SCOTT Supertrac RC First Impressions

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Who doesn’t love a ‘sexy’ run shoe? I suppose it does pose the question, ‘Can a run shoe be sexy?’ For me, the answer is yes! Just as it was when I used to ride racing bikes – my bikes were always sexy, it was compulsory!

So, the new incarnation from SCOTT hit all the boxes, rung all the bells and well and truly gave my eyes a woo hoo when I first clapped eyes on them in May 2016.

I have to be clear here, I was involved and worked with the SCOTT elite athletes in La Palma photographing the new apparel and shoes to be launched later this year and early in 2017.

The SUPERTRAC RC shoe is arguably the racing flagship for the brand that has been known for years for making darn fine excellent bikes. Well, ever since 2012, SCOTT have also been making darn fine run shoes, it’s just taken a while to get the message out. The Kinabalu Supertrac is still one of my favourite shoes. So good was the shoe, it beat many others in my test HERE.

The new SUPERTRAC RC has in all honesty little connection to the beefy 8mm drop trail shoe as listed above, however, it does carry over some of the traits.

Noticeable points are:

  • Seamless upper and overlays
  • Form fitting performance tongue
  • Reinforced toe cap
  • Radilal ‘360’ traction
  • EVA cushioning

The RC looks completely different to the Kinabalu Supertrac and the back/yellow ‘RC’ colour combination reflects the ‘RC’ range from the road bike and mountain bike range. I like that, I like that connection. It very clearly states, ‘This is the best of what we offer!’

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For the Supertrac RC the stats are as follows:

  • 5mm drop
  • Forefoot cushioning height : 17.5mm
  • Heel cushioning height : 22.5mm
  • Cushioning : AeroFoam + (same as Supertrac inline)
  • Weight : 270g in US9 men with insole in (some brands weight them without insoles)
  • Outsole : Outdoor Industry award winning 360° geometry made in wet rubber compound.

The Supertrac RC is not the lightest shoe but it does have plenty of cushioning and protection with 17.5/22.5mm of AeroFoam.

At 5mm drop, the shoe is certainly designed for an efficient mid to forefoot striker in contrast to the 8mm drop Kinabalu Supertrac that most definitely is a more ‘forgiving’ shoe.

Ultimately though, the RC is all about the ‘new’ grip that has been tweaked and tweaked through 2016 with feedback both in training and racing from athletes such as Andy Symonds, Jo Meek, Marco De Gasperi, Ruth Croft and the SCOTT team manager, Martin Gaffuri. The 360° geometry made in wet rubber compound is a real, real winner! The outsole is made for racing and training on trails where rock (wet or dry) is in abundance. The outsole though has less depth to the lug than say the Kinabalu Supertrac and so therefore grip is not as secure in mud.

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Initially I was disappointed that the tongue was not gusseted. A gusseted tongue is becoming normal now on many shoes and for me just makes sense. The RC does though have a form fitting tongue and it does hold the foot nice and firm.

Seamless upper is a winner, in theory it should mean that you have no possibility for blisters or abrasion from any seams. I did have a slight issue with rubbing on one of my toes where the shoe bends in the propulsive face, however, I do think that it is due to the test shoe being slightly too big. I will know more with testing.

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Cushioning for me was a surprise and I have to say I was surprised by the relatively hard feel of the shoe. I had expected a more plush ride but that may well come with more runs. It’s still early days in the test and the is just an initial first impression.

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Heal box is snug and really does hold the foot secure. The toe box is really well protected and therefore ideal for rocky, technical and mountain runs. The lacing is very secure and does compensate for the lack of the gusseted tongue, however, I am really surprised SCOTT didn’t include a ‘lace locker‘ to store excess lace as they do on many of their other shoes. It’s just a little elastic that weighs nothing but is ideal for keeping loose lace ends out of the way… maybe it will be added to the shoes for when they go on sale in 2017?

