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Salomon Phantasm (2022) Review: Miscommunication
By Chief Editor/Founder Matthew Klein

The original S/Lab Phantasm from Salomon was a conundrum. It was a simple, light racing flat with a unique rocker for a 7 oz shoe. However, the closer-to-the-ground ride fit far better into the footwear designs of 10 years ago, but not now. The midsole was quite firm, making it better for 5k-10k efforts at most. This was confusing for a company known more for technical ultra-marathon distance trail shoes. The new Salomon Phantasm returns completely redesigned with a midfoot/forefoot plate, taller stack height and highly rockered design.

Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 8.3 oz, 235 g (men's size 9), 6.8 oz, 193 g (women's size 7)
Stack Height: 30 mm / 21 mm 
Drop: 9 mm
Classification: Lightweight Trainer / Workout Shoe


The Salomon Phantasm 2022 update returns as a completely different shoe. Featuring a high stack, highly rockered ride and a new Energy Blade plate, it is marketed as Salomon's new road racing shoe for forefoot strikers. What it actually ends up being is a lightweight trainer with a softer heel, narrow fit and rockered ride best for heel strikers. A rare uptempo shoe with a higher heel drop (9mm), those wanting a snug/low volume fit shoe for pounding miles and rolling along may enjoy the newest update of the Phantasm.


The Salomon Phantasm (2022) fits me slightly long in my normal men's US size 10. I would stay true to size however due to the narrow and low volume fit. The heel and midfoot are particularly snug, which combined with the overlays makes for a secure lockdown in the rear. The forefoot fits normal to slightly snug, but the upper sits low on the foot. There is a crease just ahead of the laces, which has caused blistering repeatedly on my 1st toe. The toebox tapers, especially with the thickening of the toe guard (although it is still somewhat flexible). The upper feels secure, thin but extremely sturdy. There is no flexibility to it and I did not need to lace lock the shoe. It is a thinner matryx with overlays both on the inside and outside. These provide a high level of security without making the upper stiff. The tongue is thin and only secured by the laces. I did not have any sliding issues, but did have to make sure it stayed flat when I put the shoes on.

There is a tiny, extremely flexible heel counter. Those with calcaneal/heel sensitivities will have no issue with this shoe and may actually find it works well for them. The Salomon Phantasm (2022) absolutely requires socks to wear. The number of overlays internally combined with the creasing at the forefoot (and repeated blisters) make this a shoe that you will need some extra protection for between your skin and the upper. 


The Salomon Phantasm (2022) is a lightweight trainer with a 3-pronged plated from the midfoot to the heel. The cushioning is slightly softer in the heel, firmer in the midfoot and really firm in the forefoot. The ride is extremely rockered, with a large and long posterior lateral heel bevel and a longer forefoot rocker with a high toe spring. It almost felt like the older Skechers M-Strike shoes, but with a longer heel bevel. The firm ride and high toe spring at the forefoot make it uncomfortable to land there. Additionally, the plate is extremely stiff, which combined with the high toe spring feels like you are forced to roll forward in a specific way. The heel is softer and is the only part of this shoe that is comfortable to land on. The longer heel bevel awkwardly thrusts you forward to the midfoot, but the Energy Surge EVA/Olefin midsole seems to compress and hold you there. This is not a bouncy shoe and attempting to use it as such makes it feel far heavier than its listed weight. It only works if you land heavily on the heel and roll forward. Due to the high heel bevel, I did not notice the 9mm heel drop. The rocker takes this sensation away, but this is not a low-drop shoe.

Durability wise this shoe has been subpar. I only have 33 miles on my pair and have not only chewed through posterior-lateral heel outsole rubber, I am chewing heavily in the midsole. The extra forefoot rubber has been fine but only those light on their feet will do well with this midsole. For me, I actually have to stop running in this shoe as I have chewed through enough lateral outsole that my mechanics are being thrust outward from the wear.

Use-wise the Salomon Phantasm 2022 feels best during uptempo runs but only as a training shoe. Easy runs feel ok if you land heavily on the heel, but the toe-spring is so high and the forefoot is so firm that transitioning over that for long runs is not comfortable. Anything faster than an uptempo effort feels incredibly difficult/awkward and the shoe feels like it weighs much more than its listed 8.3 oz. This is likely due to the fact that this shoe is not matching up with my mechanics, but it certainly is not a fast shoe. This will likely be a workout "trainer," while the Phantasm CF (which I have not tried) will truly be Salomon's fast racing shoe. 


While the Salomon Phantasm (2022) is listed as a neutral shoe, it has several elements that make it highly stable. There are noticeable sidewalls in the medial and lateral heel/midfoot transition, with the medial feeling more prominent. The heel appears to have a slight lateral bias as the midsole feels and looks more built up on the medial side (creating what feels like a rearfoot wedge). The heel bevel is angle slightly posterior lateral and with the large size drives the foot more lateral on landing. The three-pronged Energy Blade makes the sole extremely stiff, greatly reducing movement side to side, especially in the midfoot and forefoot. The extreme rocker also gives you no choice but to go forward, regardless of how smooth or quick the transition is (it isn't). So those who need guidance and some lateral bias at the heel, the Salomon Phantasm (2022) may be an option.


This shoe absolutely did not work for me. The transition and ride are awkward/terrible, the fit has caused me blisters and the shoe feels like it is far heavier than it is listed. This is the absolute last shoe I would purchase or buy for just about anything, which is especially sad given that I like how stable it is for me. While it did not work for me, it will work for an extremely specific population.

Given the extreme rocker, higher drop and slight lateral heel bias from what appears to be a medial wedge, this would be a great shoe for those with Achilles tendon issues. We have discussed many times how shoes with forefoot rockers tend to shift load away from the ankle and Achilles (Sobhani et al,. 2013; Sobhani et al., 2017). The higher drop with a large heel bevel will also ease in transitions without compression of the tendon. The softer heel cushioning is good for heel strikers and will facilitate a rearfoot landing, which tend to load the calves less at initial contact. So those wanting a higher drop, highly rockered and stiff ride in an uptempo lightweight trainer may do well here.

From a performance standpoint, I think a great deal of error came from the plate placement. We know that partial length plates are not effective in improving running economy (Ortega et al., 2021). Having a soft heel that compresses requires the running to get back up onto the plate, which may contribute to the extremely awkward transition this shoe has. Additionally, we know the longitudinal bending stiffness in a shoe is only beneficial if it does not mess with the natural flex point of the metatarsophalangeal joints (Oh & Park, 2017). So a shoe that is too stiff that doesn't match with the runners mechanics will likely decrease running economy and be extremely uncomfortable (Mcleod et al., 2020; Ortega et al., 2021). This is exactly what appears to happen with the Salomon Phantasm. The partial length plate is not helpful and only adds to an awkward transition. The forefoot rocker is too stiff and not placed in an optimal position, which makes the transition feel forward, adding to the feeling that this shoe is heavier than it really is. There are a large number of lessons here to be learned that hopefully Salomon can take and make a better shoe next round.


McLeod, A. R., Bruening, D., Johnson, A. W., Ward, J., & Hunter, I. (2020). Improving running economy through altered shoe bending stiffness across speeds. 
Footwear Science12(2), 79-89.

Oh, K., & Park, S. (2017). The bending stiffness of shoes is beneficial to running energetics if it does not disturb the natural MTP joint flexion. 
Journal of biomechanics53, 127-135.

Ortega, J. A., Healey, L. A., Swinnen, W., & Hoogkamer, W. (2021). Energetics and biomechanics of running footwear with increased longitudinal bending stiffness: a narrative review. 
Sports Medicine51(5), 873-894.

Sobhani, S., Heuvel, E., Dekker, R., Postema, K., Kluitenberg, B., Bredeweg, S., Hijmans, J.  (2017).  Biomechanics of running with rocker shoes.  
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.  20(1): 38-44.

Sobhani, S., Zwerver, J., Heuvel, E., Postema, K., Dekker, R., Hijmans, J.  (2013).  Rocker shoes reduce achilles tendon load in running and walking in patients with chronic achilles tendinopathy.  
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.


As mentioned above, this shoe has not worked for me and was extremely disappointing. My suggestion is either to abandon this in favor of the Phantasm CF or make some major modifications. There is such a thing as too much rocker and I think this applies here. We know that partial length plates tend to not be effective in improving running economy. I would encourage Salomon to redo their plate design, make it full length and put it farther into the midsole. They also need to modify the stiffness so that it works with the foot and not against it. If the goal is to make this a shoe for forefoot strikers, the forefoot needs to be more comfortable. Right now it is extremely uncomfortable because it is so firm, aggressive and stiff. Human beings tend to land where things are softer, so if anything, there needs to be a softer ride up front.

The overall midsole needs to be softer. Using an EVA blend in a faster shoe is no longer acceptable if you want to be competitive in today's market, so a new foam is in order. Finally, the upper laces go down too far. This is causing creasing and blistering in the upper. Move that back a little and give a little more volume in the forefoot, which will be desperately needed if the sole doesn't compress at all. The forefoot will need to be able to spread to accept some of that load or the plate is going to backfire and put uncomfortable pressure through there (which is exactly what happens). 


The Salomon Phantasm (2022) is a snug/low volume fitting, aggressively rockered, stiff lightweight trainer that is best for those with a heavy heel strike wanting a shoe with an extremely stiff plated forefoot. Those needing some mild stability here will do well, given the stiff and rockered ride that forces you forward, albeit awkwardly, combined with sidewalls and a small medial heel wedge that will keep you slightly lateral. The ride is not optimal for faster running due to the excessive rocker and oddly placed plate, which makes for a shoe that feels far heavier than listed and may work against you unless you have specific mechanics. Unless this shoe matches you, you are better off taking a look at the Phantasm CF if you want a faster Salomon shoe.


Fit: B- (Snug/low volume, durable, and secure upper. Low volume fit has caused blisters on my toes and runners may need to start the laces one loop higher)
Performance: D+/
C- (Highly rockered, stiff and awkward ride. Feels mediocre at best at uptempo efforts landing hard on the heel. Not comfortable at all at other paces. Rides far heavier than the listed weight)
Stability: A- (Extremely rigid sole with sidewalls and an extreme rocker that forces you forward. Slight medial wedge that drives the heel lateral, so will be good for those that collapse medially at the heel.)
DPT/Footwear Science: C- (An extremely disappointing design that is far behind the majority of road running brands out there. A partial length plate that is too stiff, a non-responsive foam and an overdone geometry. There is a great deal of potential here, especially for unloading the Achilles tendon, but it is executed poorly)
Personal: C- (I really want to like this shoe, but it feels extremely heavy, uncomfortable and has given me blisters. It looks nice though, so I started wearing it around clinic, but even that gets uncomfortable by the end of the day. So it feels like a classy uncomfortable dress shoe)
Overall: C+ 


Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse

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***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased with our own personal funds. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 30-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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