top of page

Imagination is everything

Salomon global has just unveiled a new brand signature campaign titled “Tomorrow is Yours”. The mantra encourages individuals to unleash their full potential through outdoor sports experiences and dare to invent a better future. This rebrand is encapsulated in a video (click below) where the iconic brand seeks to inspire a growing audience of young outdoor enthusiasts and athletes. Here's why we like it and think you might, regardless what generation you're from:

Inspiration and fulfilling potential are clichéd terms used glibly far too often. Those of us who grew up motivated to escape the mundane or parental supervision and rather explore the space around us were tempted by adventures far beyond shopping malls and computer or cellphone screens. We didn’t need to be lured to the magic space where our all-important imaginations thrived.

The world we live in today is a very different one in which to grow up. Information doesn’t need to be learned, it’s available immediately 24/7. Imaginations are stunted by computer-generated and often fake worlds. Long form stories in books are now short form movies requiring no personal interpretation. Augmented reality is just that, it’s snowboarding from your couch – no pure, ice-cooled wind in your hair, nor watching clouds float by while munching on snowballs with buddies in a silent forest.

Telling kids to go and play outside nowadays is like telling them to eat their peas! They need to see, feel, touch and smell nature’s beautiful spaces in order to ignite their senses and seek out different, to connect deeply, and be truly inspired to follow their own unique path to make a real difference in the world.

Shaping a positive future after what we have witnessed in recent years, with depression, obesity and anxiety at all-time highs, is a big responsibility. In truth, cool brands are more likely to succeed in influencing youngsters than their lecturing teachers or parents are. Hats off to Salomon, an alpine-village-sculpted brand led by a team of intrepid adventurers – brave leaders rather than insecure followers. These are who we need the next generation to take cues from, without dismissing what is dear to them, which we may not relate to.

The 75-year-old company that started with saw blades, then ski blades, then bindings, shoes and adventure gear have built a trademark of trust and quality. These values are not common in mass-produced products that we see banished to bins with disregard. Their standards are embodied in the results of multiple world and Olympic champions.

It’s not often that you intimately experience a product’s journey from launch to maturity and back to relaunch without a sense that it’s lost its way. In fact, in most cases you need to be pretty old and consistently interested. Fortunately I’m what I like to think of as middle aged, and I've been hooked by trail running since the sport became mainstream 20 years ago – with shoes that were neither clunky low-ankle hiking boots, nor road shoes that slipped off anything angled. Living on the mountain for 30 years and being an avid hiker and runner it was only natural that I took to running on trails. They’re not only more beautiful and less smoggy and noisy than tarred roads, but they’re also less dangerous and a whole lot more shock absorbent for your joints. Win-win all round. As a bigger 90kg unit, living on rocky, rooty trails, I needed a shoe that offered real traction on both moss-covered and jagged rocks, as well as support and cushioning. Most shoe brands with deeper lugs and torsional stability were low-grade entry level shoes that were better suited to hiking or field hockey. A podiatrist's dream for delivering injured runners in spades. When snow-sport-famous Salomon launched their trail shoes, they were both cool and innovative. Of all the ski and snowboarding brands, we Saffa infrequent snow-goers recognised Salomon as leaders in a space where boots, bindings and skis had to be both technically excellent and great looking. It was only a dozen years back when 19-year-old Kilian Jornet, who broke the UTMB record, wanted a faster shoe for smoother, flatter and longer trails. This quest became the S-lab Sense series, also worn by local legend and fellow Western States 100 miler winner Ryan Sandes. I still won't start a swim-run race over wet rocks without my eight-year-old, sleek, lightweight Slab Senses. With their superior traction, they were a game changer. I vividly remember visiting the first Salomon agency in SA and I proudly sported the Speedcross XT Wings as one of the earliest converts to the fast-growing off-road trail running category. They were strong, stable and funky looking. However, like the XT 6, they were a little heavy and hard on the feet for those of us not living in the Alps. They would never slip or collapse over obstacles, but they would probably begin to hurt over longer distances.

There is no question that every model of sports equipment has unavoidable compromises in weight, cushioning, comfort, strength or price. You simply cannot have a shoe that can work as well on tar as it does on steep, rugged trails. You design and choose your tools for the purpose at hand. What I've respected about the consistent Salomon brand, born and raised in the fairytale town of Annecy in France, is that rather than flip-flop to a soft compliant shoe that may have garnered bigger numbers, Salomon have stayed true to their mission – to be the shoe of choice for serious trail users. Just this morning I had the pleasure of testing a pair of the new Speedcross 6. They're as robust as ever, even more water resistant, and deliver the brand’s famously excellent traction. But, they’re both lighter and more comfortable, with a softer midsole and cushioned heel counter. They look great and are certainly the most reliable shoe in my quiver for rocky, rooty trails like the one I wear-tested them on. As I read the story of the global Salomon brand relaunch announced today, I couldn't help but feel a kindred spirit to the team of elite athletes, engineers and owners who have played their part in the redesign and brand directive to entice young people to dream big and find their magic moments, out in the wild, without losing their urban technology-driven connectedness. I get this vision as a father and an amateur athlete who chooses to live life in the tech noisy, concrete jungle – which makes escapes into the open spaces of nature so intoxicating and liberating. This powerful, juxtaposed sensory contradiction is what fuels adventurous minds and souls. As our world evolves, we can’t let these deeply enriching sensory submersions be a forgotten practice of past generations.

Offline is premium time, yet the younger generations are increasingly enticed to screen-time. We applaud a brand that embraces a modern, digitally animated environment yet recognises the value of balance, and delivers a campaign that respects younger generations rather than preaching old-school, high-and-mighty values.


bottom of page