Written by Naomi May
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French footwear brand Salomon has become the label du jour among the style set – here’s why.
Where hype goes in the style sphere, often disappointment is sure to follow. When a brand or item is whispered about frenetically and extensively, it can often fall short of expectations when a person comes to experience it for themselves – and they are left wondering why it was quite so notable or headline-making in the first place.
There are the exceptions to the rule, of course; the odd pieces and brands that float through the net and land firmly in the elite pool where hyperbole cohabitates seamlessly with expectation. One such label is Salomon, the French sportswear brand.
“What is Naomi talking about?” I hear you valiantly cry. A sportswear brand? Yes, a sportswear brand. But it’s not for compression leggings or supportive bras or even insulating fleeces that we’ve reached our final destination of Salomon; it’s the label’s trainers, which have proved that comfort and style aren’t mutually exclusive.
The story of Salomon dates back to the label’s inception in 1947, when it was founded in Annecy, France. What began as an exhibition in entrepreneurship – the label’s founder François Salomon created a machine that automates the production of steel edges for skis – later became a foray into fashion, which is where the label’s beloved treads first became a reality. In 1992, Salomon debuted its first skis in that year’s Olympics held in Albertville, France, and in turn revealed hiking shoes for the active adventurer.
In recent years, the sartorial sensibility of Salomon has been co-opted by the style conscious – namely Rihanna, Bella, Hailey et al. In the midst of the pandemic, as our collective hunger for comfort and clothes typically seen as utilitarian became more pronounced than ever before, we resigned our minimal mules in favour of Uggs, Crocs and, yes, Salomons.
But what started as whispers on the peripheries of style circles has ricocheted to a message for all to hear loud and clear: Salomon trainers are en vogue, and they’re more comfortable than any other shoe you’ve worn. According to Google Trends, searches for its XT-6 trainers, which are the label’s bestselling shoes, are up by 250% over the past year alone, while at Matches Fashion, the silhouette was its bestselling item for a consecutive three-week period during August, across both menswear and womenswear.
The #SalomonShoes tag on TikTok has been viewed more than 690,000 times too, with users making speedy videos showing how to style the Gore-Tex trainers. Sandy Liang, a buzzy American designer revered by all hipster Brooklynites worth their salt, even tapped the label to provide the shoes for her spring/summer 2022 New York Fashion Week show.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in demand for the brand this season, with its XT-6 and XT-4 styles remaining key bestsellers,” Hollie Harding, Browns Fashion’s buying manager for non-apparel, tells Stylist. “The brand was previously known for performance, however we’ve seen a real swerve targeting the fashion crowd, who are buying into the bright colourways and the unique lace designs.” The trainers are proving so popular for Browns that the latest XT-6 silhouette sold out within just one day.
Of course, Salomon shoes’ virtues are expansive: the brand labels its shoes as ‘cushioned’, which is an understatement. They’re marshmallowy and heavenly on the foot, which will come as a relief to all who have spent their days with feet squeezed into restrictive shoes. They’re colourful – a delight in the sneaker sphere, which is typically pared-back and minimal. And they’re durable, which makes them perfect for the unpredictability and temperamental nature of the Great (is there anything great about it?) British weather.
Whetheryou’re looking for trainers for a daily ramble or a pub date with friends, put your best foot forward and embrace the call of the wild, even if it is only by virtue of wearing a pair of Salomons.
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The best Salomon trainers to buy now
Salomon XT-4 Advanced trainers
A pop of colour in your trainers is never a bad idea if you lean more towards pared-back palettes in the rest of your wardrobe.
Shop Salomon XT-4 Advanced trainers at Matches Fashion, £165
Salomon XT-6 Advanced trainers
A black trainer can be polarising, but paired with an XXL wide-leg trouser and a colourful accessory they’re the footwear staple you never knew you needed.
Shop Salomon XT-6 Advanced trainers at Working Class Heroes, £155
Salomon XT-6 Skyline trainers
Instead of investing in box-fresh snow-white trainers, try a pair of Salomon’s peach-inflected treads, which have the pared-back appeal with a touch more personality.
Shop Salomon XT-6 Skyline trainers, £155
Images: courtesy of brands; Getty
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