Gear Review: Salomon EXO S-Lab II Short M

It’s amazing just how ‘technical’ gear is getting these days. Here at Ultra168, we still joke about the fact that running should be a cheap sport. Afterall, all you need is a pair of old trainers right and off you go? It’s not like cycling or cricket where you buy lots of additional extras is it? Wrong! Even our choice of what to wear on our lower half gets careful consideration these days, as I found out at GNW this year when I suffered from almighty chaffing in the latter half of the race. So with this, comes a review of some new-ish Salomon compression shorts which I thought I’d give a test run, to see if they could knock the trusty Underarmour off its peg.

You’ll have to excuse the slightly male bias to the review of these shorts as they are catered in the main for men, and you’ll understand why as we elaborate further below. However you ladies could make a slight adjustment to these shorts if you’re really keen on them, and we’ll explain the why and how below.

Shorts to make you feel sexy

The most striking thing you notice about these little bad boys is the hexagonal EXO’s dotted all the way around these shorts. According to the blurb, EXO technology helps to improve performance and recovery by supporting muscles and increasing blood flow. Now to be honest, I couldn’t tell you from Adam if this was true as I’d have to go off and find a scientist to work all of this out. But you know what, they don’t half feel good when you have them on. To quote an elderly member of Ultra168 “I don’t half feel sexy in these shorts!”

Marcus aka ‘Gilian Jornet’, pictured above is donning a slightly different pair, but again made of the EXO stuff that makes these things stand-out from the crowd, along with the EXO running vest too. But seeing as we made Darrel famous the other day, it’s time for Marcus to have his time in the limelight too!

There are two other major differences in these shorts than others I have worn in the last few years. Indeed for nigh on three years, I’ve worn nothing but Underarmour compression shorts. I’ve sworn by these, as they were one of the original manufacturers of compression gear and I’ve always loved their fit and feel. Big in the US (where they come from), but not so much over here in Australia.

I did however as I mentioned, suffer from almighty chaffing in the recent GNW100 miler in the last 42kms, which was extremely painful. I’m not saying that I’m retiring these shorts, but it wasn’t great, so hence the fact that I wanted to try these little beauties to see what they were made of.

When you open them up, you immediately notice that inside, there is a liner for the meat and two veg. This is not something I’ve been used to and to be honest I was a little paranoid of at first. That liner is a little like a pair of budgie smugglers added in the shorts to keep your crown jewels separate from the other material. I’ve only been on one 10km run in them so far and I’m a little paranoid about the fact that this liner could start to chaff on some ‘delicate parts’. But, more testing is required in these and some serious long runs needed to test if they really do help prevent chaffing.

With the addition of this liner means that the ‘undercarridge’ so to speak is not in contact with the material, so is left hanging and feels very roomy. Again, if you’re used to having lycra stretched all over your backside, this can feel a little different to begin with. However, after a few kms you don’t even think about it. If you’re a lady, I reckon you could buy these and cut the liner out of the shorts and wear them as is, but it’s not something I’ve tried personally, so watch this space ladies 🙂

The big plus for these shorts though is the addition of 4 elasticated pockets on the waistband of the back (3 pockets) and the front (1 pocket). I reckon you could get two gels in each, making this a perfect racing short for the upcoming six-foot track race in March next year. No need to carry a water bottle with a pocket in the side to carry your gels, this does it all for you.

Plenty of room for gels make this an ideal pair of shorts for racing

I’m wearing a medium right now, and my waist is around 33 inches I believe, and they feel good and comfortable on me. The shorts are actually pretty long in the leg, sitting just above the knee, which I’m not a massive fan of. Those who know me, know that I like to wear nut smugglers and prefer the shorts to sit a little higher than they perhaps do. But again, it’s not a massive issue for me personally.

So first impressions? Pretty happy with how these both fit and feel. The jury is still out as to whether I’ll be at home with the little panty liner inside them on the long runs yet, but that’s for me to try to report back in the second part of the review, once I’ve managed to put them through the mill a little more.

In terms of sizing, they range from Small right through to a pie-eating size of 2XL. Those who know me, know I’m a bigger bloke and medium fits well for me, so I can’t see most runners going beyond that. Not 100% sure on pricing as of yet, but I’ll update the article as soon as I know.

*In the spirit of being open and transparent, I was given a pair of these shorts to review by Footpoint.

Like our articles? Take a second to support Ultra168 on Patreon from as little as $1 a month!
Dan on Twitter
I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

3 thoughts on “Gear Review: Salomon EXO S-Lab II Short M

  1. I’ve been using these for about 10 months. Initially, I didn’t trust them to go past 50k because of the banana hammock (internal gusset) getting a bit uncomfy when sweated up. But after a few runs they fit intuitively and apart from the material being really comfortable, non-restrictive, and light in the heat. The pocket on the front is the best thing I’ve found in any clothing for holding my insulin pump secure but unobtrusive, and easily accessible when I run. Pretty specialized need but a big box to tick for me.
    similarly, I copped chafing off these after the rainstorm at GNW, even with preventive Gurney Goo before and after. Fortunately I’d expected that after 100k just about anything could go wrong, so I had a pair of Salomon XA
    Pro V shorts in my drop at Somersby. super comfy, super practical, a great go to short with the added comedy of front mounted man flaps (due to single layer between legs for improved comfort).
    The s-lab are starting to show their wear with seams fraying at the waist but they’re still utterly usable after about 2,000km (another favourite go to short). Some drawbacks but far more benefits. Going to pick up another pair when I can.

    1. Nice one Roger, appreciate your additional comments on these. Always helps to add extra value to what we do. I’ve just got my hands on some of the Gurney Goo, so keen to give it a whirl after I used 2 tubs of Vaseline at GNW 🙂

  2. i wouldnt be seen dead in them as im not a lycra enthusiast but i do like the pockets at the back

    to avoid chaffing i just rub a load of body glide over my junk prior to a long run. does the job

Leave a Reply