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SALOMON S/LAB ULTRA


Salomon Unveil New S/LAB Ultra Running Shoe
Designed with Francois D’haene specifically for the needs of ultra-marathoners


ANNECY, FRANCE—When Francois D’haene commits himself to something, it’s a pretty safe bet that he will get it done. A winner of multiple ultra-marathons in recent years, the Salomon trail running international team member set his sights on breaking the record for crossing the island of Corsica in 2016, then shattered the mark by completing the grueling GR20 track in 31 hours and 6 minutes. On Corsica, and in all of his many other recent victories, the French winemaker was wearing prototypes of an ultra-trail running shoe he was developing with Salomon’s footwear R&D team. In the spring of 2018 that shoe, the S/LAB Ultra, will be available for ultra-distance runners everywhere.

“This is an ultra-trail shoe so it needs to be able to hold up under all the conditions and terrain you encounter in an ultra-race,” D’haene explains. “Having said that, not all benefits can be developed at the same level so some need to be prioritized. Performance was the key priority. So it had to be lightweight, but at the same time remain comfortable and deliver protection over long distances. It’s kind of like a Formula 1 car adapted to long distance and paths.”

With D’haene’s input, creating the final S/LAB Ultra 2 was a tedious process that involved incremental advances over the years. “I tested and helped create this shoe bit by bit and element by element,” D’haene explains. “So using various versions of the shoe, I have done all of my races and training for the last three years.”

The S/LAB Ultra has been built so that each shoe size meets the needs of the runner wearing them. For sizes above 10 UK, Salomon designers increased the shoe stack height to have more proportional cushioning for runners who have longer feet and are slightly heavier. An Energysave® foam insert in the forefoot adds long-lasting cushioning and protection from rocks and rough ground, while Energy Cell+ foam in the bottom unit ensures a smooth, consistent ride.

To achieve comfort and foothold on the downhills, the S/LAB Ultra combines Sensifit construction with a durable, protective skin guard lining for ample protection in the right places. The Sensifit has two arms on each side of the shoe directly linked to the Quicklace eyelets. When the runner pulls on the Quicklace, Sensifit perfectly wraps the foot to help deliver a precise foothold and footstrike. An all-new Contagrip® outsole, with premium wet traction and reverse lugs on the heel area, delivers confident grip, especially on the downhills.

The shoe blends the aforementioned long-distance comfort, precise fit, and grip with a graphic treatment that expresses the different stages of an Ultra. To develop the aesthetic design, Salomon’s footwear team–which is comprised of a number of endurance athletes—intended to capture the spirit of an ultra-race. The goal was for a clean color scheme that captured the various emotional stages that long-distance athletes like D’haene experience during a race, from euphoria to difficult moments of introspection.

“For me it is important to live my partnership with Salomon and feel that there is a real exchange of ideas,” says D’haene. “Three years ago with Salomon we began this project to create an ultra-distance shoe that could not only meet my needs, but also fill the needs of many ultra-runners. After many long discussions with these runners in search of their shoes, I became more and more sincerely involved in the project. It became very close to my heart because it was not only done to develop my personal shoe, but a shoe for other ultra-runners like me.”

To help promote the new S/LAB Ultra, Salomon will develop a SalomonTV episode following Francois D’haene on a new ultra-distance trail running quest that will be unveiled in more detail at a later date. The company will also develop branded online content detailing D’haene’s involvement in the shoe design process with insight from Salomon footwear experts on the shoe’s unique construction.

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Born in the French Alps in 1947, Salomon is committed to pushing the boundaries of mountain sports through the creation of innovative equipment that allows people to play, progress and challenge themselves in their chosen outdoor sports. The company produces and sells premium footwear, winter sports and mountaineering equipment, hiking equipment, and apparel specifically designed for all of those disciplines. Products are developed in the company’s Annecy Design Center, where engineers, designers and athletes collaborate to create innovative solutions that continually improve the outdoor experiences of those who see nature as a vast playground.  


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