Salomon S-Lab Wings 8 Review Facts
Salomon might not be as well known to city runners or more casual followers of the sport, but trail runners should know Salomon for their consistently high-quality trail shoes. Originally French-based, Salomon is now under Adidas’ umbrella and specializes in all sorts of trail apparel and gear, including shoes. The S Lab Wings 8 is actually a trail racing shoe and the 8th iteration of the S Lab Wings line. This review will explore the different aspects of the shoe.
The Salomon S Lab
Wings 8’s outsole is made of Contragrip rubber. This special carbon rubber blend is a staple of Salomon trail shoes
, though the material employed by the Wings 8 is a little bit different from most. Apart from the high durability and traction offered by regular Contragrip, this particular blend is optimized for wet terrains
and water in general. This makes it very versatile and well equipped for different conditions. The outsole also features lugs, another common trait in Salomon shoes. These lugs add to traction as well, particularly when climbing or descending hills
. The outsole of the Wings 8 is great, as it is very durable, and provides excellent traction across many different conditions.
The Wings 8’s midsole makes use of two different kinds of EVA, or ethylene-vinyl-acetate foam. The majority the midsole uses a type of injected EVA blend that is durable, cushioning, and springy, as EVA tends to be. This particular blend is a bit more springy and responsive, however, giving the necessary bounce for racing. Additionally, the midsole has a bit of a harder EVA blend, which provides some extra durability and stable cushioning to the feet. There is also a TPU or, thermoplastic urethane layer, which adds even more protection to the midsole. Overall, the midsole of the Wings 8 is perfect for racing, giving a good mixture of responsiveness and protection, while still remaining pretty light.
This shoe has an upper made of a special type of mesh called Stretch Air Mesh. Mesh typically does a good job of allowing flexibility and breathability, but as the Stretch Air Mesh’s name implies, this material does an even better job at emphasizing those traits. Within the upper is Salomon’s Endofit liner. This basically gives the interior a more comfortable feel, to reduce rubbing and irritation of the feet. Also within the upper is a toe cap, which protects from potential collisions or bad steps. This is especially useful on trails where rocks or other debris can be found. Another feature of the upper is its Quicklace system
. These types of systems are common for racing shoes especially. Essentially, to secure the shoe, users need only to pull the laces. This makes for quick lacing, which is great to avoid any fumbling and pre-race nerves. The upper is quite good and offers many useful features and materials.
The Salomon S Lab
Wings 8 weighs right around 9 ounces. This is a bit on the heavier end for a racing shoe, which tend to be in the 5 to 7-ounce range. When considering that the Wings 8 is for trail racing though, the weight is very acceptable. Trail shoes
tend to be heavier to accommodate for more cushioning in the face of trail hazards. As such, though the S Lab Wings 8 might appear to be heavy for a racing shoe, the weight is pretty solid, if not exceptional.
Breathability in the S Lab Wings 8 is pretty good thanks to the special Stretch Air Mesh material mentioned previously. This material does an even better job than traditional mesh, and allows a good amount of air to enter and exit the shoe while running. The result is a very breathable feel, which is great for limiting sweat and odor build up. This is pretty much the main feature in the Wings 8 that influences breathability but it definitely does an excellent job at that.
Comfort is a very strong aspect of the S Lab Wings 8, thanks to the upper and the midsole. The upper adds comfort in a variety of ways through its features. The Stretch Air Mesh is quite comfortable thanks to its abundant breathability, and its ability to flex and twist with the foot. The liner within the foot also is a comfortable feature, as it prevents any abrasions and uncomfortable rubbing within the shoe. The midsole adds to comfort with its two EVA foams. The injected EVA is light and springy, making the stride effective and comfortable as a result. The molded EVA is harder, and as such gives more cushioning and stability. In tandem, these make the stride very comfortable, by providing protection as well as responsiveness. The Wings 8 is a comfortable shoe overall.
Salomon shoes tend to have a particular style and look to them, which is present in the S Lab Wings 8 as well. They are similar to traditionally styled running shoes, though they have a bit of added ruggedness to them, which accurately portrays the shoes' purpose for trail running. The shoe is unfortunately not available in many colors, though this is pretty common for racing shoes generally. The Wings 8 is bright and eye popping, which is another common trait of racing shoes. The shoe, as a whole, is definitely stylish enough for trail racing, though it does not really stand out in any major ways. This shoe definitely would not be effective for everyday use both because of its color and because it is primarily designed for racing.
