Salomon XT Wings S-Lab 4 Review

At present, Salomon has three S-Lab models on the market: the XT Wings S-Lab 4 (billed for all-terrain conditions), the XT Wings S-Lab 4 Softground (for muddy, wet trails) (which is sold in the iRunFar Store), and the S-Lab Fellcross (for extreme off-roading and fell running). We all also know that the S-Lab Sense is due into world-wide retail outlets this spring.

The Salomon XT Wings S-Lab 4 ($170), with its robust name, is also a pretty robust shoe.

Salomon S-Lab 4

Over the years, I’ve been a fan of Salomon’s XT Wings and XT Wings 2 models. (A couple years back, I reviewed the XT Wings 2 GTX.) The XT Wings models are Salomon’s super-stable, all-mountain, cush-riding shoe. I’m a utilitarian kind of gal and like them, because I can wear them on most outings. While I’m not going to race in the standard XT Wings, they serve me superbly in training and in other trail play. Ninety minutes on snow-packed trails? Sure. An ultramarathon-distance training run in the high Sierra Nevada? You betcha’. A multi-day fastpacking trip in the backcountry? Holla’. The standard XT Wings have beef, hold up for hundreds of miles in tough terrain, and protect and serve your feet no matter what.

Among the current S-Lab models, I was most intrigued with the XT Wings S-Lab 4, because it was the S-Lab model closest to the XT Wings and XT Wings 2. If the word “S-Lab” rings unfamiliar, let me direct you to this article, which details what Salomon’s S-Lab is all about. Let’s call the XT Wings S-Lab 4 the sleeker, sexier version of the XT Wings 2. If the XT Wings 2 is your mountain play shoe, then the XT Wings S-Lab 4 would be your mountain racer.

Here are the most noticeable differences:

  • My XT Wings S-Lab 4 weighed in at 301 grams (UK 8, EUR 42), a full 50 grams lighter than the same size XT Wings 2. Like I said, the shoe is more svelte.
  • While the two shoes possess the same heel-toe drop (12 mm), the XT Wings S-Lab 4 has a lower stack height than the XT Wings 2, by a few millimeters. As a result, I can feel the ground in my forefoot more with the XT Wings S-Lab 4 than the XT Wings 2.
  • The XT Wings S-Lab 4 upper, while almost identical in concept to that of the XT Wings 2, is effected with entirely different materials and, simply said, less of them.
  • Finally, the XT Wings S-Lab 4 inner has far fewer seams than the XT Wings 2, creating less opportunity for friction issues.

The features of the XT Wings S-Lab 4 that make this shoe unique from trail running shoes made by other manufacturers include:

  • the Quicklace system, which provides for a fast and even lacing/fitting experience (what Salomon calls their Sensifit) as well as a lace pocket (aka the lace garage) to hold onto that Quicklace;
  • a rubber toe cap to prevent those black toenails we all get from stubbing our toes against obstacles;
  • a triple-density EVA midsole, which provides a cush ride, as well as added pronation control to keep that ride stable;
  • a Contagrip outsole with a chevron pattern designed to shed debris and grooves that provide forefoot flexibility; and
  • the Agile Chassis System, which is the sole’s flared skeleton and which creates lots of surface area for the shoe to contact the ground as well as adding to the shoe’s stable ride.

Salomon S-Lab 4 - outsole

Now that we have all the official details covered, the real question is, do I like running in this shoe? Heck yeah! I’m appreciative that Salomon brought the XT Wings models’ leading features (namely, the stable ride and bulletproof construction) into a lighter version.

You should know that Salomon’s shoes are generally narrow by many folks’ standards. I have long, skinny feet that slide perfectly into all Salomon models. My narrow feet notice and appreciate a wide toe box that allows my toes to splay wide. If you have average to narrow-width feet, you’ll probably find comfort in Salomon shoes.

Ladies, take note that this model is unisex (like all of Salomon’s S-Lab models), so there’s no custom features for us and our feet. The only place I notice a difference I could attribute to a shoe being designed for many kinds of feet is in the toe-box size. My toes love to stretch out, though, I can’t say that I mind that extra room in the toes.

