When Salomon released the SLAB Wings last year, many wondered if they had done away with the SLAB Wings sequential numbering nomenclature or hit the reset button to move it back to zero. Well, it looks like we have the answer with the new release of the SLAB Wings 8, picking up from the Wings 7 from two years ago. The new SLAB Wings 8 looks virtually indistinguishable from the SLAB Wings, barring a slight update to the colorway. Despite the near exact appearance to it’s predecessor, the new Wings 8 does come with some real upgrades. First, the new Wings 8 is a few ounces lighter this year. It appears that Salomon did this by reducing the amount of underfoot protection in the TPU Profeel film in the midfoot and forefoot. The shoe still looks like it will offer a lot of protection, but it will also be a more flexible shoe this way. The midsole of the Wings 8 is the same combination of molded and injected EVA. The outsole has Salomon’s new and improved wet traction Contragrip, which was probably my favorite outsole compound from shoes I’ve worn this year. The new Contragrip on SLAB shoes is very grippy on just about any surface you can manage. It’s also highly durable. The black Softground version (not pictured) looks to have a big change to the upper materials, with a protective, but more breathable mesh used. I have the red hard ground version, and will be referring to them for the rest of this preview. I haven’t been able to put too many miles on this shoe yet, but got a few answers in regards to how they differ from last year’s SLAB Wings. I hope this short write up helped illustrate the subtle differences in this update. Below you’ll find an overview of the upper, midsole, and outsole, with a full review coming in a few months.
Fit and Feel:
My size 12.5 SLAB Wings 8 comes in at 11.8oz (335g), a very nice and lightweight shoe for trail running and fastpacking. If you’ve read my review on last years Salomon SLAB Wings, you’ll know that I started with a size 12.5, my normal size, and switched to a 13. In the end, this was a mistake. Although the 12.5 initially fit a bit tight upfront, these shoes broke in after about 50 miles. This left the 13 feeling a little too roomy. I made sure not to make the same mistake this time around and stuck with the 12.5. The length of the 12.5 feels great, but again, my big toe rubs the welded overlay of the toebox a little. Now I know that as these break in, I don’t have to worry about it. The rest of the shoe fits and feels the same as the SLAB Wings from last year, and this is a great thing. The combination of a precise fit from the Endo-Fit internal sleeve and Sensi-Fit midfoot support, really give a feeling of security.
My heel feels securely looked in place with no horizontal wiggle or slippage, and there are no hot spots or pressure points on the top of my foot in the Wings 8. There is a really nice feeling of stability in this shoe. As a practice, I simulate rolling my ankle in all shoes I try on to get a feel for the angles of stability. It’s not a perfect test, but it’s been a pretty good indicator for me for on-trail performance. This shoe and the SLAB Wings from last year are about as good as I’ve tried. The lateral roll stability is especially impressive. The Wings 8 is able to do all of this without an overly pronounced arch or by adding any posts.
The SLAB Wings 8 has the same stretch air mesh as last years model. I’m a big fan of this mesh, as it’s very breathable without being overly permeable to grit and sand. This shoe also has a welded overlay rubber toe cap to keep your foot protected from front impact collisions.
Once complaint that I, and others, had about last years SLAB Wings was due to the thin insoles. Much like the thin and flimsy insoles used on older Hokas, Salomon did away with the plush Ortholite insoles found on older models in lieu of a new thinner insert. The comfort and feel of the new insert was great, but it bunched up and shifted around when wet. I had a similar problem with the old plush insole while hiking Tour du Mont Blanc in 2014. That was on the XA Pro 3d model. It looks like the same thin insert is being used on this new model with similar glue pattern. The insert is very comfortable, but I’ll keep an eye on how they hold flat when wet.
As I mentioned in the fit and feel section of this review, the amazing Salomon Endo-fit and Sensi-fit are nearly identical to last years SLAB Wings shoe, and this makes for a very precise and comfortable fit. Combine this with quicklace tucked into a nice lace garage, and you have a race car for downhill mountain jaunts. The level of security and confidence found in this upper is like few other shoes.
The SLAB Wings 8 uses a combination of molded and injected EVA for the midsole. This shoe has a 9mm drop with 28mm in the heel and 19mm in the forefoot. The molded EVA is the thin layer that sits under the foot, shown as the white line on the lateral side of this shoe in the pictures below. This is a softer layer of cushion, similar to what Altra uses with the A-bound technology. Under the layer of molded EVA is a full length injected EVA midsole. Injected EVA is very stable and durable, and does a great job of retaining it’s shape and cushioning properties after many abusing miles on the trail. This combination of molded and injected EVA is a near perfect duo for those looking for cushioned protection without the mushiness and stack height found in an ultra-cushioned trail shoe like a Hoka or Altra Olympus.
There isn’t much built in arch support like that found in the Wings Pro 2, but the shoe is incredibly stable, both on the lateral and medial sides. I think this has a lot to do with the shape and last of the midsole. The heel flares out wide at the base and the midfoot gets full coverage outside of the medial pad of my foot. Much like the SLAB Wings last year, it will be near impossible to roll your ankle in this shoe. I wish it came in at 6mm of drop, as that feels a bit more stable for me, but even at 9mm this shoe feels really great.
