Thursday, 26 June 2014

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra review: a comparison with the Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra
Welcome everyone to what I feel is a very exciting post, in which I will be reviewing one of the newest and latest releases in the top quality Salomon S-Lab, athlete-inspired line-up; the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra. I will also be comparing it to its wet-weather twin, the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG (soft ground). For a full review of the Sense 3 Ultra SG please click here!  

I have tried a lot of minimalist trail shoes over the past few years (as you can imagine), and occasionally one pops up that feels right, grabs your attention and takes you miles, and miles, and miles.....It is very seldom that two come along at the same time, but this has certainly been the case in relation to the Sense 3 Ultra and Sense 3 Ultra SG. Racing footwear has become far more of an easy choice. Simply look out of the window, and if its dry and hot out there, put on the Sense 3 Ultra. If its wet, slip on the SG version. Sorted!

What a beauty the Sense 3 Ultra's really are!
What Salomon say:
The evolution continues from Killian Jornet’s input through races like the Western States™ 100. Ideal for dry and hot conditions, this ultra-distance trail racing shoe boasts increased durability and stability in its 3rd iteration.
Designed for ultra distance, breathability and to be lightweight.

S-Lab Sense Technologies
Natural running:
Natural motion frees the foot to move, with a reduced heel drop for an even foot strike. S-Lab construction reduces weight to make the S-Lab Sense the lightest, lowest racing shoe in Salomon's range. 
Low Heel Drop:
To promote midfoot striking and better agility

Salomon Sense 3 ultra: low, light and fast
Features:
  • Breathable open mesh uppers
  • Super lightweight around 230g (size 8)
  • Low differential at only 4mm (13mm heel and 9mm forefoot)
  • Seamless SensiFit and 2nd Skin seamless construction enhances comfort
  • Quicklace system with lace pocket
  • Tongue cover prevents trail debris entering shoe
  • EndoFit sock-liner holds midfoot well and allows shoe to be worn with or without socks
  • TPU protective toe cap
  • Dynamic traction from non-marking Contagrip sole
  • Profeel Propriotection rock-plate in the forefoot with OS Tendon
Photo's:






Review and Comparison to the Sense 3 Ultra SG's:
To help you understand how these shoes perform I will score them 1 - 10 (1 = low, 10 = high) on 10 categories which encompass a good minimalist trail shoe, giving them an overall CavemanClarke score out of 100. Furthermore, under each category I will include any relevant comparisons to the Sense 3 Ultra SG's:


1) Weight: 9/10
A lightweight trail shoe is paramount to me, allowing an unaltered, natural running technique and stride. The Ultra's come in a fraction lighter than the SG; 255g and 280g respectively. This is largely due to the absence of huge rubber lugs jutting out the bottom of the shoe, but also taking into consideration the lighter weight mesh uppers. I certainly do not have any complaints here, and the only way I could see to lighten the shoe further, without compromising durability, would be to lower the 4mm heel lift, therefore losing some material. Some though, would argue that this would limit its use as an ultra distance shoe.

2) Ground feel: 9/10
The Sense 3 Ultra's allow sufficient proprioception to make for a safe, agile and comfortable run over a variety of terrains. The rock-plate in the forefoot, known as 'Profeel Propriotection' dissipates sharp stones and trail debris well without compromising too much on ground feel and sensory feedback during your run; ideal in a long distance race. The Ultra does have better ground feel than the SG version, and therefore gains a point in this area.

Not too much between your foot and the trail
3) Protection: 10/10
The Sense 3 Ultra's provides perfectly adequate protection in all the right places, keeping your feet safe but still maintaining a lightweight construction. I have not noticed any difference between the Ultra's and the SG's here.

Perfectly adequate protection for the toes and feet
4) Natural foot position: 6/10
The 4mm heel-toe differential in both the Ultra and the SG's means I have to knock-off a few points (one for each mm drop) as I have done in past reviews, as the foot is not in a completely natural position. This may be better suited for ultra distance races and training runs, but I personally still prefer a completely natural foot position.