Salomon S-Lab 4 - medial upper

The Salomon S-Lab 4's medial upper.

I like the organic, on-the-ground feel that’s achieved through a lower stack height. My feet would poorly tolerate a long fastpacking trip in the XT Wings S-Lab 4 with how much of the ground and its deviations I can feel, but we’re good to go for a 20-mile jaunt.

Since it’s winter in many necks of the woods still, I’ll say that I love the extra surface area afforded by the XT Wings S-Lab 4’s Agile Chassis System for the way it helps me stay afloat in snow.

My only complaint about the XT Wings S-Lab 4 is that, for me, they don’t play on pavement quite as well as standard XT Wings models. Honestly, I have no idea why, but my feet slap the pavement a bit in the XT Wings S-Lab 4 as compared to the XT Wings models. I don’t spend too much time on roads in these shoes, but I do run stretches of pavement to connect trailheads. Trail performance of the XT Wings S-Lab 4 usurps this small road issue, for certain.

If you need me, I’ll be out on the trail with the high-performing XT Wings S-Lab 4.

Call for Comments
If you’ve run in any of the Salomon S-Lab series of shoes, what have you thought about the shoes?

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Senior Editor, the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,' and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places. For more information on Meghan and her adventures, please visit her personal website.

There are 48 comments

  1. David

    I just retired a pair of S-Lab XT Wings 3, overall I liked the shoe; however, there were a few drawbacks. The biggest is the EVA foam cut-out in the heel section…huge rock collector. I cannot count how many times I had to stop and dig a large rock out from the heel. It was so bad that I actually filled in the section with DOW insulating foam sealant. The other issue for me is the forefoot which offers little protection from sharp rocks since it does not have a rock plate. IMO, the XR Crossmax offers better forefoot protection.

    I noticed on the internet the upcoming S-Lab wings 5 has the exact same tread pattern with the deep heel cut out – until Salomon comes up with a different tread pattern I'll look elsewhere – just too many options these days!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hey David, Meghan's on the road, but she called in a clarification. She meant to communicate that she wouldn't race in the standard XT Wings 2, presumably for the weight, while she'd certainly consider the S-Lab 4 as a trail racing option.

  2. Fernando N. Baeza

    This shoe is awesome! I have two pairs, the XT Wings S-Lab 4, and the Softground version. Im an overpronator and this particular shoe is designed to fix the problem. The shoe is superlight on out on the trails, and I rarely get rocks in my shoe as I wear the Salomon gaiters. Ive personally never encountered rocks getting into the bottom of my foot per se, but I cant say it wont happen. I run highly technical terrain on them and I didnt feel even as much as a glitch on them. Normally Im a minimalist, I wear the 110's when Im running on shorter routes, but my go to shoes is this shoe. It offers great protection and for us minimalists, super cushioning! It breathes well and the times Ive gotten them wet it drained out very well. For those of you that have run out at Bandera, TX know how technical the terrain is. The terrain out there tore up my minimals (sorry New Balance) but didnt scathe the Salomons. The softground are excellent for muddy trails as here in San Antonio we frequent that; they shed the mud off pretty well. This has been my expereince with them, Im currently awaiting the debut of the S-Lab Sense. Yes! Awesome report Meghan!

  3. art

    from personal experience with the S-lab 1 and S-lab 3, I would say that if you're a dedicated rock kicker, the toe caps of the S-lab are a bit soft.

    other than that, I find the shoes plenty beefy for 100+ miles.

  4. Frenchy

    $170? You kidding me? I'll stick to my Cascadias for Hells Hills 50 and Jemez 50. I can't justify that much for a pair of running shoes.

  5. Caleb

    The features of the XT Wings S-Lab 4 that make this shoe unique from trail running shoes made by other manufacturers include:

    – a rubber toe cap to prevent those black toenails we all get from stubbing our toes

    against obstacles

    hmmmm…unique to salomon? Me thinks not. I have the inov8 rocklite 295s and i'm pretty certain they have a rubber toe cap. Just double checked. they do.

    Not really sure if you're deliberately trying to oversell the shoes, or just really in love with them!

