Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra Review

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Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra Review

As the summer racing season shifts into gear, many of us may be lured by the charm of lighter weight, minimalist trail shoes with ideas of going after that big PR on a familiar course, chasing down a rival, or simply enjoying feeling the terrain under our feet after a long winter and spring. Or, if you’re like me, always trying to push the limits of how long I can run comfortably in the lightest, most minimal shoe possible. At times this has proved disastrous, and at other times merely frustrating when finishing up a 20-miler with beat up feet thinking to myself, “I thought for sure this would be enough shoe for me.”  Certainly, those tantalizing Salomon videos released every few weeks do nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for lightweight trail shoes watching the international team bomb down technical downhills in these flashy little trail slippers. (Insert mental image of me leaping off a large boulder like Kilian, okay more like Richard Simmons, here.)

So, when I set out to review the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra ($180) I deliberately reeled in my expectations and believed that once again I would find another trail shoe which worked very well up to the marathon distance, but would ultimately leave my feet and legs pretty trashed. What I found was an incredible example of functional minimalism for runners looking to train and race ultra distances.

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra

The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra.


This is absolute shoe art, folks. From the construction of the very thin and seamless Sensifit upper blending perfectly with a barely there rubber toecap. Open mesh, mostly visible on the front half of the shoe dries very quickly and allows a lot of air around the foot. The gusseted tongue, rather than being sewn into the upper by the eyelets of the shoe, is instead sewn down into the footbed, which effectively keeps rocks and debris out but also improves the fit of the shoe through the midfoot.

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra - lateral upper

The Sense Ultra’s lateral upper.

And what an incredible fit it is. After a frustrating initial fitting where I struggled to pull on the Sense Ultra, I savored the form-fit throughout the heel and midfoot. The fit throughout the midfoot is quite snug and will likely not work for runners with full-volume feet. The forefoot of the Sense Ultra is consistent with the original Sense and the Mantra; wide by Salomon standards, but not necessarily wide for the trail-shoe industry. I typically wore my thinnest socks with the Sense Ultra to simulate the barefoot feel and because midweight merino wool socks left me feeling constricted in this lower volume upper.

The same reliable Quicklace system with thin Kevlar laces is employed here with a small change. The lace garage is located from the top of the tongue rather than having to pull the tongue up and slip the slider underneath. This made it much easier to access for both putting on and removing the shoes and I’ve probably saved at least 45 seconds of my life. The fit of the Sense Ultra is one that I would recommend trying before buying. Personally, I’ve never experienced such a snug fit that gave me such a locked down feel on the trails.


Salomon increased the density (durometer) of the original S-Lab Sense EVA to provide more protection underfoot and increase durability. The result is a firm feel underfoot that feels absolutely heavenly on softer trails and just a bit too firm for my taste on hard trails or solid rock. When runners have asked me what the cushioning feels like, I’ve likened it to Adidas road racing flats, which have a firm feel which runners either love or feel is not forgiving enough. The positive aspects of this firmer feel is that the Sense Ultra climbs mountains like a beast, getting great purchase from the outsole and ground feel. It also provides a bit more stability than one would expect from such a lightweight shoe (7.8 ounces for my size 9.5 US). Furthermore, a 4mm heel drop increases that stable, low-to-the-ground feel.

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra - medial upper

The Sense Ultra’s medial upper.

My absolute favorite technology on the Sense Ultra is the Pro-feel Film rock plate which covers the forefoot and extends through the midfoot. Rock protection has never been this lightweight and protective, and I have yet to experience a rock poking through or any stone bruises. For a flexibility comparison, I can easily grab the heel and toe of the Sense Ultra and bend them back until they touch.


