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Delivered and out of the box, a few photo's for review purposes before the mud spoils the pretty colours and it was straight out for a 10k to see just how good the Sense 3 Ultra SG's really are...
Comfort and Fit:
It was immediately evident that these are a very comfortable pair of trail shoes. In the past, Salomon shoes have been associated with a narrow last and fit, leaving people with wider feet struggling to be comfortable on longer runs. This doesn't seem to be the case with the Sense 3 Ultra SG. Couple the shape and last with the EndoFit sock-like liner and SensiFit system held in place with the quick lacing system and these are certainly the most comfortable pair of Salomons I have tried to date. Straight out of the box and out for a 10k and there was no blisters to worry about and not even a hint of a hot-spot anywhere. Also, my toes were left plentiful room to spread inside the toe box, resulting in a very comfy ride. Perfect.
The grip looks similar to the Speedcross, as if the Chevron Contagrip M&S lugs have been added to the previous Sense Ultra sole unit. Add to this the super lightweight upper and low-slung 4mm drop (13mm heel and 9mm forefoot) and this is a serious weapon for running in wet, muddy and snow conditions. I certainly encountered some very wet and muddy trail conditions on my first run in the Sense 3 Ultra SG's and the shoes handled it perfectly. I would liken the grip and performance in wet and soft ground conditions to that of the Fellcross 2 (http://caveman-clarke.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/salomon-s-lab-fellcross-2-review.html), but with a more comfortable fit, last and upper.
As with all trail shoes with a more extreme grip and lug pattern, the ride is somewhat compromised on very hard and flat surfaces such as very hard-packed trail and road, but then that is not what this shoe is for. We all encounter some road or paved sections between trails so it is worth mentioning, and the shoe will happily handle the odd bit of hard terrain, but I would try and stick to wetter and softer ground if you can. If you wanted a similar shoe for drier and hotter conditions then Salomon have answered this with the release of the new Sense 3 Ultra; pretty much the same shoe but with a less aggressive tread pattern and different colour-way (red and white).
Time will tell on the durability of these stunning trail shoes, but judging on the reviews of the predecessors in the Sense range and other Salomon shoes I have reviewed in the past, I am not expecting any sudden disasters as these shoes appear a top-quality product.
Further posts on the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra Soft Ground: