Salomon are back with a bang for 2024 with their latest trail running release: Genesis. A modified version of the S/LAB staple that carried Courtney Daulwalter through her third UTMB win, the Genesis is pitched as a comfortable yet agile mountain running shoe designed for hard-wearing durability and precision on tricky terrain. There’s a lot of hype around this release, so when they landed in store I couldn’t resist taking them out for a spin or two – and boy have I been impressed. Check out my first impressions of the Salomon Genesis, and find out why they should be your go-to companion for all of your trail-based needs this season.

Salomon Genesis at a Glance

  • Weight: 242g (W UK6) 269g (M UK9)
  • Drop: 8mm
  • Cushioning: Regular
  • Foot Protection: High
  • Frequency per week: 2-3 times
  • Foot Support: Neutral
  • Running Terrain: Rocky
  • Outdoor Terrain: Mixed/technical trails
  • Width: Standard
  • Outsole: All-Terrain Contagrip®
  • Midsole: Energy Foam and Active Chassis
  • Upper: Weaved Matryx®
  • Lacing: Quicklace
Lace Garage

Salomon S/LAB Genesis vs New Salomon Genesis

Salomon’s S/LAB produces technical race-day footwear for high-performing athletes, and the S/LAB Genesis has firmly cemented itself as a winner in that department. With the new Genesis, Salomon has created a more accessible and purse-friendly trail runner that encompasses all of the features that make the S/LAB version so great, but with a few minor modifications.

At a basic level, the shoes have a lot of similarities that allow them to perform their primary function: helping runners to send it on the most technical trails. They feature the same durable Matryx® woven upper, cushioned Energy Foam midsole, drop (8mm), and Quicklace system.

The design of the shoe is probably the main difference to note, in that the S/LAB has a boot style structure with a sock fit, whilst the Genesis has a classic gusseted tongue and a thicker ankle collar (potentially inviting a little more debris to the party). The new Genesis has a slightly wider platform underfoot (3mm difference), in addition to an updated lug pattern that provides more coverage underfoot and Active Chassis technology for stability. This feature combo makes the new Genesis a more accessible shoe for newer trail runners.

In terms of fit, others have noted that the S/LAB version is a little narrower (to be expected from a technical race shoe), with the new Genesis having marginally more wiggle room.

The main difference, though, comes from the price tag and weight trade-off. The new Genesis trades (on average) 11 grams of weight for a significant decrease in price. Ultimately, this model is a more versatile and accessible option for a wider range of runners than the race-oriented S/LAB shoe.

S_LAB Genesis vs New Genesis
Left: S/LAB Genesis Right: New Salomon Genesis

End Use

The Genesis is engineered for trail versatility and, though they are most at home on technical, rocky trails, they feel secure and comfortable across a variety of surfaces. I’ve racked up around 70km in these shoes over the past few weeks, and have been impressed by their versatility and performance on pretty much any type of terrain –  I’ve worn them on gravel, rock, mud, and as a road-to-trail hybrid. They’re comfortable and cushioned enough to wear for pretty much all of your running needs, from daily training to recovery runs, and I’ve even used them for hiking (read more about when you might want to use trail runners for hiking here).

Running in Salomon Genesis

Salomon Genesis Construction

Sole

Using their most sticky rubber to date, the ultra-grippy Contagrip® sole on the Genesis provides excellent grip on a variety of terrain. I’ve used these on a variety of surfaces and have had no slips or trips so far. They’re particularly grippy on downhill sections and I’ve found that I’m able to move at pace with confidence (coming from a notoriously clumsy runner with the scars to prove it, this is a huge win for me).

The innovative lug design further promotes traction with lugs pointing forward at the front and backwards at the back, as well as grooves between the lugs that help to shed mud in wet conditions. The lugs themselves are 4.5mm in depth, meaning that they aren’t overly aggressive for use on harder surfaces, making the Genesis a great option for door-to-trail runs.

It’s worth noting that although the cushioning is generous, I can still feel a lot of the trail through this shoe. I personally don’t mind this, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re running longer distances (anything over a marathon).

Salomon Genesis Sole

Mid-Sole & Platform

One of the first things I noticed about the Salomon Genesis was the incredibly comfortable cushioning, particularly on harder surfaces. This is thanks to the lightweight and responsive Energy Foam midsole that provides a bouncy energy return to reduce fatigue. I actually noticed that my legs didn’t tire out as quickly as they usually do on my local trails.