This is a first impression review and without doubt, I think we are going to see the Supertrac RC appear on many trails and mountains in 2017. Lets face it, you’ll have no problem noticing them…! The combination of grip, good looks, cushioning and seamless upper is going to make the RC a winner. I will come back with a full and detailed review after another month of trail and mountain abuse.

Scott Supertrac RC HERE

Minimal, Maximal or the curious question of Drop

Back in the day, I would go to a run store, ask for a neutral shoe and then try several models. I would pick the shoes that felt good and if they all felt good, I would pick by criteria such as brand and/ or colour. Job done. I would then go and run. Initially I played safe (looking back) picking shoes with a little more cushioning. However, as I got fitter and faster, my shoes got lighter. Seemed to make sense. At no point did I know what ‘drop’ the shoes had. I didn’t even know what drop was and in all honesty, I probably only considered drop in 2009/ 2010.

Ian on Bike

Coming from a cycling background, running was not something that came natural but I improved through triathlon. Eventually ultra running attracted me; I was looking for something new. I wanted something that intimidated me… running long always intimidates me!

I had big legs; plenty of muscles from cycling and triathlon, so, the longer I ran, the more muscle problems I had. Just part of the challenge I thought. Then I saw Hoka One One whilst running races in France and I thought, maybe all that cushioning will help?

Hoka Mafate Waterproof

I started using Hoka One One way back in 2010. I was using the original Mafate when pretty much nobody in the UK even realised what these shoes existed. I had all the comments, clown shoes, platform shoes, ridiculous and so on.

Of course, most people were correct. They did look somewhat ridiculous but considering I had been introduced to the shoes on ‘local’ terrain (France) I found the acceptance across the Channel more acceptable. Particularly in mountain races when running down long and/ or technical descents was the norm.

The plush ride from maximal shoes was something quite unique. Like running on marshmallow I would say. I loved the feeling and I started using the Bondi B for road runs in addition to the Mafate for trail. Cut a long story short, I sold Hoka One One in the UK and really pushed them. Yes. I loved them that much.

I listened to warnings from minimalist runners and other brands and then one by one, I would see runners switch and then other shoe brands ‘add’ more cushioning to shoes. Hoka One One were ahead of the times…

Ironically, as ‘maximal’ took hold, I defected.

Yes, in 2012 I walked away from maximal and never looked back. For me, it all started with niggling knee injuries. At first it was nothing I could pinpoint. At the time I was racking up the miles and running twice daily. I put it down to ‘just’ run pain. You know, the pain we all get and ignore… I won a race in Turkey (60km) but struggled in the closing stages with severe knee pain and later, when I toed the line at Lakeland 50 (looking for top-10) the knees gave in and from that moment, I stopped racing.

Of course I made a few errors. I didn’t address the issues early enough and I stuck my head in the sand and thought the problems would go away: no!

Stopping running for a while was the only way and in time I addressed many issues and points. My knee issues were caused by running in maximal shoes; the added cushioning, the ‘roll’ and the softness all combined with 100’s of miles in training equalled failure!

Turns out maximal shoes were not for me, or my knees.

Of course, this is a little controversial.

Maximal shoes are a new technology and therefore I don’t think we currently have full feedback on the pros and cons of this type of shoe. I guess I had a 2/3-year head start. The initial benefits touted to consumers were:

  • More comfort
  • Less impact
  • Plush ride
  • Run downhill quicker
  • And so on…

The opposition said:

  • Lack of feel with the ground
  • Too much roll
  • Too cushioned
  • And so on…

In time, I had to agree. For me, I was in the latter camp. Having said that, had I not had issues, maybe I would still be running in maximal shoes, who knows?

In the past 2-years I have in many ways learnt to run again. Getting a feel for the ground beneath me, trying to run with better technique and I have run considerably less. I am not a minimalist runner… I didn’t go down the Vibram route. But what I did do was use less cushioning. I actually just went back to shoes similar that I used in my running/ triathlon days… I used to call them ‘flats.’

Many people don’t realise, but Hoka One One and other similar brands use ‘low-drop.’ Altra for example use zero drop. So, I was already adapted to low drop running. I wouldn’t say my technique was perfect, but I have always been a mid to forefoot striker so basically I just needed to feel the ground again.

