The Salomon S-Lab Sense 4 Ultra SG is a shoe that needs to be taken at face value. This is not a Cinderella slipper where the string music rises up from the background as you slip it on for that cushy fit; this shoe is purposefully built for long-distance endurance trail running. It is not that this running shoe is uncomfortable, it is just minimalist and engineered towards performance. The fit is snug and secure due to the combination of the Endofit internal sleeve and the Quicklace system. This shoe feels incredibly light on your feet – probably because it weighs in at a scant 264 grams (9.3 ounces.) It’s not the lightest shoe on the market, but it feels like it could be.
This trail runner is full of Salomon technology since it is part of their flagship S-Lab line. The Endofit system and Profeel Film are the two most outstanding parts of this shoe’s construction. The deal with Endofit is that the tongue is attached to stretch panels that run down each side of your forefoot, keeping your foot from washing around in the shoe. This means better control and less blistering, in my experience. The Profeel Film is a protective strike plate in the forefoot that provides protection without adding bulky weight or diminishing compliance in the shoe. As with many Salomon shoes, the Quicklace system combined with a seamless upper adds to the adjustability and personalized fit of the shoe. A 4 millimeter drop helps make this shoe a great choice for distance runs and races, as it will keep your calves fresh with any stride length over the long haul.
This isn’t the La-Z-Boy of the shoe world. You won’t sigh as you settle in to this shoe – be ready to run, not relax. Performance trumps cushiness here, and all for good reason. The control in this shoe is excellent and the grip is out of sight. I feel like a gecko when I put these shoes on – the soles are super sticky. The SG in the title stands for Soft Ground, which is where these shoes are happiest. Soft, muddy, wet terrain is where this big lugged sole crushes it. I have not run in them long enough to report on durability, but the materials feel dense and ready to run for a ton of miles.
The absolute best application of this shoe is long-distance racing on soft, muddy terrain. Other happy environments will be snowy trails or dry, dusty conditions. This is a fast-moving shoe built for the inner gazelle in all of us. You don’t need to be Kilian Jornet Burgada or Stevie Kremer to wear these shoes. Just don’t buy them for a casual kick-around-town shoe; be prepared to feel fast!
Patrick Coffey, Summer Programs Director
This shoe is built for when your focus is to crush, not feel the plush.
Technical Features: The Sense 4 Ultra is loaded with technical features, none of which are unnecessary or just add-ons; this shoe is well thought out featuring Endofit, Profeel Film, Salomon’s Quicklace system, and Quick Drying Breathable Mesh.
Fit: Minimalist in all the right ways. Plenty of underfoot protection and enough cushion in the midsole to keep you going all day, but this shoe was not built for casual wear or with pillowy comfort as the ultimate goal.