Almost 10 years ago, elite trail runner Kilian Jornet asked his sponsor Salomon why they couldn’t try making custom shoes for every runner. That question fueled the creation of their brand new S/Lab ME:sh range of running footwear.
Salomon wants to give customers a shoe creation experience once offered to only elite runners, while also streamlining the process of how footwear is created. The upper of the S/Lab ME:sh shoe is made of a sock-like fabric called Twinskin, which is knit in 3D and fused with heat. The lower part of the shoe is completely tailored to its owner. Runners can choose the drop, cushioning, outsole and color combination.
The process of creating an S/Lab ME:sh shoe uses 80 percent less components, cutting down on waste. It also uses 50 percent less manual labor, relying on 30 mechanical and manual operations to build each shoe. Typical running footwear uses about 180 operations.
“To make this possible, we needed to simplify the shoe-making process,” said Jean-Yves Couput, Salomon S/LAB ME:sh Project Director. “Now we have the opportunity to co-create the shoe with customers without being too technical to understand.”
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Salomon hopes to build these shoes in local markets, cutting down on shipping costs and carbon footprints. Unfortunately they will only be available in Europe. They hope to produce the shoe globally, but there is currently no timetable for when that will happen.
If you want to score these customizable running shoes, you will have to head to Europe. Starting June 1, S/Lab ME:sh shoes will be available at eight Salomon retailers in France and one store in Belgium. Beginning Sept. 1, consumers can make an appointment at Salomon’s headquarters in the French Alps to have their shoes built. S/Lab ME:sh sneakers will retail for €300 ($327).