5) Natural shape of foot: 9/10
Along with its soft ground wet weather twin, the Sense 3 Ultra's are the best shaped Salomon's I have tried, fitting like a slipper! In the past, Salomon's always came up way too narrow for my feet, but the Sense range seem to fit more naturally by becoming far wider in the forefoot and toe box. There is still room for a slightly wider option for people like me with a very wide toe-splay, but they are definitely wide enough to comfortably use on training runs and long races.

Both identically shaped
6) Comfort: 10/10
The seamless EndoFit/SensiFit constructions holding the foot in all the right places, and the more natural shape of the S-Lab Sense range, means the Sense 3 Ultra and SG's are easily the most comfortable pairs of Salomon's I have ever worn and run in. They both feel identical to wear in terms of shape, with the only noticeable differences being a more breathable upper in the Ultra's and a heavier sole unit with marginally less ground feel on the SG's.

7) Grip/traction: 10/10
I have still, to date, never been disappointed by the performance of the Sense 3 Ultra SG when it comes to grip and traction in wet and slippery conditions. Here is an insert from my previous review of the SG's:
"I have tried these shoes on grass, mud, gravel, rock, hard-packed trail and even pavement! In wet, muddy and sloppy conditions I would put it on par with the Fellcross 2 and have not really noticed any significant differences between them on this type of terrain. Where the Sense 3 Ultra SG comes into it's own and surpasses the abilities of the Fellcross 2 is its ability to perform effortlessly over a wider variety of terrain. Yes, of course, it is not at home running the pavements and roads of a city street, but it does provide better stability and grip on hard-packed trail, rock, gravel and dry mud than other serious off-road trail shoes I have tried in the past from a variety of manufacturers."
When it comes to the Sense 3 Ultra's, I have been equally impressed. Yes, of course they don't perform as well in wet and muddy conditions, but that is why Salomon have cleverly and sensibly released a wet and dry version of the same shoe. But, if the ground is dry and hard, whether it be pavement, road, dry grass, dirt tracks, rocks, mountain paths or gravel, the Sense 3 Ultra copes perfectly with it all. I can't really say anything further that would be more helpful than this!

Here you can clearly see the difference in the wet and dry versions of the Sense 3 Ultra's
Fantastic grip for ascents and descents
Wet or dry, choose your shoe!
8) Durability/Quality: 10/10
Still no issues with the SG's, and I have put quite a few miles on them now. To date, the grip and the uppers are still showing no signs of premature wear and tear. I assume the Sense 3 Ultra's will perform similarly, although the uppers are a more breathable mesh material. I can't see this making a huge difference, and once again, only time will tell!


9) Pricing: 8/10
Both the Ultra and the SG retail at £140 in the UK. Therefore, the excellence of this magnificent trail shoe does come at a price. As I mentioned in the SG review,
"The Sense 3 Ultra SG's are part of the prestigious S-Lab racing range, carefully designed and manufactured to meet the requirements of their top athletes such as Kilian Jornet and Emilie Forsberg. Therefore they will always come at a slightly higher price, but if the cost of these shoes was to drop to around the £100 mark the Sense 3's would obliterate their competition in the trail running market."
To me, if I find a shoe that is comfortable and performs just as I require (as is the case with the Sense 3's), price is less of an issue. However, I would want both the Ultra and the SG available in my arsenal of trail running weapons to fully equip me for the unpredictable UK weather, and this gets very expensive! 

10) Design: 10/10
I have completely fallen in love with the design and colourways of both the Sense 3 Ultra and Sense 3 Ultra SG. When I put them on I immediately feel like a Salomon athlete, fast and light on my feet! Of course, due to the fact I live in flat-as-a-pancake-Cambridgeshire, this soon comes to an end when I encounter any kind of incline!