  6. gary aronhalt

    from what i can find, they do NOT make this in size 13 and that's so frustrating because it sounds EXACTLY like the kind of shoe i would love…

    sigh.

    again, no love for those of us of above average size and stature…

  7. Meghan

    Caleb, thanks for the comment and good catch. This is probably the product of my writing this review sleep-deprived late at night. While there are a lot of features about this shoe that are different from most trail shoes – the flared heel skeleton and the Quicklace system as prime examples of where I think Salomon intentionally tries different approaches – you're right, rubber toes caps are not unique by any stretch. (I'm sleep-deprived while writing this comment again, so hopefully it makes sense.) :)

  8. Morgan Williams

    Meghan, I've just taken delivery of my first pair of 4s, having had 3 pairs of 3s. I can't see any obvious differences between the shoes save for the colour scheme and the lack of a pull toggle on the lacing system.

    I've done all my running in the 3s since early June 2011 (even some typically wet and hairy English fell running, admittedly not at full tilt) primarily because the 3s have been wonderfully comfortable and the grip delivers well beyond your first impression of that pretty flat sole.

    The 4s feel no different on my feet, so I am expecting an easy switch when then time comes.

    In terms of longevity, I switched between 2 pairs in the second 6 months of 2011 and have done well over 500 miles in the oldest pair, probably a bit less in pair number 2. Pair number 3 are just nicely broken in, certainly well beyond the 100 mile mark but still look new (though the colours are fading nicely with the application of some decent English mud and bog water!) I'd happily go for a short run in the old pair, but nothing over a couple of hours.

    I haven't had any real issues with snagging rocks in the heel cut outs. A few small pebbles have lodged in there but I haven't felt these, or any need to clear them away, during a run.

    Some won't like the drop, but there is plenty of other stuff to chose from; seems to suit me just fine.

    Oh and Bryon, latest Fellrunner magazine is on the way in the mail this weekend.

    Morgan

  9. Patrick

    I can second the statement that they are a bit slim around the midfoot (compared to Cascadia 4, ASR 6, Roclite 320, …). I tried them with an old pair of orthotics only today (replacing the normal insole of course), which worked fine for 30k/3h.

    I was surprised how good the grip is with an outsole less accented than a Cascadia or Inov8.

    Yes, it sheds the dirt/mud – except at the three cutouts at the heel…

    The feel around the foot is really snug and even, not loose-here-compressed-there.

    Patrick

  10. Weldon

    I tried a pair of these in my standard size 11 and, unlike most shoes as my feet are between sizes 11 and 11.5, the S-Lab 4's felt too big. Even if I cinched the laces down tight, constricting my midfoot uncomfortably, my heel still feels a touch loose. There is plenty of toe room, as well, but I actually like that. But even cinched down tight, my foot still slides around a bit and my toes will hit the front of the shoe going down steep hills. This is also unlike my Speedcross 3's, also size 11, which fit snugly. I'd try dropping down a size to 10.5, but the length of the size 11's is just about right and I wouldn't want less space in front of my big toe. So this shoe may just not fit my feet as well as other Salomon models I've tried. Other than that, and that I wish it had a slightly lower heel/toe drop, I would like this shoe very much.

  11. Adam

    This sounds really similar to me. Either I can cinch up the laces really tight which gives me really bad midfoot cramp or I can have them looser which leads to my foot slipping around inside the shoe and giving me really bad blisters even over relatively short distances (10k).

    I'm going to try putting in some alternative insoles to see if that helps to anchor my foot in place a bit better but I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that these are a lost cause for me. I don't think I can drop a size as they already feel a little tight length-wise.

    has anyone else had problems with blisters and the slab-4s? Wondering if there are any solutions that have worked (custom insoles, replacing the quick draw laces with regular laces?)

    Hopefully the sense don't have this problem!

    1. Stephen

      Hi Adam – yes, I bought a pair of Slab4s about 6 weeks ago and I'm having huge blister problems on the inside of my right foot where the ball of my foot meets the arch. I must have a low profile forefoot but I really struggle to get a snug fit across the lower laces. I have to really pull hard on those laces, which bunches the upper material and I think this is causing irritation on the inside on my foot.

