The S/Lab X Alp Carbon 2 GTX mountaineering shoe is the product of rigorous testing done by athletes and employees near Salomon French Alps headquarters. Two Salomon employees give you the inside story on how they test a shoe before you ever see it in store.
“The playground for this shoe depends on the state of mind of the user.” That is one of the first phrases heard during the initial tests of the S/LAB X Alp Carbon, the shoe that lightened the footsteps of guides in high mountain terrain, allowing them to climb rock and use crampons with a gaiter on snow fields. "Times have changed, heavy shoes are out of fashion. I now recommend lightweight shoes to my clients," says one Pyrenees guide. After kilometers spent walking in the high mountains on the feet of guides and PGHM (elite mountain police troops) over the past two years, the S/LAB X Alp Carbon has grown more mature and reinvented itself in a new, lighter version with a more refined shape. These are the people who developed the new S/LAB X Alp Carbon 2 GTX.
"All that is superfluous in design is removed. The pros ask us to remove so much details to reach simplicity and efficiency! We don’t talk much, visually speaking" - Baptiste Tarenne, Footwear Designer.
"The S / Lab range is the technology showcase and the expression of the vision of Salomon. It is through S/Lab products that we express the brand and that we give a taste of future products" - Baptiste Tarenne, Footwear Designer
"Jordi went eleven times on the Mont Blanc with those shoes!" - Laurence Hoffman, Head of Field Tests
"It takes 38 months to develop a shoe. We have different stages of durability validation called PPR, PFR, IES or FES. When we identify things that do not work, we make PFR 2 of PFR3, IES 2. For example, we first used two different compounds for the sole foot and for the front part that allows rock climbing. Both materials do not have the same durability and they didn’t glue together well. So we put the best material everywhere and we re-did all the durability tests" - Laurence Hoffman, Head of Field Tests
The Adhesion Test of the sole of the X Alp Carbon 2 was done on a wet marble plate. This session of “skating” delivers a clear enough verdict between the different types of soles. "When we develop a new geometry of crampons, we follow the validation protocol for grip on this marble. We test it uphill, downhill, on the side and also the progressive nature of the grip. We have different criteria: acceptable, unacceptable and dangerous. Then we test it on the ground, always on wet surfaces (grass, mud, rock), often in Angon—a nearby waterfall, where there are always wet places—or on the Semnoz, a local mountain where there are sloping slabs" - Laurence Hoffman, Head of Field Tests
"’Hit the rock.’ That sentence from a field tester summarizes our design work. We follow this expression as a guideline to display the visual impact of the front. You do not need to look at your foot to know where it will land. The blue contrasts on the snow, the mud, the rocks and you see your shoes even if you do not watch your feet. The shoe is in the periphery of your vision, allowing a more intuitive, more responsive attitude" - Baptiste Tarenne, Footwear Designer
“We have a totally different approach from competing brands. They deal with very established codes like orange and red. We designed a playful shoe!" - Baptiste Tarenne, Footwear Designer
"We have refined the liner compared to the first (black and white) version to improve accuracy in rock climbs, by working on the heel and the metatarsal zone. We shifted the zip on the side for a more natural motion, a more ergonomic movement. Finally, the plate in the sole, which is the secret of the shoe that provides flexible bending and torsional rigidity, is now made of carbon." - Laurence Hoffman, Head of Field Tests