In my opinion, maximal shoes caused 3-key issues FOR ME. And I stress here, for me.

1: The added cushioning didn’t allow me to feel the ground. I therefore was ‘hitting’ the ground harder with every foot strike. Of course the cushioning masked this. So, to get feeling, I hit the ground harder, the cushioning compressed and then recoiled. Think about it, my muscles and my knees were working harder but in a different way. All those foot strikes, all the accumulated minutes, hours and miles.

2: The height and cushioning of the shoes caused me to roll. On flat surfaces the cushioning would compress and I would roll inward. The more cushioning, the more I could roll. Again, times this by all the foot strikes… not an issue for isolated runs but when you run day after day and twice a day, that builds up! On technical terrain, the cushioning offered more protection for sure, but again I was rolling and twisting far more than in a less cushioned shoe. My knees were being taken out of align all the time.

I like to equate the roll to the comparison of an F1 car and a bus. Take an F1 car around a corner at speed and it won’t sway or deviate. Take a bus around a corner and it will lean and possibly tip over. This is how I look at run shoes… or more importantly less cushioning in comparison to more cushioning.

3: I also feel that the cushioning made me a lazy runner. I was carefree because the cushioning masked so much. I also became weaker in my legs… I let the shoes do the work.

I think I could only really appreciate the above once I stopped using ‘maximal’ shoes and returned back to basics. I have spent the last 2-years running in shoes with normal or less cushioning and I have tested shoes with various drop; typically 4mm to 8mm.

Now many of you may question many aspects of what I mention above. That’s good! This article is not meant to give you hard facts. I want you to question and assess your running, your form, your contact with the ground and your running well being.

I am not promoting barefoot, minimalist, low drop or maximal. I am giving you scenarios and experiences that I have accumulated over time.

I could say, ‘do this!’

But ultimately, that is when issues arise. Doing ‘this’ is perfect for one athlete but not another. Sometimes you have to get it wrong to find out if you are doing it right.

Maximal is a current trend. Ironically, I went maximal just when most people went minimal… ‘Born to Run’ has lots to answer for! As Vibram clad warriors ran around me, I bounced along like Tigger.

Was I correct? NO!

Was minimalists correct? NO!

To some extent, we had both followed fads. For many, going minimalist and ‘learning to run again’ over a constructive and gradual period was and may very well be, the best thing they have ever done. But for every converted sole, we have a runner (or maybe multiple runners) who are broken at the side of the trail with stress fractures, damaged calf muscles or achilles problems.

But, going maximal (for me) was no better. I didn’t ease into maximal, I went in head over heels committed myself and the cushioning allowed me to get away with it… for a while!

If I learnt one lesson, GRADUAL is a key word. Be that maximal, minimal low drop or whatever…

Fads will come and go.

This conversation will continue in years to come and without doubt, we will be looking at a new aspect of run technique. It’s the nature of things.

But, running and the ability to run is god given. We are designed to run. So in future, when you have children, maybe nurture your child from the feet up. Start from the ground and let evolution do its work.

In retrospect, Chris McDougall was right, we are ‘Born to Run’ the problem is, we have actually devolved as runners.

Fashion and fads will come and go.

Take your time and if it aint broke… don’t break it! Otherwise it may well take you 2-years to get back on the right trail.

Like me!

Salomon Sense Pro Review

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When Salomon released the original Sense. It created a storm of interest, I suppose mainly because a certain Kilian Jornet used them.

Since the original incarnation we have seen the shoe develop and the recent offerings of the Sense Ultra and the Sense Ultra Soft Ground (more grip) have been a revelation for many a runner. Low drop, arguably the sweetest fitting shoe on the market, light and of course the unique lacing system with garage. The Sense is a shoe I see all the time in races from VK to 100-miles and beyond.

There is no shortage of reviews available on the Internet. Although the shoe may not be for everyone, the general consensus is that the Sense is a must try shoe and to be honest, if the snug fit and low drop works for you, it’s difficult to look elsewhere.

