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Salomon Index.01 review

A no-nonsense running shoe with real green credentials

Salomon Index.01
(Image: © Fergus Scholes)

Our Verdict

If you're a keen runner with an eye on reducing your environmental impact, this shoe could well be your next choice. It’s a great all rounder, perfect as a daily runner and regular training companion. The design is no nonsense, with a simple two material construction (therein lies the key to its recyclability), and nearly all types of runners will feel right at home in them instantly with no rubbing or niggles. Only the slightly eye watering price might put you off, so it depends on whether you’re happy to dig a little deeper into your pocket for environmental reasons.

For

  • Environmentally friendly
  • No-nonsense and comfortable
  • Good for everyday life and walking

Against

  • Steep price
  • Not great for off road
  • White color picks up dirt

Two-minute review

Huge kudos to Salomon for the Index.01. It's one of the first companies to make a truly recyclable performance shoe and, despite the technical challenges involved, the end result is a bona fide running shoe.

Admittedly, when race day comes round, you might reach for another shoe that wasn’t built with sustainability in mind – perhaps with a carbon footplate, and a bit lighter (at 285g, these aren’t racers) – but for regular training sessions, park runs, tempo work, or bigger weekend mileage, they totally fit the bill. Once you’re done with them, post them back to Salomon for free, and they’ll be recycled into winter sports gear.

Salomon Index.01

(Image credit: Fergus Scholes)

Price and release date

Announced in September 2020 and released in Spring 2021, the Salomon Index.01 cost $200 / £165 (about AU$260), which also includes postage back to Salomon for recycling at the end of their life.

Design

Articulating the myriad components in a trainer isn’t normally easy. However, with the Index.01, this isn’t a problem, because in order to be totally recyclable, simplicity is key. In earlier prototypes, Salomon tried making a shoe that was made of just one material: thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) foam. However it wasn’t durable enough, so the designers added a second material, and made the upper from recycled polyester. This is the shoe we see today.

Salomon Index.01

(Image credit: Fergus Scholes)

The sole is made from a generous wedge of durable nitrogen-infused, TPU-based foam called Infiniride. It gives a nice amount of cushioning, yet is still firm too. Under the heel is a stack height of 28.5mm, and forefoot of 19.5mm making a drop of 9mm.

The sole has  quite a curved shape, which is intended to keep landings well cushioned and help with forward propulsion. It also has an overhang and angled corner at the back – it’s distinctive but could well have a 'love it' or 'hate it' effect for some people’s aesthetic. This material is very durable. 

The outsole has a minimal profile, just featuring little bobbles for tread. Although these are grippy, and are perfect for use on road, the lack of any substantial lugs means you best not venture too far off road onto loose or uneven surfaces. Tor regular roads, though, they are totally perfect.

Salomon Index.01

(Image credit: Fergus Scholes)

The upper is made from recycled polyester, and is joined to the sole via a thin strip of water-based glue. This minimizes material contamination and ensures as much as the shoe as possible is recyclable. The end result is a highly breathable mesh-like material – so much so you could see the color of your socks through it. it feels quite soft, and there are see-through panels on the sides. 

When the shoes come to the end of their life, simply scan the QR code they come with and you’ll be able to post them back to Salomon, free of charge. The two parts will then be separated, the sole will be made into Salomon ski boots, and the upper into clothing. The lifecycle of these shoes is then complete.

Salomon Index.01

(Image credit: Fergus Scholes)

Performance

This is a great no-nonsense running shoe. It doesn’t overcomplicate things – running on it feels totally natural, so you won’t stress unusual muscle groups or need time to get used to it, and with the curved sole, there's a jolt of forward propulsion for speed too.

With a heel stack height of 28.5mm, there is a nice level of cushioning, but the foam isn’t a squidgy one (unlike, for example, Nike’s ZoomX foam), which we actually liked for those regular daily runs. Also, given the neutral setup, you can happily use them for walking and general life too.

Salomon Index.01

(Image credit: Fergus Scholes)

The upper is really breathable, so sweat can easily dissipate, helping to keep your feet cool for those hotter summer runs. It's pretty easy to slip on and off too, which is always handy.

After a while, the brilliant white colour will pick up dirt and start to look grubby, so advisable to give them a sponge down once in a while if you like your trainers to have that box fresh look.

Comfort wise, there’s nothing to fault. Supportive around the upper, with no rubbing or pinching anywhere around the heel or toes. 

Salomon Index.01

(Image credit: Fergus Scholes)

Buy it if

You want a no-nonsense shoe
Intervals, longer runs and even speed work – the Index.01 fits the bill for all types of running.

You're thinking about your carbon footprint
The Salomon Index.01 is well worth considering if you want to start making more considered choices to reduce your environmental impact.

Don't buy it if

You’ll be using off road or in wet conditions
This is a fair weather urban or track runner only.

You want that extra oomph to achieve PBs
There’s no carbon footplate, super springy foam or superlight weight design here. It’s just a great shoe for running in.