Salomon S/LAB Spectur Review: Speed for the Masses?

Salomon's research found that most modern super shoes were designed for roughly 4% of the running population. They wanted to democratise speed with less aggression and some more stability in the heel. They created the Spectur. How is it?

Salomon S/LAB Spectur Introduction:

Made For The Midpack

Salomon’s S/LAB Spectur is a carbon plated marathon race shoe for the masses. Whilst other companies are creating shoes for those shooting for elite paces with stability not included, Salomon has taken a different approach here. Promising speed for all, the S/LAB Spectur adds some stability to a bouncy, propulsive ride. 


Along with the added stability, the Spectur also offers all the traditional accoutrements of the race day special. It features Salomon’s energyBLADE which is sandwiched between a dual layer of energyFOAM +. As the icing on the cake, they have added some padding to the upper to ensure comfort for those who are likely to spend more time on foot. Along with the Japan only ASICS S4, it is one of a new breed of more pace tuned shoes for those looking to break 4 rather than 3.


It all sounds very promising on paper but how do all these promises translate onto the pavement? Let’s find out.

Salomon SLab Spectur (12 of 17)
Salomon SLab Spectur (6 of 17)


Stack height: 38mm heel to 30mm toe

Midsole drop: 8mm

Weight: 8.3oz | 232g (Men’s) 

Retail price: £200 | $250 | €220

Salomon SLab Spectur (10 of 17)

Salomon S/LAB Spectur Upper:

Comfortable and Clean

Andy: The upper is probably my favourite part of the S/LAB Spectur. Aesthetically, it is clean, the white is highlighted with some flashes of red and a stripe of black. Moreover, the soft mesh is very comfortable on foot. I have used it for a range of runs from speed sessions to some daily runs in the morning and have never found it to cause irritation or discomfort. Along with different paces, I have also used it in some very different temperatures. Recently, the mercury in the UK has been hitting the high 20s and thankfully the S/LAB Spectur’s upper has given me no issues with breathability. 


On the other hand, there are some slight drawbacks with the Spectur’s upper. The tongue would probably be my main gripe. It is not uncomfortable, however, it is rather thicker than it may need to be and not gusseted. That said, it hasn’t caused me any real issues, I just feel that it would probably add to the comfort were it thinner. 


In the introduction, we mentioned the padding which Salomon have added. The tongue is one part of this while the rest is around the heel area. Whilst comfortable it does add weight which means the S/LAB Spectur is one of the heavier shoes in its price category. Overall, the upper is very comfortable and lockdown has been easy to achieve. If comfort is more of a consideration for you than weight, the Spectur definitely ticks this box. 


As a quick aside, despite its whiteness, the upper of the Spectur is very easy to keep clean. During my testing period, I have managed to spill cat food, soup and blood on them. Each occasion, they have only required a quick wipe with a kitchen cloth to regain their sparkle.

Relaxed and Slightly Sloppy

Ivan: While the upper of the S/LAB Spectur is more relaxed and less technical compared to most other S/LAB shoes, it still features the somewhat narrow and long fit that Salomon is known for. Unless you have very narrow feet, you should probably stick to your usual size. The relaxed fit of the upper feels a bit sloppy for a race day shoe, even if it’s designed for marathons and longer distances. I also experience some heel lift despite the fairly well-padded heel collar. The non-gusseted tongue is simple but works fine for me, though it lacks the premium feel typically associated with S/LAB shoes. The basic ‘S’ logo reinforces this impression, especially considering the price tag.


That said, the upper is soft, comfortable and provides decent midfoot lockdown. I also appreciate the overall aesthetic, with its all-white silhouette accented by black and red highlights. I’m not a fan of the blocky heel design, but otherwise, it has a chic and appealing look. In my honest opinion, Salomon’s S/Lab models are among the best in design.

Salomon SLab Spectur (9 of 17)


Gentle But Responsive

Ivan: Salomon have created the S/LAB Spectur to add stability to the super shoe experience. This has been done with the widening of the heel and a reshaping of the energyBLADE to help those who strike more in the heel and help them roll through their gate cycle with a little bit of guidance. 


The midsole itself is a dual layer with the plate sandwiched between. The top layer is Salomon’s energyFOAM +. This is the same PEBA based foam that is found in the Phantasm 2. The bottom layer is the regular energyFOAM formulation which is denser and adds more to the stability of the shoe. The combination isn’t as poppy or energetic as some other shoes in this price range. However, it is very comfortable and offers comfort and shock dampening through the entire run. 


