Salomon S-LAB SPEED OCR SHOE Review

A look back to happy feet in 2015: #Salomon

Before we kick off the new season of OCR in 2016, I think we need a bit of a review on my gear of 2015!

Obstacle Course Racing is the fastest growing sport in the world. Naturally, there is a lot of debate about what is the best gear to use for the races, as there’s no set standard as yet due to the sports’ rapid growth.

In my opinion, your choice of shoes is one of the biggest game changers regarding your OCR racing, placing and enjoyment. What makes a good OCR shoe? Well, since you tend to get a lot of water and mud on the course, you need to think about drainage, grip and comfort…

My shoe of choice is the Salomon S-LAB FellCross3,

image001which was later remodelled with a more aggressive grip and given a bit of a facelift to become the S-LAB SPEED.

So WHY the Salomon?

Precisely because is the shoe you need for the type of mud, water and trail terrain that we are getting in OCR. For a good OCR shoe, you need a shoe that is goanna drain and dry fast, has a very good grip, can handle different and technical terrains, and that gives your foot enough support to spend 2 hours+  without any problems, and of course it must look cool.

Unlike trail running, your whole foot is submerged in water during an OCR race, and if your shoes do not drain properly, this could leave you dragging a whole lot of extra weight during the whole race and probably pick up some blisters.

If you go for the really “thin-upper” kind of shoes, you end up losing some support to drainage. I think Salomon has found a nice balance on the S-LAB SPEED. These shoes are light weight, strong, have enough support, and at the same time boast good drainage.

The upper makeup of the S-LAB SPEED is made of rip-stop nylon, which is both light and strong. The protective TPU toe cap is substantial but lightweight; as is the firm heel cup, ensuring that your toes will survive the occasional loose rock on the trail. I also like the sleek design of this shoe, with no open joints for dirt or something to get stuck inside.

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The other upgrade is the grip of the shoe. Salomon added some grip to the bottom of the mid sole, which helps a lot on the rope climbs, and some extra grip on a wet pole or obstacle.

Salomon midsole grip

Both of these shoes have a built in sock, meaning they can actually be worn without socks. I have tried to use the shoes without socks but think it would take some getting used to before I attempt a race that way.

The S-LAB SPEED also comes with prerecorded laces with the quick release function, which is standard with the Salomon’s shoes, also an upgrade from the standard laces that I’m used to.

I used the S-LAB SPEED over at the OCR World Champs, and the terrain there was very muddy with extremely steep hills, so the more aggressive grip helped me out a lot there. Not only the grip, but the specific grip pattern that they use (“ContraGrip”) helped to keep my balance on the heel when I was going down sharp descents as well.

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The only criticism that I have of this shoe is the toe box: I have very wide feet, so my toes tend to be a little tight. But I am sure it is wide enough for the average foot!

All in all, I love these shoes and would recommend them for any OCR or trail event.

image007-1Thomas Salomon

– Thomas (#BeastMode) van Tonder ⎮Obstacle Course Racer ⎮ Jeep Team SA Athlete