So, if you are already a Sense fan, I can probably anticipate you will have the original Sense and pair of Soft Grounds or a pair of Sense Ultra and Soft Grounds. They go hand in hand as the perfect combo.

Grab your wallet because the new addition to the Salomon family, the Sense Pro is a must have for the discerning Salomon worshipper. It’s worth pointing out immediately, that if the Sense Ultra hasn’t worked for you because of the narrow fit, the Sense Pro may well address that issue.

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 City Trail is a buzzword at the moment, also known as door to trail or road to trail. Ultimately, shoe manufacturers appreciate the need and the demand for a shoe that can function on road and trail. So, basically we are looking at a hybrid shoe. The Sense Pro falls in this category. As I see it, the Salomon fellas have taken a mummy ‘Mantra’ and left it alone with daddy Sense Ultra and in time a wonderful Sense Pro has emerged as the new baby in the Salomon crèche.

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So what’s it got…?

  • Sensfit
  • Endofit
  • Lace pocket
  • Quicklace
  • Racing last

And so on and so on… you get the drift. It has all the Salomon buzz words and as we know, these buzz words work.

Slip the shoe on and boy oh boy, slippers come to mind. Of all the shoes I have tested and worn, nothing, nothing at all comes close to the wonderful sock liner of the Sense. Once you have used it and got used to it. You want it in every shoe. It literally just holds your foot in the softest and most seamless grip of any shoe tested. It’s like placing your foot in a velvet glove and then when you tension the lace, the pressure is applied in subtle way that allows no movement. For me, any shoe that has ‘Endofit’ provides the most secure feel on ay surface.

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In conjunction with low drop, in this case 6mm, you have wonderful contact with the ground. A key feature here is that 6mm drop, Salomon have decided that this is a sweet spot in drop and therefore as this shoe is not an out and out racer, it makes for a perfect choice for longer days or easy training days. If I had to draw comparisons, it’s like wearing a Formula 1 car on your feet; low ride, perfect grip, great feedback and great propriotection. If you haven’t guessed, I love the Sense Pro.

Cushioning is 16mm at the heel and 10mm at the front. By comparison, the Sense Ultra has 13mm/9mm (4mm drop) and the SG is the same. Combining elements from other shoes in the Salomon range, the Pro has an ‘OS Tendon’ (A running construction that provides better rolling and a soft rebound, used for running shoes as well as for natural running and hiking shoes in different constructions) and seamless construction. This combination makes the shoe perfect for longer days and of course as this is designed to move seamlessly from road to trail, it offers great protection.

©iancorless.com_sensepro_-0005The heel is secure and padded. One you adjust the laces and pull them tight, the fit is the sweetest out there in my opinion. It’s the combination of the sock liner, great lacing and snug heel. As I said previously, your foot is held tight. No movement. A plus side of this snug fit is the differences made in the toe box.

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If you look at the photo below you will see the difference between the Sense Ultra SG, Sense Ultra and the Sense Pro. The Pro has a slightly more squared off toe box with great protection. So, if you have found previous editions of the Sense a little too tight, the Pro may well be for you?

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Grip is where the compromise is made. That is not a negative comment, after all, the shoe is a City Trail shoe, and so, you are not going to have SG grip. In actual fact, the grip is very similar the Sense Ultra. It’s perfect for dry trails and rocks, they work well in the wet on either road or rocks but if it gets muddy, hold on to your shorts because this when you notice the compromise. Transitioning from road to trail and back again is sweet. I have done some big sections of road and find the transition perfect. I would have no issue going for a road run in them. At this stage though it’s too early to tell what impact that would have on the longevity of the sole. I currently have 120-miles in these and no sign of wear.

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Sizing is true. I use UK9.5 in the Sense Ultra and Sense Ultra SG and the Pro is the same size. However, it does feel a little roomier. It should though, that is obviously what Salomon tried to achieve with this shoe. Weight is a little more then the Ultra and SG but still lightweight.

