Salomon Sense S Lab Hydration Set
Running hydration redefined?
Gimmick or game-changer? The claim that Salomon's new hydration gloves 'redefine hydration' seems a bold one. Outdoor Ed Sarah Stirling tries them out.
Our pros and cons...
- Allows a relaxed natural hand grip
- Fold them up as you drink to prevent sloshing
- Fuss-free bite valve works well
- Expensive considering only one flask comes with it
- White colour glove will get dirty
- Larger size flasks can flop annoyingly
Testing the Salomon hand hydration system
Many runners who've had a chance to try this intriguing and unique design have loved it, from 10k runners to ultra-marathoners. The hydration gloves were first seen on Killian Jornet at the 2011 Western States Endurance Run, and finally became available to buy earlier this spring. I was eager to try them out.
Salomon need no introduction. The company are well known for making running, skiing, snowboarding and hiking gear. The brand has its roots in the mountains: it was founded in Annecy, near Chamonix. Although it's now owned by a bigger company - Amer Sports - the dedicated design centre is still in Annecy.
Handily this is near where the world's current fastest trail runner lives - Kilian Jornet is one of Salomon's sponsored athletes. The brand work with their athletes to develop the innovative products in their top-line 'S-Lab range'.
Salomon have put a lot of focus on trail running in recent years, in tune with the sport's boom in popularity. One of the latest S-Lab products in their running range is this hydration 'glove', which is the lightest hydration system that Salomon make.
Salomon have partnered with Hydrapack, who won a prestigious ISPO outdoor industry award for their innovative soft flasks, and come up with an entirely new hand held hydration system which attaches to breathable, lightweight gloves. The bladders are PVC and BPA free.
- Extra light flask carrier
- Soft flask included - 250ml
- Blaster valve
- 3D mesh
- Elastic power mesh
- PVC and BPA free
- Fast wicking fabrics
- Sensifit (hand) construction (patent pending
What you get for your £35
Soft flasks are available to buy separately in three sizes: 500ml (£18), 250ml (£15) and 150ml (£12). I wouldn't recommend using the 500ml bottle with the glove system as it's too large (you can see the size of the 250ml bottles in my photos - 500ml is obviously twice as big!). The 500ml one is apparently very comfy to hold on its own, as it adapts to your grip, and your grip in turn prevents sloshing, so I'd be interested to try one.
How it works
You slip the gloves over your finger and thumb. The palm side is made of a highly breathable mesh with two elastic strips across it, which hold the soft flask in place, nestling in your palm. A small elastic loop goes around the nipple of the flask to keep it straight, and the water easily accessible. I've left this undone in the photos so you can see what it looks like. Et voila.
And was it good?
On longer runs I tend to carry a running bumbag or rucksack so I can carry spare layers and other essentials, but on shorter runs (10k - half marathon), unless I'm running a race with an obligatory kit list, I’ll carry a hand held bottle. These can become tiring to grip and mean one hand is full - annoying if you need to unwrap a snack. The Salomon hydration gloves provide a good solution to these issues.
Your hand remains in a natural, relaxed position, which is less fatiguing. As I drank the water I found it useful to fold up the bottom of the flask and tuck it under one of the elastic bands to prevent sloshing and flapping. This worked well. When you've drunk it, you can slip it out of the way in your pocket. The bite valve on top works very well, too - you bite and squeeze the liquid into your mouth - very simple and no leaking.
Fold it up as you drink to prevent sloshing
The glove is comfy, and doesn’t make your hands too sweaty. You still have your thumb and fingers free for scrambling over rocks or eating snacks, which is useful. One downside: having the flask right next to your palm does heat the water up when it's hot. One solution I'm considering for summer is popping filled flasks in the freezer - it would also feel refreshing next to hot wrists!
The back of the glove has soft terrycloth for wiping sweat off your face - this is a nice touch, but the white colour glove is going to get dirty quickly! The elastic bands have silicone underneath them to grip the flask. This works well. Other fabrics used are 3D mesh, a very soft mesh which stretches to fit your hand and is breathable, wicks well and is comfortable next to the skin. The Sensifit construction is apparently patent pending - it does fit well to your hand.
So am I a convert? Yes, I think I will be taking these gloves on my shorter runs from now on. I'm also keen to try the 500ml bottle that you hold in your hand. For longer runs I'm sticking to my traditional rucksack or bumbag though.
There is one pair of gloves (one white and one black glove) plus one 250ml flask included in a 'hydration set'. The gloves come in three sizes: S, M, L. As a small female (5'4") I chose size S and this was perfect. I'd size up if you want them for winter running, so they'd fit over gloves. The price for the glove system, I think, is quite steep considering you only get one flask but two gloves - encouraging you to buy another flask yourself!