SUPLEST | Swiss Made Premium Cycling Shoes

FINGERSCROSSED socks do not compromise in design and performance as we do not compromise in working with the best partners and cycling enthusiasts around the planet. We are cycling nerds. We absorb everything related with cycling. Things which inspire us to achieve our goals. Things which make us faster or feel and look better on the bike. With our recommendations we want to feature passionate people or people who produce good products with either great technical focus, awesome design and/or performance-enhancing detail.

 

suplest shoes

 

We spoke to the cycling addicts and founders of suplest, Daniel Balmer and Robert Gehrig.
suplest was founded in 2007 in the canton of Berne, Switzerland.

 

What did you two do before the foundation of suplest - what is your background?

Robert - Before founding suplest I worked as a graphic designer in an advertising agency.

Daniel - Before founding suplest I worked as Product Manager Road Bikes at the Swiss bicycle manufacturer BMC

 

suplest

 

What motivated you to found suplest - and what is your long-term vision?

Clearly it is the passion for cycling and shoes that we share together. Our vision is to become the Swiss premium cycling shoe brand worldwide.

 

What does "suplest" mean?

 The name suplest derives from the French word "souplesse" - an extremely efficient form of training in which small, fast pedal movements are used for training - and the English word "supple" = supple, flexible.

 

You describe your brand with the words "Premiumness, Swissness and Simplicity" - what does that mean in concrete terms?

  

suplest is not for everyone, suplest is premium. Our customer has demands. And rightly so. He does not choose his footwear by chance and attaches great importance to travelling with premium products. We use only the best materials and employ the most experienced hands for production.

 

Our origins should be a promise. Worldwide. Switzerland = Quality. This principle is mainly driven by the watch industry, but also by the cheese, chocolate, medical and technology industries.

We are doing our best to ensure that Switzerland also stands for high-quality cycling shoes in the future.

And yet we're simple. Nobody likes it complicated. Especially if you concentrate on your bike tour. We deliberately put the most important functions in the foreground and round them off with beautiful details. And not only on our products, but everywhere where suplest occurs.

 

You want to "leave a trace" and chose a bear as your logo/icon... what distinguishes him?

Eddy the bear belongs to the suplest brand. It symbolizes the origin of suplest: the canton of Berne. The bear also stands for power, speed, good hunting instincts and he feels at home in every terrain. Only we don't share his hibernation with him.

 

What happens during the hibernation period?

While Eddy enjoys hibernation, we continue to develop. Always looking for new solutions = the perfect cycling shoe.

 

You are probably the smallest shoe manufacturer in the world - do you want to stay "small"? Why?

We want to preserve our exclusivity and the personal touch of our cycling shoes as well as price stability. True to the Emmental motto,"small and high-quality". 

 

How do you manage the surely high demand for suplest shoes as a two-man team?

We strive to increase efficiency and simplify processes.

 

How did your first series PROLOG (2008) reach people?

 Like the prologue in road cycling, we introduced the suplest Prolog series to the cycling world in the same spirit. The small series was well received by the athletes. 

 

Where did the impulse come from to produce a triathlete shoe and then also an off-road variant?

 suplest wants to cover the entire cycling shoe market. Our challenge is to serve all segments with few models. Here too, our credo "small and high quality" applies.

 

What distinguishes your shoe lasts - why is it so important for the suplest shoe? 

The ERGO 360° suplest last was developed by us and forms the heart of our shoes. It is so unique and unmistakable that it is the hallmark of suplest.  

 

Can the lasts also be adapted individually, as with a normal made-to-measure shoe for the street?

Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered. The effort and cost of making a single last is very high. We do not manufacture made-to-measure products.

 

What influence does the closure system have on the shoe? (You use zipper, lacing, the Boa-System, also in combination with Velcro)

suplest selects the appropriate locking system according to the requirements of the wheel shoe. We use the Boa® locking system as much as possible. We believe that Boa® is the most suitable closure system for cycling shoes.  

 

What is the development process of a shoe or technical innovation at suplest?

It often starts on a bicycle tour, where I can think about the product and be inspired by nature at the same time. I will try to put these thoughts and inspirations on paper later.

In the Edge/3 collection, these were mainly thoughts about construction, especially the "Anatomic Wrap" construction.

My motivation was to develop a construction that serves different types of feet, i. e. people with a deep or high instep (stretch) without wrinkling of the upper material when closing the shoe or pressure points.

I always found it unpleasant when the tongue of the shoe suddenly said goodbye to the side after a few kilometres and did not stay in place.

Afterwards, the idea is discussed with the technicians and then the finalisation of the design takes place. Far away from colours and prints (artworks) we build several prototypes for testing.

Luckily I have a shoe size of 42, which is also the sample size with us. Finally, we add detailed work such as materials, colours, artwork, logos for features, packaging, etc.

 

What role do suplest athletes play in development?

They play a very important role, so we work with top athletes. Our shoes are driven and tested under the toughest conditions by the athletes. Their experience flows directly into our development.

 

Why do you call the athletes "suplest ambassadors" - what kind of message do athletes carry into the world of cycling?

 They embody and represent our core values and carry them into the world of cycling as suplest ambassadors. 

 

The EDGE/3 shoe has been around since 2015. What's so special about him?

The key features include the

  • anatomically shaped anatomic wrap,
  • the Carbon Shield,
  • Solestar insole,
  • the Boa® closure system and
  • the ultra-thin microfibre upper.

 

From which number of kilometres per year on the bike should one think about Suplest instead of wearing shoes "off the rack"?

 Not the number of kilometres is decisive. Fit, comfort, exclusivity and design should be in the foreground.  

 

Are you already working on an EDGE successor?

We are constantly working on further developments with the aim of bringing the shoe to the next level.

 

What innovations can cycling enthusiasts look forward to now?

It's a well-kept secret. The cycling world will know as soon as we're ready.

 

Last but not least: your favourite tours in Switzerland / Berne - which tours are absolutely necessary?

Daniel - Switzerland is basically suitable for cycling. Be it on the road or on a mountain bike. My favourite racing bike tour takes me through the beautiful, hilly Emmental. It leads from Burgdorf after a small ascent over the Kappeler to Affoltern, where the famous show dairy is located, further over Sumiswald and back to Burgdorf.

 

Robert - Start at 6 a. m. in the morning, the tour leads from Thun along the lakes of Thun and Brienz to Meiringen. Then via Rosenlaui/Schwarzwaldalp (sightseeing) up to Grosse Scheidegg, then downhill to Grindelwald. From there continue along the Lütschine (river) to Interlaken, where it goes back to Thun on the other side of Lake Thun via Spiez.

 

Thank you for the interview, Robert and Daniel!