When it comes to trail running, a few key brands come to mind and Salomon really embodies the entire outdoors even outside of running. In today’s review, we take a look at one of their top performance pieces, the S-LAB Hybrid running jacket which turned out to be one of the most well-thought-out and probably one of the coolest jackets we’ve tried. It is made for performance and definitely targets the upper end of the market, but it’s so well made it’s really a solid choice for anyone.
Style and Aesthetics
First off, let’s talk about aesthetics. With its jet black design featuring subtle red and white accents, this thing just looks killer. Every little detail feels very polished, which given the price tag is expected, but it not only seems aesthetically pleasing but also well-thought-out in its design. It really just feels like part of a killer uniform more than anything. There is some reflectivity in the shoulder panels as well as the logo on the front, but it’s really almost unnecessary. Other than the fact it acts as another little cool embellishment.
The fit of the jacket is dead on for sizing. I typically wear a medium and find many jackets are a little baggy because they give you some extra room for layering. The S-LAB Hybrid fits comfortably over a short sleeve for compression top, but if you want to layer anything more than that, then you’ll want to step up the size because it fits snugly. It’s designed like that. When worn properly it hugs under the arm, around your neck and head, even through the chest and torso at just the right places giving you maximum flexibility and range of motion without a bunch of extra material.
The most interesting aspect comes in the waistline and instead of just falling away or having drawstrings to cinch, the bottom of the Hybrid S jacket is actually about a 6 inch band of elastic material. This actually keeps it ultra tight against your body and allows no water, debris, or anything else you come up the jacket. Airflow is restricted and thus the temperature is better regulated. The fit is identical in the hoods it really just wraps your head nicely, they actually refer to it as “Skin Fit”. There is no drawstring so make sure you have a head that it fits. When it does, you’ll wonder why more jackets aren’t made this way. The headliner of the hood also features a sweat proof band that keeps the water from dripping in your face. So the entire thing fits quite snugly and is about is near perfect as I found.
The construction technologies read like a laundry list of tech from other jackets in their line, rolled into one. This includes glued seams, ripstop fabric, advanced drying, motion fit, stay down and wind resistant zipper. The actual material itself is a mix of Elastic, Polyamide, and Polypropylene. This makes it super lightweight and it also packs into its own waist belt. The material can handle wind and definitely some light rain, too much rain though and its a bit of a mess, but it takes quite a bit.
Running in the S-LAB Hybrid is really satisfying. The only oddness to the jacket is the fact it’s a pull over more than a full zip jacket. The zipper obviously can’t make its way all the way to the bottom given the addition of the elastic at the waistline, but I found myself asking how necessary that really was anyway (I was wrong after using it). We become trained to look for a full zip jacket, but in this case it’s basically a two thirds or more and works just fine. I found the jacket to be light enough to wear on many conditions and at many lengths of runs. It does a great job of regulating temperature throughout the run and doesn’t restrict motion whatsoever. It’s also one of those jackets where you probably need to layer less than you thought you did even on cold days because it’s made in some miraculous way where it keeps you warm even if you’re only wearing a short sleeve shirt underneath. I wrote in an earlier article about doing the Leif Erikson Trail (all 22 miles) and having gear contribute to that success. What I didn’t mention in the article was that this was the jacket that saw me through it as well. With a 5 AM start and temperatures in the low 40s upper 30s, this thing was perfect. When it got too warm, it came off quickly and stowed just as easily.
Overall, the Salomon Hybrid S jacket is probably one of the nicest, highest quality products I’ve had the pleasure to try. It feels so well-built and well thought out and I’m so attracted to it fit that I kind of judge other jackets against it now, which is unfair. It does come at a very hefty price point I realize, but if you are anything like me, then it will be the only jacket you probably need for a good portion of the year. I do recommend trying it on first given its snug fit, but don’t let that deter you. If I had a list of favorites, this is definitely on it and it’s where my hand goes in the closet when the conditions call for it.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 137 grams (size M)
- MSRP: $275.00
- Available: Now