Salomon S-LAB Sense Ultra 3 Review

by Korey Konga Monday, October 6th 2014

I've had my eye on the Salomon S-Lab Sense since I caught a glimpse of them during the 2011 Western States 100 coverage. However, at $200 a pair and original reports of low durability, I just couldn't bring myself to buy a pair. But over the last few years Salomon has lowered the price and increased the durability of the shoe, so I went ahead and got a pair. The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 3 features a weight of 7.8 ounces for a men's size 9, a stack height of 4mm and an MSRP of $160.

 

 

 

UPPER

The upper is constructed using seamless open mesh and Endofit. Endofit is an inner liner attached to the shoe which hugs your foot for a secure fit which also provides a little more feedback from the terrain. Like all of Salomon's trail runners, the S-LAB Sense Ultra comes equipped with a quick lace system that stuffs easily into the lace pocket located on the tongue of the shoe.

I really like the quick lace system, it's easier than tying bunny ears and you don't have to worry about your laces coming untied. I found this shoe fits true to size (with a light cushion sock) although if I were to wear it sockless I would size down by a ½ size. Just remember that it is built on a racing last, so it will be snug and secure, almost like a second skin and will most likely not work for people who prefer or need a high volume shoe.

 

MIDSOLE

The midsole has a low heel drop of 4mm with a semi-firm EVA compound and Salomon's Profeel TPU film as a rock plate for forefoot protection. There are really no frills to talk about here, the midsole does what it's supposed to do…it absorbs impact forces, keeps you close to the ground and protects your forefoot from rock bruises.

 

OUTSOLE

The outsole is comprised of shallow multi directional lugs featuring Salomon's Contagrip which uses varying rubber densities for different areas of the outsole to provide traction. I found the grip to be phenomenal. The only problem I experienced is that some of the lower density lugs wore down very quickly on our rocky Tucson terrain. That being said, because of the fit and Contagrip, I was extremely confident in this shoe when running fast down the very rocky, technical trails.

 

 

CONCLUSION

These shoes are awesome. Like, you take them for a fast, technical, life threatening downhill run and you are filled with genuine AWE, type of awesome. They wrap your foot like a second skin and provide unparalleled stability on technical terrain. The ride is firm yet responsive with just enough protection for gnarly Tucson trails. 

One thing buyers need to keep in mind is that while the sticker price is higher than average, you aren't paying for durability, you're paying for lightweight performance. This is essentially a mountain racing flat, so keep in mind that you will probably only get half as many miles out of the S-LAB Sense Ultra compared to something like the Salomon Speedcross. That being said, you'd be hard pressed to find another shoe that performs this well in mountainous terrain and in my opinion they are completely worth every penny.

Gear

Merrell Mix Master 2 Review

by Korey Konga Monday, July 23rd 2012

Well folks, we just got the Mix Master 2 by Merrell in at Summit Hut.

Weighing in at 8.1 ounces, this is a great minimal trainer from Merrell's M-Connect line of shoes. Merrell markets the Mix Master 2 as a light-weight multi-sport shoe with minimal drop. “Multi-sport” meaning that the shoe should perform equally well on the trail as it does on the road (hence the name, Mix Master).

The Mix Master has a mesh upper with lightweight TPU overlays. The mesh upper gives the shoe that slipper-like fit and flexibility, while the overlays lock your foot down. It also features a bellows tongue which helps keep rocks, pebbles, and other debris, out of the shoe.

Merrell Mix Master 2 Top

The collar is very soft and comfortable, minimizing the chances of ankle irritation.

Merrell Mix Master 2 Back

The toe box is a little narrower than say, the Trail Glove, but it still provides a decent amount of room, more than most trail runners. There is also a rubber toe guard for protection on those super technical trails where the chances of smashing a toe are more than likely.

Merrell Mix Master 2 Top

The Mix Master sports a 4mm drop with a stack height of 9mm in the heel and 5mm in the forefoot (plus a 2mm EVA insole) and the EVA foot bed is treated with Merrell's antimicrobial solution to keep odors at bay. 