Both fantastic looking shoes!
CavemanClarke score: 91/100

Conclusion:
What a fantastic duo the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra and Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground really make! With the ability to run naturally in a comfortable and lightweight trail shoe for racing and training situations in either wet or dry weather conditions, this is a fantastic and well designed combination. Simply throw both pairs in your kit bag and decide at the race location which pair is the most suitable for the terrain and conditions underfoot. A match made in heaven for the trail running footwear world! Both pairs are a pleasure to run in when worn for their desired conditions, with both allowing a certain level of 'cross-over' if weather conditions vary across the entirety of the run route. The Sense 3 Ultra range gets a double thumbs up approval by me! 

Thank you Salomon for the opportunity to test and review these beauty's!

Happy running everyone
CavemanClarke

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra preview

The new Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra
What better surprise than to arrive home after a hard days work, to be greeted by a parcel delivery sitting on the doorstep containing one of the latest releases by Salomon in their prestigious S-Lab line up for 2014; the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra! 

After recently testing, reviewing and being very impressed with its wet-weather twin, the Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground I was more than excited to get these on my feet, out the door and on the trails in dryer weather to see just how they compared. The perfect opportunity was only a week away; a 10km race in which I had entered myself, along with a few of my run coaching and Trinity Fitness Club clients. I knew it would be a tough course, very hot weather and with plenty of rolling countryside (aka hills!) and over a variety of terrains, so it would be ideal to put these shoes through their first paces. 

With the race now behind me and only a couple more runs needed before I can bring you a full review on the Sense 3 Ultra's, it won't be long now until I will post a full comparison review between the Sense 3 Ultra and the Sense 3 Ultra Soft Grounds.

Full review coming soon...watch this space! Until then, happy running!
CavemanClarke

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Trinity Fitness does the Wimpole HooHaah 10k

Trinity Fitness runners Hannah and Anais complete their first 10k race
It gives me great pleasure to help people achieve things that they doubted they could do, or once thought they would never even have imagined trying. Last week, I took some of my Trinity Fitness run coaching and Fitness Club members to run the Wimpole HooHaah 10k race in Cambridgeshire, UK. The group was a mixture of first-time 10k runners, people returning to running their first race in years as well as regular runners. 

After much practice and some last minute run coaching to help people get the best out their race experience, the day was upon us. Nerves collided with excitement, the thrill of the event coupled with anticipation of what the course would throw at us and how our times and goals would pan out. It was a scorching hot day with no sign of even a light breeze to bring some relief from the intense heat. Gladly, some of the run was to take us through tree-lined paths and small woodland, but there was still a fair few kilometers through open grassland and fields in full force of the unrelenting sunshine! Still, we were there, each of us with our own hopes and goals, and ready to face whatever the course could put in front of us.

The route started with a lung-busting uphill section that slowed the best of us right down. After a short recovery period and a long, sweeping section through fields and around the edge of the trees it was into the woodland and along a beautiful tree lined path that wound gradually up and down hills and into the grounds of Wimpole Hall Estate. A few kilometers through the grounds and the finish line was in sight. Spectators lined the finishing stretch and gave the runners energy to sprint the last 100m! At around 10.2km it certainly wasn't a PB course, but it was a run steeped in traditional British countryside views and history.  

I love to run the trails, and it has been an absolute honour to share my passion with others and see them experience the pleasure and freedom that trail running brings. An achievement by all who ran, a fun day in the sunshine taking in the English countryside views and an insight into the social side that running can bring to your life, I feel wholeheartedly that the event was a complete success for those running with Trinity Fitness. Well done to all of you who ran and I really hope it has inspired you to keep on running.

One runner who had never before run a 10k and was doubtful to whether they would be able to complete the course, said after finishing, "It was really hard work, especially in the heat and up the hills, but I did it, got my first running medal and really enjoyed the pint of beer and pub meal afterwards! I'm thinking of running another race soon and I really did enjoy the social aspect of sharing the feeling of achievement with all the other people who ran too."   