This may be the one area that I felt the Sense Ultra could use a little more work, and I’m sure some runners will disagree with me here. The Contagrip outsole pattern is effective at gaining purchase on dry ground, and it easily sheds dirt and mud. The Contagrip is made up of different densities of rubber to provide traction where it is most needed on a variety of surfaces. But what is gained in durability is lost in that it is too hard to be sticky, especially on wet surfaces. Recently on a run above treeline that involved a lot of stepping on boulders wet from snow melt, I repeatedly slipped on the wet granite. I experienced this same phenomenon when running over patches of snow, and I think the tradeoff for making the outsole of the Sense Ultra out of softer rubber would be that runners would complain about it wearing down prematurely. My pair of Sense Ultras, with approximately 180 miles on them, show absolutely no wear whatsoever. Durability is not a problem here.

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra - outsole

The S-Lab Sense Ultra’s outsole.

Overall Impression and Performance

The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra is an inspiring shoe from both a design and performance standpoint. It is evident that Salomon put a ton of thought and trail testing into this shoe, and I can think of no better trail racing shoe on the market for those in the front of the pack gunning for the podium. For $180, you get everything one would expect from a state-of-the-art trail shoe and some beautiful aesthetics to match. In terms of performance, the Sense Ultra is the new benchmark for functional minimalism, offering enough protection through the Pro-Feel Film rockplate and cushioning to manage ultra distances. Don’t be fooled, only the lightest and most fleet-footed runner could don these kicks for 100 miles. I think they are an ideal 50k trail racing shoe and could be stretched up to 50 miles. One thing that won’t be a problem with these shoes is durability, and I have yet to leave any wear mark besides dirt and grime on the upper or outsole. I’m looking forward to trying to wear out these shoes and I’ll certainly post here when/if that happens.

If you’re looking for a very similar feel with a bit more cushioning and protection, with a bit less flexibility, check out my Salomon Sense Mantra ($120) review. I would love to see a Softground version of the Sense Ultra, similar to what Salomon did with the S-Lab XT 5, where softer EVA was used for harder terrain. However, if you’re looking for the absolute pinnacle in minimalist trail shoes, look no further.

Tom Caughlan

is iRunFar's Minimalist Gear Editor. Tom’s passion for trail running and specialty running retail experience shine through in all of his highly technical reviews, which do range outside minimalist shoes.

There are 67 comments

  1. PutMeBackOnMyBike

    I've been wearing the original Sense for a few months and the width problem doesn't seem to be a Salomon problem – they cause blisters on my big toes from about 10 miles onwards, but comparing them to a NB MT1010 2E width, they are actually wider and it is hard to find anything that is actually truly "wide" and minimal other than my Merrells. Any suggestions from anyone for a properly wide shoe of the same minimalism as the MT1010 and Sense ?

    1. Rob M.

      Agreed, the Altra Superior has the most room in the toe box of any shoe out there. Also a removable rock plate seems handy for some runners, but as usual no arch support. Traction is average on wet or dry surface, and lacking for anything muddy. I've put 150 miles on them and didn't have any of the issues with material failure many others have noted. Unfortunately the arch fell on my right foot so I had to retire them until I rehab. If you're a size 12 let me know!

    2. Martin Perez

      try Nike terra Kigers, runs a little bigger than usual sizes, but pretty good shoe with 4 mm drop! is wide but is not " slippery" for your feet!. I have tried Salmons Sense Mantra, S Lab Fellcross and Speedcross, Adidas Kanadia and North Face SigleTrack, and Kiggers and far the best!

  2. Brad Williams

    Wow.. So no more 200 miles and they're done like the original Sense? I would get the same size as the original, right?

    Can you, or anyone for that matter, do a quick comparison to the firmness of the shoe? Comparing it to the NB 110.

    Perfect timing on the review Tom. I was seriously thinking about picking a pair of these up and now your review makes me want to try them even more.


    1. Bryon Powell

      Admittedly I've got early versions of both pairs, but I find the Sense Ultra to fit /slightly/ larger than the original Sense. With the Sense I more or less had to wear a thin sock like the Drymax Hot Weather while I can wear a medium to heavyweight sock like the Drymax Max Pro with the Sense Ultra.

