Salomon S Lab Sense Ultra 2017 – final update – I can’t wear these shoes out!

As an initial impressions review, a 300 km update, and a 1200 km update have documented, the Salomon S Lab Sense Ultra 2017 has been an outstanding performer on just about any trail in just about any condition. Let’s now add to that list of superlatives with the words: incredible durability.

Salomon S Lab Sense Ultra 2017 after about 2000 km of trail use on a 50/50 mix of buffed and rocky/technical Rocky Mountain terrain. Other than wearing through one of the diamond-shaped lugs at the rear on the right shoe, the outsole is showing only minor additional wear- super durable! The shoes are fresh out of the washing machine in this (and all other) picture(s)- they have been washed in my Bosch Axxis+ washer and spun at 1200 RPM about 15 times all with no damage or excessive wear.

I now have in excess of 2000 km (1200 miles) on the S Lab Sense Ultra and these shoes are still going strong. Past experience with S Lab shoes has lead to excellent outsole and upper wear but as 1600 km is approached the midsole and ProFeel Film begin to loose performance- the shoes typically loose significant fractions of initial cushioning and the ProFeel Film deteriorates to the point where sharp rocks become increasingly difficult to step directly upon. None of this decrease in performance has yet appeared- even with significantly more mileage on the S Lab Sense Ultra when compared to previous S Lab shoes (S Lab Sense, S Lab Sense 3&4, S Lab Sense Ultra (original model), S Lab X-Series, and S Lab Sonic).

Close-up of the outsole of the right foot S Lab Sense Ultra 2017 showing hardly any wear other than wear-through on one of the diamond lugs at the lateral rear. These shoes have lost none of their initially superior traction in virtually all conditions- wet, dry, muddy, rough rocky, slick rock, submerged rock, etc.

The midsole cushioning is holding up very well and although there is a slightly noticeable difference in cushioning when directly comparing these used shoes to a new pair of the same, it is not dramatic and it is not affecting the on-trail performance of the shoe. The shoe remains ultra-comfortable even for longer runs (20-30 mountain miles (3-5 h depending on vert) for me). There might be a tad bit of sharp rock coming through but it is minor and certainly not significant enough to put the shoes aside and move on to a new pair.

The S Lab Sense is holding it’s structure quite well and still runs identically to when the shoe was new. The upper is also showing excellent resistance to wear. 

The upper has held up exceedingly well as they show no excessive wear in any of the high strain areas that have been issues in past S Lab shoes. In fact without the dust-decoration of the edges of the SensiFit overlays, the uppers look as new. The heel counter shows the typical wear-out at the expected place (top edge of heel counter at the furthest aft position).

View of the S Lab Sense Ultra uppers after 2000 km- no excessive wear anywhere. Minor wear-out at the heel counter is typical at this mileage.

This type of overall low wear in a racing shoe after 2000 km is singular in my experience and demonstrates what a great product this S Lab model is.

Another view of the S Lab Sense uppers after 2000 km of trail use showing virtually no wear-out and continued durability.

Salomon may have made that rare mistake of putting out a trail shoe that is over engineered from a durability perspective but still, even at high mileage, retains all of the trail performance expected in a racing shoe. I look forward to even more miles on this pair and know that I will be well served by the two additional pairs that I have “stocked” in the shoe closet!

bottom line

Probably the most comfortable, highest performance, and durable shoe yet in the S Lab line. Highly recommended and look for sales this fall as the S Lab Sense Ultra 2 for 2018 is adding weight- not a good sign.

4 thoughts on “Salomon S Lab Sense Ultra 2017 – final update – I can’t wear these shoes out!

  1. I have a similar experiance with them as well. Over 1000km and still going well. Going to get another pair to sit in the cupboard until these wear out. I saw the new ones coming out next year and was not impressed. Looks like a total redesign and heavier. I hope the duribility of them is as good???

    • Hi Phillip,

      Glad to hear you are having as good an experience as I have had. I am also concerned with the changes announced for the Sense Ultra 2 but perhaps the infusion of the cross country skiing boot-type structure into the upper of the design will lead to even better control on technical terrain and make the Ultra 2 shoes a superior choice for technical running (as is seen in the skyrace extreme category). Only trying them out will tell!

  2. That’s nothing short of amazing!

    Based solely on your effusive praise, I bought a pair of these shoes to try. I’ve only taken them on a few runs so far, but already I think I’m in love. I’m also nervously looking forward to the second iteration, and wondering if it can only go downhill from here. I’d better stock up just in case.

    Regards,
    Andy (who’s not nearly brave enough to put his shoes in the washing machine)

    • Hi Andy,

      Great that you have had a good experience with the Sense Ultra- it’s seems to be pretty much universal. I have read that the Sense Ultra is the best selling S Lab product ever. The only consistent “complaint” I have heard is w/r/t the price but at $180US and 2000 km that works out to $0.09 per km ($0.15 per mile) and likely less depending on how many more miles I get get out of this pair. The $0.15/mile is an excellent value particularly considering the comfort and performance of the Sense Ultra. We’ll just have to see on the Ultra 2 but in the meantime the Ultra should be coming up on sale soon- a good time to stock away a couple pair.

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