Ready for the pub after a tough and hot 10k race
Happy running everyone
CavemanClarke

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground Review

Ready for the trails: the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground
Back in December 2013 I was excited to bring you a review of what I thought was one of the best trail shoes for wet and soft ground conditions that I had ever tried; the Salomon S-Lab Fellcross 2. I thought it would be some time and take some beating to better such a great trail and off-trail shoe, but in next to no time at all Salomon have done just that by releasing their latest shoes in the S-Lab Sense range, the Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground (SG). I managed to get my hands on a pair of the Sense 3 Ultra SG and set out to test them on my local trails. I knew even before I got out the door that I was in for a treat, as I had never put on such a comfortable trail shoe from Salomon; the fit was perfect! Over the next few weeks I took them out on the trails to put them through their paces, alternating with other trail shoes to get an accurate idea of how the Sense 3 Ultra SG perform. Here is what I found.....
Quality and very comfortable over longer distances
Salomon say.....
"Take the aggressive tread of the SPEEDCROSS, apply it to the low, light and fast S-LAB SENSE concept, and you've got an athlete requested, ultra-distance trail running weapon for soft ground."
Designed for: soft ground grip, ultra distance and to be lightweight

S-Lab Sense Technologies
Natural running:
Natural motion frees the foot to move, with a reduced heel drop for an even foot strike. S-Lab construction reduces weight to make the S-Lab Sense the lightest, lowest racing shoe in Salomon's range. 
Low Heel Drop:
To promote midfoot striking and better agility

Features:

  • Super lightweight: 230g (size 8)
  • Low differential at only 4mm (13mm heel and 9mm forefoot)
  • Seamless SensiFit and 2nd Skin seamless construction enhances comfort
  • Quicklace system with lace pocket
  • Tongue cover prevents trail debris entering shoe
  • EndoFit sock-liner holds midfoot well and allows shoe to be worn with or without socks
  • TPU protective toe cap
  • Mud&Snow Contagrip similar to the SPEEDCROSS
  • Profeel Propriotection rock-plate in the forefoot with OS Tendon


To help you understand how these shoes perform I will score them 1 - 10 (1 = low, 10 = high) on 10 categories which encompass a good minimalist trail and fell shoe, giving them an overall CavemanClarke score out of 100:

The Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground are an extremely lightweight trail running shoe
1) Weight: 9/10
A good running shoe must always be lightweight to allow a natural form and cadence. My pair of UK10.5's weigh in at 280g per shoe. This is an extremely lightweight trail shoe that therefore allows you to run very comfortably without any unnecessary added weight affecting your stride. 

2) Ground feel: 8/10
Of course, these shoes do not have the ground feel of extremely minimalist shoes such as the Vibram FiveFingers but they do allow sufficient proprioception to make for a safe, agile and comfortable run. The Profeel Propriotection rock-plate in the forefoot dissipates sharp stones and trail debris well without compromising too much on ground feel and sensory feedback whilst running. A good balance in my opinion and similar to the feel of the Fellcross 2.

3) Protection: 10/10
The Sense 3 Ultra SG have just enough protection in just the right places, keeping the feet free from unwanted and avoidable injury but still maintaining a lightweight construction.

Protection in all the right places
4) Natural foot position: 6/10
Due to the 4mm heel-toe differential I have to knock-off a few points (one for each mm drop) as I have done in past reviews, as the foot is not in a completely natural position. However, on uneven terrain and especially in wet and muddy trail conditions, this small drop becomes unnoticeable and insignificant and I am more than happy to wear these shoes. This is especially relevant over longer distances, which is what the Sense 3 Ultra SG are designed for.

