Salomon Phantasm CF - technical, agile and snappy...but special
Alex: Because I got the shoe a couple of weeks later than Ivan and Tim, I haven’t run enough in it yet. And what a bummer. From the first feelings I got, I think this could be the next daily trainer in my personal rotation. And when a running shoe reviewer actually integrates a shoe in their own rotation…well I think that means a lot! I should update my parts of the review after 50kms or so in the shoe to confirm the above.
Salomon Phantasm CF – Specs
Weight: 228g in US 9 (claimed), 250g in US 11 (measured)
Stack height (forefoot/heel): 35/26, 9mm drop
Durometer score (0 to 100, soft to hard): 27,3/100 for the Energy Surge foam
Fit: the S/Lab Phantasm CF runs long
I received the Phantasm CF a half size down from my usual size and I am really glad I did. The shoe is definitely running long and the lock down around the heel collar could be better. Nothing I couldn’t fix with a standard heel lock but definitely noticeable at first. At the same time the front part of the midfoot section is narrow. Runners with wide feet will probably have a hard time in this one. Salomon themselves actually categorise this shoe as ‘slim’, so it should not come as a big surprise. But it is just something to be aware of before purchasing. Personally, it did not bother me in my half size down and I think that comes down to the sheer lightness of the Matryx upper. It almost disappears on my feet. While I do notice the snug midfoot wrap a bit, it also creates a reassuring and secure hold.
But boy, is this fibre weaved upper incredibly light and breathable. At the same time it feels strong and durable and I think it is gonna hold up really well over time. Especially compared to other materials in this weight class.
I have heard some people having issues with the tongue being very thin and bunching up. Also creating some pressure points from the thin traditional laces. I am luckily rarely prone to irritation from these sorts of issues and if so, I usually fix this with a thicker pair of socks. It honestly hasn’t bothered me at all during my runs. But I also make sure to flatten out the tongue and adjust laces properly before every run.
Ride: a fast and nimble experience
Running in the Salomon Phantasm CF has been such a joy so far. In less than a month I have done more than 150 km in the shoe already. For some reason it is actually not that easy to explain what makes me wanna reach out for this shoe every time possible. However, I’ll do my best.
On paper this should be a road tempo/race day shoe. However, it has been so much more in my case. Funny enough I actually like it better for pretty much everything else. Salomon themselves focus on three main areas; Easy propulsion, fast transition and smooth impact and I don’t think that I can describe the ride much better myself. The shoe feels light on foot but I still get just enough protection on even longer runs. The so-called R.Camber rocker geometry combined with the Energy Surge foam and a fibre plate insert makes the ride incredibly smooth. Overall it’s just a shoe that makes my already high cadence snappier and feel more effortless. Even on recovery runs it helps with my leg turnover and I never experience that the shoe is in the way of my natural style of running. When actually using the shoe for its intended purpose, I personally think there are better tempo and racing shoes out there. In this category you can find lighter, more cushioned and aggressive options. But it has been hard to beat for almost any other kind of run and it has been my go-to shoe lately.
The platform of the Phantasm CF is very narrow. Especially the heel and midfoot section. Just like the upper. You won’t find any help in regards to stability. But it is not the most wobbly of the tempo shoes out there and the benefit of the narrowness is that it contributes to the snappy heel to toe transition.
So far the Contagrip outsole has provided excellent traction on the roads despite the lack of any significant structure to it. Also durability seems fine with a nice amount of rubber especially in the forefoot. The coverage is a bit more thinned around the heel and might wear down faster for heavy heel strikers. Another thing worth mentioning is how silent this shoe runs. It is not often mentioned in reviews but personally I can find very noisy shoes rather distracting. This combination of EVA and Olefin blended midsole and the compound of the outsole creates a pleasant sounding soft squish to every stride. It just fits the effortless ride and light upper of the shoe so well.
Conclusion – the Salomon Phantasm CF is not far from perfect…if that’s what you’re looking for
This fast and nimble looking red Salomon Phantasm CF is definitely not a shoe for everyone. Also, don’t always judge a shoe by the description, cause you might get disappointed. Salomon categorises it as an elite road shoe for record breaking speed and premium energy return. Anyone who interprets this as a ‘super shoe’ kind of race shoe will probably feel that it does not live up to the expectations. Yes, it is light and snappy enough for some intervals and maybe even some shorter races. But in my book the Phantasm CF really excels as a pleasantly smooth and almost effortless everyday shoe for a wide variety of runs. Light but still with just enough cushion and propulsion to keep you going.
Whether the long and narrow fit will bother you comes down to your foot anatomy and overall preferences. Personally, the shoe almost disappears beneath me and just feels so natural in every way. Despite having a lot of shoes to rotate between, this has been the one I reach for on most days. And that sure is a great compliment.
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