  3. Ben Clark

    I have the Sense Ultra and the Sense Mantra-both are great trainers for 50k distance with my height weight (5.11 & 165). After putting 130 miles on the Ultra and 124 on the Mantra, I plan to race my 50+ in the Pearl Izumi trail N1. I found that anything up to 35 miles and my legs/feet feel a little beat up in both of these amazing and thoughtful shoes that are likely perfect for a lighter weight runner.

    I use them on technical desert trail or hard pack high alpine as anything gravelly or loose and the outsole skates a little on uphill ascents-this is because I lost some of lugs on the Ultra descending the same type of terrain-it simply just tears right off. I do have to say that the Ultra with it's minimal torsional rigidity is one of the most fun and playful tools in my quiver-the ground feel at or below marathon distance on challenging trail is fun-really fun!!!

    I did experience some mesh degradation on the lateral side of my right shoe when trapsing through green clay in the desert and caking the Ultra's up pretty good for a few miles. This degradation will likely cause a blowout after another 100 miles. For $180, if you are lighter than a feather running on hardpack with some occasional roots/rocks you'll be happy. But a standard running shoe like a Saucony Kinvara could do that as well…

    1. George Harris

      I too like the Pearl Izumi trail N2 as I found the toe box a bit wider than either the Mantra or the Sense. However if I want to fly I go with the Salomons. The PI works great for regular training.

  4. dogrunner


    Nice writeup. I completely agree with your assessment – I did not want to have too high expectations mostly because of concerns about fit (I have wide feet). With drymax hyperthin socks and sizing up 1/2 size on the shoes, I found the fit tolerably wide in the forefoot and great otherwise. Nice locked down feeling without having to crank on the laces at midfoot, no heel slippage, and even the forefoot was wide enough and flexy enough to allow my toes to spread naturally (or close). My longest run in these is still less than 20 mi, but I am hopeful they can go much longer.

    Great blend of weight, underfoot protection, flexibility, etc – just what was promised.

    The only problem I have had is the same as most non-fell shoes – grip on our thick clay heavy mud is terrible (but that is the same for most shoes).

    As far as price, yes they are expensive. Find them on sale somewhere and they might be in line with other top-of-the-line shoes (sorry Bryon), but the quality and combination of features makes it worth it to me even at full price!! Shoes quality is a high priority and these are still less than costs of mountain biking!!

  5. Scott

    Let's talk about the real reason someone would pay for these: They harbor the belief these shoes will make them run faster(like Kilian).

    This is the Salomon version of Reebok Pumps.

    1. dogrunner

      I harbor no such delusion :)

      I do think I can run faster in them than (a) a heavier shoe or (b) a shoe that leaves my feet feeling beat up. The lightest shoes I have are Mizuno Universe. I run easy trails with those, but you feel every little pebble and rut :( Fun to run in (until it hurts anyway), long to recover from!

  6. Andrew


    How would people say that these and the standard sense compare to the New Balance MT110 in terms of midfoot protection?

    Also, I saw something on Ian Corless's page about a soft-ground version of the sense being used at Zegama. Can anyone verify that this is going into production??



    1. George Harris

      No I think this might have been a mod for the soft terrain at Zegama. I wish they would having a Sense upper with the soft ground lower would be fantastic.

      1. Vegan Trail Runner

        One of the Salomon US people posted on Facebook that there will be a softground version. Didn't say when though.

        1. Andrew

          Hope that they do make it, I could only use the standard sense for a few weeks a year on the trails that are local to me, the rest of the time I'd be on my ass + the fellcross is a bit too burly for what I need most of the time……

  7. George Harris

    I like the original Senser better than the Ultra the feel of the original is a bit less harsh than the Ultra. Also remember that (at least in my case) I had to go 1/2 size up (from 11.5 to 12.0) to be comfortable.

  8. Nick J

    If they make a soft ground version then I'll be interested. The amount of rain we've had this year in the pyrenees has ben astonishing.