There is no doubt that the Spectur is designed with heel strikers in mind. The width means that landings are secure and and stable. Furthermore, the channel between the lateral and medial sides of the shoe separates on landing adding softness and rebound. When heel striking, the carriage through the midsole is easy and efficient. Even as a predominantly forefoot striker, the midsole is not unpleasant. When I picked up the pace, I found the Spectur to be responsive and capable of sub 3 hour pace as much as it is of sub 4 pace. 


The one thing that I found the Spectur lacking is aggression, but that is the point of the shoe. It is not an aggressive all out race machine, it is a marathon cruiser to aid efficiency and keep the legs fresh. On this aim, it achieves well.

Designed For Heel Strikers

Ivan: I completely agree with Andy. The Salomon S/LAB Spectur is specifically designed for heel strikers. As a midfoot striker myself, I found that I had to purposely adopt a heel strike to take full advantage of the shoe’s geometry. Otherwise, especially longer runs felt somewhat uncomfortable. The midfoot is exceptionally narrow compared to the rest of the platform. Switching to a forefoot strike felt borderline harsh, but when I adjusted to a heel strike, the ride became more natural. The shoe isn’t overly aggressive with limited energy return and a fairly flexible plate, but still offers a smooth sensation transitioning from heel to toe.


The stability provided by the wide, blocky heel and the sculpting of the energyBLADE is excellent, making this shoe ideal for those who need extra guidance. In this regard, the S-Lab Spectur fulfils its intended purpose, balancing performance and stability to cater to a broader segment of runners. Personally, I find it most competent as a trainer for shorter uptempo workouts rather than for long-distance runs around my race paces. There are simply better options available for those occasions, and the price is a bit steep for this purpose alone.


However, I’m confident that for the majority of “mid-packers”, this shoe will be a solid option for half or full marathons or race specific workouts, offering the necessary comfort, protection, and stability. My main concern is just that the S/LAB Spectur appears to be specifically designed for heel strikers. While the majority of runners do heel strike, this should be clearly stated before purchase. For midfoot and forefoot strikers, the lack of cushioning, energy return and overall smoothness could become a significant issue.

Salomon S/LAB Spectur Outsole:

Durable and Tacky

Andy: The Louboutin-esque red outsole is made from Salomon’s contaGRIP material. This is the same as the company uses for its trail shoes so one would expect the grip to be good. During my testing, I have used the Spectur on a range of surfaces from damp pavement to grass. At no stage have I felt any issues with slippage at any pace. 


Coverage is full on the forefoot of the shoe with a v shaped cut away and some slats which reduce weight. On the heel, either side of the midshoe channel, there is a strip of rubber to protect the energyFOAM. The outsole seeme to be offering a good durability to far with nothing other than discolouration from dirt visible.


Ivan: The shoe provides ample coverage, and the durability of the ContaGRIP outsole seems excellent thus far. Particularly noteworthy is the outsole’s durability and coverage under the forefoot, which appears to be well above average, although I’ve noticed some wear in the heel section – possibly due to my attempts to force an exaggerated heel strike. In certain conditions, I did encounter slight slippage. It’s nothing significant, but the grip under various conditions isn’t the best among race day shoes.

Salomon S/LAB Spectur Conclusion:

Where Does It Fit?

Ivan: The S/LAB Spectur is a comfortable, durable and pleasant shoe to run in. The midsole offers good dampening properties and a smooth ride. Overall, it is a very good shoe and I imagine it will work well for a wide variety of runners. That said, despite all the positivity and comfort on offer, I am not 100% sure where it sits in my rotation. Designed for paces which are around my morning run, I don’t always want to be using a carbon plated shoe. Then, when I am running a speed session, I am looking for something more aggressive to really push me on. So spending £200 on something that lives in a grey zone seems unnecessary.


I like the S/LAB Spectur but I am not sure that it is the shoe for me. But, that’s fine, there is a world of shoes and a world of runners with different requirements. Speed should be democratised and the Spectur is a step towards doing it. If you are a heel striker who is looking for a comfortable, smooth cruiser for your next marathon and training block, you could do a lot worse than this. It even has a space on the upper to write your personal best time and date! Go get after it!

A Positive Step

Ivan: While the Salomon S/LAB Spectur may not align with my style of running and preferences, I value the diverse range of running shoes available that cater to different runners and styles, especially in the uptempo/race category. It represents a positive step in this direction. This is a race-day option specifically tailored for heel strikers who prioritise a comfortable feel and additional stability over aggressive performance. However, it’s crucial to highlight to potential buyers with different strike patterns and preferences that this shoe may not meet their needs. It’s important to consider this beforehand, as it can be a significant investment if it doesn’t integrate well into one’s running rotation.



48 years old

180cm (5’9″) – 63kg (138lbs)

Midfoot striker – Cadence runner

Mild pronator




45 years old

173cm (5’8″) – 66kg (145lbs)

Forefoot striker – (Very) high cadence runner


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