ANNECY, FRANCE – To celebrate the upcoming launch of the new S/LAB Ultra trail running shoe—the same shoe that Francois D’haene used to win the 2017 Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB)—Salomon will offer a very limited edition version of the same shoe. The limited edition shoe commemorates the Salomon athlete’s impressive win at the UTMB with several design graphics that will not be on the in-line S/LAB Ultra model, which launches later this spring and was designed in close collaboration with D’haene.
The French Alps-based brand will offer 171 pairs of the limited edition version, one for every kilometer of the famed ultra-race that starts and finishes in Chamonix. The limited edition models will have an altitude profile of the UTMB course along the outside in gold as well as D’haene’s signature printed on the side. The tongue has three stars, one for each of D’haene’s UTMB victories. Each pair will also be individually numbered 1 through 171. The sock liner on the limited edition S/Lab Ultra is made of a cork material in reference to D’haene’ primary occupation as a winemaker in the Beaujolais region of France.
The shoes will be available for purchase on Salomon.com in Europe only beginning in late February 2018. Those who purchase the shoes will also receive the same cap that D’haene wears in many of his ultras (a 50 Euro value), a limited edition shoe box and a booklet describing the story of the shoe. It will be available in sizes 8 to 10.5 UK. The entire package will cost 250 Euros, including shipping.
“I’m really honored that Salomon decided to make this playful design of the limited edition S/LAB Ultra shoe,” said D’haene, whose pair will be numbered 000. “I recently saw them for the first time and the UTMB-themed design is quite cool. It’s amazing that 171 other runners will be able to share this great UTMB experience with me by owning a pair.”
Those not fortunate enough to get their hands on one of the limited edition pairs can purchase the S/LAB Ultra when it arrives at retailers globally on March 1. The S/Lab Ultra shoe is the same as the limited edition model with the exception of the cork sock liner and the external UTMB-themed design elements.
The S/LAB Ultra was developed over several years through a close collaboration between D’haene and Salomon’s footwear design team. The goal was to make a shoe that could withstand the rigors of an ultra-race and D’haene took his role seriously in the design process.
“For me it is important to live my partnership with Salomon and feel that there is a real exchange of ideas,” says D’haene. “Three years ago with Salomon we began this project to create an ultra-distance shoe that could not only meet my needs, but also fill the needs of many ultra-runners. After many long discussions with these runners in search of their shoes, I became more and more sincerely involved in the project. It became very close to my heart because it was not only done to develop my personal shoe, but a shoe for other ultra-runners like me.”
The S/LAB Ultra has been built so that each shoe size meets the needs of the runner wearing them. For sizes above 10 UK, Salomon designers increased the shoe stack height to have more proportional cushioning for runners who have longer feet and are slightly heavier. An Energysave® foam insert in the forefoot adds long-lasting cushioning and protection from rocks and rough ground, while Energy Cell+ foam in the bottom unit ensures a smooth, consistent ride.
To achieve comfort and foothold on the downhills, the S/LAB Ultra combines Sensifit construction with a durable, protective skin guard lining for ample protection in the right places. The Sensifit has two arms on each side of the shoe directly linked to the Quicklace eyelets. When the runner pulls on the Quicklace, Sensifit perfectly wraps the foot to help deliver a precise foothold and footstrike. An all-new Contagrip® outsole, with premium wet traction and reverse lugs on the heel area, delivers confident grip, especially on the downhills.
During the entire UTMB, D’haene used only one pair of the shoes and told Salomon’s footwear team that he did not suffer one blister over the 19 hours it took him to complete the race. The Frenchman also used the S/LAB Ultra to register the Fastest Known Time of the John Muir Trail in the United States in early autumn 2017. The S/LAB Ultra will arrive at retailers in March and retail for MSRP of 180 Euros.