Durability is quite good in the Lab Wings 8, as is often expected of Salomon’s shoes. The big parts of this are the midsole, outsole and upper. The midsole adds to durability with its different blends of EVA foam and its TPU layer. EVA foam is a durable material in and of itself, and using two different blends extends the lifespan, even more, making it last a long time. The TPU layer is an additional piece that helps protect the shoe from wear and tear. The outsole is very good in the durability department thanks to the Contragrip outsole. Contragrip has long been known for its excellent ability to withstand repeated use on all terrains, and that holds true in the S Lab Wings 8 as well. Finally, the upper gets its durability from the Stretch Air Mesh it employs. This material is pretty durable and doesn’t tear easily, making it perfect for trails. Overall, durability is pretty good in the S Lab Wings 8, which is especially nice as a racing shoe. Because the shoes are meant for racing, they will probably be usable for an even longer time than a regular trainer.
The main pieces influencing protection within the S Lab Wings 8 are the upper and the midsole. The upper contributes to protection with the Stretch Air Mesh once again. This material is great on trails and does a good job of keeping out water and debris quite well. The toecap within the upper also helps protect the feet, by shielding from any harsh collisions that could possibly occur. The different EVA foams are the main sources of protection in the midsole. These foams do their job quite well and absorb and reduce impacts on the foot while running. This creates a safer stride and reduces the chances of injury, which is especially nice for racing.
Responsiveness is very important in a racing shoe, as speed is definitely crucial in a competition. The midsole is usually the piece that affects this most, and this is the case for the S Lab Wings 8 as well. As mentioned prior, the S Lab WIngs 8 has a midsole composed of two different EVA foams. The injected blend, in particular, is great for responsiveness, as it is a bit lighter and springier, making it bounce back and respond well to force. The harder layer helps to add the needed firmness and protection to make the overall midsole effective. Overall, these two foams in tandem do a good job at making the shoe responsive.
In the S Lab Wings 8, support is very influenced by the upper and the midsole. The upper helps to support the foot with its unique mesh design. This mesh is quite good at securing and holding down the foot, while still allowing for adequate movement range. This supports the foot very well from above. The midsole helps once again with its EVA foams. These foams support and cushion the foot from below, creating a comfortable stride. These are the key supporting features in the shoe, and overall they do a decent job.
The S Lab Wings 8 is very well equipped for trails and other similar terrains. This is again because of its Contragrip outsole and lugs, which are optimized to provide grip and traction on trail surfaces. These shoes, in particular, were designed to race on trails. While they definitely can be used on most common running terrains
, one is probably better off finding another shoe if they wish to use these outside of racing
on trails. The lugs and Contragrip outsole, while perfect for trails, are a bit overbearing for city terrains.
Salomon shoes are generally higher on the price spectrum, and the S Lab Wings 8 fits this trend as well. For a racing shoe, the S Lab Wings 8 is actually pretty expensive. It falls around the price range
of other regular trainers, which is high considering racing shoes are generally cheaper than trainers. Part of the cost comes from specialization, as these shoes are trail specific racing shoes, which are less common than regular racing shoes. The quality of the shoe is nice, but the price definitely reflects that as well.
Traction is excellent on the S Lab Wing 8 thanks to the outsole. Once again, the Contragrip material plays a role with its unique rubber blend. This blend is particularly good at gripping onto different surfaces where traction might be low. The lugs on the outsole also help with this, and are extra useful when ascending or descending on slopes. As mentioned previously, the materials on the outsole are excellent for trail terrains
, but are perhaps a bit overbearing for city terrains
. There should be no issues with traction, but still, the shoes will grip the most comfortably on trails and other similar surfaces.
The upper is the key piece affecting flexibility in the S Lab Wings 8. This is true for most shoes, as the upper is the part that wraps around the foot. The S Lab Wings 8 upper is especially flexible, as the name Stretch Air mesh implies. The mesh is able to flex well thanks to the materials it uses, and also due to the way it is carefully woven. Apart from this, the shoe doesn’t offer too much else that influences flexibility. Flexibility as a whole is adequate still.
of the S Lab Wings 8 is primarily a factor of the midsole and upper. Once again, the two foams in the midsole are influential. They help absorb and reduce shocks and impacts from running. This allows the runner to keep their stride more stable, and also makes for a safer and better stride overall. The upper adds to stability through its secure grip on the top of the feet. The S Lab Wings 8 is definitely stable.
The S Lab Wings 8 has a drop that is 9 mm high. This is pretty average for a shoe of this type. While not too small, or high, the drop of this shoe is not really a controversial feature, and shouldn’t be an issue for most.
Dual EVA midsole
Stretch Air Mesh
Lugs for added traction
The S Lab Wings 8 is a strong shoe in its category for sure. It definitely makes an excellent trail racing shoe with its features and technology, particularly the midsole and outsole. For those seeking a trail racing shoe who don’t mind the fairly high price tag, the Wings 8 is a very good shoe. For those seeking a more general purpose racing shoe
, the Wings 8 is probably not the best choice.