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Salomon S-Lab Spectur Performance Review: Built for 3 Hour+ Marathoners

Salomon S-Lab Spectur

The Salomon S-Lab Spectur is a great shoe with a gigantic target audience. And I’m saying that as I force myself to overlook Salomon’s horrible naming.

I’ve changed “S/Lab” to “S-Lab” because Google hates the forward slash. The forward slash should be reserved for URLs and file name directories. Salomon’s marketing department is making its own job harder by using it within a shoe name. Also, misspelling Spectur with a “u” instead of an “e” is just some late 2000s era internet company bull$h!t (Editor’s Note: tell us how you really feel). 

Hey Salomon marketing team, I’m available if you need some consulting. And I’m serious about that offer. Shoe names are out of control and you’re currently one of the top offenders (Editor’s Note: are you using a review to solicit other employment?).

But, naming pet peeves aside, the Salomon S-Lab Spectur is a revelation. Initially, I scoffed at defining shoes by pace, but Salomon has something here and it’s worth digging deeper into why it works so well.

Salomon S-Lab Spectur

Release Date: May 2024

Price: $220

Weight: 8.3 oz.

Drop: 8mm

Sizing: True to size

Buy Men's at Salomon Buy Women's at Salomon
  • Rundown: The Salomon S-Lab Spectur is Salmon’s marathon race day shoe for runners with times above 3 hours. It caters to the needs of those without perfect form.
Salomon S-Lab Spectur Lateral View

Salomon’s Gamble

Salmon’s first marathon racing shoe, the Salomon S/Lab Phantasm 2, is a very good race day shoe with some drawbacks that include the $275 price tag. From the beginning of its marathon shoe journey, Salmon’s thesis was to make a shoe for pros and fast runners (under 3 hour marathon pace) and then follow it up with something built for the 96% of the population that runs above 3 hour marathon pace. As someone in that 3 hours plus group of marathon runners who has run in every super shoe, I’m uniquely positioned to prove or disprove Salomon’s theory.

Salomon S-Lab Spectur Outsole Traction

Is Salomon Right?

The team at Salmon is on the right track. I don’t think it’s pace per se that’s the defining factor for race day shoes, my theory is that it’s running form. Running form tends to get better the faster the runner. 

Not necessarily better in terms of arm swing but the footstrike contact point, push off point, and general smoothness of the stride. The lower body of a professional or sub-elite runner is a finely tuned machine. 

The lower body of a recreational runner is less finely tuned for a lot of reasons. Desk bound office workers have kinetic chain issues that often start with tight hips from years of sitting at a desk. Others have bad knees from high school or college sports. These issues, and the fact that running and recovery isn’t at the top of the priority list, can be limiting factors in terms of training volume and top end speed.

The Salomon S-Lab Spectur acknowledges those common issues with the build of this shoe. Peba-based EnergyFoam+ makes up the top layer of the midsole, followed by a carbon plate that is called full length but is actually two-thirds length, and finally a layer of firmer but still soft EnergyFoam on the bottom to provide stability. Except for the carbon plate, it’s a similar midsole concept to the Asics Superblast.

In addition, Salomon uses a bisected heel construction to provide extra stability for heel strikers and those who become heel strikers as legs get tired at the end of long runs or marathons. The result is a shoe that does extremely well mitigating the forces that typically take a toll on recreational runners trying to maintain marathon pace for 3+ hours.

In my mind, this allows runners to have confidence late in a race that the shoe is taking care of them. This contrasts with other super shoes where losing form in the late stages of a race can wreak havoc on ankles and calves as the runner tries in vain to keep good form.

I love that Salomon has acknowledged perhaps the greatest challenge recreational runners face, maintaining form and speed over the long haul, and created something that zeroes in on that difficulty and addresses it head on. 

It may not be sexy to say they’ve built a shoe for the rest of us but this is a shoe that should sell well. The Salomon S-Lab Spectur is built for the majority of the marathon running population and delivers an experience that will make marathoning a better experience for them.

Salomon S-Lab Spectur Heel View


  • Bounce from the EnergyBlade and EnergyFoam+
  • Heel to toe transition
  • Extra stable heel
  • Comfortable upper
  • High breathability
  • Contagrip outsole
Salomon S-Lab Spectur Upper


  • Narrow fit
  • Foldy tongue
  • Foam performance in cold weather
Salomon S-Lab Spectur Medial View

Is the Salomon S-Lab Spectur wide foot friendly?

The Salomon S-Lab Spectur is not wide foot friendly. It’s got a narrow, race centric fit. It’s especially narrow in the midfoot and heel but even the toebox could use some extra room as well. 

This isn’t surprising for a Salomon shoe as they often run narrow. Salomon is a brand that wide footers typically avoid and that’s the case for this shoe as well.

Salomon S-Lab Spectur both shoes

Is the Salomon S-Lab Spectur worth $220?

Yes, the Salomon S-Lab Spectur earns its $220 price point. It’s got the pop of a carbon-plated super shoe without the stability problems inherent in creating a shoe for professionals with perfect form.

Sitting at $30 below the typical rate for super shoes ($250), it’s more accessible to those that don’t want to blow their entire budget on running shoes but still want something faster for race day. In both geometry and price, the Salomon S-Lab Spectur is a democratization of race day footwear.

Salomon S-Lab Spectur on the treadmill

Salomon S-Lab Spectur Summary

The Salomon S-Lab Spectur delivers bounce, comfort, and heel stability without making the lower body work harder than it needs to. The price is right, the target audience is huge, and it delivers exactly what it claims to, a better experience for those of us above the 3 hour marathon mark.

How does the Author Run?

Drew Whitcomb (age 42, 6’6″ 195lbs): Runs daily with a once a week rest day. Runs a lot of miles due to testing needs and a growing affinity for long-distance races. Regularly competes in marathons, half-marathons, 10k, and 5k races.


While Salomon did provide a pair of the Salomon S-Lab Spectur to facilitate this review, they had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and have not attempted to influence it.

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