It’s simple really; the Sense Pro has become my day-to-day go to shoe. It has all the elements required in what I need. It has low drop, but not too low, the fit is like a glove, cushioning is a little more than the Sense Ultra and therefore provides just a little more protection daily (without the loss of feel) and ultimately the shoe balances natural running, protection and feel in a perfect package.

Go get a pair…!

View the shoes at Salomon.com

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Scott Trail Rocket Shoe

Scott Trail Rocket

Following on from the extremely successful and popular T2 Kinabalu (review HERE and ladies review HERE) Scott have produced an out and out trail running race shoe aptly named the Trail Rocket.

Sporting many features from the T2 Kinabalu this new incarnation in principal is a completely different beast. The aggressive outsole from the T2 is gone leaving a shoe (and grip) that will fly along on dry and hard pack trail, however, if mud is your thing on first impressions the T2 will be a far better choice.

Scott Trail Rocket SoleFollowing the trend for low drop shoes, the Trail Rocket now has a 5mm heel to toe drop in comparison to the 11mm drop of the T2. However, don’t look at this as an either/ or option. The T2 and Trail Rocket are worlds apart and as such the appropriate shoe should be chosen depending on many factors. I very much see owners of the T2 purchasing the Trail Rocket for faster and shorter sessions and Trail Rocket owners looking to purchase the T2 for longer days when terrain could be very unpredictable.

Scott Trail Rocket UpperThe upper is very breathable with a wide toe box, snug heel compartment that provides a solid and secure fit and importantly, toe protection is good should you have any unwanted encounters with rocks or obstacles on the trail. The shoe is designed to work well with or without socks, the choice is yours. Sizing is true to size, however, if you are going without socks you may want to check what works for you. Lacing is solid and depending on your preferred lacing method the shoe holds firm to the foot and is extremely comfortable. The laces themselves have stretch and once tied hold firm and don’t come loose. Missing from the front of the shoe is the elastic bungee that could hold and retain excess lace (see T2 review). I don’t understand this? It was a simple addition that added no weight but provided a really practical solution to a problem that exists for all runners unless you use Salomon!

Scott Trail Rocket Pair

They are lightweight and versatile trail shoes designed for maximum performance for racing and fast training and as such they won’t appeal to everyone. The minimalistic design in combination with the eRide™ Technology promotes an efficient, natural and fast running style. Arguably, the eRide™ (rocker) is not required for this model of shoe as a 5mm drop will almost certainly mean that your run form should already be good and mid to forefoot landing is normal. However, should you be transitioning to lower drop shoes the eRide™ will help guide you on your way.

eRide

As you would expect, the shoes weigh in at a light 260g (UK9) which is obviously due to the minimalist design and Aerofoam.

Aerofoam

Forefoot cushioning is 17.5 and rear cushioning 22.5 providing a shoe that still provides good cushioning and protection. How far can you run in them? Well it very much depends on your form, adaptation and technique. Without doubt I think we will see many efficient runners covering 100-miles in this shoe, however, for many it will be a great mountain marathon shoe, 50k or 50-mile race option shoe.

Scott Trail Rocket Side

Importantly, the shoe has no rock plate and that my prove an issue for many?

Slipping the shoe on you have that confirmed comfort feeling inherited from the T2 Kinabalu, so, it’s fair to say that if you are a fan of its beefier brother you are going to like the Trail Rocket.

You zip along feeling very light and although this is considered a more minimalist racing shoe, overall comfort is great.

On road it performs exceptionally well, that is a real bonus for many of us who may need to transition to trail either by connecting roads or maybe you need to access trail with a jog to and from home.

On hard trail and rock you fly along. The Trail Rocket has great response and promotes a faster pace… that may or may not be a good thing? Certainly if you are new to ultra racing or looking to complete rather than compete, the Trail Rocket may not be the shoe for you. I would recommend the T2 and use the Trail Rocket for faster training sessions or shorter trail races.

