Obstacle Mud Runner - issue 12

obstaclemudrunner.co.uk ForEliteAtheletes toFunRunners 18 FOOTWEAR : REVIEW Philippe Besnard discusses... Re-designing The Fifth Generation Of The Salomon Speedcross Shoe Aggressive lugs, ground-bite, and firm foot hold are part of what makes the shoe a longterm success story, but the shoe has had to evolve in order to maintain its popularity amoungst trail runners. In fact, as Salomon footwear designers worked to create the fifth generation of Speedcross, there was risk in continuing with the status quo. The challenge for the design team was to magnify the shoe in a totally new and modern way. Already known for its outdoor unpredictability, athletic silhouette and aggressive lugs that bite the ground like a motocross tire, with no compromise, Salomon’s Global Footwear Design & Innovation Sport Science Director Philippe Besnard says he and his team decided to go back to the “source code”. When Philippe first started saying “source code”, people around the Salomon Annecy Design Center (ADC) looked at him somewhat curiously. Pressed to elaborate, Besnard leapt out of his chair, ran to a nearby white board and began scribbling. “The source code is the fundamental origin of the shoe; the essence,” he explains. “Its definition is unique. The shoe can evolve from there, but the essence will never change. You can’t take the lugs from the Speedcross because that ability to bite the ground is part of the Speedcross source code.” He firmly believes that the technology to make the product better can and must evolve. “Technology just allows us to push the design further,” he says. “That is the execution.” “We needed the Speedcross to be more Speedcross,” he says bluntly. “It’s an icon. We know that. So we needed the simplest execution of that, but we needed it to be more expressive.” As a result, Speedcross 5 was built to evoke more emotion. The new design might be subtle to the end-user but the goal was to display greater power, improved grip and sweeping curves. “It has more attitude than the previous design,” Besnard says. “I can’t tell you how we did that exactly because you don’t give away the recipe. But it has a higher profile, more lugs, improved comfort and fit around the foot and the heel is higher.” While evolving a shoe that has been wildly popular for more than a decade is challenging enough, the task of doing so with the Speedcross was even more complex because in recent years the shoe has become a huge hit with urban With more than 1 million pairs of shoes annually, there is little doubt that the Salomon Speedcross has taken the trail running world by storm