  9. Mark

    On the pictures of Transvulcania 2013 Kilian is wearing new version of the Sense. It seems more sturdy, both upper and especially the sole – totally different with crazy lugs.

  10. Chris Cawley

    Having been a Salomon fan for a while, my enthusiasm was tempered slightly by my experience in the Sense Mantra, which felt like the perfect shoe out of the box but which after several ~2 hr runs I found to be very stiff and harsh in the midsole, with a blocky feel when rolling with an open stride on flat, smooth trail. I would leave the trailhead feeling light and fleet footed (and quite stylish) and return with sore feet and calves. After a couple back-to-back hard runs my feet hurt so bad i had to take two days off and I was concerned I was getting Plantar Fasciitis.

    It took a while to figure out what I was feeling but I think what I found most uncomfortable in the Mantra was the location of the portion of the midsole in which the "roll," "ramp," or "drop" occurs. I felt as though I was encountering resistance as I moved forward over the ball-of-foot area and onto my toes, rather than feeling as though there was less shoe in front of my feet as I rolled through the stride; I felt as if I perhaps the ball-of-foot area was the tallest part of the midsole; I felt like I was wearing Skechers Shape-ups.

    It is with some embarrassment, then, that I admit to having purchased a pair of Sense Ultras. Right out of the box, the feel was even better than with the Mantra; perfect fit, with the most well-built upper on any trail shoes I've seen. And the midsole material felt just a touch more forgiving than in the Mantras, which when combined with the lighter weight and perfect fit made them feel, well, perfect. I detected a similar drop-profile discrepancy to what I'd felt in the Mantra's: like somehow, the forefoot was most built-up portion of the midsole, like the shoes were designed to provide added resistance as I rolled over each foot strike. No matter, I was completely enamored with these expensive, bright red slippers, and feeling quite fit at the time, I went out for hard efforts with big vert four days in a row, despite feeling the same thing that caused me significant discomfort in the Sense Mantras. During each run, I enjoyed the lightness of the shoes and their precision in technical terrain, but they felt strange on steep climbs and when running hard on flat trail.

    Two weeks later, and I'm laid-up in a walking boot with a significant achilles tendon issue in my left foot, the onset of which occurred the day after my obviously impulsive, misguided four-day binge of hard runs in Sense Ultras. This four-day period was only a slight increase in regular intensity and duration from what I'd been doing this spring so far; I'm convinced that in shoes to which I was more accustomed, I would not have had a problem. I have not had a running injury in 16 years of regular running, including high-school XC and four years of high-mileage and competition in western mountain races.

    I've worn light, low drop shoes in the past without issue, enjoying MT110's, Vertical K's, Fuji Racers, Minimus Zero Roads, a variety of road/XC racing flats, and more recently Pearl Izumi N1's. I will admit that I don't really care for the low drop feel, as I don't find it adds anything to my "efficiency," "proprioception," although i have appreciated the attention I must pay to my form while wearing the Minimus Zeros on short, easy runs around the neighborhood. I have ended up with most of my low drop shoes because they are currently the only options for light-weight trail shoes (bring back the MT101!). When I'm doing my biggest weeks of the summer, I end up going for shoes with "traditional" heel-toe drop, because I feel more recovered day-in, day-out with a little help from my shoes.

    Has anybody else noticed that the Sense line of shoes has a midsole profile that makes them feel like they're not just low drop, but perhaps backward, with a higher ball-of-foot than heel?

    1. Steve L

      I normally run in a 4mm shoe and when I got a pair of sense ultras in the spring it felt more like a zero to me.

  11. Morgan Williams


    Excellent review and you saved me doing an extensive review for a thread on the FRA Forums over here in the UK.

    I've linked your review there:

    and added a few thoughts of my own, which I've repeated below:

    This is a trail shoe that makes you believe that anything is possible.

    The fit is quite simply astonishing; as close as a trail shoe will ever come to the PB Racer fit. When new, you have to really pull them on, but what you get is the snuggest fit I can ever recall in any running shoe I've worn. And they are an utter delight to wear.

