Mary's been lucky enough to receive an early sample of the Salomon S-Lab Sense 2 running shoe...
The original Salomon Sense was a revelation when it was released and as the saying goes “why change something if it isn’t broken?” Salomon appear to have taken this approach with the soon to be released Sense 2, avoiding the temptation for a massive overhaul rather opting for a few well considered tweaks to the original. I have been lucky enough to have a pair of the new Salomon Sense 2 for a couple of months now and being a fan of a natural style of running I have been hugely impressed.
Straight out of the box comfort is something I often struggle with, usually spending a few days wearing new trainers in before I am happy to run in them, but this wasn’t the case with the Sense 2, straight off they felt snug and secure, no stiffness, no irritation points just a slipper like fit. This is achieved by the inclusion of Salomon’s updated 2nd Skin Seamless Sensifit which ensures the lining is soft, hotspot free and ideal to wear sockless should you wish. I haven’t previously worn shoes sockless to run in but I am now a convert thanks to the next to skin comfort of the Sense 2!
Lightweight is often overused but the Sense 2 are nothing short of featherweight! The original Sense were light (195g) but thanks to even lighter, but equally robust materials, and a reduction in the upper overlays the Sense 2 is even lighter (190g)! You really feel like there is nothing on your feet and yet there is an accompanying feeling of protection. A contradiction of terms I know, but you just have to try them to believe it!
Over the years Salomon have mastered the secure fit of trail shoes which is vital when crossing uneven, unpredictable terrain. The Sense 2 upper wraps around the foot pulling the outsole towards your sole and creating, as close to a single unit as possible...wherever you put your foot, the Sense 2 is right there with you. There is no unwanted movement of the foot inside the shoe, no sliding or twisting as you cross cambered trails or tackle steep descents. Salomons ever reliable Quicklace system ensures the close fit is maintained and the slight alteration to the lacing at the top the tongue on the Sense 2 compared to the Sense is, in my view, an improvement really locking the shoe down and stowing the fastener away better.
A further improvement is the slightly more robust, more protective anti-debris material used for the upper. So far the material is wearing really well with little or no evidence of damage from the rough terrain I have tested them out on and it also, along with the tongue cover, keeps even the smallest particles of dust out of the shoe.
The heel to toe drop of the Sense 2 is the same 4mm as the original which combined with Salomon’s Propriotection technology defiantly encourages you to run fast by enhancing a more mid-forefoot strike and promoting the roll through in the natural motion of the foot. I really loved this fast, light footed feel and as I am a forefoot runner anyway the Sense 2 is a perfect partner for me.
Grip wise the Sense 2 has sufficient traction for a variety of trails but is best suited to dry, rocky tracks but has the ability to tackle anything should the unexpected crop up! With a target terrain of hard packed, rocky terrain, the protection from the Sense 2 is nothing short of phenomenal for such a light, minimalist shoe. The cushioning is spot on for the fast paced training or race efforts with an impressive midsole height of 13mm in the heel and 9mm in the forefoot, there is certainly enough to cushion the impact but little enough not to interfere with your feel of the ground. A shoe is at its best when the inclusion of something means it isn’t noticed and this is exactly what the Profeel Film throughout forefoot of the Sense 2 does. It provides protection and is only noticeable because you don’t notice sharp rocks and unexpected debris on the trails....perfect!
Admittedly the Sense 2 won’t suit everyone but if you have a relatively efficient running style and are looking for a super light, agile trail shoe then it is definitely a good choice. It’s ideal for racing or fast paced training or as a transition shoe from heavy, supportive trainers to a more minimal shoe. If you have had been one of the many people who loved the original Sense, you’ll be pleased to hear that the little differences in the Sense 2 have made a brilliant shoe even better.