Each year since 2016, Salomon Advanced decks out a selection of its best running shoes in all-black for its attractive "Black Edition" series. For this year, the kicks stepping into the light (or out of it) will be the Ultra 3, Phantasm, and Cross — each from the S/Lab division dedicated to the trail.
The formula for the Black Edition is fairly simple: just do up the sneakers in black. It works excellently, though, because it helps to highlight the technical elements while also giving the shoes more of a lifestyle appeal. Even if you don't plan on going anywhere near a trail, each of the three kicks would look great with, say, a full Acronym fit.
The trio — Salomon S/Lab's Ultra 3 trail runner is a stripped-down version of the X Ultra 3 hiking sneaker from the brand's line. Gone is the chassis, giving way to a more resistant and breathable mesh upper designed to hold up over long distances. A polyurethane foam EnergyCell midsole helps return energy, while a Profeel film reduces the feeling from rocks and other sharp surfaces. While not fully waterproof, the S/Lab Ultra 3 is given a special treatment to prevent water absorption in light rain.
Despite coming from the S/Lab, the Phantasm is designed for road running and is one of Salomon's lightest sneakers on the market. The curved midsole takes inspiration from Salomon's roots in the Alps, and the brand says it feels like "floating" over the ground. For cushioning, a combination of EVA and Olefin foam is used for a lightweight and springy stride. And a sock-like fit comes from the upper, which uses a single layer of mesh constructed without any stitching.
The most dynamic of the sneakers is the S/Lab Cross, which looks a lot like a soccer cleat retooled for the mountains. Its ankle-length collar keeps debris from entering the shoe, and Salomon's patented Matryx upper uses an aramid fiber for comfort and efficient foot mapping. The boot-like sneaker also holds up well in unstable conditions with a lug pattern on the Contagrip outsole tailored specifically for mud, wet rocks, and highly technical terrain.
Expect the shoes soon — Salomon hasn't revealed an official release date, but the new Black Edition sneakers will be a part of the brand's Spring / Summer collection. Past releases from the series are still widely available, which means you won't have to go rushing when the new crop does drop.