“Black is modest and arrogant at the same time,” proclaimed Yohji Yamamoto, a sartorial poet and philosopher who has a deep connection with the ultimate ‘non-colour’. Filled with modesty and a quiet, and well placed, confidence in the S/Lab series, Salomon Advanced tread exclusively in inky hues for Black Edition.
As part of its tri-themed Spring 21 installment, Black Edition is a call which further sublimates the technicality and functionality of footwear promoted by Salomon’s S/Lab programme. Free from any surface distraction, the radical innovation of the S/Lab Cross, the Phantasm and the Ultra 3 are clear. So let’s take a closer look at the material innovation and construction developments of each style...
The S/Lab cross Black LTD materialises Salomon’s most advanced forays in traction for trail running. The all-terrain grip and redesigned lug geometry of the contagrip outsole increases traction in the toughest of conditions, while the breathable matrix upper cradles your foot for a precise fit and secure foothold.
The Phantasm Black LTD is Salomon’s pinnacle demonstration of lightweight cushioning and durability for road running. The featherlight design of the TPU mesh combines abrasion resistance and extreme breathability as the quick transition to the reverse camber (rocker) means you spend less time on the ground.
The Ultra 3 Black LTD exemplifies Salomon’s expertise in lightweight cushioning and durability for trail running. For long-distance comfort, the springy midsole components and soft, breathable and resistant materials of the upper ensure comfort goes the distance, even in the harshest of conditions.
As Black Edition launches on LN-CC, we DM’d two of our favourite Salomon Advanced-obsessed curators and archivists, 114.index and Curation.Technique, alongside past Salomon Advanced collaborator and conscious multi-hyphenate creative, Ryan Willms.
Firstly, can you each introduce yourself in your own words; what do you do and why do you do it?
Ryan Willms: My name is Ryan Willms, I’m a Canadian based in Los Angeles working as a creative director, publisher, holistic life coach and amateur athlete. What I do depends on the day and I love the diversity of being able to produce a podcast, create marketing strategy, working 1-on-1 with a coaching client, going for long weekend rides or runs. No matter what I do, I try to stay as conscious as possible, looking to improve and grow 1% each day for myself, my family and the world.
CT: Curation.technique is a platform where I share designs that usually have a strong functional take on it while being interesting and beautiful (at least to me). Growing up in the mountains and moving to Paris for work made me realise I also had to adapt to an urban environment. I really appreciate pieces that have the ability to work in both nature and urban environments. Curation.technique is just a platform I run for fun as I am besides that an architect•designer specialising in limited edition pieces of furniture for art galleries and interior projects.
114.index: I’m 114.index, and I love functional clothing and the outdoors. Initially I started up this account as a way to curate my personal tastes within functional fashion on one feed and to not spam those on my personal account with stuff they may not be that interested in. I hope that this extension of my personal tastes are reciprocated by others, and maybe even inspire some people to venture into the outdoors for the first time or just appreciate it more from afar.
Since 1947, Salomon Advanced has continually provided a platform to empower the relationship between sport and the natural world. From your curated feed, we know that you're a fan of the brand but what does Salomon mean to you?
Curation.Technique: As a French man who grew up in the mountains, Salomon was always part of my life. The tornado logo has always been around. I used to see all my friends and family wearing their products when hiking, skiing or just on a daily basis. It’s a brand that really had a big impact on French culture. Salomon means quality, durability and French heritage.
114.index: It means some of the best quality technical footwear on the market. It is tried and tested and is always one of the first recommendations I see given to people looking to purchase things from hiking boots to trail runners.
Ryan Willms: I do love Salomon, their approach to creating the best quality gear for playing in nature is a beautiful mission. Aside from that, they’ve always been a leader in design, creating modern, innovative products from their first skis, boots and bindings to their trail shoes and now in the road category with the new Phantasm. The brand is incredibly diverse and I go to them for my recovery shoes with their RX Moc, trail shoes and packs and even my skis. Especially their S/Lab range, which works amazingly, looks cool and at the end of the day, just like Dieon Sanders said, "look good, feel good, play good."
Can you tell us about the first pair that captured your attention?
114.index: The first pair were some hiking trainers I had bought for me when I was younger. But not really knowing much about anything at 14 years old. More recently, the XT-6 in black, which I got a couple of years ago now, really opened my eyes to the fact that functional footwear can also be aesthetically pleasing and that there’s very much a crossover of the two.
Curation.Technique: Speedcross’s have that special feeling and I could definitely see these as my personal « Madeleine de Proust ». From my dad to my gym teacher, to the hometown baker, it’s a pair that everybody in the mountains have worn over the years, a classic silhouette!
Ryan Willms: I bought my first pair of Salomon shoes in 2014 after seeing them pop up in Europe a little bit, specifically the Speed Cross. I bought the Sense for road running myself and then quickly ended up getting another pair. I was living in New York at the time and Salomon’s were my answer to the unpredictable winter conditions.
And the most recent pair that you’ve coveted?
CT: The most recent two pairs I’ve coveted are the XT-Quest’s Hi Gtx Adv. It could been seen as a re-release of their original Wings Sky Gtx since the colorway is pretty much the same but fused with the Quest 4D sole, they are amazing, everything I love about Salomon : great contemporary designs, heritage and perfect for what they’re meant to be used for while being able to adapt in different environments. The other ones I just got are the Salomon Shelter Adv in the Black and Vanilla colorway, such a beautiful pair, super comfortable and perfect for the cold!
114.Index: Recently I grabbed both the SS21 XT-4 in Silver Metallic and XT-6 in Kangaroo.
The Black Edition is all about removing colour from the S/LAB series in order to focus on the sheer technicality and function of Salomon’s shoes. For you, what are the key technical features and functionality of the S/Lab Cross, Phantasm, and Ultra 3?
Ryan Willms: I think Salomon finds the perfect intersection between agility, mobility, protection and comfort. A lot of shoes on the market have too much cushioning for me, they feel too bulky and don’t allow the feel I like in both running and wearing around the city. The S/LAB shoes specifically have a more trim silhouette that suits everything I need, from durability to protection.
114.Index: With the S/Lab series being the pinnacle of functionality for all terrain runners, there’s no shortage of functional features. For me though, I think that the standout for the Cross, is how the narrow foot hugging shape accentuates the deep lugged outsole to aide in feeling the trail under foot. The Phantasm looks incredibly lightweight! Almost like you wouldn’t feel it on foot whenever you’re running. Much like the Cross, the Ultra 3 seems to have the fit that hugs your foot, really assisting that extra cushioning of the sole unit and allowing you to push on.
Curation.Technique:The S/Lab Cross are super aggressive and responsive, close to feet which means safer for the feet, better transition and precise. For the Phantasm, speediness is very visible in the design itself! They seem to be the perfect pair for a very dynamic running! Light and breathable! And the Ultra 3 are all about comfort for long distances.
Is there another style that you’d like to see as part of a future Black Edition drop?
Ryan Willms: I haven’t worn them yet but the new S/LAB Pulsar look really nice and well-balanced, and I’ve always been a fan of XA Alpine too.
Curation.Technique: My absolute favorites must be the XA-Alpine’s! Outstanding design and perfect for what they’re meant to be used for.
114.index: In the future, I would love to see something like the S/Lab XA Amphib 2 receive a Black Edition makeover. Or even branch across to the Advanced collection and bring back the XT-Quest Hi GTX in a stealthy colourway.