Salomon is a French company and world leader in trail running shoes. Billions of dollars are spent annually on trail running footwear and manufacturers are always coming up with new technologies and designs. The company was founded in 1947 and originally made winter ski bindings but in 1991 there was no snow and the company was left with a massive stock of cross-country ski boots and no demand. One employee suggested removing the cross-country outsole and replacing it with a hiking sole to suit the weather conditions.
It turned out to be a stroke of genius and kick-started Salomon into the outdoor footwear market. By 2006, the company had one focus, mountain sports and trail running. Two years ago, for the first time, sales of its summer products overtook winter items, driven by the growth in trail running. The sport is exploding worldwide. Next year, Salomon plans to organise its first race series on the mainland. According to a spokesperson shoes are the only necessary equipment for the sport and suppliers spend a lot of time developing robust footwear fit for purpose.
Trail running shoes like the S-Lab Sense can take up to two years from the drawing board to the shelves, with more than 50 prototypes and hundreds of days of testing. It takes about 10 months from idea to validation of prototype, and another 10 months to produce them in big quantities in China. Proven technology from the S-Lab range inevitably trickles down to the lower-priced lines.