Salomon Launch Fully Automated Footwear Factory in France
Trail running brand Salomon have ambitious plans to manufacture 500,000 pairs of shoes annually from their home country of France, which is being made possible with the recent launch of the country’s first fully automated footwear factory.
Located in the southern region of Ardoix, the Advanced Shoe Factory 4.0 (ASF 4.0) is controlled by textile specialists Chamatex Group, with Salomon and other French companies Babolat and Millet signing on as partners and shareholders.
Ten million euros has been invested into the 2000 square metre robotic facility, which was first announced in 2020. The move comes as the footwear industry currently contends with disrupted global logistics and impacted manufacturing capabilities in offshore factories. Moving production locally – ASF 4.0 is only two hours away from Salomon’s Annecy HQ – aims for flexibility and rapid supply to the core European market and beyond.
ASF 4.0 is currently in the process of scaling up, with goals to grow the 20-strong workforce up to 50 in the next three years. By that time, production volumes are also expected to increase to 500,000 pairs a year, up massively from the 15,000 projected by the end of 2021.
The core of ASF 4.0’s capabilities centre around the newly developed MATRYX fabric, created in partnership between Chamatex and the Zebra Group. Salomon’s Captiv ASF 4.0 hiking boot will be one of the first products commercially available from the new factory in spring 2022, with further footwear designs from the other partners to come in 2023.
‘Salomon has always pushed the limits of innovation in terms of product functionality but also from an industrialisation and operational processes standpoint. ASF 4.0 demonstrates our commitment to continue to be at the forefront of the footwear industry transformation,’ said former Salomon CEO, Jean-Marc Pambet.