Salomon S/Lab Phantasm 2 Review: Is this a Vaporfly killer?

Nike and Adidas have ruled the roads for a while, have Salomon caught up with the S/Lab Phantasm 2?

Salomon S/Lab Phantasm 2 – Sleek, speedy and sexy


The S/Lab Phantasm 2 by Salomon had caught my attention for a considerable period, and I must confess that its visual appeal significantly contributed to my anticipation. In my opinion, this running shoe stands out as one of the most aesthetically pleasing running shoes. It exudes a distinct sense of sleekness and speed, perfectly aligning with its intended purpose.


Moreover, I’ve been a devoted fan of its predecessor, the S-Lab Phantasm CF, despite the mixed opinions surrounding that model. To this day, it remains a staple in my daily rotation, primarily serving as a reliable daily trainer rather than the intended long-distance racing shoe. The critique that it falls short in cushioning and energy return compared to the top-tier ‘Supershoes’ is valid. However, I genuinely appreciate the well-balanced and smooth ride facilitated by Salomon’s signature ‘R. Camber.’


Now, with this latest update, Salomon introduces its first long-distance racer featuring a higher stack of Peba-based “Superfoam” midsole. The question arises: does this mark the entry of a serious contender into the competitive ‘Supershoe’ category, or are we faced with another relatively expensive trainer that may or may not resonate with runners? Let’s delve into the details to find out.


I will add to Ivan’s perfect intro that the Salomon S/Lab Phantasm is not only a pleasing shoe to the eye, it’s also a solid shoe and sock combo. Salomon released this shoe alongside a special pair of socks that match the colour scheme perfectly. This is the first time I’ve seen this happen (actually followed very closely by what ASICS did with Bandit at the New York Marathon for the soft launch of the Novablast 4).


Weight in Salomon’s sample size: 199g (7.02 oz)

Stack height: 37.5mm heel and 28.5mm forefoot for a 9mm drop

MSRP: €240/$275

A slightly awkward fit


Salomon is renowned for its long yet narrow shoe fits, particularly in their performance-oriented models. While I personally didn’t encounter any problems with the previous model, some users found it too narrow and confining. In the S/Lab Phantasm 2, Salomon had opted for a single-layer mesh fabric instead of the more rigid and slightly heavier Matryx upper. I actually appreciate the plasticky feel of the upper; it is not only lightweight and secure but also resistant to water absorption, preventing any added weight in wet conditions.


However, akin to its predecessor, the fit remains narrow, albeit even longer this time, with significantly more space up front. While this might appeal to some in daily trainers, it proves excessive in a racing model, diminishing the race feel and altering the strike pattern and efficiency of the rocker . I’ve mitigated this issue to some extent by using a double layer of socks, though it’s far from an ideal solution. Hence, I would strongly recommend going half a size down.

Long and narrow

Despite the fitting challenges, I appreciate the snug midfoot hold, enhancing overall lockdown. The thin yet fully gusseted tongue, with just the right amount of padding, wraps the midfoot nicely, contributing to a secure and comfortable midfoot wrap. The heel area is minimal but pleasantly narrow, featuring a thin strip of padding. While I employed a heel lock, I believe it’s more related to the shoe’s overall length than the specific heel counter.


It’s worth noting the red-colored overlays on both lateral and medial sides, presumably designed to provide structure to the upper. However, on some occasions, they seem to dig into my feet, particularly as they bulge during runs. This issue may be exacerbated by raised midsole on both sides and, in combination with the overlays, creates hotspots, especially at the point where the “sidewalls” terminate (where the lace row ends).


I have encountered no problems with the fairly standard laces, and I appreciate that Salomon opted for non-stretchy ones.


Our reviews are relevant – I believe – because even with a general consensus we still manage to have different views on details. That’s why we have a team of reviewers at Meta Endurance! Leaving the corporate ramble aside, I just need to remind our readers how much I disliked the upper and fit on the OG Salomon S/Lab Phantasm. I actually hated it, which in my book is something that only happened a handful of times with uppers. What was so wrong? The long and narrow Salomon fit combined with a rather unaccommodating upper was the perfect recipe for blisters and numbness for my feet. It’s  the reason I stopped testing this shoe. 


Fast forward to the S/Lab Phantasm 2, things are much better. The fit is still long and narrow but the upper material is more pliable and provides with more room to manoeuvre inside the shoe. Unlike Ivan, I would not recommend going half down but that is also because I tend to put orthotics in my shoes and I can easily see how the S/Lab Phantasm 2 would be too tight half down with these custom insoles. Like with every shoes I test, I also ran without orthotics and they worked well true to size despite some wrinkles in the forefoot. 

Phantasm 2 Midsole

The ride: does it match your mechanics?


Now, let’s delve into the crucial aspect where Salomon needs to demonstrate that they’ve crafted a true “Supershoe” capable of competing with the best in the market. Given its hefty price tag, positioning itself among the most expensive, merely offering a top-notch trainer won’t suffice this time, even with its appealing aesthetics.


The midsole introduces a Peba-based compound named Energy Foam+, featuring a dual-density structure with a soft and squishy bottom layer and a much firmer/denser top layer, with a fairly stiff carbon plate sandwiched in between. Notably, the plate sits quite low, particularly in the shoe’s front, and combined with a substantial portion of denser foam in the mid-to-forefoot area, it results in a relatively firm ride for mid-to-forefoot strikers compared to many other supershoes.


