Salomon – A story of passion and innovation

Salomon help us play outside 365 days a year. As our outdoor pursuits and passions evolve, Salomon remain by our side. True adventure champions, Salomon encourage us to fulfil our need for adventure. Helping us to achieve our goals through their running shoes, skis and technical clothing.

As well as the great products on offer, Salomon share inspiring and motivational stories through their Salomon TV YouTube channel and their sponsored athletes stories. They provide sound sports advice through their ‘How to Trail Run’ workshops and encourage the community to get involved by organising and supporting world class events.     

Future belongs to the players

~ Salomon

Salomon encourages and urges us to take time to go outside and play. Whether you’re a mountain sports lover or a casual outdoor participant, step out your door and experience the pleasure of outdoor activities. 

It’s Time to Play.

Salomon, a strong heritage

Salomon was founded in 1947, in the French Alps in Annecy. François Salomon started out producing ski edges in a small workshop with the help of his wife and son. Over the years they progressed onto developing more technical and revolutionary ski parts, including bindings. In 1972 they were the number 1 binding manufacturer in the world, selling more than 1 million pairs in a single year. By 1990, they had expanded their ski collection with Alpine and Nordic boots and skis.

This progression ultimately led them to create hiking and running shoes for mountains and trails, in the late 1990s. The brand conquered the summer sports market in 2005-06 when they moved the focus of their ‘adventure racing’ range towards trail running.

From François’s small workshop 70 years ago to today, Salomon’s mission has widened but the sentiment remains: “We enable people to run, ski, ride, hike and connect with nature”.

Salomon mountain image
Photo by Salomon

Going from a global skiing brand to the outdoor sports equipment leader, Salomon keeps progressing and innovating. They listen to consumers and athletes, and learn their cultures and expectations. 

The search for innovation and technological improvements is deeply rooted in Salomon’s values. This passion continues to drive them to create the finest equipment to enable people to freely enjoy and challenge themselves in the great outdoors. And the Annecy Design Centre is the place where the magic happens.  

The Annecy Design Centre, home of Salomon’s technical excellence.

Salomon has lived and breathed in the French Alps since its debut, and it keeps taking its inspiration from the stunning city of Annecy. The Annecy Design Center (ADC) is the heart of Salomon. A 33,000 square meter facility accommodating 750 employees across a variety of sports disciplines, including skiing, running and outdoor. It’s the collaboration between all these employees that allows Salomon to keep creating unique products and emotions. Designers, prototypist, biomechanists, engineers and athletes work together and take the best from each other to develop the highest performance products.

The promise and the experience of the product should bring joy.

~ Philippe Besnard (Global Footwear Design Director)

Salomon running shoes and apparel are created based on the needs and use of their athletes. Their vision is that close collaboration with athletes can lead to products that benefit the greater population.

Take a look at Run4It’s Salomon lookbooks for a selection of Salomon outfits ideal for hitting the trails.

Salomon sometimes make 30-40 versions of a shoe and 100s of apparel prototypes while developing products with an athlete. This is how Salomon is able to design strong, durable, lightweight and efficient running products. From an athlete’s idea or demand (which can be vague at first!) they consider the materials, the colours, the biomechanics, the design to bring the product to life.  With a lot of alterations in the creative process.

Who knows better than someone who spends 30-40 hours per week in the mountains and the hills, right? 

Innovation and the environment at Salomon

Salomon strive to reduce the impact of their activity on the environment. They are constantly working on more sustainable and innovative materials. Or ways to design their products to protect this great playground that is planet earth. 

Much of the environmental impact of the footwear industry is down to the lifespan of the materials used. To extend the life cycle of these materials, Salomon have been researching new materials to use in the construction of their shoes. 

For instance, they came up with the concept of a new running shoe made entirely of TPU (thermo-plastic urethane). By using only one material, it allows Salomon engineers to recycle the shoe into a ski boot. At the end of its life the TPU running shoe can be ground down into pellets, and then be mixed with new TPU pellets to make a ski boot shell. As a result, it increases the life of the original materials by up to 10 times. 