Merrell Mix Master 2 Side 1

Merrell Mix Master 2 Side 2

The outsole features lugs made with Merrell's “sticky” rubber. Hidden beneath the outsole is a flexible forefoot shock pad which protects your foot against rugged terrain and evenly distributes impact forces.

Merrell Mix Master 2

With all of these protective features you'd think that the shoe would lack flexibility, but it doesn't. It remains flexible and nimble, to ye minimalists delight.

Merrell Mix Master 2 Flex

Wear test and thoughts: In the last couple of days I took the Mix Master 2 on a few runs on various terrain. I took them on the treadmill, paved road, single track, some technical trails, steep climbs and equally steep descents.

Merrell exceeded my expectations with this shoe. The low drop and stack height made for great ground feel and definitely encouraged a mid-foot strike without sacrificing cushioning. The outsole is very sticky and the lugs are aggressive enough to handle some very technical terrain, but not so over bearing that you can't hit the black top. My foot didn't slip around in the shoe during descents, but didn't feel constricted in the toe box either.

I would recommend the Mix Master 2 as a daily trail trainer or a transitional shoe for someone who wants to switch to a minimal style, but isn't quite ready for a 0mm drop shoe.

Thanks for reading!

For more of my adventures and training visit: koreykonga.blogspot.com

Gear

Patagonia Light Flyer Review

by Korey Konga Tuesday, July 10th 2012

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

The Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket is a light weight breathable waterproof active shell featuring GORE-TEX Active Technology is a great option or any runner looking for some reprieve from storms.

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

The back panel vents as well as zippered vents on the upper arm allow for extra air flow when you're really pumping out a tough work out.

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

The waterproof zippered pocket on the back of the jacket is great for storing a few essentials. I can fit a credit card, my ID and my electronic car key, which gives me more space in my handhelds for GU, which is awesome.

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

The collar is lined with a soft moisture wicking fabric providing comfort even after prolonged friction.

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

Finally, one of my favorite features of Patagonia's Light Flyer are the  built in mittens which fold down from the jackets cuffs. I can't tell you the number of times I've gone out for a run and left my gloves at home only to be thinking about how cold my fingers were for the entire run. This was a FANTASTIC idea and I give big props to Patagonia because I'm sure this feature will save my day many times in the winter months.

Patagonia Light Flyer JacketPatagonia Light Flyer Jacket

One thing you should keep in mind if you're ordering this jacket online is that it runs a little small. I wear a size small in EVERYTHING, but in the Patagonia Light Flyer I wear a medium, which fits me perfect. It's a slim fit jacket which is just how I love all of my shirts, so I love the fit.

This is literally the best running shell I've ever worn. Whether you're an elite runner or a weekend warrior, I strongly suggest investing in this piece of essential gear for the upcoming season.

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

Thanks for reading!

For my training and adventures visit: koreykonga.blogspot.com

Gear

The Authors

Dave BakerDave Baker

I'm Dave Baker, founder of Summit Hut, an independent outdoor retailer based in Tucson, Arizona since 1969. As an experienced and passionate hiker, climber and backpacker, my blog is intended to be an informative and interesting look into the outdoors and the outdoor industry.

Dana Davis

Dana Davis

I’m Dana Davis, co-owner of the Summit Hut. I mostly enjoy hiking and road biking though I often do other things to keep it interesting (mountaineering, motorcycling, backpacking, climbing, you name it!) My biggest challenge is sometimes finding the balance between career, family, and fun but it’s working out so far!

Dan Davis

Dan Davis

I'm Dan Davis, after retiring from the National Park Service as a Ranger and manager, I worked for the Summit Hut until 2009, then retired for good (maybe). I'm now spending my time traveling around the southwest writing and working on my nature and fine art photography business.

Emily Gindlesparger

Emily Gindlesparger

I’m Emily Gindlesparger, a member of the Summit Hut floor staff. Since moving here from the Midwest, I’ve been taking advantage of all possible adventures in Arizona: rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, whitewater kayaking, caving and trail running; I’m always excited to see what’s next!

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