      It's a real bummer – I love the feel of the Slabs4 – responsive, energetic and cushioned. They're the only trail shoe I've used where I feel confident on the trails and if there's a long stretch of road they'll handle the conditions. Most other trail shoes (eg. Brooks Cascadia 6) I find terriby hard on the road and give me painful knees.

      I'm playing around with using different insoles to try and build the profile of my foot a bit higher and take up more volume so I don't have to pull the laces so tight. However I don't really like playing around with insoles – changes the feel of the shoe and it's almost impossible to achieve the desired effect (and probably causes more problems in itself).

      Upshot is, I'm not sure what to do either. I might have to put the Slabs behind me. Damn shame though!

      Please let me know if you come up with any solutions!!

  12. Patrick

    Had a severe blister problem in the very same place. No matter which socks, started after 45min on the right foot, left a little later. Did not want to leave the shoes for recreational use and played around with different or no insoles at all (which bought be about an additional half an hour – probably no use for you if you chinch the straps very tight already).

    For the moment the cure seems an old pair of orthotics. Either because it is a bit stiffer and helps widen the shoe in a crucial spot. Or because the orthotics' upper (leather) is very smooth and slick.

    I wish Salomon would go to the chore and offer two widths of their shoes, like NB does.

    Patrick

  13. Stephen

    Thanks Patrick – great to know others have faced the same issue and are finding ways to overcome it.

    I also think Salomon could improve the shoe by placing my lace eyelets in the upper. I think it would provide a much more secure, snug fit. I'm not sure why there's only about 3 eyelets in the current model. It seems unnecessarily sparse (and means there is little opportunity to lock the foot in place with the laces).

    I see from pictures of the new Sense shoe that it has more lace eyelets and it looks like they start further down the forefoot (with less volume of material in the upper around the forefoot). All good design improvements.

    I'm hoping that might be a design feature they include in the Slab5s due out mid year.

    I haven't given up on the Slab4s yet – still playing around with some different insoles.

    Cheers

    Stephen

  14. alan

    I have run a full year in my first XT wings 2, LOVE THEM. Am teased with the thought of getting the SLAB 4. I am bit heavier 48yr old male, 200lb with over pronation. Will I have the same protection on these? Lighter sounds nice since I am putting Sole softec response insoles.

    Alan

  15. Simon

    Hi there,

    I'm a UK based beginner to ultra-marathons, taking on my first 3 this year, one on forest trails, one on hardpacked trails and one on rock, trails, moorland etc etc

    I currently use Salomon Speedcross 2s up to about 25 miles and am fine with them, but i'm looking for something a bit more suited to the easier ground on a lot of my upcoming races. I've tried the XR Crossmax but i'm not a big fan (they're okay, but still prefer my Speedcross). Would you recommend the XT Wings 2 or paying more for the S-Lab 4s? To be honest I'm really not that fast – i'm definitely going to be a back of the pack'er so is the extra expense worth it?

    Cheers for any advice!

    Si

  16. Stephen

    Hi Simon

    It's always hard to recommend shoes to someone – it's such a personal thing, primarily due to our feet being different shapes and sizes! I own a pair of Slab 4s but have never run in the xt wings 2. However the Slab4s are great shoes and if you're planning to enter some races/ultras, why not go with the lighter version designed for racing. My only comments would be:

    – my experience has been that the Slab4s have not lasted that well for day in, day out training. After 3-4 months the uppers are starting to tear;

    – be careful re fit – try them on in a shop (rather than buy online like I did) and be honest as to whether they really fit you well. While I like the Salomon lacing system, I think it's unforgiving if the shoes are not a perfect fit (but you'll be familiar with the Salomon fit from your Speedcrosses);

    – I've never worn a pair of trail shoes as cushioned as the Slab4s. They make my Brooks Cascadias feel like I'm running on planks of wood (I also own a pair of XR Crossmax's and I agree that they're not great shoes – I found them way too stiff, lacking cushioning in the forefoot and big hot spots on the uppers eg that strange bulky seam where the sensifit joins the upper material – whose idea was that??!);

    – I love the stability of the Slab4s – those wings on the heel really do feel more stable than normal width heels on my other shoes, particularly on rocky firetrails and technical single track – but you'd get the same effect from the xt wings 2s I assume);

    – and on a more facile note, the Slab4s are great looking shoes and it's comforting to know they're worn by the eiltes in the Salomon team (even if Kilian has long migrated to the Salomon Sense and I understand that the elites wear greatly modifed versions of the mainstream model).

