Just as well-heeled gentry can call on Savile Row for custom made footwear so the ordinary trail runner can now enjoy the same custom, personalised fit thanks to Salomon’s innovative new ME:sh footwear.
Inspired by legend Killian Jornet who has his shoes handcrafted and built for his own needs, the French shoe giant Salomon has developed a simple and – relatively – inexpensive way of creating shoes that will meet each and every individual’s requirements. After a set of key measurements and a fact-finding questionnaire to ascertain the consumer’s training venues, the shoe is built around the foot of the individual, based on his or her own unique way of moving and the environment in which that person runs. To do this, the footwear team at Salomon deconstructed the concept of fit, focusing on four key areas: anatomical fit (foot shape), biomechanical fit (during movement), where and how the individual will use the shoes, and personal preferences such as feel and cosmetics.
It’s really as good as it sounds both from a perfect fit point of view, but also an environmental one as less product used and most of it will be sourced locally to where the shoe is ordered from.
S/LAB ME:sh footwear will require just 30 mechanical and manual operations to build, compared to the approximately 180 it currently takes to create a running shoe using normal production methods. Since each ME:sh shoe will use 12 components versus a current average of 50, it also represents a more sustainable, responsible business model by decreasing the waste associated with production and the carbon footprint required by the shipping process
“The S/LAB ME:sh project was born from a very strategic vision based on our knowledge that it will be necessary to transform the footwear business in the days ahead, both from a consumer point of view, where customisation will be crucial, and from an industrial aspect, where the process of footwear creation will need to be more streamlined,” says Jean-Marc Pambet, President of Salomon. “The goal was to create footwear that is an extension of the body and to place production closer to the end consumer. What is unique about ME:sh is that it is a combination of every piece of know-how we have in our footwear organisation—from what we have inside our own walls to external know-how from our factory. You are never alone in creating something like this.”
Currently, the shoe is only available in France with prices ranging from 230 euros to 300 euros but it will be rolled out globally in the next 12 months or so.
Salomon S/LAB ME:sh Footwear – By the Numbers
Number of mechanical and manual operations that are required to create a shoe in the Salomon S/LAB ME:sh Footwear range
Number of mechanical and manual operations it takes to create a running shoe using normal production methods
Number of components S/LAB ME:sh footwear uses
Average number of components a running shoe normally uses in a traditional production model
Months it took to create the program that the robot (nicknamed “Maurice”) relies on to help construct S/LAB ME:sh footwear
Months it took Salomon engineers to create the machine (nicknamed “Bea”) that fuses the upper of an S/LAB ME:sh shoe
Number of technical shoe specifications consumers can choose from in the Unique to Me product offering of the S/LAB ME:sh range (including width, drop, sole, insert and more)
Colour combinations a consumer can choose from in the S/LAB ME:sh Unique to Me product range
Total possible variations in Unique to Me shoes in the S/LAB ME:sh range, based on possible shoe component options and color combinations
Hours it took to create one pair of Kilian Jornet’s customised prototype running shoes in 2009
Minutes and seconds it now takes to create one pair of customised S/LAB ME:sh running shoes in Salomon’s ME:sh unit