that runners can have a secure fit that truly lasts.
Aside from providing the S-Lab Speed 2 with incredibly secure traction, its Premium Wet Traction Contagrip outsole also safeguards the underfoot and the rest of the shoe from potential damage caused by jagged trails. This is enhanced by its durable compressed EVA midsole, which gives the runner a decent amount of cushioning and shock absorption. Its upper's already tight fit ensures that it will never slip off, and the inclusion of Sensifit technology makes it even more secure. A thick, protective toe cap is fixed to the front to shield the toes from jagged surfaces and other potential trailing hazards. And the use of anti-debris mesh keeps the foot chamber clear of any outside particles while still permitting breathability and proper drainage.
Every good trail running shoe has to be responsive in order to keep the runner moving along safely. Though its compressed EVA midsole may not provide as much responsiveness as an injection-molded unit, it still efficiently absorbs the impact of each landing. Many runners feel that this feature pairs especially well with the shoe’s outsole, creating a very easy and protective wear. However, there are some reviewers that desire more cushioning and feel that this particular midsole doesn’t do enough when up against rough terrains.
Most of the S-Lab Speed 2’s support comes from its tight-fitting wear. Reviewers have described it as fitting like a glove, keeping the foot in place. And the brand’s Sensifit system wraps around the midfoot to keep it supported during the gait cycle. There is also some padding around the collar for the ankle and heel. While its durable compressed EVA midsole does work for the neutral runner, its fit indicates that it doesn’t offer much when it comes to arch support.
Salomon designed the original S-Lab Speed model with the intention of it becoming an all-terrain running shoe, so it was only fair that they would do the same with its predecessor. Not only can it safely carry the runner across rocky terrains, through forest trails, and down steep hillsides, but it also works especially well on wet and slippery surfaces. Its protective mesh upper enhances its versatility even further by keeping dirt and debris out of the foot chamber while still allowing water to drain out properly. There is, however, no indication of how well it can transition onto paved roads.
Though trail running shoes are typically more expensive than most casual footwear, the S-Lab Speed 2's $180 price tag is incredibly high. Even when compared to many of Salomon's other models, this particular shoe is still quite pricey. Though a number of runners would definitely be intimidated by this, its amazing durability and level of performance through difficult terrains definitely make it well worth every dollar spent. However, because of its extremely narrow fit, runners are advised to try this model on before making a purchase.
Because the S-Lab Speed 2’s outsole features the exact same tread pattern and rubber compound as its predecessor, runners can definitely expect the same level of traction. Its multi-directional gripping lugs keep the runner going just as securely on rocky surfaces as it does through puddles and small streams. They also prove especially useful during steep, downhill runs. With all this said, there are a few reviewers who say that it’s not fit for muddy surfaces due to the fact that it has no mudguard. In addition, there is nothing online that indicates how well this model can perform when transitioning onto paved roads. So it's best that the runner not use this too frequently on everyday surfaces.
Given that it’s a trail-running shoe, it’s obvious that the S-Lab Speed 2 focuses more on stability and protection than flexibility. Its compressed EVA midsole does have some give to it, allowing it to be more resistant to wear and tear. However, its construction does mean that it’s stiffer than injection-molded EVA. And its upper’s tight and narrow fit does limit the runner’s range of motion somewhat. Even with substantial break-in time, this kind of wear is definitely not meant for everyone.
The S-Lab Speed 2’s tight, glove-like fit basically prevents any kind of wobbling or accidental removal on its own. But it still comes equipped with plenty of other features for a truly stable wear. A series of overlays, including a thick heel clip and protective toe bumper, help the shoe maintain its shape. Its Sensifit system wraps around the midfoot and integrates with the Quicklace system for greater security. Though some reviewers enjoy this tight fit, many others say that it makes the shoe too painful to wear. They also note that extra toe room could allow easier splaying and, therefore, a better sense of balance when running across challenging surfaces.
It's extremely common for trail running shoes to have a low heel-to-toe drop height, as this enables the runner to have even greater balance and posture as they travel across difficult terrains. The S-Lab Speed 2 follows this trend with a drop height of only 4mm. Yet with a heel height of 20mm and toe height of 16mm, it still provides the runner with a decent amount of protective cushioning. In addition, this particular feature also allows the runner to feel close to the ground, giving them more control over their movements.
Key Features
-Premium Wet Traction Contagrip outsole
-Compressed EVA midsole unit
-Protective Anti-Debris mesh upper
-Sensifit straps for stability
-Seamless Endofit inner sleeve
-Quicklace system with lace pocket
-Protective rubber toe cap
-Expensive $180 price tag
Bottom Line
Overall, the Salomon S-Lab Speed 2's reviews have been quite mixed among most runners. Nearly all are happy with its level of traction, which can safely get them across many different forms of rugged terrains whether they're wet or dry. Some also appreciate its snug, glove-like fit that keeps them secure and protected while still being breathable and fairly easy to remove. On the other hand, many have pointed out that its narrow fit doesn't take most foot shapes into account. They experience blisters and extreme discomfort after only a few hours of wear, while some have also experienced less-than-stellar protection against muddy terrains. Still, many agree that it's a very appealing yet functional piece of footwear that can easily hold up to whatever the runner gets into.
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Backcountry Link
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Holabird Sports Link
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By Jessica Pilla
Last updated:
Where to buy
Best offer on: Jul. 29. 2021

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