5) Natural shape of foot: 9/10
The Sense 3 Ultra SG are the best shaped Salomon's I have tried, and it really makes a difference on a run! My foot slips into the shoe, with plenty of forefoot space and room for natural toe-splay, but tightly held by the EndoFit sock liner around the midfoot and also securely locking the heel in its place. It fits like a slipper! 

The most comfortable Salomon's I have ever tried!
6) Comfort: 10/10
The Sense 3 Ultra SG are by far the most comfortable pair of Salomon's I have ever worn and run in. The seamless construction, natural shape and EndoFit/SensiFit constructions hold the foot in all the right places, whilst allowing sufficient room for the forefoot and toes. I have no issues with the last or comfort at all, and this is a first for me with Salomon shoes, as I have always found them to be slightly too narrow in the past, especially when wearing them for long periods of time. This for me, is one of the main selling points of the Sense 3 Ultra SG.

7) Grip/traction: 10/10
I have never been disappointed by the performance of the Sense 3 Ultra SG when it comes to grip and traction. I have tried these shoes on grass, mud, gravel, rock, hard-packed trail and even pavement! In wet, muddy and sloppy conditions I would put it on par with the Fellcross 2 and have not really noticed any significant differences between them on this type of terrain. Where the Sense 3 Ultra SG comes into it's own and surpasses the abilities of the Fellcross 2 is its ability to perform effortlessly over a wider variety of terrain. Yes, of course, it is not at home running the pavements and roads of a city street, but it does provide better stability and grip on hard-packed trail, rock, gravel and dry mud than other serious off-road trail shoes I have tried in the past from a variety of manufacturers. 

The grip and traction of the Sense 3 Ultra SG will not let you down!
8) Durability/Quality: 10/10
So far, no issues here! This is a tough category to judge as only a lot of time and mileage can cast a true light and representation on the durability of a pair of trail shoes, but so far both the grip and the uppers are showing no signs of premature wear and tear. Phew!!!

9) Pricing: 8/10
At a RRP of £140 in the UK, the excellent performance and comfort of the Sense 3 Ultra SG comes at a price. The Sense 3 Ultra SG's are part of the prestigious S-Lab racing range, carefully designed and manufactured to meet the requirements of their top athletes such as Kilian Jornet and Emilie Forsberg. Therefore they will always come at a slightly higher price, but if the cost of these shoes was to drop to around the £100 mark the Sense 3's would obliterate their competition in the trail running market.

10) Design: 10/10
Decide for yourself, but I absolutely love the design of the Sense 3 Ultra SG. When you put them on your feet to go for a run, you immediately feel fast and light! 

A fantastic looking trail shoe makes you feel light and fast.....
CavemanClarke score: 90/100

Conclusion:
Congratulations Salomon for creating an extremely comfortable, lightweight and excellent quality trail shoe that performs superbly. I have enjoyed every minute spent exploring the trails in these shoes, and have been very impressed with the performance and comfort I have experienced over a wide variety of terrains and distances. 

I would thoroughly recommend the Sense 3 Ultra SG to anyone wanting to get the most out of their running. Whether you really want to push your limits on race day, or just have a seriously comfy and trustworthy pair of trail and fell shoes that will perform fantastically in soft ground conditions and very well over a wide variety of other terrains and conditions, this shoe is an excellent choice.

Monster grip similar to the Speedcross
About time these hit the trails, never to be this shiny again!
They certainly excelled my expectations. Now to clean them...
Why you would buy this shoe:

Extremely comfortable
Lightweight
Natural running feel
Excellent grip
Very good quality

Quality materials and construction have created a serious trail running weapon
Happy running everyone
CavemanClarke

Previous posts about the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground:

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG - First Impressions

An update on the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG's


Thursday, 1 May 2014

The West Highland Way, Scotland!

The West Highland Way
What a fantastic experience. Carrying all I needed to camp and live for the week, I have just walked the West Highland Way long distance footpath in Scotland, UK. 96 miles of incredible trekking, scenery and nature and I certainly feel refreshed and excited. What a well needed break from the usual 'daily grind' (so to speak) that we all accidentally fall into as we go about our usual daily tasks at home and at work.

