Salomon, known for crafting ski edges and catering to outdoor enthusiasts, has undergone an extraordinary transformation, unexpectedly finding a remarkable place in the fashion sneaker world.
The company is known for designing some of the most sought-after footwear in the fashion scene, adored by Rihanna, Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber.
In 2022, it became StockX's fastest-growing footwear brand, with sales surging over 2,000% from the previous year.
Salomon's journey tells the intriguing tale of how a family business, born from post-World War II craftsmanship, evolved into a cult gorpcore sneaker brand.
1. Salomon’s history
1.1 Origins and skiing innovation
In 1947, the Salomon legacy began as François Salomon and his son opened a workshop for crafting wood saws in Old Annecy, a city near the French Alps.
"A company is something that must last forever." François Salomon
As skiing became popular after World War II, Salomon shifted to making ski equipment. Georges Salomon, François's son, transformed ski edge manufacturing with the "skade,” introducing a safety toe piece and the first binding called "the Lift," replacing the traditional leather straps.
1.2 Multisports expansion and Adidas era
In the 1970s, the brand dominated the ski gear market. Adidas recognised its success, acquiring the brand in 1997 for a multi-sport vision. However, Amer Sports took over in 2005.
1.3 Hiking innovation and fashion influence
The brand diversified into hiking, launching the trail running-inspired XT-6.
Fashion interest sparked in 2016 when the Broken Arm store in Paris stocked Salomon.
It all started with the Snowcross, a high-performance hiking shoe specially designed for outdoor wear and resisting harsh winter conditions.
Later, designer Boris Bidjan Saberi featured a reimagined Salomon boot in a 2016 runway show, while Jean-Philippe Lalonde from Veilance Arc’teryx joined to develop Salomon's Sportstyle business.
Salomon's success over its 75-year history lies in delivering functional products that endure, appealing not only to sports enthusiasts but to a broader fashion-forward consumer base.
The sportswear brand surpassed $1 billion in revenue in 2022.
Ecommercedb: GLOBAL NET SALES (2022) US$54.4m
Wholesale: 78%, D2C: 22% inc. 11% on their e-commerce
2. Salomon's marketing strategy unveiled
2.1 New identity: Tomorrow is Yours campaign
The brand worked with DDB Paris on its new mission and identity.
“Going forward, we aim to inspire a wider, younger audience to connect with the outdoors, but Salomon is first and foremost a performance sports brand,” says Salomon President and CEO Franco Fogliato, an avid trail runner and skier himself.
“From Alpine and Nordic skiing to trail running and hiking, all of our products will continue to be designed to perform in the most demanding and competitive outdoor sports environments. We will never compromise on that.” transforming to inspire new generations of outdoor sports enthusiasts.
Their new signature tagline "Tomorrow is Yours" refers to Georges Salomon who repeated: “What fascinates me the most is what I’m going to invent tomorrow!”.
The new Salomon brand video aims to inspire the community to embrace new outdoor experiences, showcasing the brand's adventurous spirit and featuring international athletes. It encourages viewers to share their own experiences using the hashtag #TomorrowIsYours.
2.2 Salomon’s fashion collaborations and celebrity obsession
The fashion industry and cultural icons embraced the brand with open arms, and collaborations became the brand's reason for becoming mainstream.
PUSHA T, Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber and Rihanna started wearing Salomon sneakers, the brand started to become the new trendy shoes that everyone wanted to have, causing multiple stockouts.
Rihanna captivated global audiences with her electrifying Super Bowl Halftime Show performance. She stole the spotlight wearing a Loewe jumpsuit along with eye-catching pink and red Salomon sneakers from the collaboration with MM6 Maison Margiela.
Post-performance, the athletic footwear brand experienced a staggering 4,000% surge in online searches, leading to a rapid sell-out of these coveted trainers.
Over the years, Salomon has partnered with many brands to create special capsules like Palace, Avnier, COMME des GARÇONS, Hidden NY, Carhartt WIP, MM6, Sandy Liang, and Madhappy.
2.3 GQ's recognition and the gorpcore wave
In a surprising turn, GQ named the XT-6 the sneaker of the year, riding the early wave of Gorpcore.
Called after the casual term for trail mix, Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts, the Gorpcore style taps into the charm of off-mountain usefulness, technical insulation, and all-terrain flexibility.
This recognition shows how Salomon has moved beyond its skiing roots. The brand's impressive journey has had a big impact, turning Salomon into a symbol of versatility and style for a wide range of consumers.
2.4 Social media communication
Their social channels engage their audience through inspirational content, athlete stories, and outdoor adventures on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.
On Instagram, they have two separate accounts, Salomon and Salomonsportstyle.
One focuses on sports content especially outdoor like sky and trail and the other one on sneaker content with style inspiration and collaboration with artists.
Social media strategy includes captivating visuals, community interaction, and a call for user experiences.
Their digital presence reflects a brand deeply rooted in history, innovation, and a commitment to empowering individuals to embrace the best of themselves through intense sports experiences in nature.
Salomon's journey from crafting ski edges to becoming a fashion powerhouse is a testament to its adaptability, innovation, and the unexpected twists in its narrative. The French brand's ability to stay true to its roots while embracing diverse industries showcases unique resilience.
Salomon's influence on both fashion and outdoor activities is unmatched, making a lasting mark on the ever-changing world of footwear and style.