I’ve been enjoying running in Salomon’s S-Lab Sense Ultra (3s) – they have a great, snug fit, and are very light. However, at the end of longer runs (4h+) I found myself wanting a little more cushioning to save the bottom of my feet and reduce any aching, especially when running on hard trails… and I was kindly sent the Salomon S-Lab Wings 8 to try out.
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S-Lab Wings 8
Salomon’s strap line for these shoes is ‘play faster on technical trails‘.
They’re designed for giving good grip on technical descents and dry terrain – so are ideal for the types of mountain-running we love to do in Europe, as well as the stony / rocky foot and bridle paths closer to home.
They are, essentially, a more cushioned version of my beloved Sense Ultras, and only slightly heavier, so still lightweight compared to most trail running shoes.
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The S-Lab Wings 8 have the typical ‘snug’ Salomon fit. However, while I needed to find some ultra-thin socks to fit in my Sense Ultras, I found that when I wore the Wings 8 with thin socks, I ended up with blisters on the side of my big toes.
I was pretty disappointed as despite the blisters I was enjoying running in them! I tried running in them with normal thickness socks (typically my Balega Enduro Socks) and they fit perfectly: no more blisters, plus the added bonus of a little more sock-cushioning. It’s amazing how such a small change can make the world of difference when it comes to fit.
Running in the S-Lab Wings 8
Despite the increased cushioning, the shoes still feel very responsive, and close to the ground, which is important to me on trails: I don’t enjoy running on trails and wallowing about several cm above the ground – in my opinion, there’s more chance of rolling an ankle or tripping that way.
Some trail shoes are uncomfortable when worn on tarmac – which I often need to do to get to/from trails or when running on a mixture of trail and road. The S-Lab Wings 8 are fine on roads, I don’t even notice I’m wearing trail running shoes.
I choose to wear these shoes on harder packed / stony, technical trails – as this is what they are designed for. They had a couple of great outings during our recent trip to New Zealand, where we ran the Routeburn Track (technical!) and part of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track (beach and packed trails) in them (see video below).
I wouldn’t choose them if I was going to run somewhere that was very boggy/muddy – you’d be much better off with some shoes designed for wet/slippy conditions if going running there (these aren’t as nobbly).
Having said this, I found them very grippy in wet conditions on normal dirt/stone/rocky trails, which gives me confidence when wearing them if I find myself caught out in the rain or after some wet weather, and what puts them top of my list when it comes to choosing shoes for mountain-running.
The Salomon S-Lab Wings 8 are one of my current favourite trail running shoes, due to their comfortable fit, responsiveness and versatility. I’d be happy wearing them on a range of adventures and races, including an upcoming UK Coastal Ultra (CTS Pembrokeshire) and the Lavaredo Ultra Trail in the Italian Dolomites, as well as bridlepath/country lane training runs near home. If you would like to try a pair out for yourself, here’s the link!
Thanks to Salomon for sending the shoes for review!