Team Salomon

Team Salomon was created to convey Salomon’s passion and love for running outdoors. The Team is made up of professional runners from different countries who train for trail running, skyrunning, ultra or adventure events. 

Salomon mountain top image
Photo by Salomon

Their sporting achievements or quite simply their way of life and vision of running are real vectors of motivation for amateur runners.

Salomon TV, platform for inspiration

If you’ve never watched the Salomon TV Running channel, we recommend taking a look for yourself. In most of their videos, we get to follow some of their sponsored athletes in projects of their own or at races. It’s really interesting to get an insight into the athletes’ history and learn what drives them to do what they do.

A series of videos called “How to Trail Run”, is also available. Intended for beginners or runners wanting to progress in trail running. In each episode, Salomon presents a certain aspect of the practice of trail running and gives the relevant training advice. 

You’ll be itching for a run after seeing them. 

Salomon have also created the “How to Trail Run” workshop. These workshops often run before one of their sponsored races. In addition, UK Retailers can also host a workshop for their customers. Run4It hope to run the workshops in-store when it is safe to do so.

Athletes

As we’ve seen, Salomon relies heavily on their experiences and feedback in the development stage of their products. They have succeeded in creating a number of popular products through the collaboration with their athletes. Salomon’s creative process works on the base of “One project, one athlete, one race”. Salomon would work with one of their athletes to develop a specific product which would meet their demand for a specific race or project they’re training for. 

Close collaboration with athletes can lead to products that benefit the greater population.

For instance, Salomon developed their Sense range with Kilian Jornet to help him win the Western State 100 (America’s most popular 100 mile race). The story began in 2010, when KJ returned empty-handed from the Western States 100 trail race. He didn’t expect to lose and he wasn’t happy, “I’ll be back next year, but I’ll be back to win, and we need to review all the equipment”. Jornet reportedly said to Patrick Leick, Salomon’s Service to Athletes Manager. The product design team were set the challenge of creating a trail running shoe that corresponded perfectly to Kilian’s needs in just one year. The normal time from conception to finished product of a technical shoe like the Sense would normally take two years. But they managed to create a new model and Jornet won Western States in 2011 with them. 

Photo by Salomon

The Salomon teams kept working and improving this model, even after this success. They concentrated on Jornet’s stride and biomechanics. For instance, in order to gain more speed and precision, he needed to put all his weight onto his forefoot. The design of the shoe incorporated this. The S/LAB Sense has inspired a whole range of trail running shoes that share the name and values of the original Sense. The Sense Ride 3 offers a more accessible model for all trail runners.

World Class Events

Salomon connects people in the trail running community through their products, their athletes, their videos and also with their events. There’s no denying the French company is a fervent actor of the outdoor sports community, as they try to help people grow through outdoor activities. 

Salomon support and help in the organization of world-class events. Another way to offer great experiences for outdoor enthusiasts. 

They notably participate in the organisation of the exciting Golden Trail Series (World and National). The event’s website sums it up perfectly, “It is more than just a race series, it’s a celebration of trail running, trail running athletes and fans.” The Golden Trail World Series comprises 6 races. Each race is specifically selected because of the scenery, challenge, history and atmosphere offered to both the runners and the public. The races take place in 6 different countries and award points according to the ranking. The 10 athletes with the most points get to run the Grand Finale at the end of the year. 

You can find all the previous race recap on the Golden Trail Series YouTube channel.

By supporting this event, Salomon aims to promote professional trail runners as the world-class athletes that they are. To showcase and protect the awe-inspiring nature and environments where we play and compete. And to acknowledge the amazing, passionate fans as an essential ingredient in the sport. 

Salomon supports several other races in the world, including the Salomon Skyline Scotland taking place in Kinlochleven every September.

I shared my experience of this race series in my race report from last year’s event when I toed the line with 200 competitors.

Salomon Skyline Scotland image