Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 Performance Review
TAYLOR: Grab your tin cup and let’s head out to the barn. The richest, creamiest, most calorie-dense goodness that dairy has to offer naturally rises to the top of the milk tank. If you want to get all fancy with it, the French say, “‘la crème de la crème.” It’s the best of the best.
It’s fitting that a French phrase will also perfectly describe the French company, Salomon, as a brand. Skim the top of the milk tank of trail goods, undoubtedly Salomon’s will be in your cup. They are the leaders of innovation and churn out the richest selection of performance footwear for the trails.
The most recent addition to their top-tier S/Lab line is the Ultra 3. Salomon has been hyping this shoe up recently. Let’s see if it lives up to it.
TAYLOR: I’m a coffee guy…. like home roast my own beans type coffee guy. Have you ever had a craft quality cup of coffee with noticeable flavor notes? Many flavors swirl together to create one complex and beautiful profile.
The S/Lab Ultra 3 is a craft cup of coffee. There are so many well thought out layers to help you go far and fast. It is slated as an ultra-distance race shoe, but the S/Lab 3 shows no discrimination to surface variety or distance.
The most forward “note” of the S/Lab Ultra 3 is the fit. A layered upper achieves everything you’d want for a trail shoe. Endofit is Salomon’s sock-like upper that provides a very soft feel close to the foot, while a molded EVA sock liner brings more security and cushion. Over the Endofit, SkinGuard TPU gives the upper a durable and breathable mesh top layer. The toe box is the most accommodating of any Salomon shoe, as well. When combined, the Ultra 3’s are seriously unmatched for foot security and comfort.
Salomon does the Quicklace system better than anyone in the business. I appreciate that the top of the sock-liner was well padded to protect from laces cutting into my foot. This system adds a fair amount of security for when trails get technical.
Underfoot is another masterfully layered recipe – even better than Rachel Green’s Thanksgiving Trifle. It’s a polyurethane-based material that trends toward the softer side and has a lower stack (26mm to 18 mm). The ride is certainly not airy like a high-stack Hoka, but it does provide plenty of cushion to push the miles as far as your legs will take you.
The best way I can describe the midsole is a combination of Salomon’s Optivibe foam and Saucony’s PWRRUN compound. There’s a good amount of cushion (Energy Save compound), strong notes protection (TPU Profeel Film – like a thin rock plate), with complements of responsiveness (EnergyCell+).
To top it off, the S/Lab Ultra 3 has a very versatile and dependable outsole. Contragrip MA is their top-grade proprietary rubber. The ride felt stable over all terrain, including snow, dirt, rock, mud, off-trail forest floor and even roads.Shop S/Lab Ultra 3
TAYLOR: I am hard-pressed to think of any negatives to the S/Lab Ultra 3.
I COULD be nit-picky about the $180 price-tag, but that’s just the norm now for a high-quality product like this.
I COULD note that the lace garage can be a little difficult to push the laces in quickly, but it’s such a secure system.
I COULD even go as far as to say there are lighter and snappier shoes out there, like the Inov-8 TerraUltra G-270. That shoe comes in at 9.5 ounces in a men’s size 10, whereas the S/Lab Ultra 3 packs a little more heft at 11.1 ounces in my men’s size 10.5. But overall, that extra ounce and a half doesn’t hinder this shoe in the slightest.Shop S/Lab Ultra 3
TAYLOR: Top-shelf is where you’ll find the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3. It’s a great ultra-distance complement to Salomon’s solid line of gear. It wouldn’t be my everyday trainer because of the price tag and the Sense Ride 3 fits that bill better than the Ultra. That being said, I would love to race in this shoe. The combination of a gloriously concocted upper, versatile Energy Save/EnergyCell+ midsole, and Contragrip MA outsole make the S/Lab Ultra 3 a serious contender for being an industry standard for long-distance trail shoes. It’s hard to think of any limits this shoe has.
You can pick up the S/Lab Ultra 3 for $175 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop S/Lab Ultra 3
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That a really nice shoe advertisement. How much did Runningwarehouse pay you for that?