Loch Lomond
So why am I telling you all about this on a trail running blog? Well, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it makes for an ideal long distance multi-day or ultra run, as the paths are easily run and very well marked and signposted. I decided not long into the walk that I would be returning to run the trail one day in the near future. With B&B's and hostels along the way, it would easily be possible to run from one end to the other over 3 days with only a small pack of essentials on your back. Secondly, I really wanted to share a few photo's and ideas with you all.....

Conic Hill
Sometimes we all get bogged down with our usual daily tasks and work, and it pays to escape and explore every now and again. It refreshes the mind, excites the senses and gives your mind a real break from everything that, over time, can get us all a bit down at times. Getting into the hills and mountains, walking beside the Lochs and wild camping in the middle of nowhere with no mobile phone reception is about as far as one can escape in the UK, and the therapy certainly works.

Wild camping at Rannoch Moor
With fresh ideas, new exciting challenges planned and a more grounded idea about what is really important in life I am not regretting even a minute of the experience.

Loch Lomond
There is a whole world of nature, adventure and discovery out there.....and the freedom you experience when you explore it is certainly liberating, especially when you only have your own feet for transport and everything you need in a pack on your back. The simplest things in life are always the best! It was one of the best experiences of my life. Try something new and exciting this year!

Stag on Rannoch Moor
Glen Coe
Wild Camping on the West Highland Way
Summit of Ben Nevis
Rannoch Moor
The Summit of Ben Nevis, the UK's highest peak
The beauty of the Scottish Highland Mountains
Happy running and exploring!
CavemanClarke

Thursday, 10 April 2014

An update on the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG's

Just before I disappear into the Scottish Highlands in a couple of days to walk the West Highland Way long distance footpath, I thought it was a good opportunity to give you all an update on how I have been getting on with the newly released Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG's; the soft ground version of the new Sense 3 Ultra's. 

For the full review please click here


The Salomon Sense 3 Ultra SG's are a very comfortable and grippy trail shoe
Now I will be honest! In true unpredictable English weather fashion, the sea-proportion of rain we had experienced over the last few months that left half the country wading to work suddenly stopped. Since then, I have only experienced a few odd days when the heavens opened enough to soften up the local trails enough to truly test the capabilities of the Sense 3 Ultra SG's! But, in true CavemanClarke dedication, I have put on, run in and scrutinised every detail of the Sense 3 SG's as best as the weather has allowed, and here is what I have found so far.....

Comfort:
This is what really impresses me most about the Sense 3 Ultra SG's. These are by far the most comfortable pair of Salomon shoes I have ever tried to date. This is largely due to 5 main factors. 

1) The shape; the width of the forefoot is far wider than previous models I have tried. When put sole to sole with my Fellcross 2's (both the same size) the Sense 3 SG's overlap the edge of the Fellcross by quite a few millimetres, leaving much more room for the forefoot and toes to naturally spread. This is a very welcome experience for someone like me, who not only has a wide foot, but prefers a natural feel over a traditionally narrow race last.
2) The weight is very minimal leaving your legs and feet feeling fast and light.
3) The low differential of 4mm and minimal cushioning brings the foot closer to the ground and increases proprioception whilst encouraging a natural running gait.

4) The EndoFit sock-liner wraps the foot comfortably and securely and works well in conjunction with the SensiFit lacing system, to leave you feeling like the shoe is simply a gripping and protective extension of your own foot.

5) The upper materials allow a well ventilated environment for the foot to breath and remain at a comfortable temperature. Yes this does allow easy entry for water, but I have always preferred a shoe that allows air-flow and easy drainage of any water that enters the shoe due to water crossings and deep puddles.

