WORDS BY STEPHEN YU
What started as a small metal workshop founded by the Salomon family in 1947, was by the 2000s one of the world’s leading manufacturers of ski and trail running equipment. When first opened by George Salomon in a small French town in the Alps called Annecy, the Salomon workshop specialised in making wood saw blades before beginning to work on ski edges. Just two decades later, after inventing their own ski bindings (traditional ones were still made of leather straps) and the first self-release heel piece, Salomon were already dominating the market as the no.1 binding manufacturer and featured heavily at the 1966 Olympic Games.
In the nineties, Salomon would take their innovations into the sport of hiking and by 2000 were the leading trail running brand with their range of innovative shoes including the Speedcross silhouette. Now after being sighted on the feet of people like Kanye West, Ralph Lauren and Matthew Williams of ALYX, and fueled by a love for all things technical, Salomon is making some serious inroads into the fashion crowd who adore the footwear for their function, materials and aesthetic.
Shop this style: Salomon S/Lab XT-4 Advanced Trail Running Shoes
Where are Salomon shoes made?
At present, Salomon makes their shoes in either Vietnam or China just like most other trainer brands. However, after 70 years of planning, Salomon have finally managed to realise their dreams of fully localising production with the opening of their new Advanced Shoe Factory 4.0 in collaborations with local textile company and longtime partner Chematex.
The new ‘smart factory’ with its automated production allows Salomon to test new models on-the-go, allowing the brand to react quickly to consumer demand and bring products to the market rapidly. Also, being based just 2000km away from Salomon HQ in Ardoix, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, it’s close proximity is more environmentally friendly –– the brand’s carbon footprint is minimised by eliminating shipping from Asia.
With footwear produced from start to finish in the newly constructed factory, the first 100% made in France Salomon sneakers will be available from December 2021. Watch this space.
Shop this style: Salomon S/Lab XA Comp ADV Sneakers
What is Salomon S/Lab?
Think of S/Lab as Salomon’s equivalent to Nike’s HTM or automobile racing’s Formula 1 –– basically it’s an ongoing collaboration between the French footwear brands finest engineers, athletes and designers with a goal of designing the most innovative performance wear and footwear in trail running and winter sports. It’s a space where top athletes get to share their dreams and product demands directly with the engineers and designers who can find the solutions to the problems that prevent them from achieving their goals. And just like Nike’s or Formula 1’s most advanced technologies, they all trickle down to consumer level eventually.
With the tagline ‘Future At Play’, essentially what S/Lab hopes to achieve is to create products that allow humans to push the boundaries of what is possible in nature and realise their athletic potential –– but most importantly to still have fun whilst doing it. Skis, snowboards and the necessary poles, bindings and boots are just some of the products they’ve released, alongside trail running shoes, outerwear and sportswear.
Shop this style: Salomon S/Lab x Boris Bidjan Saberi Bamba Bamba 2 Hi-Top Sneakers
Salomon Sneakers: Collaborations
One of the main reasons behind Salomon’s widespread adoption by the fashion crowd is their brilliant and strategic brand collaborations. Starting in 2014, avant-garde Parisian fashion boutique The Broken Arm would be the first to create their own custom Snowcross silhouette, and by 2019 it would be their fire red and green XT-4 silhouette that would take Salomon mainstream. 2016 is another key date in Salomon’s calendar –– not only did Jean Philippe Lalonde (former Arc’Teryx Veilance employee) join the company, helping define the brand’s lifestyle-focused footwear, but it was also the year that marked their first foray into high-fashion in their collaborations with experimental Spanish-based designer and StyleZeitgeist favourite Boris Bidjan Saberi. By 2018, Salomon was a common fixture on the fashion circuit –– Palace’s SS18 lookbook, and both Marine Serre’s and CMMN SWDN’s AW18 runways were just a few highlights, while the brand would also collaborate with streetwear and Japanese fashion royalty in their partnership with Takahiro Miyashita's The Soloist. With only five years of collaboration behind them, and many more to come, we look forward to what the future holds for Salomon collaborations.
Shop this style: Salomon S/Lab x Boris Bidjan Saberi Bamba Sneakers
Salomon Shoes Sizing Guide
While it’s true that Salomon shoes sizing tends to run a bit narrow, it’s also true that there’s no consistency across the entire Salomon range. So while a quick Google might reveal that the general consensus is to size up in the brand’s trail running shoes (especially if you have wide feet) the same won’t apply to every single pair.
Meanwhile, their hiking boots don’t come in wide sizes either, and you have to take into consideration what you’ll be using them for –– you may need to size up if you have wider feet or want to wear thicker socks when hiking.
The best way to find out your Salomon shoe size is to calculate your feet length using the instructions below and consulting our size chart:
1. Place a sheet of paper on the floor and against a wall
2. Make sure you are wearing the same socks that you would normally wear with this type of shoe
3. Wearing these socks, stand on the sheet of paper with your foot perpendicular to the wall and your heel against the wall.
4. Then use a pen to draw a line just in front of your big toe. Repeat for both feet and take the longer distance to determine your size.
5. Using a ruler, measure the distance between the wall and the line you drew to find your size.
Salomon Shoes Sizing Chart
The Best Salomon Shoes
Shop this style: Salomon S/Lab Speedcross 3 ADV Sneakers
First designed for obstacle course racing, the Speedcross mixes a nimble silhouette with ripstop uppers and that trademark Salomon Contagrip sole for added traction. A firm favourite of Palace designer Gabriel Pluckrose, it’s no surprise that this was the first model that the British skateboard brand would work on in the first of their ongoing collaboration with Salomon.
Shop this style: Salomon S/Lab Quest 4D GTX Advanced Hiking Boots
Salomon Quest 4D
These Salomon hiking boots put traditional leather boots to shame. Their 4D Advanced Chassis was designed to reduce fatigue on long treks, yet the shoe is as lightweight and cushioned as a running shoe. Perfect for long hikes or days spent shopping in winter.
Shop this style: Salomon S/Lab XT-6 Advanced Sneakers
Launched back in 2012 as Salomon’s premiere trail runner, the XT-6 was designed to stand up to the world’s harshest ultramarathons. Close to being lost forever in 2016, the XT-6 footwear mould was due to be destroyed when Salomon’s special projects manager Jean Philippe Lalonde saved them. Since then, Rihanna and Pusha T have been sighted in a pair and GQ dubbed them shoe of the year for 2019 so we’re glad he did.