REVIEW: Salomon S-Lab Speeds
The Salomon S/LAB Speeds are designed to maintain momentum through every foot strike. Whether on fire trail or traversing technical downhill this shoe will not give way, ensuring minimal energy leaks, resulting in greater performance.
So why did I choose the Salomon S/LAB Speeds?
I am a big believer in minimalist footwear. So naturally when I started trail running my research led me to the Vivo Trail Freak. A great shoe that did me really well on the trails of Melbourne, but then I moved to Hobart and my playground got serious. To maintain the integrity of my feet I needed to protect them.
I wanted something that still had hints of my minimalist beliefs – small drop, light, and thin soled. I still wanted my feet to do all the work and not muffle them in foam bricks. The Salomon S/LAB Sense 6 SG turned out to be the perfect fit.
Granted, it did feel like I was wearing oversized snow shoes to begin with, but the cool thing was my feet felt great and I was descending mountains faster than I ever had before with zero apprehension. The shoe was working with my foot not working for it.
So after clocking up 500kms without incident, the lugs had worn flat on the forefoot so it was time to upgrade.
I love to run up and down mountains flat out. Short and fast is my niche and with the increasingly technical and rugged terrain, I was covering I felt I needed to try something with a bit more bite.
If something isn’t broken then you don’t meddle with it so naturally, I went straight for the Salomon S/Lab Speed 2. Sleek and stylish they looked like the shoe for me but what I found was that they are narrower in the forefoot than the Senses. I have a wider forefoot and toe splay due to my minimalist ways so I was not going to confine my foot just for looks. I then tried the Speed 1 and my foot instantly felt like I was wearing my old Senses, clearly the mould is the same. I felt so comfortable that I walked out the door in my new Speed 1’s and took straight to running a vertical km up Mount Wellington, then running back down.
As expected the shoe felt a little stiff being brand new but I was pumped at their performance. Over the firmer fire trail the bigger lugs didn’t cause any issues and on the single track, the control was perfect. I did find that when scrambling over large scree the shoes did “stick” when I wasn’t expecting them to but this proved their ability to provide excellent grip.
On the way back down I used the infamous Breakneck Track to test their down hill potential and even though I only went at 80% the shoes were at peace. Previously where I would have slid in the Senses, the shoes stuck, even to the extent where I wanted to slide but couldn’t, however, this is more to do with me altering my technique to suit the shoe. Every step of that descent was calculated and the shoe did not deviate, I felt completely safe in my controlled falling.
Living up to their name the Salomon S/LAB Speeds certainly allowed me to focus on my pace without needing to worry about my control. A seamless transition that will no doubt put me in a good position to continue performing at my best on the mountain. I highly recommend you give them a try.