    As someone who often runs a long way, I know that the two key areas of fit for me are the heel cup and the toe box. Salomon shoes have always fit me well in the heel. The SU is no exception. Toe boxes have been another issue. But with this shoe the toe box feels wide and very soft and really comfortable downhill. My standard test for toe boxes in trail shoes is to see how comfy my feet are having descended from Gran Col Ferret to La Fouly on the UTMB course having run at least 6 hours prior to that. I won't get the chance to do that test this year, but strongly suspect they would pass with flying colours based on comfort levels.

    Sock-wise, I am using either Injinji 2s or the thinnest Drymax, both of which work well.

    I would agree with Tom's comments about the rock plate which seems way too thin and bendy to be of any use, but performs incredibly well.

    I already have a hole in the mesh upper (but not the inner which is what gives the incredible feel) which is a shame but which isn't bothering me or affecting fit or performance. It's likely my own fault because I love these shoes so much I have been doing pretty much all my running in them, including fell runs and races.

    I would also agree with Tom that only very gifted (or lucky) runners will be able to cope with these shoes over 100 miles. But at some point I am really looking forward to running 50 trail miles in them.

    Chapeau Salomon.


    1. Flandria

      Morgan, I love that you described exactly how I feel about the SU. The fit is absolutely wonderful on my feet. No movement at all and I never had blisters or hot spots since I got the shoes even wearing it sockless. The farthest I've ran with my SU is 50K and absolutely no problem – my feet were the same as it started.

      I treasure this shoes as it is my only shoes right now and I wear it in all my runs plus hiking so yes it does get worn out on the mesh but because I beat it up constantly.

      The toe box allows great blood circulation and the flexibility of the shoes allows expanding feet. No more black toenails and actually my toes healed up from the previous shoes. It dries out super fast on creek crossings.

      Your quote "This is a trail shoe that makes you believe that anything is possible." – is the feeling I have when running with SU. The longer I go, the softer the shoes feels and I feel one with the shoes. The low feature allows me to feel the ground on technical surfaces and at first I thought, my feet will eventually get tired but feeling the ground with SU is actually a delightful feeling. It grabs the ground on the uphills and downhills. It is super responsive to the terrain except mud and wet rocks which I don't think this shoes was meant for.

      Also agree on the Injiri 2, perfect combination.

      I know it might sound silly but I day dream on that feel running on the SU all the time and look forward to running on it. It's absolutely fun running on them!

      As you said, "And they are an utter delight to wear." So true!

      1. rich

        I would second – or rather – third these comments. The Sense Ultra is great shoe so far; I am getting to the tail end of a long case of PF, so have been reluctant to put too many runs into these shoes. But my plan is these will be racing and light training shoes, for most training now I have recently bought Sense Mantra – and these fit that bill very well. I have had Salomon shoes before, but the big clunky heels and unresponsive soles have never been to my liking, and have run mostly on Inov8’s or NB. For hardpacked trails I am a big fan of Inov8 f-lite 230’s, but have quit buying them because they just do not last long enough (500-600 km). (For mud it is X-Talons 212 hands down every time!) Before PF, I was a huge NB MT10 fan for training but not racing and not rocky trails, and NB MT110 just do not work with my feet and exacerbate my PF problems. I view the Sense Ultra as a more durable replacement in this class: light, less differential, but some protection underfoot and some durability. Like many writing here, the price tag was a big hurdle, but other Salomon shoes in the past have lasted extremely long (which was a disappointment each time I rediscovered that I did not like their clunkiness, because they just did not wear out quickly to justify throwing out), so I think cost per mile will ultimately be less than many other shoes for me. Living in Europe, running shoes are already pricey and their cost is maybe 20% higher than a comparable shoe.

        As an aside to the fact this was a Sense Ultra review, the Mantra is a great road-to-trail shoe and good for hardpack – and I just did my first race in them, 18 km and 800 m elevation gain/loss. Lots of clayey mud and the shoes performed well. 200 km on them so far and the soles look new – even though I have been forced to run on asphalt this week while traveling.

