The Salomon Wingman design provides a highly responsive suspension system that follows the foot's biomechanics. The concept is inspired by a combination of biomimicry and architecture studies. The design process consists of sketch ideation, tape mock-ups and 3-D modeling on Zbrush.
Visualizing the type of obstacles faced through an extreme race in order to better understand possible pain points.
Aspects of the settings that will define the key targets during concept development:
•Seep ascent on gravel
•Some boulder hopping
•Dense vegetation will introduce runner to constant switchbacks
•Parts of the trail are not well maintained, making it more technical. Constant balance and flexibility are important
•A brief creek crossing can make things slippery for runners.
•Some parts of the race have grassy, flat terrain.
Quick studies on animals native to the region. These studies give insights on what makes life successful on the local terrain, what gives them the agility necessary for their survival. When it comes to tread and traction, it is always good to look into the latest innovation in the ATV/ off-road market.
Studies on native animals and off-roading features led to sketch ideation on potential tread and traction patterns for the outsole.
Some inspirations also came from insect exoskeletons, symmetry in tire lug patterns and scale patterns found on lizards.
Subsequent studies on architecture inspired ideas on textures and structures that could be applied onto footwear. Parametric concepts remained present along the process, they not only provided unique structural properties but also interesting aesthetics.
Analyzing biomechanics for a specific activity is fundamental to have a better understanding of a concept's potential. In a runner's scenario, it is important to understand their posture as they run, the striding and how they deal with impact attenuation.
While learning about impact & pain points, design opportunities appeared as the plantar areas that often see constant stress became clear.
Resuming on the ideation derived from architecture studies, a couple of ideas were further developed. The idea of having a pattern of lines that all share the same vanishing point seemed very interesting in concept. Also extending some form of structure from the upper to the outsole, giving the user a sensation of being floating just slightly off the ground.
Quick studies on parametric structures that extend from the upper to the outsole. The direction of the pattern was explored by using a vanishing point. It came to notice that the sections could change direction at some point. This feature allows for spring-like properties ideal for shock absorption.
Further refinement allowed for the exploration of multiple features integrated into a single concept.
A key feature was a suspension system that is secured at the upper and extends to the bottom becoming a base for the outsole treads to be mounted on. The structural system is composed of several beams that hold the user's weight under spring-like properties.
It was worthwhile playing with the direction of the support beams and learning how they would look as they go around the shoe. The idea was interesting but not convincing. Independent structural beams allow for optimal flexibility but the tread area needed to be refined to provide better traction for different positions while in motion.
Further concept details were refined through tape mock-ups and orthographic views. To ensure the geometry was feasible beyond concept, a full size mockup was made with the structural beams supporting the upper and holding it off the ground.
Large toe box external protection. Suspension beams extend outwards more where support is needed, especially the lateral side.
The lacing system is being held by the beams on both sides. The front sections of the suspension system are made of rubber for impact attenuation.
Last details were worked out through some sketches. Key views were used as orthographic reference for modeling the concept on Zbrush where the last updated were done.
Rubber lug pattern along medial and lateral sides. Lug pattern optimizes traction in multiple types of terrain.
Carbon fiber ribs extend outwards slightly more where support is needed such as the lateral side.
Ortholite insoles, a staple to Salomon's iconic designs to provide ultimate comfort.
Full toe box rubber shield for optimal protection
Quicklace micro laces for easy and secure tie down of shoe
Thermoplastic binding material. Bonds suspension system to sock upper.
EVA foam midsole
PVC coated outer skin fabric for water resistance
Gore-Tex breathable sock-liner
Carbon fiber heel counter
Outsole lug pattern
Carbon fiber offers an optimal level of shock absorption without sacrificing flexibility. It also embraces the foot from side to side providing an extra level of support and protection. Four of the segment secure the lacing system by extending up to the U-throat
First three segments are full rubber for optimal impact attenuation
Sockliner extends above ankle joints to prevent debris from entering shoes
Rubber shield on lateral sides to protect user from harsh impact
Forefoot's optimal curvature for a smooth stride assisted by aggressive lugs for traction
Sockliner padding for extra protection and comfort
TPR coated carbon fiber
Robust heel suspension segment. Tolerates more stress as it is holding onto a larger area of the outer skin layer
Please reach out for FULL design process if interested...