Hands-on Gear Review

Salomon S Lab Sonic 2 Review

Salomon S-Lab Sonic 2
Price:  $170 List
Pros:  Extremely light, breathable, ability handle trails
Cons:  Only comes in one color, price, not a cold weather shoe
Bottom line:  The best hybrid or cross-over shoe we reviewed.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
Weight:  7.8 oz
Sizes Available:  4 - 14.5
Upper Material:  Nylon/mesh
Manufacturer:   Salomon

Our Verdict

The Salomon S-Lab Sonic 2 is a go-to race day shoe that is capable of sprint interval training, and moderate trail running. While Salomon is known for creating high performance trail shoes, this durable yet lightweight shoe shows us that they also are capable of crafting worthy running shoes. We enjoyed testing the S-lab Sonic on pavement, sidewalks, moderate trails, sandy washes, and some rock climbing approaches.


RELATED REVIEW: The 11 Best Running Shoes for Women

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Brittney Ahrens

Last Updated:
Friday
February 10, 2017

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The New S-Lab Sonic 2 vs. the S-Lab Sonic


With quite a few changes to the fit and construction, the Salomon S-Lab Sonic 2 has still kept the same look and many of the same technologies. For a side-by-side comparison, check out the Sonic 2, left, next to the Sonic we tested, right.
Salomon S-Lab Sonic 2
Salomon S Lab Sonic

Here's a full summary of updates to the Sonic 2:
  • Stability — Salomon has updated the shoe to include the Profeel Film Chassis which they hope will increase stability, protection, and control.
  • Cushioning — For both cushioning and durability, the Sonic 2 now has Energy Cell+ cushioning. Additionally, Opal Technology has been included for added comfort in particularly high-impact areas.
  • Impact — Salomon hoped to reduce the fatigue of impact by employing VIBE technology for reduced vibration.
  • Midfoot — The midfoot fit has been updated with the addition of an endoFIT midfoot internal sleeve.

Because we haven't yet tested the Sonic 2, the rest of this review continues to reflect the original S-Lab Sonic.


Performance Comparison


Responsiveness


These kicks gave us an awesome amount of propulsive feedback through the landing to toe-off phase in our gait cycle. The feedback of the more minimally cushioned outsole gave a needed "jump" to help propel us forward. As a more lightweight shoe, the response is a little short of the Salming Race 3, which scored a near perfect 9 out of 10, but it outperformed the Altra Intuition 4.5 and Adidas Pure Boost X, for its ever so fast response on dynamic terrain and man-made surfaces.

This model was one of the best mild supportive shoe with still being lightweight. This shoe does have a light as a feather EVA midsole that still provides feedback on impact for fast response that will keep you going mile after mile.

Landing Comfort


The Salomon EVA Energy Cell+ provided ample cushioning; if additional cushion is of interest, the Hoka One One Bondi 5 can provide. While the S-Lab Sonic performed well on diverse terrain and sub-par weather conditions, we felt that it really excelled during fast sprinting exercises and up dirt road hills. The Sonic is equipped with an even foundation, which made for a smooth ride, especially for such a lightweight model; however, we feel most runners would benefit from a more supportive and cushioned running shoe. We found that the award-winning Brooks Glycerin 14 - Women's, which scored the highest in this metric, is a better all-around option for dynamic terrain and conditions.

The S Lab Sonic is a very flexible shoe  allowing the foot to move more naturally.
The S Lab Sonic is a very flexible shoe, allowing the foot to move more naturally.

Upper Comfort


The upper is perfectly snug, giving us a sock-like fit, offering a similar feel to the Adidas Pure Boost X; in fact, we found this pair of running shoes to be comfortable enough to forego wearing socks. The Salomon Sensifit design cradled our foot, providing a secure fit. In addition, the internal sleeve presented optimal feedback and comfort during impact with the pavement or trail. The snugness of this shoe might take some getting used to, as the heel is fitted and secure, which may prove to be a problem for those with wider feet. Those looking for a less narrow lightweight shoe might consider the Altra Intuition 4.5. The New Balance 860 V7 scored the only 10 in the review, offering an upper that holds the foot securely in place.