On the flip side, heel strikers experience a notably softer ride, courtesy of the airy and soft bottom layer of Peba and a higher plate placement. However, this softness and the fairly narrow heel platform contribute to a discernible level of instability, impacting mid- and forefoot strikers to a lesser extent. While the raised “sidewalls” offer some foothold, I’ve found them somewhat lacking in preventing a considerable amount of medial collapsing. Yet, this is somewhat expected in ‘Supershoes’ in general. 

Performance – underwhelming?

Moving on to the actual performance of this entirely redesigned midsole, it’s a complex evaluation. To some extent, I believe it depends on your footstrike, biomechanics and of course just overall preferences. 


Personally, I must confess that the ride has left me underwhelmed thus far. With approximately 80 km logged in the S-Lab Phantasm 2, ranging all the way from 200m repeats to easy runs, a 10K race, and numerous marathon-paced sessions in preparation for an upcoming marathon, I’ve found it lacking for my midfoot striking style. While I don’t necessarily seek an excessively soft or bouncy ride, I do anticipate a substantial level of propulsion from a race day shoe.


As a midfoot striker, I find the absence of a pronounced rocker hindering, and combined with the denser feeling Peba in the mid-to-forefoot, I need to exert more effort than expected to get the desired energy return. Shorter intervals feel more natural, leveraging the aggressive slope/rocker at the very front, but considering this is a long-distance race shoe, it just doesn’t align perfectly with my running mechanics. However, I can envision that heel strikers or forefoot strikers might find the shoe’s geometry more suited to their preferences.


Here again Salomon changed entirely their recipe. Ivan describes well how the two densities work together and who benefits from this new geometry and a low sitting plate. What I’d like to add is the perspective of a stride runner that has a stronger push-off and “glides” less. I’m also a midfoot striker like Ivan but we need different geometries to match our running style. While Ivan likes an early rocker with a moderate toe spring, I tend to enjoy a rocker positioned more towards the forefoot even with a higher toe spring. That provides me with a bigger piece of flat-ish surface to push on at toe-off. Ivan needs less of that with his higher cadence and more efficient running style, and therefore prefers that earlier rocker that propels him forward more naturally. 


Long story short, I enjoyed the ride of the S/Lab Phantasm 2 and found it rather compelling at faster paces. The softness of the foam in the heel is really nice for heel to midfoot strikers. The positioning of the plate enhances that pleasant landing feel. However, the drawback of landing in that area is a lack of stability due to the narrowness of the platform. At faster paces I didn’t notice it too much but heel strikers won’t feel super stable at lower paces. Speaking of paces, like most shoes that offer more push-off area and favour the increase of my stride length, this shoe worked better for me around 10k pace. I would nonetheless imagine it being a good half marathon and marathon shoe, but probably more thanks to the softer foam and leg saving effect, rather than for the efficient running style it promotes.

Contragrip does the trick. Mostly.


The outsole features a classic design with two strips on each side in the heel, some exposed sole in the midfoot area, and a substantial portion of the well-known Salomon Contagrip in the forefoot.

Given the persistent rain and cold weather during early winter in Scandinavia, I’ve had ample opportunities to assess its performance in slippery conditions. On well-maintained road/tarmac, the grip has proven sufficient, while sidewalks and less-than-ideal bike lanes and roads have presented some challenges. However, considering its primary development for road racing, it’s challenging to criticize this aspect too harshly. In terms of durability, the outsole has held up well, showing no significant signs of wear or tear thus far.


I’m with Ivan here but his testing conditions are definitely harsher than mine. Contagrip rubber is a tier 2 or even tier 2 outsole compound that works well when the conditions are decent but can really disappoint as soon as the conditions become a bit challenging. No surprise with the S/Lab Phantasm 2 from that perspective.

Phantasm 2 Outsole
Phantasm 2 Conclusion

Supershoe or not?


Alright, let’s address the initial question: Has Salomon finally succeeded in crafting a competitive ‘Supershoe’?


To draw a culinary analogy, it seems like having top-quality ingredients and a beautiful plate doesn’t always guarantee the perfect dish. In my honest opinion, the S/Lab Phantasm 2 falls short of concocting the right recipe to justify its “Michelin star” price tag.


The upper lacks the race-like glove fit that I believe most serious runners anticipate, and the midsole, while improved, still lacks the desired punch.


While its predecessor didn’t meet expectations either as a full blown ‘Supershoe’, it was at least a bit more budget-friendly and boasted a rocker that complimented my personal running style for various types of runs, even if racing wasn’t its forte. However, with this latest iteration, I find it challenging to integrate it into my rotation. 


The ride does not feel as smooth as I would like with my stride and exhibits instability at slower paces, while it falls behind the competition in terms of energy return and propulsion at faster paces. ​​Despite these shortcomings, I do actually enjoy the overall ride for the most part and remain convinced that runners with different foot strike patterns and biomechanics might find the shoe’s geometry more favourable. I may just have had higher expectations and hopes, especially considering the price point and perhaps also influenced by its good looks.


Where I definitely agree with Ivan is on the expectations side. I wanted more from this shoe and while it delivers serious improvements over its predecessor, it still doesn’t bring enough to the table to be a real contender. I like to use my tier system for supershoes and this is a tier 2 shoe for me. No real drawbacks but it lacks the punch indeed. 


If you were disappointed by the fit of the Nike Vaporfly Next% 3, this shoe shares a lot in terms of ride experience. But it has a better fit for me and I think people looking for a Vaporfly 3 experience but with a more adjusted fit (and a good heel lockdown) could look into this one.

Alex Filitti Meta Circle


29 years old

183cm (6′) – 68kg (148lbs)

Mid/Forefoot striker – Stride runner

Moderate pronator




47 years old

180cm (5’9″) – 63kg (138lbs)

Midfoot striker – Cadence runner

Mild pronator


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