We are pleased and honoured to announce that we have become an 'official partner' of the FFME (Fédération Française de Montagne et d'Escalade) for the next two seasons. At Sidas, high-level sport is a tradition, and caring for the feet of champions is a mission, which is why this partnership makes sense. Ski mountaineering will make its debut at the Winter Olympic Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo in 2026. Nothing is left to chance when winning the medals of a lifetime is at stake. Especially not the feet that have been sorely tested by hours of exertion, cold and rigid boots.
More than a minor detail, the comfort of the feet of the athletes in the French ski mountaineering team has become a real challenge. That's why we've worked with them to develop the best ski mountaineering insoles and socks, so they can forget about their feet and focus solely on performance.
In this article, we take a look behind the scenes of this project and explain how it led to the design of lightweight, comfortable and ultra-high-performance cross-country skiing insoles and socks.
"At Sidas, high-level sport is a tradition and caring for the feet of champions is a mission."
"That's why we've worked with them to develop the best cross-country skiing insoles and socks, so they can forget about their feet and focus solely on performance."
Joining forces with the FFME to tackle the summits and satisfy top-level athletes is a challenge that makes sense, and one that we're looking forward to taking on. This partnership came about quite naturally when foot comfort was identified as a major driver of performance. All cross-country skiers have had bitter experience of the fact this sport makes your feet hurt. What with the perspiration associated with exercise, the rigidity of the boot and the sometimes terrible cold, there are many factors that can cause pain. So, imagine the state of athletes' feet in ski mountaineering, the extreme version of cross-country skiing!
For Thierry Galindo, Director of the FFME's French ski mountaineering teams and competitions, “the precision, and comfort of the foot in the boot are absolutely essential for skiers, so this is an important partnership for us". For Axel Kowalczyk, Brand Content Manager at Sidas, "this partnership is also an opportunity to push the envelope of product development". He continues "Working with champions allows us to make advances in terms of innovation and detail, because we align ourselves with their high standards. They push insoles and socks to their limits in terms of lightness, comfort and reliability. Our next step is to transfer everything we've learned with the French ski mountaineering team to product ranges aimed at a wider public of cross-country skiing enthusiasts.
This partnership makes sense because ski mountaineering is an outdoor sport driven by what we share, practised by athletes who are aware of the vulnerability of the environment in which they carry out their exploits: the mountains. Lastly, this partnership enables us to broaden our field of action and our legitimacy in the world of mountaineering and high mountains. It's a logical progression after becoming a benchmark in the world of downhill skiing.
"This partnership came about quite naturally when foot comfort was identified as a major driver of performance".
"Our next step is to transfer everything we've learned with the French ski mountaineering team to product ranges aimed at a wider public of cross-country skiing enthusiasts".
In very practical terms, how does this collaboration work?
"Quite simply", in two stages:
"The ski mountaineers in the French national team come to visit our sports podiatry centre in Voiron for individualised boot-fittings, focusing on two major areas: the design of made-to-measure insoles and work on the liner to limit friction points".
To answer this question, we went to interview two champions who are expected to represent France in future Olympic Games: Emily Harrop, double title-holder in the overall Ski Mountaineering World Cup ranking and winner of the last Pierra Menta; and 22-year-old Robin Galindo, third in the sprint event at the last World Championships of Ski Mountaineering.
For Emily, feet are a huge issue because "as in most sports, they are our working tool, with the distinction that in ski mountaineering, they are supported and constrained in extremely rigid carbon boots in which we run, walk and slide for hours on end".
The multiple World Champion is joined by her French acolyte "Feet are fundamental because they are the way we give strength and direction to our movements. To generate optimal force, without wasting energy, our feet need stability, precision and comfort".
Two other factors support the major role that foot comfort plays in performance. The first stated by Robin, "The basis of forward momentum is consistency. Injury is the biggest waste of time. If you no longer have sore feet, you can avoid the risk of having to take a break because of blisters or pain that prevents you from putting your shoes on". Finally, the second factor is detailed by Emily, "Not having to worry about your feet is a real advantage in competition. Having peace of mind means you can concentrate solely on your performance, your movements, your trajectories and your rhythm. A little bit of pain in your foot can quickly put you out of the race...".
"To generate optimal force, without wasting energy, our feet need stability, precision and comfort".