The EndoFit internal sleeve gives the sock like feel.
The EndoFit internal sleeve gives the sock like feel.

Stability


With a heel height of 24 x 16 mm and an 8 mm heel to toe drop, this shoe has a very traditional feel. Shoes that had parallel drops were the Saucony Hurricane ISO 2 and the Saucony Guide 10. The S-Lab Sonic features the iconic Salomon SensiFit, which cradles the foot and offers a snug fit. After a couple of strides, we discovered that the tightness was providing splendid stability. If you're a runner that is interested in additional stability, we'd suggest giving the Brooks Glycerin 14 a look.

Durability


While Salomon is highly regarded for their exquisite trail running shoes, they aren't necessarily known for their road shoes. The classic laces found on the hybrid S Lab Sonic were different than what we've seen on various other Salomon models, which tend to use the quick lace system. The classic laces on the Sonic were a bit hit; the extremely lightweight design of the traditional laces was a plus. Not only did they help to shed weight, by they provided security and flexibility, and remained flat.

The Contagrip rubber featured the outsole of the shoe added flexibility and protection for our underfoot; a real bonus in our book. The Bondi 5 and Brooks Glycerin 14 - Women's both scored a 9 out of 10 in this metric, earning the title of being the most durable shoes in our fleet. Because the Sonic featured a mesh upper that was vulnerable to possible wear and tear if impacted by rocks or particles, we awarded it a 7 out of possible 10. The TPU overlay is not seamless; in turn, this creates a barrier that grabs bits of dirt that will build up over time, causing wear and tear.

Contragrip rubber on the outsole allows for flexibility and protection underfoot.
Contragrip rubber on the outsole allows for flexibility and protection underfoot.

Breathability


This shoe came in high on the metric scale for its breathability. Crafted with a quick-drying and breathable mesh upper, the Sonic allowed for ample moisture release. The mesh is a single layer that is open to air; combined with its nylon layers, rocks were not able to make their way in via the side of the shoe. We tested the S Lab Sonic's in the hot desert of Utah, concluding that the design of the breathable mesh kept our feet from becoming sweaty, and thus, overheating.

One downside is that this contender is not meant to be a cold weather shoe; because the mesh is so breathable (which is positive if you're a runner that prefers warmer temperatures), we can't recommend them for cold weather runs, as there is not enough of a barrier to keep the foot protected. If you're a cold weather runner, the Brooks Ghost 10 - Women's or the light and minimal Altra Intuition 4.5 are better options.

Weight


This contender delivered a lightweight ride that kept us going, while still offering a protective sole and a breathable mesh upper. Armed with a traditional lace system, it is no wonder some runners are using these as their go-to for big races in hotter climates. With super thin mesh, the Sonic ditches warmth in an effort to keep the foot cool. While the weight of these shoes is indeed minimalist at 7.8 ounces, we wouldn't categorize them as such due to the heel and forefoot height of 24 x 16 mm, as well as an 8 mm heel to toe drop. If you're in the market for a minimal trainer, look no further than the Altra Intuition 4.5 or Salming Race 3.

Best Application


Those shoes will excel during a 5K, half-marathon, or during shorter races on roads and trails. The Sonic is intended as a city shoe, but we think it can go beyond the city as a cross-over monster.

Value


Given the amount of mesh this shoe has, the $170 price had us wondering if the quality was worth the price. We are happy to say it is well worth the price tag, especially when taking its minimal weight and advanced technology into account. The responsiveness and nice ride made them feel lightning fast on our feet! If you're after the most bang for your buck, we'd recommend our Best Buy award winner, the ASICS Gel-Cumulus 18. Retailing for $120, they're out third highest scoring contender.

Conclusion


The speedy  light S Lab Sonic!
The speedy, light S Lab Sonic!

We are very impressed by the Sonic's fluid ride and secure fit, combined with their extreme light weight. The flexibility and protection given underfoot, which we've come to expect from a road shoe, was presented in this hybrid/cross-over running shoe. The grip that the S Lab Sonic delivered on all terrain was amazing, allowing us to go anywhere, and to go anywhere fast.
Brittney Ahrens

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