The lack of a rock plate was noticeable when on continued rocky or gnarly ground. It wasn’t an issue or caused any problems, BUT if I was doing a long race over continually tough and technical terrain then this would become a problem and for sure, my feet would be tired. This is not a fault of the shoe, one just needs to choose the appropriate shoe for the terrain and length of session

Ultimately, the Trail Rocket is a great shoe. It doesn’t replace the T2 in any way, in actual fact it compliments it and I therefore I see Trail Rocket owners having a pair of T2’s and vice versa.

Recommended!

Specs:

  • Drop 5mm
  • Upper – mesh with synthetic overlays
  • Lower – eva/ rubber

Scott Running website HERE

Salomon Sense Mantra

Salomon Sense Mantra

The Salomon Sense Mantra may very well be a shoe that introduces ‘new’ runners to mid or forefoot running with cushioning and comfort and a 6mm drop or provide efficient runners with a shoe of greater comfort over longer distances.

The ‘Mantra’ is the the second brother to the S-Lab Sense that Kilian Jornet used in winning the 2011 WS100, the first brother being the ‘new’ S-Lab Sense Ultra.

Why the Mantra?

Well, the Sense and Sense Ultra at 4mm ‘drop’ may very well be two of the most desirable shoes in the run market place at the moment, but for many it may very well be a step too far… especially if coming from a conventional road or trail shoe with a 12mm drop.

Drop? What’s that then… well in the Mantra the ‘drop’ is 6mm. Clearly shown in this image.

Heel Drop Salomon Sense Mantra

Drop is quite simply the difference between heel and toe height. The ‘lower’ the drop, in theory, the more natural the foot strike. It has long been proven that a mid to forefoot strike is far better for efficiency. However, until the ‘barefoot‘ and ‘minimalist‘ movement primarily fuelled by Chris McDougall’s book ‘Born to Run‘, many of us probably didn’t even know what our shoe drop was…

Drop isn’t everything though. Cushioning is also really important. In the Mantra the cushioning at the front of the shoe is 10mm and 16mm at the rear, so, a cushioned shoe!

This additional cushioning combined with a 6mm drop clearly means that the Mantra is firmly placed at enticing two types of runner:

  • Firstly, Sense or Sense Ultra users who want a low drop shoe with additional cushioning for longer races or training.
  • Secondly, runners who have been using ‘conventional’ shoes who would like to move to a lower drop and improve run technique with a mid – forefoot strike.

The Mantra in a nutshell offers a little more cushioning than it’s S-Lab brothers, a little more protection and a longer OS Tendon to return more energy. The lower heel drop will allow tendons/muscles to absorb more shock from the running motion and remove stress away from joints. Ultimately, this improvement in run technique will provide greater running efficient for less effort, less injury and a more balanced runner.

OS Tendon? This provides a balanced flex within the shoe and according to Salomon provides improved energy return.

Key Features of the shoe:

Endofit : This is one of the key features of the Sense range that I love. It is an internal sleeve within the shoe, almost like a sock. It does mean that the ‘Sense’ range can be a little awkward to get on at first making you even question if you have the right size shoe. But once your foot slides in you are rewarded with a tight fitting shoe that grips the foot providing a firm, secure and confident feel. Designed for Kilian Jornet so that he could run without a sock. Please keep this in mind. I have gone true to size and use a thin sock and they feel great. If you are planning on using a more padded sock you may need a half size larger.

Salomon Sense Mantra sole

Dynamic Traction : A Salomon patented system allowing for maximum surface area and traction. Designed for ‘Road to Trail’ the Dynamic Traction grips in the dry and provides security in mud.

Profeet Film : Quite literally a thin fim that runs through the top of the midsole to provide security and protection from the trail that you will run on.

Sensifit :  The upper wraps the foot for precision.

Quicklace : A renowned feature of all Salomon shoes with a ‘garage’ the top of the tongue to store excess lace.

Weight is around 260g for a UK9.5 so it compares well to the Sense Ultra at 230g and The North Face Single Track Hayasa at 280g (this shoe has a 10mm drop).