The Wings 8 uses Salomons new SLAB wet traction Contragrip which offers impressive grip on all kinds of surfaces. Last year’s SLAB Wings was the one of the first Salomon shoe to debut the new trapezoidal lug pattern now found on most of their trail runners. It’s a great design that offers lots of surface area for traction and grip on smooth surfaces, yet still has deep enough lugs to grip on softer and shiftier trails. The durability is also top notch. I have nothing to complain about from last years SLAB Wings, and it looks like this new SLAB Wings 8 will be much of the same. I think the same can be said for the Profeel Film used as a flexible rockplate in the midfoot. I’ve had numerous shoes now with this Profeel Film and I’ve loved having it on each and every pair. If you’ll be wearing this shoe on muddy or sloppy trails, make sure to go for the SG (soft ground) version, which will offer deeper lugs and less permeable upper.
The Salomon SLAB Wings 8 looks to be a subtle, but well thought out update to last years Salomon SLAB Wings. The minor details that have received upgrades will be welcome to those that really liked last years model. I love that Salomon was able to make refinements to this shoe without changing any of what made last year’s Wings so popular. I look forward to putting these shoes through their paces over the next few months and seeing how they hold up. As always, feel free to share and/or comment on this article. Happy trail and enjoy each journey as you venture from trail to peak!
19 thoughts on “Gear Preview: Salomon S-Lab Wings 8”
Hi Drew, thank you for the very informative review on the Salomon S-Lab Wings 8. After having read a few different reviews I decided to purchase a pair. Today I went out for my first test run and was hoping that what I’d read about the new grippy outsole was going to be true! I live in the UK West Country where we experience a lot of rain and because of this the rocks are very slippery…..Thank you Salomon! The tread grips on wet and polished rock amazingly well and after just a short while I stopped trying to anticipate and brace for a fall! Unfortunately the second thing I’d read about, which you mention in your review, was how the inner sole can bunch up when it becomes wet, and this I also experienced after a short stream crossing. I contacted Salomon who informed me that they were already aware of the problem after they had received feedback from other runners who had experienced the same issue. I was advised to return the shoes as they are still awaiting a response from Salomon. All this aside, I had a very good run and still came back smiling as did my dog!
Thanks for the comment, Matthew! Good to hear some feedback on how these handle the wet weather in the UK. It’s a shame the insoles on these are so poor, I just swapped mine out with insoles from another shoe, but it’s pretty crazy to have to do that on such an expensive shoe. Great to hear you and your dog enjoyed the run 🙂
Hi Drew, thanks for the review. I’m recreational trail runner and use only Salomon shoes. After few pairs of XA Pro 3D I bought S lab XT 5 and then XT 6 which were shoes that Salomon made for me. After that I intended to buy S lab Wings, but salesman advised me to buy Wings PRO because S lab Wings are made for lighter weight runners he says? (I’m 78 kg). So, I bought Wings PRO and it’s a very good shoe, little wide on the middle and front… but I still dream about S Lab XT and I’m on the half way to buy S lab Wings 8.
I’m interesting in your opinion about sellers conclusion described before, main differences between Wings Pro and S lab Wings 8. Why S lab Wings don’t use Agile Chassis System on S lab any more? How important this System is on cushioning properties? Your recommendation for me, I run 50K trail runs, mostly dry, gravel and rocky paths.
thx in advance, Sinisa from Croatia
Hello Sinisa, I think you’ll like the Wings 8. I don’t think the Agile Chassis makes a huge difference in regards to stability, as the Wings 8 is still a very stable shoe without it. The Wings 8 has more flex from heel to toe, but an equal amount of lateral stability. Where I notice a difference in the shoes, is the built in arch support. There is a noticeable arch support in the Wings Pro 2 that is not in the SLAB Wings or Wings 8. I weigh 84kg, so I don’t think your weight will be a problem. The reason the Slab Wings 8 does not have the Agile Chassis is that it doesn’t really need it. The Wings 8 and most SLAB shoes are built as racing shoes designed to go fast. This is why they have a narrower fit, and weigh less. The cushioning of the Wings Pro 2 and Wings 8 is similar in the midsole, but the Wings Pro 2 has more Pro Feel Film. The Pro Feel Film on the Wings 8 covers a smaller portion of the forefoot. This allows for more forefoot flexibility and ground feel for the Slab Wings 8. I think both shoes will handle very well for 50K trail runs given the trails you’re running on. If it were me, I would go to the shoe store and try both on with my eyes closed, then I would choose the shoe that feels best. If the Wings 8 feels great on your foot, than I can’t see why you wouldn’t want to buy it 🙂 I hope to make it out to your beautiful country some day. I hear there are many beautiful trails to explore!
Hello, Thanks for the great review…I am planning to buy a new trail running shoe…and I am so excited about the new wings 8, but I am afraid about the insole issue you mentioned in your review,so I wonder if there is any update on that issue…can you confirm that it is still there? Moreover as they mentioned at Salomon website sense 5 ultra is by half less durable than the wings is that true??
