After hearing continued rumblings since last fall from both Europe and State Side, the vibe is building that Salomon will likely offer a “custom” shoe program which treats the customer like one of their elite athletes- i.e. you tell them what you want and they build it.
Salomon’s elite athletes have gushed for many years how the company’s R&D department (or S Lab) in Annecy can rapidly (in days or weeks) turn out shoe prototypes for testing. This includes minor tweaks like a different outsole on an otherwise unchanged model (e.g. putting a SpeedCross outsole on a Sense Ultra for example) to totally unique examples with different midsoles, uppers, lacing, etc. Well, based on the rumor-mill it looks like some version of this might be offered to the paying public.
With no details on the specifics of the rumored program one might speculate that the program might include a number of uppers, midsoles, and outsoles in the Salomon line-up (presumably from the S Lab line) from which one can mix-and-match to design a shoe specifically to one’s liking. The shoes would likely be made in Annecy and therefore will be very limited in total number produced. Also given the difficulties associated with production of custom shoes, only a small number of Salomon dealers worldwide (perhaps 50 total) and a few (perhaps 5) in the US would be the exclusive source for this service. Who knows what the pricing might be, but I would not be surprised to see pricing exceed $250 US per pair.
Such a program represents potential for shoes with outstanding performance for specific purposes and running style, but also for production of some of the worst shoes ever produced by man. Given a combination of what little science there is on efficacious shoe design, the whims and reckless ideas of individual runners, and the importance of uniqueness to certain types, we may see some, let’s say, “very interesting” shoes coming out of a Salomon “custom” project. Perhaps Salomon will keep the combinations strategically limited to ensure that no obviously “bad” shoes are produced.
If this program does come to fruition, and if you think you have some tweaks you would like to see in your Salomon shoes, this may be a program for you.
Note 1 May 2017:
Salomon announced today the S/Lab ME:sh custom shoe program that is currently only available in France and Belgium. They plan to expand the program to the US and other markets soon.