Grip:

I would happily say that these grip as well as the Fellcross 2's, even though they feel different. The Fellcross grip tends to 'bite' into the terrain in quite an aggressive fashion, leaving quite a messy 'churned' footprint, whereas the Sense 3 SG's leave you feeling sure-footed without the need to shred everything in your path. The lugs are larger but fewer on the Sense 3 SG's and I think they give a better ride over a wider range of terrain such as harder packed trails as well as wet, muddy trails.


Muddy, wet conditions are no problem for the new Sense 3 Ultra SG's by Salomon
Much more testing and trialling is needed before concluding that these are my favourite pair of Salomon's so far, but it is starting to look that way! But first, I need some more rain and miles to see how these shoes hold up over time in terms of durability and versatility. 

One thing I can say with confidence; if you want a grippy trail shoe for training and racing in wet, soft and muddy conditions, but you also require a natural last and comfortable roomy forefoot rather than the usual narrow race last and feel, then this is certainly an excellent choice for you!

Any comments or questions, feel free to post below
Happy running
CavemanClarke

Further posts on the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground:

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG - First Impressions


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG - First Impressions

The long-awaited release of the latest evolution in Salomons Sense range has arrived, and boy has it made an impression! I have managed to get my feet into a pair of the new Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG; the soft ground specific model in the third generation of the already successful Sense range of S-Lab racing products.

For the full review please click here



Delivered and out of the box, a few photo's for review purposes before the mud spoils the pretty colours and it was straight out for a 10k to see just how good the Sense 3 Ultra SG's really are...



Comfort and Fit:
It was immediately evident that these are a very comfortable pair of trail shoes. In the past, Salomon shoes have been associated with a narrow last and fit, leaving people with wider feet struggling to be comfortable on longer runs. This doesn't seem to be the case with the Sense 3 Ultra SG. Couple the shape and last with the EndoFit sock-like liner and SensiFit system held in place with the quick lacing system and these are certainly the most comfortable pair of Salomons I have tried to date. Straight out of the box and out for a 10k and there was no blisters to worry about and not even a hint of a hot-spot anywhere. Also, my toes were left plentiful room to spread inside the toe box, resulting in a very comfy ride. Perfect.



Grip:
The grip looks similar to the Speedcross, as if the Chevron Contagrip M&S lugs have been added to the previous Sense Ultra sole unit. Add to this the super lightweight upper and low-slung 4mm drop (13mm heel and 9mm forefoot) and this is a serious weapon for running in wet, muddy and snow conditions. I certainly encountered some very wet and muddy trail conditions on my first run in the Sense 3 Ultra SG's and the shoes handled it perfectly. I would liken the grip and performance in wet and soft ground conditions to that of the Fellcross 2 (http://caveman-clarke.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/salomon-s-lab-fellcross-2-review.html), but with a more comfortable fit, last and upper.



As with all trail shoes with a more extreme grip and lug pattern, the ride is somewhat compromised on very hard and flat surfaces such as very hard-packed trail and road, but then that is not what this shoe is for. We all encounter some road or paved sections between trails so it is worth mentioning, and the shoe will happily handle the odd bit of hard terrain, but I would try and stick to wetter and softer ground if you can. If you wanted a similar shoe for drier and hotter conditions then Salomon have answered this with the release of the new Sense 3 Ultra; pretty much the same shoe but with a less aggressive tread pattern and different colour-way (red and white).

Quality:
Time will tell on the durability of these stunning trail shoes, but judging on the reviews of the predecessors in the Sense range and other Salomon shoes I have reviewed in the past, I am not expecting any sudden disasters as these shoes appear a top-quality product.



So far so.....well, great! I am really looking forward to putting these soft ground trail weapons through their paces over the next few weeks. If the current trend of the Sense series is continued in the Sense 3 Ultra SG's, then I have very high hopes for these shoes. Until then, happy running everyone!



CavemanClarke

Further posts on the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground:

An update on the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG's

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground Review