    So while I've just decided to quit wearing my Slab4s as something about the fit doesn't work for me (I can't endure more painful blisters – I'd hoped after the first couple of months either the shoes or my feet would wear in), I'm still a huge fan of the Slab4s. They're the only shoe that prevents my knee pain (a recurring injury).

    Hope these rambling thoughts help.

    My key message – be careful re fit.

    Cheers

    Stephen

  17. Martin Stacy

    I've got a pair of these and they are lovely to run it. My crock knee has even started to feel better. However, like a few of you I have the dreaded arch blister. Looks like there's no cure for it either. Not happy. Not happy at all.

    1. Stephen

      As an update to my earlier posts about blisters with the Salomon Slab 4s, I decided to try a half size smaller than usual (seemed counter-intuitive given Salomon's reputation for being a small fit) and I'm no longer having the blistering problem. The shape of the sole in the half size larger must not have fitted my foot properly, causing the blisters. Going down half a size has been a compromise in terms of toe room and I was worried I'd end up with (more) black toe nails because I can feel my big toes against the upper rubber material that acts as a toe protector. But because the rubber is so soft, no black toes, even after a couple of solid trail runs.

      So trying a smaller size (and getting a better arch fit) might be the answer for others.

      Has anyone got their hands on a pair of Slab 5's yet? I'd be curious to hear about the changes that have been made.

      Also, Adam – how are the Salomon Sense's performing? Anyone else got their hands on a pair of these yet and have some feedback? I don't think there are any available here in Australia yet.

      Cheers

      1. Simon

        Well, I bought them….

        and 6 miles later I have them for sale on the UK Fell Running Association website!

        I hate them! They're so hard, there's no give, no padding. Compared to running in my Speedcross 2s these are like running with a wooden insole. They don't seem to fit as well as my Speedcross either.

        Hugely disappointed – it seems i'm not an overall Salomon fan (I don't like my Crossmax either!!) so much as a Speedcross 2 fan…

        Cheers :)

  18. Adam

    After 2 different pairs of insoles I've retired the s-lab 4's to the back of the cupboard. I have just taken delivery of a pair of the salomon sense which seem to be better. I've not been able to take them out on a trail yet but trying them on is a very different experience:

    1) They are 'very' snug – you have to really push your foot into them. The upper is pretty flexible; so although its tight hopefully it won't cause problems when running. If you have a very wide foot you might want to try these on before purchasing a pair as I can imagine some ppl will struggle to get their foot into them!

    2) No heel slip at all (even before cinching up the laces) – this bodes well for the longer downhill sections!

    3) Plenty of room in the toe-box still.

    4) Much lower heel-to-toe drop (which for me is a good thing as I prefer lower profile shoes).

    My only concern at the moment is that given they are a very tight fit it could still lead to a bit of cramp with foot swelling. I'll be trying 15-16k short trail run in them at the weekend and will know then!

  19. Simon

    Hey Martin

    Yeah, they've been up over a week now – i'm NaturalBritain on there – UK7.5 which is a bit small for most runners I know LOL!! I'm only a small guy!

  20. Stephen

    Hey Simon – that's interesting feedback. I've never run in the Speedcross but the Slabs are by far the most cushioned trail shoe I've run. I read a top ultra runner's review of them as smooth and 'creamy' which summed it up for me. As someone who is always looking for the right blend between cushioning and feel for the terrain, your experience of the speedcross has sparked my interest in getting my hands on a pair. I suspect the lugs are a bit too much for most Australian conditions though – lots of very hard packed, dry, fire trails and single-track down here!

  21. Simon

    It's strange that every review i've read etc all comment on how cushioned, how comfy etc the S-Labs are, and yet I found the exact opposite. I'm now trying a pair of Brooks Cascadia 7s and they are MUCH more to my taste.