        Ultimately durability is hard to predict from the experience of others; it seems to depend greatly on how the shoe fits the individual’s feet.

        For fit, I found Shoefitr to be incorrect for the Sense Ultra – it recommended ½ size up compared to Speedcross (11, thin socks) and equal or larger compared to NB (11.5, no socks), so the Shoefitr suggestion was 11.5 or 12! I bought the 11.5 and should have gone with 11, so definitely have to go with socks, possibly even midweight. Mantra on the other hand I definitely had to go down ½ to 10.5 with socks – I was swimming in 11's.

  12. Joe

    Way better options out there for waaaaay less of a premium. I love my Altra superiors. Also love my inov-8 trailrocs. The sense would be a great shoe for about $90…

    1. dogrunner

      "Way better" is a personal judgement. I have tried the Trail rocs (heavier and stiffer) and the Altra Superiors (also heavier and thicker feeling). The Trail Rocs rubbed my big toes too much and the Superiors were ok for slow runs on broad trails. The fit was fairly sloppy too (although I love the toebox).

      Yes the Salomons are expensive at list price but I already spoke my piece about value.

  13. Korey

    I tried the mantra,but I Only got about 275 miles out of them (including the Old Pueblo 50 mile) before the upper ripped, the midsole felt compressed and they started giving me shin splints. I'm fairly light (140lbs) and I used to get around 5-600 miles out of my MT101's (wish they would've never discontinued that shoe).

    I almost got suckered into buying the Sense Ultra after watching Salomon's clever videos that left me feeling inspired and wanting all of team Salomon's gear so I could be just like them. But with careful consideration, lots of reading and a little sense, I just can't do it.

    $180 for a half of a shoe? I'd rather just run in some converse.

  14. L3vi

    The Inov 8 Trailroc 255 has super wide toebox !!! I have a wide feet and it is even too wide for me. The 245 is just about right for long distance runs up and down technical mountains.

  15. RIchard

    Can anyone make a comparison with the La Sportiva Helios. LS has done a similar thing from vertical K to Helios that Sense to Sense Ultra.

    1. Gabe

      The La Sportiva Helios are a little cushier, but also less protective. Fit is pretty similar. I thought that the Helios were going to be a relatively inexpensive option for me to wear instead wearing my Sense Ultras all the time, but I find that I get a ton of foot swelling in the Helios.

      People complain about the price of the Sense Ultra, which I agree is kind of nuts, but I have tried on just about every damn trail running shoe out there trying to find something that I like as much as the Sense Ultra but cost less. It simply doesn't exist. So I swallow my pride an buy a pair of Sense Ultra when they are on sale and enjoy every single run in them.

      1. RIchard

        Thanks for the info.

        What I really like about LS shoes is the grip. They just grip well on everything which I'm never willing to sacrifice. I'm currently considering trying the SU or the Helios which is the reason for my question. Can't find the Helios in local stores so no way to compare them for me…

        Will go and try the SU at my local shop.

        Thanks again!

  16. MikeC AK

    Dear Salomon

    I would LOVE to purchase the S-Lab Sense Ultra and Fellcross but I believe I would need a size 13 that you don't produce.(tried on a too small 12, RunningWarehouse shoefitter)

    My repeated emails from various accounts are a thinly veiled attempt to drum up demand for larger size S-lab shoes, I apologize for the harassment.


    Captain Largefoot

  17. Sean


    Shoes in general do not have arch support. Some of them are snugger fitting in the midfoot, or the stock insole may be slightly more built-up in the arch, and thus, may have the "feeling" of arch support, but this is not arch support. To truly get arch support, one needs to get an orthotic of some type – prescription or over the counter such as Superfeet, Montrail Enduro-Soles, Down Unders, Sole, etc.