"Not having to worry about your feet is a real advantage in competition. Having peace of mind means you can concentrate solely on your performance! »
Prior to this partnership, we worked with athletes from the French national team to develop the CUSTOM SKI TOURING RACE cross-country skiing insoles. These ski mountaineering insoles, designed for experienced, expert and professional skiers, are the result of ongoing work with our ski mountaineering champions to find the best compromise in terms of comfort, lightness and performance.
Why choose CUSTOM SKI TOURING RACE INSOLES?
They have a number of strengths, all revolving around one keyword, namely performance:
Developed with top-level athletes who have mounted the podiums in the Pierra Menta or the World Championships of Ski Mountaineering, these cross-country skiing insoles are designed to provide comfort as well as:
Emily Harrop's opinion of our ski mountaineering insoles, "I started out in downhill skiing, a discipline where you're advised to wear smaller boots to improve your precision. The result is that I've still got minor deformities in my feet, which can become very disabling once the foot is inside an ultra-rigid ski mountaineering boot. At first, it made a nice little combo! (Smiles) The customisation of the insole and the work on the liner have helped to limit these aches and pains. The insole provides real stability and support for the arch of the foot when it starts to weaken due to fatigue. For me, it's a real gain in terms of performance. A gain that's not inconsiderable!". »
Robin Galindo's opinion of our cross-country skiing insoles, "In ski mountaineering, we have a tendency to remove elements rather than add them, because lightness is something we're constantly seeking. So, I was curious to try out these insoles. I saw an instant benefit, I could feel my foot was well supported and more stable. I've gained in efficiency on the way up, as well as precision, control and safety on the way down".
"I was curious to try out these insoles. I saw an instant benefit, I could feel my foot was well supported and more stable. I've gained in efficiency on the way up, as well as precision, control and safety on the way down".
As well as ski mountaineering insoles, we have also developed ski mountaineering socks in collaboration with some of the athletes in the French national team. This is an absolutely fundamental issue, because the sock is the interface between the skier's foot and the boot. These ski mountaineering socks, like our insoles, are at the centre of this triptych of requirements: lightness, comfort and performance.
Why choose SKI TOURING SOCKS? They have a number of strengths, all revolving around one keyword, namely performance:
Emily Harrop's opinion on our ski mountaineering socks, "Good ski mountaineering socks are socks that you totally forget you're wearing. A very snug-fitting sock - compressive but without feeling tight - with great breathability. There's also a notion of reliability and durability, because it has to be strong enough not to tear when our heels are coming up against the boots for hours on end".
Robin Galindo's opinion on our ski mountaineering socks, "I totally agree with Emily. A good sock is a sock that you can forget you're wearing. A sock that adapts to the situation, providing warmth when it's cold and breathability when you're sweating. Ideally, it should be sufficiently fine and snug-fitting to avoid those little creases that become extremely painful with repeated rubbing".
"Good ski mountaineering socks are socks that you totally forget you're wearing".
Alongside the ski touring socks and insoles developed with members of the French ski mountaineering team, we decided to take up a challenge: to design the best performing heated ski socks on the market. That's how Ski Race SET socks came about. A little gem of innovation and expertise that meets the demands of good skiers in terms of fineness, comfort and precision.
These heated ski socks stand out thanks to S.E.T © technology. What is S.E.T © technology? It's a totally revolutionary innovation that heats your feet all over, gently and evenly, all the way down to the toes, without being restricted to certain very localised heating points. But how? Precisely by replacing these localised heating points with an imperceptible 2-mm line that discreetly integrates the sock and envelops your feet, without neglecting any part and without compromising the promise of fineness, comfort and precision.
More than a fine, elastic and imperceptible line, S.E.T© technology forms a barrier against the cold. A real game-changer in the world of heated ski socks.
In addition to S.E.T © technology, Ski Race S.E.T socks offer other benefits that make them the best performing heated socks of the winter:
"We decided to take up the challenge of designing the best-performing heated ski socks on the market".
As the first snowflakes start to fall, making skin and ski tips shiver, we hope this article has made you aware of the fundamental importance of foot comfort in ski mountaineering. Furthermore, if you'd like to see our socks and insoles in action on the feet of exceptional athletes, including Emily Harrop and Robin Galindo, join us in Val-Thorens on 25 and 26 November for the launch of the Ski Mountaineering World Cup. The programme includes a sprint format on Saturday and a mixed relay on Sunday!