    I believe the Speedcross 3s have lost some of the cushioning from the 2s – I've run road mileage in them no problem when getting between trails…

  22. Martin Stacy

    This is very odd. I've done about 60 miles in my Slabs now including a 21 mile trail run that had far too much tarmac (trail was flooded out!) and I found them as comfortable as trail shoes.

    I also find the Speedcross 3 very 'soft' when running on hard surfaces but prolonged road mileage on them hurts my knees mostly to do with the lack of pronation control and lack of cushioning.

    I'm wondering of the Slab softground will offer the best of both.

    Oh, and I managed not to get a blister on my last run by using a self-adhesive, 7mm thick pad made of medical grade chiropody felt! Hardly ideal but if it'll allow me to run until the shoes die then it's worth it, I think.

  23. Stephen

    Just goes to show – 'horses for courses' as the saying goes when it comes to shoes. Running on hard surfaces (not just roads, even hard packed trails and fire roads) in Brooks Cascadias leaves my knees shot after just one run. Runner's World reviewed the shoes (the Cascadia 6 from memory, but I don't think the cushioning on the 6's and 7's is different) and they scored very poorly on forefoot cushioning. I realise this is what some people are after but not me. In terms of technology and ride I think there's light years between cascadias and slabs, but that brings me back to my first comment! I've never really worked out why cascadias have such a die-hard following.

    Never tried the Slab softground but would be interested to hear anyone thoughts. The more prominent lugs may not run so well on paved paths/roads? I find the grip on the standard Slabs pretty good so I've never felt the need for more lugs.

    Glad to hear your finding a workaround on the blister issue. As mentioned in my earlier post, consider whether it's a sizing issue and if dropping a half size for a snugger fit might help.

    Cheers

    1. Martin Stacy

      Stephen,

      I don't have the money to try a pair one half size smaller. If they aren't right then I'm stuck with yet another imperfect pair of shoes.

      Once worn outside there's no way of returning them for a refund!

  24. Stephen

    I hear ya Martin! Fair enough. I was lucky to pick my pair up on sale online at a very cheap price. Otherwise I'd be in your shoes (well not literally – they might give me blisters ;)) and probably have to revert to my trusty road running shoes as a fall back.

  25. Stephen

    Hi Martin

    I'd be surprised – I came to the conclusion that while everyone says Salomon shoes fit small to size, it wasn't really noticeable for me. I also feel like the slabs are not necessarily designed to have the same amount of toe room you might need in other shoes as the toe bumper is very soft and is reasonably forgiving if your toes do hit up against it on downhills etc. I've played around with different sock thickness too which has taken some time to get right but now seems to be working fine. But to answer your question, I think going a half size larger might exacerbate the problem – which for me was the shoe around the arch not fitting the shape of my foot and arch properly. As you probably know though, you never really know til you try them on (and unfortunately, actually run with them).

  26. Stephen

    Does anyone have any feedback on the new Slab Sense? I haven't made the plunge to buy a pair yet ($260 here in Australia!) but very tempted. It would be great to hear some reviews from trail runners out there…!!

    1. adam

      Hey Stephen,

      I've bought a pair of the sense & live in Sydney. So far I'm really impressed. No blisters or sizing issues (I went for UK7 same as the slab and the fit is snug with roomy toe-box). Additional lace-holes allow for much more secure hold of the foot.

      I've done about ~200k in them so far with the longest run being 30k. A combination of single trail, fire-trail, serious mud and a fair amount on road. In deep mud they don't have the grip that you'd want to really smash down a trail but thats been the only time I've not been happy with them. I'm still not sure if I'd be looking at running much over 50k in them; they are super light and pretty minimal so as my form starts to get a bit sloppy once tired I've found my achilles can feel a little tight (pretty sure as I run in them more this will go away).

      They drain really well on wet stuff and on hills they feel great. They are literally the opposite of the s-lab 4's for me…. I reach for the sense every time I go for any run thats going to be on trail; the s-labs are in the back of a cupboard gathering dust and never likely to see the light of day again!