    1. Anonymous

      Hmm. I agree that true arch support does not come in a standard shoe and I do have separate inserts that I use for some workouts to decrease the stress to my fallen arch; but to say that a minimalist shoe like the Altras as compared to the XA Pro Ultra 2's from Salomon have only the feeling of arch support is improbable. If we drop the company shoe stores out, and take advice from a local retailer, those folks looking for a new pair of kicks will be asked to walk barefoot to view the arch as it lands. High arches vs low arches will be given different shoe options because of what you called a built up arch. Again, true arch support is not found in most shoes but aggravating a Pes Planus ( when it coincides with discomfort ) condition or not purchasing a shoe with a higher built up arch for those with very high arches will likely lead to or exacerbate any number of conditions. While this could easily lead into the barefoot debate that flagged a couple hundred comments from a recent article, I'd still promote prevention over potential injury by choosing a shoe with the proper fit especially to the medial longitudinal arch.

    2. Rob M

      And only after I attempted to pontificate my point did I click the link to you name Sean. I'm going to go ahead and schedule the surgery to get the foot removed from my mouth as soon as I can. Appreciate the feedback.

      1. Sean

        That's awesome, Rob! You make me laugh. I'm always happy to share my knowledge learned from both working in specialty running shops (5 years) and my own experience.

  18. Loren

    My .02…

    These shoes blew my mind when I slipped my feet into them for the first time. I was a hater of these due to their large Salomon price tag but I secretly wished I had a pair after watching tantalizing videos of Team Salomon galavanting around the world in these pretty red slippers. I finally splurged and picked up a pair and I now I don't want to run anything else. My first run was a Trail Half-Marathon that I signed up for last minute; these shoes performed exquisitely. Great traction, ground feel, fit, and drainage in muddy, slippery conditions. However, my calves/Achilles are crazy sore! Never felt this sore after lacing up NB Minimus Trail and NB110s. Definitely going to be a break in period.

    I haven't ran in every shoe out there but I've laced up enough to know the difference from an over-hyped shoe and a legit one. After doing a couple of runs in these shoes, I must say that the price tag is high but justifiable. Running is my hobby and Running Gear is my vice. C'est La Vie.

  19. Stephen

    Is it just me or does the upper material on these disintegrate quickly? I love the feel of running in these shoes, but just like the red and white Sense, I find the mesh upper material on either side of the ball of my feet starts to tear after only about 100-150kms. Perhaps it's the combination of sweaty feet (I live in the warmth here in Australia) and weighing 80 kilos, but it's the most disappointing thing about these shoes for me.

    Anyone else have durability issues with the upper?

    I wish Salomon would use an abrasion resistant mesh material (eg. like the upper used in the North Face Ultra Guides, for example)…

    1. Scott

      Nearly everything I've purchased from Salomon has durability issues. My calf sleeves began unraveling after 1 run, my Slab Shorts had to be returned straight out of the bag due to seam seals falling off, Ultralight hikers developed a hole within 20 miles of hiking,etc..

      Basically rule of thumb with Salomon …buy it at a place that has a great return policy.

    2. Bryon Powell

      I've not had a similar experience with the original Sense. No problems with the upper mesh with many more KMs on them. If you're a heavy foot sweater and running on really dusty/sandy trails that leave the mesh plastered with grit post-run, try rinsing off your shoes after your runs when this happens. Just a thought.

  20. Cory K.

    I just like the most expensive of anything… even if I never run in them, I might buy them just to have a pair. Perhaps that is actually the real reason… people want to buy whatever is most expensive.