Testing

Early days yet but as one would imagine,  this shoe brings many benefits to an already growing shoe collection. As an alternative to lighter and lower drop shoes such as the Sense or Sense Ultra, the Mantra will provide some welcome additional comfort on those longer days on road or trail.

Watch this blog and I will be back with an update as the miles and mud accumulates.

Salomon Running available HERE

Salomon Sense Ultra

The long awaited ‘Sense Ultra‘ has arrived. THANK YOU Santa……

As many of you will know, the ‘Sense‘ has become the shoe of choice for those who are wanting to run on trail with a minimalist and responsive shoe. However, we can’t all be as efficient as Kilian Jornet or Andy Symonds.

The Sense Ultra offers a little more but holds true to all the elements that have made the ‘sense’ so popular.

The Salomon S-LAB Sense Ultra Racing is one of the lightest trail shoes ever made. It is heavier than the Sense but has added strengthening of the sole for longer and harder races.

It has the new lacing system: Quicklace this reduces the weight of Sense.
Dynamic Traction:  allows the Salomon S lab Sense  optimum grip in all conditions. It wasdeveloped by Solomon with the greatest athletes without any compromise. It has different grip and texture which has been designed to optimize grip when it is necessary.
EndoFit: has an inner liner to the shoe designed for positioning the foot optimally.
Drop: a low 4mm drop to provide a natural contact and feel with the ground.
OS TENDON: Thanks to this system inserted in the sole of the S lab intermediare sense, there is a natural flow with excellent energy return.
Profeet Film: is a protection film that will protect your foot area from angular or sharp objects that are on the trail. The Sense offers maximum protection despite its lightness.
Weight: 240g in 8.5 U.S.

When you lift up the box you think wait a minute… they forgot the shoes! Not so. These ‘runners’ are super light.

The lacing system as with all Salomon in reassuring and holds the foot firm.

The addition of the internal ‘Endofit’ makes the shoe more comfortable than you would ever imagine. They can be a little tight to get on at first and you may initially think; uh oh, wrong size. But once your foot is it is snug and supremely comfortable. The most comfortable shoe I have ever worn.

I am not a small guy and the therefore I always felt the original ‘Sense‘ was maybe just a little too minimal for me… certainly on longer runs! not so with the ‘Ultra’. The additional cushioning is immediately apparent.

The sole has grip but nothing like the ‘SLab Softground‘ or ‘Speedcross‘. The shoe is therefore certainly more suited to road and hard pack (or rocky) trail. If your running in soft ground they perform perfectly but if you are a great deal of mud the added grip of the Soft Ground or Speedcross may be a better choice.

In use they are a dream to wear. On the roads they are light, responsive and provide that feel that I have had with traditional racing flats. The bonus with the ‘Sense Ultra’ is the hold of the foot. The speed lacing and Endofit provide supreme comfort. On the trails this becomes even more apparent as the foot moves from left to right with changes in terrain.

It’s early days in testing but this shoe will not be of my feet for a while… they are so comfortable I would even be tempted to use them as slippers.

Now then, I need to go run…..

As a foot note, (no pun intended) Spring/ Summer 2013 will see a new Sense model – ‘Mantra

I saw this shoe earlier this year at Cavalls del Vent. A couple of the Salomon runners tested the shoe (Emelie Forsberg and Philipp Reiter) By all accounts a great edition to the range but too early to provide some detailed feedback.

The Mantra will be an everyday trainer in the same mold as the Sense and Sense Ultra. It’s a door-to-trail hybrid. With it’s 16mm heel and 10mm front (6mm drop as opposed to 4mm) and 260 grams weight, it looks to be a featherweight trainer without requiring the user to go to a 4mm drop shoe. Salomon has been heavily delving into exactly how different heel-to-toe drops effect actual stride speed which has resulted in their “Natural Motion Construction.”  A lower heel drop supports a mid-foot or forefoot strike that in turn better enables muscles, instead of joints, to absorb shock. Ultimately, their argument is this builds greater balance and overall running efficiency. More to follow….

Sense Mantra

Sense Mantra