Dust Bag Meets Sneaker

This Margiela and Salomon collaboration is one strange and enticing hybrid

Sneakers, we know, are still conceived to elicit the reaction: “it’s ugly”. But ugly, as we have repeatedly noted, is being redefined, even now, as we write this. Ugly is no longer the ugly of your parents’ fashion-consuming years. Ugly can be a compliment, even admiration Apart from ugliness, sneakers are made bulky too, and often to let the feet look bagged. The MM6 Martin Margiela X Salomon Cross Low is one such sack of a shoe. Sure, there have been others, such as the Tom Sachs x NikeCraft Mars Yard Overshoe, but it is this Margiela X Salomon collaboration, in this colour combo that makes us think of a hybrid of gorpcore and dust bag (or laundry-bag). Shoes can, more and more, be pouches with soles.

Salomon has got themselves involved in rather fascinating fashion-forward collabs. Essentially an outdoor equipment maker, the born-in-Annecy, France label has been in partnership with one of the most cutting-edge brands, Comme des Garçons, with which they created a truly fetching pair of unisex Mary-Janes (unsurprisingly, these quickly sold out when launched last year), with trail-ready soles. Its partnership with the Margiela imprint MM6 is no less appetite-arousing. Although ostensibly a trail shoe, the Cross Low looks more like a high cut, with the added aesthetical heft of Margiela’s subversion bent. With the draw cords, you may gather the rip-stop upper-half into a small sack not unlike a gym bag, rendering it ready for inclement weather.

Underscoring the polyester bag-upper is a solid shoe with rubber soles, conceived for a rugged terrain. But in all likelihood, this Cross Low would be used on far much flatter, urban ground such as the city pavement. According to an MM6 statement, their “motivation was to create a shoe that could easily transition between cityscapes and the great outdoors — a single product that both maintained Salomon’s high-performance specifications and also resonated with MM6 Maison Margiela’s contemporary aesthetic”. As with the main line Maison Margiela’s pairing with Reebok—the Project 0 CL nylon tabi sneakers!—few will wear the Cross Low for sporting pursuits. There is too much fashion in it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

MM6 Martin Margiela X Salomon Cross Low, SGD590, is available at Club 21. Photo Salomon

Clean Cut

The latest iteration of the Comme des Garçons X Salomon collaboration is a beautifully simple silhouette

As if to mock the purposely-filthy ‘Paris’ sneaker launched by Balenciaga last week, Comme des Garçons released a very pristine version of a Salomon’s trail-runner, the SR90. The ongoing pairing (second, in fact) between the French sports/outdoor brand has yielded a surprisingly clean silhouette, sans CDG’s usual eye-opening redefining of what is considered acceptable for sneakers (SS19’s Nike Air Presto Foot Tent!) and still appeal to sneakerheads. Of course, no one seriously puts on a pair of CDG—or co-branded—kicks for sporting pursuits, so whatever tweaks or add-ons they introduce to a sneaker, fans will lap them up because they won’t look standard-issue. But, with this Salomon, CDG is suggesting that looking near-OG is on the right side of edginess too.

We are not a major fan of all-white sneakers (or, for that matter, all-black). Regular SOTD readers would know that. But the Comme Des Garçons X Salomon SR90’s whiteness is not nothingness, or too much a part of a school uniform. A trail sneaker that looks like a retro runner, the SR90 sports a contemporary sense of minimalism that is more akin to what might be offered at Jil Sander. But there is nothing basic about this shoe. Salomon’s much appreciated tech, the Contagrip sole (mixed compound for different terrains and better traction) and SensiFit mid-sole (for customised and secure fit), are there. So is a water-repellent synthetic upper. The sum: a handsome sneaker, if not to go with a set of tux, will definitely pair well with anything less pristine and neutral from CDG’s main line.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Comme des Garçons X Solomon SR90 sneakers, SGD450, are available in black or white at Comme Des Garçons and DSMS. Photo: Comme des Garçons/Solomon

These Are Salomons

Reworked by Comme des Garçons, of course

The French sports equipment manufacturer Salomon produces footwear for adventurists, such as skiers and hikers. In fact, the company started in 1947 as maker of metal blades for skis and then later their bindings. Their shoes and boots (which was their first footwear, appeared only in 1979) tend to bear technical excellence than fashion flair. So when we saw these, made in collaboration with Comme des Garçons, we were rather taken aback. Who’d have guessed that mud-ready Salomon kicks would look this befitting of activities not involving a trail? Or that CDG would consider other sports shoe brand not marked out by a Swoosh? Or is this merely in line with the still-strong ‘gorpcore’ trend?

As many sports/adventure labels up their game by collaborations with designers—edgy ones, especially (not Ralph Lauren and ilk), Salomon is no exception. This is, in fact, their second season pairing with CDG. Others include Japanese outdoor brand And Wander and Persian-German designer Boris Bidjan Saberi. With CDG, it’s not just a colour makeover for an existing style. Last season’s venture, featuring Salomon’s RX3.0 models, saw tweaking in the form of exaggerating the silhouettes, such as the platform sole. Or recreating something new such as the Mary Jane style. The follow-up this time (two styles are released), is this fashion-focused version of the Salomon S/Lab Cross, with the (unfortunately) requisite CDG branding on the side.

This is essentially a trail shoe that offers “protection on the muddiest, most technical terrain” typical of the Cross series, although it is hard to imagine a pair this good-looking muddied. The original S/Lab Cross was conceived together with the Norwegian sky runner Stian Angermund who was inspired by the Aurora Borealis of his homeland. Like most of styles in the Cross line, the CDG version is equipped with Salomon’s signature Contagrip rubber sole and Quicklace system. The knit ankle gaiter, however, now comes in striking black and white houndstooth. Definitely for pairing with a black, asymmetric, ankle-length CDG skirt. Still planning to hike up some mountain?

Comme des Garçons X Salomon Cross (Mixed), SGD520, comes in women’s sizing only and is available at DSMS. Product photo: CDG