Unlike other trail runners on the market though, this high level of cushioning doesn’t compromise the shoe’s stability. Perhaps the defining feature of the Genesis is its Active Chassis, which provides unrivalled stability when moving over tricky terrain and navigating the twists and turns that you’re guaranteed to encounter on the trail. This is something I was definitely thankful for when moving over uneven terrain and rockier surfaces.

The combination of Energy Foam cushioning and Active Chassis stability makes for an incredibly versatile shoe that can adapt to a range of trail-running environments.

Coastal Running

Upper

The Genesis’ upper is constructed with Salomon’s super-durable patented Matryx® woven mesh that provides foot-mapping support. Having only used them for a few weeks, I can’t vouch for their durability quite yet, but I have noticed that the upper has retained its shape and hasn’t stretched out at all. The mesh has provided excellent breathability for the mid-20s temperatures I have been running in without feeling too airy, so it’s likely that they would work well in cooler temperatures too. There were also a couple of occasions where I got my feet wet at creek crossings, and I was surprised at how quickly the Matryx® dried out.

This durable upper is finished off with a reinforced toe cap, which I was thankful for when moving through woodland and kicking the odd rock or tree stump. It also features a gusseted tongue that’s designed to prevent excess debris from entering the shoe. However, I would say that a shoe with a stitched tongue construction might be a better choice if you’re moving through any particularly dusty or gravelly terrain.

I worry about lacing a lot (clumsy runner problems) and so I’ve always been a fan of Salomon’s signature Quicklace system. The unique system allows you to secure your foot in the shoe quickly and easily, and the lace garage keeps the laces safely stashed away.

Fit

True to Salomon’s performance fit, the Genesis is slightly narrow, but is reportedly roomier than a lot of other Salomon models, including its older sibling the S/LAB Genesis. As a wide-footed person, I still found that I had to size up a half size in order to prevent any pinching in the midfoot and toebox, which means that the shoe is slightly longer than I’d usually prefer. If you’re concerned about sizing, head to a Paddy’s store to give them a try for yourself.

Despite the width issue, my foot feels super secure and I haven’t experienced any excess movement with the Genesis. The heel hold is excellent with no slipping whatsoever, and the heel cushioning is super padded, unlike any other trail runner I have tried before. The shape of the heel is also slightly tapered to eliminate any unnecessary pressure, which adds to the overall comfortable fit. And another major bonus: they required virtually no breaking in and were comfortable straight out of the box.

Appearance

Although not the most important factor, we can all admit that we want our footwear to look good on the trail, right? If you want a mix of function and fashion, there’s no better brand for it than Salomon – and they’ve pulled through once again with the new Genesis. The woven pattern on the Matryx® upper provides a really nice colour combination and texture, whilst colour contrasting on the main body looks clean and slick. With a classic shape, the shoe is a lot less techy looking than some of Salomon’s other models, and I’m personally a big fan of this subtler style. Let’s not forget that there are no rules that say you must only wear them on the trail – I’ve been reaching for them to simply run errands or nip out for a morning dog walk.

Hiking in the Salomon Genesis

With its perfect blend of cushion, protection, and stability, it’s safe to say that the Salomon Genesis has firmly planted itself as my go-to trail runner of the moment. Whatever your running experience and ability, I’m convinced that you’ll love it as much as I do. The Genesis provides comfort and accessibility for those who are new to the trail, whilst boasting enough technical precision for seasoned runners to push their limits. If you’re on the lookout for a versatile workhorse that will see you through a variety of sessions and terrain, don’t sleep on the Salomon Genesis.

Shop the Salomon Genesis for men and women at Paddy Pallin.

Salomon Genesis: First Impressions Review
Comfort100%
Protection85%
Fit75%
Appearance95%
Versatility95%
Value90%
90%Overall Score

About The Author

Darcy Smith

Darcy is an outdoor lover from the east coast of Scotland who is trying out life in Australia. Having travelled through much of Europe and Asia, her favourite place in the world remains the Scottish Highlands. Darcy loves hiking, camping, bulldogs, brunch and sunsets.

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