Home / Road running shoes / Salomon S/Lab Pulsar

Salomon S/Lab Pulsar Review Analysis (2022)

Salomon S/Lab Pulsar review trail running shoes

Last update: June 2024

Specially created for Kilian Jornet, the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar is an ultralightweight competition trail running shoe.

The Consensus

9.3Overall score
The Formula 1 of trail running shoes validated by Kilian Jornet: ultralightweight and springy!
Salomon is a major player in trail running shoes. While the S/Lab Sense Pro held the top spot for a long time, there’s a new little gem of technology to be reckoned with: the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar! This lightweight and seek competition trail shoe was designed in Annecy (France) at Salomon HQ for its top athletes like Kilian Jornet. So let’s see if what’s good for the elite is suitable for regular runners like you and me!

The first thing that stands out from all the reviews is that this shoe is incredibly lightweight: only 174 g/6.1 oz (men’s model). Its sole is more flexible and slightly thicker than that of the S/Lab Sense 8. It uses a new foam: Energy Surge. We get a 14.5 mm stack height under the heel and 20.5 mm under the forefoot foot for a drop of 6 mm. Runners who have tried the shoe note that the cushioning is relatively firm while being comfortable. The sensations are excellent with a springy ride due to the foam, the low drop, and the nice ground feel. It also appears from the various tests that the rebound is excellent, which makes the shoe ideal for competition. However, the low stack height may limit the shoe’s potential for long distances such as ultramarathon running, although it’s a matter of personal preference. Also, let’s note that several testers expressed concern about the durability of the midsole. It’s a point to watch. It may be wise to use it primarily in competition and opt for a more robust model for daily training.

Regarding the upper, wide-footed runners found the Pulsar quite tricky to put on, as the collar is very narrow. As with all of Salomon’s S/Lab models, QuickLace replaces the traditional laces. On this model, the eyelets have disappeared, and the lace goes directly into the fabric. We find a small pocket on the top to slip the excess laces, but some of the testers complained about the small size of this pocket. Trailers particularly appreciated the “mini-sock,” which prevents the presence of dirt and gravel in the shoe. Overall, they noted an excellent lockdown, despite the lack of structure of the upper.

On the outer part of the sole is Contagrip, a blown rubber that equips most of the brand’s trail running shoes. The design of the lugs and their depth suggest that this shoe will be more suitable for not too technical and not too wet terrain. This point is confirmed by several testers who noted a limited grip in the mud.

In summary, the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar is an outstanding elite trail shoe to go fast on the trails. Though it was developed for and endorsed by superstar Kilian Jornet, all the testers had a lot of fun running with the Pulsar and felt they, too, could push their limits!
Comfort
9.5
Grip
9
Protection
9
Durability
9
Value for money
9.5
Design
10
PROS
  • Very lightweight shoe (174g/6.1 oz!)
  • Very comfortable
  • Good grip overall
  • Excellent responsive cushioning
  • Effective lockdown despite the lack of structure of the upper
CONS
  • Difficult to put on, especially for runners with wide feet
  • The grip can be limited on very technical terrain (mud, snow)
  • Limited protection: no side guards, minimal toe cap
  • Some doubts about the durability of the midsole

Technologies

Salomon S/Lab Pulsar Contagrip rubber outsole

Outsole

  • The outsole of the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar is equipped with Contagrip MA, a blown rubber made for trails. It’s a lightweight and flexible yet resilient material that flexes with the foot’s movement on top of offering great traction.

Midsole

  • The midsole consists of Energy Surge: this cutting-edge technology is a lightweight foam made of olefin and EVA. It disperses impacts and increases the energy return for faster back to front transitions.
  • Profeel Film: a foam layer placed between the midsole and the outsole that supports and protects the foot to combine comfort and safety on trail surfaces.
  • The EVA sockliner adapts to the shape of the foot and adds padding to the platform.

Upper

  • The upper of the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar is an anti-debris mesh that ensures a secure and comfortable foot lockdown while letting the foot breathe, especially when at high speed.
  • Matryx: a special fabric that combines Kevlar and polyamide for high abrasion resistance on rugged trail surfaces.
  • The seamless design increases step-in comfort by reducing chafing and irritation during your runs. It also allows the upper to be more supple.
  • Quicklace allows you to tighten or loosen the laces with just one easy movement. The laces are thin but robust and runners rave about the precise fit they ensure.

Facts

Technical Specs

TerrainTrail
Pronation typeNeutral
Drop6 mm
Heel stack height21 mm
Forefoot stack height15 mm
Weight (men)174 g/6.1 oz
Weight (women)156 g/5.5 oz
Release year2021
AthletesKílian Jornet Burgada

Cushioning

Softness (1-5)2 – Firm
Bounce (1-5)4 – Bouncy

Technologies

OutsoleContagrip MA
MidsoleEnergy Surge, Profeel Film, EVA sockliner
UpperAnti-debris mesh, Matryx, seamless design, Quicklace

Use

SpeedFast
DistanceShort, mid
WorkoutCompetition

Reference: Salomon Official

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar true to size?

Yes, the fit is true to size, so you can buy your regular size for trail running shoes. However, if this your very first pair of Salomon shoes, it would be a good idea to try them on in a shop to make sure you find the most comfortable size for you.

Is this a shoe for heavyweight runners (187 lbs/85 kg or more)?

In theory, this model should be suitable for all runners as it’s not minimalist. However, its thin sole (21 mm heel stack height) may not be enough for heavy runners used to wearing well-cushioned shoes.

Is the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar recommended to run a marathon?

The Salomon S/Lab Pulsar is a comfortable, lightweight competition shoe, although it comes with limited cushioning. Initially designed for Salomon’s top sponsored athletes, there’s no doubt that some of them will use it in ultramarathon races. For the average person, the question is more delicate. With its sole thin (21 mm heel stack height) and moderate level of protection and grip, it may not be the most optimal configuration for trail running. So it’s up to you to decide, depending on how your experience and your abilities.

Is the Salomon S/Lab Pulsar waterproof?

This trail running shoe does not have a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane (or other waterproof technology). Nevertheless, although it’s not waterproof, the shoe repels small amounts of water, such as light rain, and splashes without any problem.

Kevin Le Gall

Kevin Le Gall

Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner's Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He's also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.

1 thought on “Salomon S/Lab Pulsar”

  1. FYI, Salomon also do this for ‘soft ground’: S/LAB PULSAR SOFT GROUND.
    I guess this is better for testers of the standard shoe who felt it was too slippery in the mud.
    It’s identical, apart from the sole’s teeth (grips) are longer. The longer teeth do raise the weight though, from “170g” to “199g”, according to Salomon, who don’t mention the shoe size it refers to (9UK is the average shoe size).
    This suggests that the standard shoe is more of a versatile (extremely) lightweight running shoe, not truly for trail-running, and the ‘Soft Ground’ is more for wet/muddy/cross-country/damp grass/snow/low grip trail-running (but 199g is still extremely light!).
    However, both are twice as expensive as they should be, at £170.
    Their true rival (to the actual trail-running ‘Soft Ground’) is the Adidas ‘TERREX SPEED PRO TRAIL RUNNING SHOES’ which is lighter (190g vs 199g) and £40 cheaper than the Soft Ground’s RRP. Adidas’s TERREX SPEED PRO looks much nicer too.

    Reply

Leave a Comment