Most recently I got my hands on a pair of Salomon Sense 4 Ultra from Salomon. It reminded me of its very first predecessor the S-Lab Sense (2012). I got my very first pair of S-Lab Sense in 2013 when I started to dabble into trail running, I was inspired by videos of Kilian Jornet storming up & downhills in the classic red & whites, that when it was time to get a pair, it wasn’t a hard choice which shoe I wanted.
Trail running takes up 1-2 timeslots of my training week, hence my shoes don’t get as much mileage as I would like them to get. But I believe over the last 2 years, I have done justice to the Salomon S-Lab Sense that would warrant its retirement. Earlier this year, I finished 1st in the ADOC 8th Anniversary Cross-Country Challenge with these speedos.
But the toll it endured over two years explains my straight jump from S-Lab Sense to S-Lab Sense 4 Ultra.
The predominantly red and white colours of the shoe are kept, with minor tweaks on the amount of reds on the upper to give the shoe a more understated, simple look. Those also familiar with the Sense 3 Ultra will notice that the laces have been reverted to a racing red, rather than the white that was previously used in the Sense 3 Ultra. The Salomon Logo has also been updated to fit Salomon’s rebranding effort in 2012-13.
Salomon S-Lab Sense 4 Ultra (234grams; Sz 9) vs Salomon S-Lab Sense (180grams; Sz 9). Although not noticeable when I first put them on, Salomon started to increase the durability of the S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra. With the extra “Ultra” label, it also came along with tougher ContaGripTM sole with lugs at the forefoot and additional lugs at the sole of the heel to as added traction. However, the 4mm heel-to-toe drop has been retained, and this has translated to the shoe being able to cater to Kilian’s forefoot running style and potentially to those who are more comfortable running fore-mid foot.
The moment I slipped my feet into the shoe, it was a familiar feeling. It felt fast, and the additional 50grams weren’t apparent at first go. On uphills the Sense 4 Ultra felt like they had more grip, as compared to my ageing Sense, which was just slipping off surfaces towards the end.
It handled well in the semi-wet muddy conditions along MacRitchie Reservoir, and was able to grip well going uphill and like the Sense, it had adequate protection against the pebbles or rocks in certain sections of the course.
Final First Impression
The trade-off between 50grams of additional weight vis-a-vis the added durability is a debate for speedsters and ultra-marathoners to fight out. Retailing at S$289 at all Salomon Singapore stores, the Salomon Sense 4 Ultra is indeed a worthy investment. If you are looking for a shoe that is light and will go the distance, look no further.
Watch this space for more indepth reviews once I’ve done enough damage on these guys, in the meantime, if you really want something that is tougher, and goes into softer terrain, try the Salomon Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground!