Until recently, the only plausible reason for wearing outdoor trail shoes in urban areas was that you were travelling. Once home, the dirt-trodden outdoor shoes were shoved into the dark corners of your cupboard (along with your cargo pants) and stayed there, until the next expedition.
In a weird turn of events, urban-hiker style is in vogue. City slickers are dropping hundreds of dollars on hiking clothes and footwear and it's fuelling success for brands such as Patagonia, The North Face and Salomon.
Outdoor-inspired footwear has become a highly-sought after fashion staple. Appetite for technical looking shoes is flourishing in urban areas and on fashion runways around the world. Lookbooks photographed by fine-art and fashion photographers aren't featuring suede loafers. Instead, models are wearing high-tech, big tread, outdoor performance footwear.
French brand leads the way
This trend is different from the dad sneaker phenomenon, but just as eye-catching, and Salomon, the French sports equipment manufacturing company, is one of the hottest brands leading the movement.
Salomon says that for many, escaping from the city to outdoor destinations is more of a dream than a reality. With a legacy of creating authentic outdoor products and knowledge of the mountain environments they are designed for, the company feels uniquely qualified to deliver on this fantasy.
To bring this outdoor inspiration to more fashion-conscious, sport-inspired individuals, Salomon has launched its 2020 urban footwear collection, featuring two categories - Advanced and Sneakers.
The outdoors and fashion collide
Combining the technical features that Salomon footwear is famous for with refined silhouettes and select collaborations, Salomon Advanced aims to connect a contemporary urban audience with the natural outdoor world. Led by Salomon Advanced Marketing Manager Jean-Philippe Lalonde, the Advanced range has grown quickly in popularity over the last two years.
Salomon says products in the Advanced range are designed first and foremost with the outdoors in mind, and have been tested and validated by outdoor athletes in extreme conditions. Stylistically, the technical features of the shoes stand out in an urban environment, and also make them ideal for taking on the harsh environment encountered in day-to-day city life.
Advanced altered state
The first Salomon Advanced collection - introduced in the fall of 2018 - featured the S/Lab XT-6 Softground ADVANCED, a shoe originally built to handle demanding ultra-trail races like the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB®), and the Snowcross ADVANCED for harsh winter conditions.
An important addition to the '20 collection is a colour update of the famed S/Lab XT-4 ADVANCED. This edition of the shoe is inspired by ultra-trail runners' testimonies of experiencing an altered state when practicing their sport. The shoe offers impressive grip thanks to the ContagripTM outsole and great stability provided by the full-length Agile Chassis System. The functional features of the original model remain including dual density EVA, laminated construction, QuicklaceTM, EndofitTM and SensiFitTM, ensuring the shoe is light and durable with a very precise fit.
The final piece of the Salomon's 2020 Urban category is the more widely distributed Sneakers range. It includes the celebrated S/Lab XT-6 Softground ADV, a shoe that has long been adored by trail running fanatics.
Its athletic silhouette and high-tech features have made it the best seller in the Salomon Sneaker range. It now returns with updated colours and materials, but the same level of cushioning, durability and descent control. EVA cushioning protects the foot and ensures soft landings whether hopping over rocks or paving stones, while the streamlined construction features a mix of resistant TPU film and mesh designed to make it durable and lightweight. The downhill chassis and tough lug geometry provide stability over long distances.
Spread your wings
The XT Wings 2 ADV has also been introduced, bolstering the hugely popular Wings franchise. Proven on the most challenging trails, Salomon's Advanced design team revisited the original Wings in an array of colours to create the XT Wings 2 ADV. Lightweight and comfortable, the chassis and upper deliver a comfortable foothold and inspire confidence, regardless of the terrain. The resistant TPU film protects the foot from sharp objects and Salomon Quicklace™ keeps the shoe secure on the foot.
Finally, an OG returns as the Speedcross 3 ADV with its unparalleled design aesthetic, athletic fit and aggressive lug pattern. The proven combination of SensiFit™ construction and Quicklace™ creates a very comfortable foothold. A lightweight protective band around the base of the foot offers protection in any conditions. The Advanced version invites you to rediscover a Salomon legend in unprecedented choice of colours.
Where to get the look
The 2020 range of Salomon Shoes is very limited, and can't even be purchased on the brand's website. Instead, the brand range is available at a selection of stores in Australia and New Zealand including: Sneaker Boy, Haven, Highs & Lows, Above the Cloud, Contra, Supply Store, Subtype and Select Hype DC stores.