  21. Barks

    My Sense Ultras have a little more than 500k's on them now, of which maybe 120k on snow, 120k on roads and the rest on trails including some pretty harsh (roots and rocks and mud) norwegian forest/mountain trails in thawing season. The uppers look pretty much like new except the mesh has gone slightly darker from being muddy and wet all the time (I'll typically soak the shoes completely like 5minutes into a trail run..). No tears or visible abrasion to be seen. The outsole however is getting worn down a bit in the front though it seems to happen mostly at the few instances where I trip myself on roads and grind the forefoot along the tarmac trying to recover. Not a lot of visible abrasion from trails it seems, though I do have to remove smaller sharp stones/pebbles from the sole every now and then. Fit and feel is like new still (I'm 84kg so not Killian-light by any means). At this rate I believe they will easily last me a 1000k which is enough (given their fantastic fit and performance, best shoe I've ever tried of their "type" and my go-to shoe for everything but pure mud/mountain trails (use Inov-8 XT212 which offer way better grip in slippery mud and on wet rock/roots) and pure roads. I'm pretty confident that I'll order another pair soon so I have a pair ready when these are done.

  22. David

    They don't make these in my size, so I will have to pass. A real shame because I like the Mantras and would certainly be willing to give these a try.

    1. Bryon Powell

      I've not had to do this, but, yes, I'm just suggesting a quick rinse (and maybe a gentle hand scrub) with the garden hose followed by an air dry. No crazy cosmetic work… just trying to get the major grit off… if that's an issue.

  23. Gediminas

    Yes, it is totally true about perfomance but durability is really poor. After one month of training and racing i have to sent my Salomon Slab sense ultra to the garbage bin.

  24. cory feign

    have had 2 pairs of the originals where the mesh uppers fell apart or wore out long before the rest of the shoes, and only after a couple hundred miles. nonetheless, a pair of ultras was recently delivered…

  25. PutMeBackOnMybike

    Having sent back the NB MT110, went with the many recommendations for Altras (Superiors) from everyone on this site and couldn't be more pleased. 17km trail run, sockless, straight out of the box – not a blister or hot spot to be found. Brilliant shoe – thanks for the recommendations.

    1. PutMeBackOnMybike

      Should add – used ShoeFitr on Running Warehouse and it recommended going up a whole size to 8.5. Seemed totally wrong, yet it was spot on when I tried them on – these shoes come in really small.

  26. Cameron

    Any recommendations on how to stretch the width of this shoe?? I'm in Kenya and just received a pair that fit in the length (maybe even a touch long) but are too narrow… Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  27. Jeff

    Not sure I would say the Helios are less protective than the Sense Ultras. The grip on the Helios is way better imho, but La Sportiva has that nailed generally. I have run my only 50-miler to date in the Helios and may try them for my next 50 and 100 (if I survive).

    The Sense Ultras, however, are a very good shoe. I have over 200 trail miles on mine (as much as I have on any other shoe this year) and they are hardly worn. Helios with the same miles has one small divot in the softer part of the sole where a sharp rock nailed it (it did not puncture through and my foot was fine). I am going to try the Sense Ultras for a long run tomorrow and see if they are a viable option for me over 25 miles (my longest run in them so far is a little over 20).

  28. Kai


    I'm retiring the Sense Ultra as a racing shoe for three reasons:

    1) The outsole was tearing off after my first race here in Catalonia, where we have pretty rough, rocky trails. Doesn't seem to be built for this kind of surface. Probably does well with smooth soft trails.

    2) Protection against rocks doesn't seem adequate. Forefoot is ok, but if you happen to land on any other part, things will stick through. I've found my feet hurting after anything faster or longer in these shoes. I have run less in the MT110's, but when I've used them, I've not had significant problems with protection.

    3) Traction is not great either, in my last race I completely lost my feet under me in downhill switchbacks and fell pretty badly. It was on some gravel, but on terrain that I would expect the shoes to have held up. Pretty sure the MT110's would not have had issues there.

    Fit, weight, etc are still great in the shoe and I'll save them for the right conditions, but for me their use as a racing shoe (which I bough them for) is very limited.

  29. Andrew

    I know that a lot of guys use a hairdryer to heat the outside gently and massage from the inside with a wooden spoon.

    At your risk though!

  30. Roger

    Hello Tom, as you have also tested the somewhat similar Asics Gel Fuji Racer which of the two shoes would you pick for a 30k trail run in the mountains?

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