Summary

We spent 8 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • The upper of the shoe features an anti-debris mesh that works as intended, according to some reviews.
  • Most of the runners applauded the midsole construction of the S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 SG that provides impressive stability, motion control and cushioning.
  • The quick lace fit system of the shoe promotes tight-fitting and agility gained several positive reviews.
  • Some runners were happy with the welded construction and lightweight materials used in this shoe.
  • The low to the ground construction and Profeel Film technology is a great combination that promotes balanced terrain feel and protection.
  • Most runners were satisfied with the aggressive lug design of the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 SG that provided impressive grip while running on wet, muddy or soft surfaces.

3 reasons not to buy

  • The S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 SG is an expensive shoe.
  • The anti-debris mesh is not breathable as observed by most runners.
  • Not as durable as expected by some runners.

Bottom line

The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 SG is a reliable trail shoe for neutral runners. It gained positive reviews because of the overall construction that offers superb cushioning and stability. Due to its impressive performance on varied trail surfaces, many runners would recommend this shoe not just to professionals but also to casual trail runners.

Facts

Rankings

A top 8% best Trail running shoe
It has never been more popular than this May

Expert Reviews

89 / 100 based on 2 expert reviews

  • 92 / 100 |

    Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 SG: My go to shoe on soft and technical trails, especially when running off trail

    More photos

    Overview

    The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 SG targets those serious to elite athletes for racing and training on rough and wet terrain. This shoe is all about giving you a sure-footed grip.

     

     

    Thus, it provides the confidence to attack and push hard on challenging ground. But, on hardpack and relatively even ground, it is best to leave these shoes at home.

    Best for

    • rough, tough, wet and soft ground (The aggressive lugs on the sole provide fantastic bite and confidence in the most challenging conditions.)
    • racing rather than training and/or daily runs

    Struggles on

    • hardpack and tarmac (asphalt), particularly when spending more than a few kilometres (or miles) on roads. Your feet and toenails will remind you the next day!

    Comfort

    The comfort of the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 SG is relative. It is certainly well designed and constructed with smooth joins and precise stitching.

     

     

    However, it is not a shoe with much cushioning in any areas. It is a high performance, stripped-down shoe dedicated to function.

    The fit is regular to narrow, which is great for locking down your foot and supported by the quick, tight, and secure lacing system. For a runner with wider feet, I imagine it is a shoe to skip.

    Upper

    The upper is quite light and thin, but the fabric does have enough rigidity to keep your foot secure. You will feel trail debris should a stone or pebble hit your foot in motion.

    The fabric also has some reinforced areas at the folding area just above the ball of your foot. This has been an area prone to wear, tear, and holes in previous iterations of the shoe.

     

     

    The tongue is integrated like a sock liner, which stays put and does not move at all during use. The tongue's restricted movement will prevent it from bunching up or pressure points.

    The tongue is also minimal and has little padding that would occasionally lead to pressure from the lacing system when overly tight.

    There is a small tuck pocket on the tongue to store the laces when tied tightly and prevent any snagging. It also prevents the laces from working loose (not that it seems it could from my experience).

    Insole

    Sticking to the overriding theme, Salomon made the insole slim, light, and nothing more than the bare essentials.

    Sole

    Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5 SG's sole delivers on its promise. It's aggressive, strong, and sure. The compound wears well and will last a long time on the ground it is designed for.

    However, if you do take it out on the road frequently, expect to see the life of the lugs disappear. More than that, the sole is aggressive and quite stiff, which is fantastic on soft ground.

    This sole gives an excellent feel and precision, but it can bash up your feet when running for extended time on harder surfaces.

     

     

    However, the lack of cushioning can cause fatigue in ankles, knees and hips on longer runs. Only the strongest muscles will survive unscathed.

    It is a low drop shoe (<8mm), which helps for longer efforts and ultra distances. But, it does take a little getting used to if it was your first trail shoe.

    An earlier version of this shoe was my first trail shoe, and I disliked it on the first outing but loved it within two weeks.

    Durability

    To be fair to Salomon, they have not claimed that this shoe is an everyday shoe with an incredible life. It is a high-performance race shoe.

    You can expect it to show signs of fatigue after c. 500km (300 miles). However, if it is kept exclusively to the softer terrain and away from any road, its lifespan can almost double.

    It certainly is competing with and, in my experience, besting most of the other leading brands high-performance offerings.

    Overall

    It’s slim, it’s light, it’s aggressive, and it will certainly make for confidence when moving fast over soft ground. However, don’t expect much cushioning and impact reduction.

    If you race over soft ground and don’t have a wide foot, I believe that this shoe is a must-try.

    I have had four pairs of various versions and will keep updating to the latest release when I need a new shoe for the softer trails and off-trail adventures.

  • 85 / 100 | The Best Running Shoes | Level 3 expert

    For it’s price, it is worth investing if your goal is to get the best protection and durable running shoes in wet or muddy trails, the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra SG can counquer any terrain.

  • First look | Jeff Pelletier |

    Deep lugs for the mud, great on loose terrain as well with a new compound that is much stickier on wet, smooth rocks.

Become an expert
  • One of Salomon’s most popular trail shoes undergoes noteworthy changes in the Sense Ultra 5 SG. Salomon is now offering a new compound in their Contagrip outsole that will enhance the stickiness of the shoe. It will make running on wet rocks, grass, and shingles so much better with this new compound.
  • The aggressive lugs are a bit wider apart and just slightly larger than before. These beasts will have exceptional bite on the most difficult terrain and shakes off mud to cleat.
  • A new ripstop upper is introduced to add durability to an already breathable coverage. It also helps with the reduction in weight.
  • Speaking of reduction, the new model is a massive 20 grams lighter than the past model. This is mainly because of the use of very light materials all throughout the shoe.

The latest version like the model before has a unisex fit in men’s sizes. It has average width all throughout. The fit would be just right and very comfortable for those with medium widths. Available sizes are from 4 to 14.


A new Wet-Traction Contagrip outsole enhances the traction of the shoe even on slick conditions. This is a technology that is already found in some of the shoes in Salomon’s fold that is now incorporated in the 7th version of the S-Lab Sense Ultra SG. The deep lugs also deliver a serious bite on trails and mountain surfaces. A Pro Feel Film allows sufficient ground feedback while it protects the foot from the harsh terrain.


A combination of molded EVA and dual-density foam deliver cushioning, responsive features, and a bit of stability in this shoe. These midsole technologies are particularly light, which greatly helped with the weight reduction.


A new ripstop upper provides exceptional breathability while adding durability on the rugged trail. Also same as in the popular Salomon Sense Ride 2, the SensiFit technology or the network of overlays working in tandem with the eyelets produces a fantastic and secure fit. A soft and plush inner sleeve called Endofit enhances comfort and make fit even better. Lastly, a really tough string made of polyester act as lace to produce personalized and comfortable fit.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com