      Durability also seems good; I pretty much agree with everything ultra168 said in this review! http://ultra168.com/2012/06/18/gear-review-salomo

      Only thing I don't like is the price….$260 ain't cheap but I think they'll last longer than you might think given how light they are.

  27. Stephen

    Hey Adam – thanks for your comments. I've been toying with the idea of buying a pair for a number of weeks now so it's always good to hear fellow trail runners' reviews, particularly fellow Aussies hitting similar types of trails. I'm rehabing a calf injury so have decided that these may not be the best shoes to wear too early and will stick with my slabs. I was told that the Slab 5s do fit a little differently to the Slab4s and that they breathe better so I'm keen to given them a try.

    Interesting comments you make about running in the Sense for distances over 50kms. I'd like to hear more as you try them out on longer runs.

    How did you find the transition to running in the Sense? Did it take long? I hear the lower heel drop is very noticeable and feels a little strange for a while – almost like the heel is lower than the forefoot!

    Cheers

    Stephen

  28. Adam

    Hey Stephen,

    Most my running is in minimal shoes anyway; I think the largest heel-to-toe drop I've got is 6mm. I do most my road in a pair of nike free 3.0's; for longer runs I'll run in a pretty old pair of addidas mana5 (which from memory are a 6mm drop). So I guess for me I've not really had much of a transition…. I think if you just start with your short recovery runs & add on gradually you'll be ok but if you are rehabbing the calf then probably sensible to take it extra easy…

    In fact, the reason I bought the slab-4's was actually because I find I get some calf issues if I run 90k+ a week in minimal shoes. I was hoping to find something a bit more cushioned for the longer runs and still looking for something that would be a good 100k shoe.

    If you do try the slab-5's (I see they are for sale now on wiggle!) then would be keen to hear your feedback if the fit is improved on the slab-4's!

  29. Bruce

    It took a while and one major modification but I have now fallen in love with these shoes. Im a Very neutral runner but new to hardcore trails/mountain running.

    The main problem was the insole. It rubbed the side of heels to pieces and the actual insole disintegrated in the process! Anyone else experienced this?

    I replaced them with the Dean Karnazes Sole footbed and they are now brilliant and I love them. Simple!

    This is definitely the set up I will use at UTMB in 6 weeks.

  30. Stephen

    Hi Bruce – no, I haven't had that problem with the Salomon insoles but I think I have fairly narrow heels which probably helps! Glad to hear you're now enjoying the Slabs!

    And good luck with the UTMB!! Living here in Australia the UTMB is a very long way away but it's certainly one in my bucket list. The atmosphere looks incredible, not to mention the scenery.

  31. Mark

    Im 6', 190lbs and have been running trails in Asics Kayanus for years. Im looking for a trail shoe because they wear out so fast on the rocky trails around Boulder Colorado. I've tried the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 and the CrossMax Guidance and both shoes rub my arches where the insole meets the rubber arch insole. Im going to try the S-Lab 5s. Hopefully they'll fit better. Im a VIP member of RoadRunnerSports. They let you run on the shoes for 90 days and exchange them if not 100% satisfied.

  32. k

    I've had this problem with every pair of salomons I've owned. I can only wear them for shorter distances because both feet will blister in that spot. Nothing I've tried has alleviated the problem. I've come to the conclusion that I just can't wear salomons.

  33. Jeremy

    I not only changed my insoles (to the DK Sig. series Sole insoles), because for whatever reason the Ortholite insoles had hotspots in the arch area–I've never had that problem w/ Ortholite insoles, so it was how they were affected by the shoe itself, I presume; but I also changed out the laces, which was a real PITA, since I had to break off the plastic inside the loops with a pair of pliers. Because of the heel slippage, I had to tighten the quick laces, which I found created pressure points, probably because of how thin they are. Also, I noticed that when I tried to tighten the laces below the line of the netting where the laces are meant to be tucked, it only contributes to the heel slippage. So I now have modified insoles (which I never use), with modified laces, which cover the tongue above where they are supposed to.

    C'mon Salomon design team!!!

    It has helped, but I usually only put them on if I've already been running for a few hours, since I need my feet to be swollen so as to not slide around.

    FRUSTRATING!

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