Hello, I haven’t gotten these in any wet or sloppy conditions yet so I can’t confirm or deny if the insole issue still exists. The Sense 5 Ultra is a great shoe, but maybe not as robust as the Wings 8. I don’t think it’s “half” as durable, but it really depends on the runner/hiker. I get around 400 miles out of a pair of trail runners. Some might get 800, others 200. The Wings 8 are very durable and last me at least 400 miles. I’d probably get 300 out of the Sense Ultra.
This is Filippo from Italy. Thanks for this exhaustive review. I started running a bit more or less a year ago and I enjoy it :)! I am now interested in a pair of this Salomon Slab Wings pro 8 SG. I have been running in a pair of Salomon Sense Pro and as this shoe have a narrow midfoot and no arch support I needed to change the insole to support a bit my foot arch, without this change I experienced some pain to the ankle. By the way the sole is bending to the internal part of the shoe.
Do you think that even if there is no much arch support in this slab Wings 8 my ankle would be more stable and with more support than in the Salomon Sense Pro? And the toes space is much less?
Finally a number tip please, I run in a 8.5 (10,4 inches) US number and my usual number is 8 as my feets are 10 inches. Do you think this is correct?
Thank you very much!!
Hello Filippo. The Wings 8 is a great a shoe, and could be a nice upgrade to the Sense Pro. There isn’t much arch support in the Wings 8, so you might need to change the insole for support like you did with the Sense Pro. The Wings 8 is a more stable and structured shoe though. I find that even without arch support, it is still a very supportive ride. So yes, I think your ankle would feel more stable in the Wings 8. As for the toe space, the Wings 8 has a little more room. Both shoes fit very well, but the Wings 8 has a little more width, which I like. I wore a size 12 US in the Sense Pro v1, but usually wear a size 12.5 US in all trail running shoes. I have a size 12.5 in the Wings 8, and that fits perfectly.
Thanks so much for your precious details!
So if I use Salomon sense pro v1 US 8.5 with a thicker insole I could use the same number with the wings 8 and a thinner insole.
But a last doubt, is the Salomon sense pro arch support the same as the wings 8 or do the wings have something more? As sense pro in my opinioni do not have it at all.
Thanks very much.
Hello Filippo. That sounds about right. An 8.5 in the Sense Pro v1 with a thick insole, should feel pretty similar to the Wings 8 with a thin insole. There isn’t much of an arch support in the Wings 8, but it is slightly more pronounced than the Sense Pro. Nothing like the XA Pro 3D or Wings Pro 2. I would say the Wings 8 is much more of a stable riding shoe, and not supportive, if that makes sense. If you like arch support, it would probably be best to add a supportive insole.
Hey Drew, I have for a long while had the Salomon Sense Pro 2, which were amazing for me. I then bought a road shoe to also run a bit on the roads but I could not get used to the 10mm drop of them. I loved the 6mm drop on the Sense Pro 2 and since those are now needing to be replaced by a new pair, I thought maybe buying the S-Lab Wings 8 although I am scared that the 9mm drop will hurt me. Do you really notice the 9mm drop or does it tend to feel more like a slightly lower drop?
Hello, Tom! Like you, I find that 6mm is a preferable drop on a trail shoe. The 9mm doesn’t feel substantially more, but it is noticeable if you’re used to running in a lower drop shoe. I don’t really mind it, as it doesn’t get in the way or force me into a heel strike like other shoes close to 10mm.
Great show insoles on these and the SGs bunch, slide and wrinkle when wet. I’m completely perplexed how this happens during testing with all their sponsored athletes and what their sponsored athletes do to resolve this. Is very very frustrating.
Yes they do. They’re paper thin and held down with an adhesive. Once they get wet, they bunch. I live in a very dry climate, so it’s not a major issue for me. I can imagine this being a major point of frustration for those living in wetter climates. Especially for such an expensive shoe.
Hi, congratulations for the review. Salomon use for years, I ran with all slab from 1 up to xt wings slab (7).
I think as the best comfort remains the slab xt wings 5. Also good xt wings slab 6.
But then they came the problems, sure the new model I raced some ultratrail coming with black nails! Especially downhill feel your foot to move in a different way than earlier.
Now my doubt is if the xt wings slab 8 remains the same or improves this problem I may have found just me.
Purchase the new model?
Hello, Michele. I too was a big fan of the SLAB wings 5 and 6. Salomon redesinged the SLAB wings in a big way after that. The chassis was removed and the overall shape and last were modified. The Slab Wings 8 is virtually the same shoe as last year’s Slab Wings. So, if you had issues with those, you might have issues with the 8. I swapped out the stock insoles for a pair of Superfeet Carbon, and have nothing but positive things to say so far.
Interesting to read the review and comments. Recently bought the sg version of the wings. Absolutely love the shoe but went for a very wet trail/cross run today. The inner soles were almost at the side of my feet when I got home. Not impressive that salomon did nothing to resolve the insole problem – especially considering that the sg version is ment for soft ( and therefore probably wet) conditions…
It’s tough to see how that got through the testing phase of shoe development. Luckily, their newer models all have a more substantial insole.