Next month, one of the planet’s top ultra-runners, renowned for his ability to thrive in high mountains, aims to set a speed record on Everest. We got the exclusive on the unique footwear he will wear to the top.
Kilian Jornet is a top ultra-runner and also no stranger to fast alpine ascents. He toppled speed records on Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Denali, and Aconcagua between 2012 and 2015 as part of the Summits Of My Lifeproject.
His sights are now set on Everest, which Jornet will attempt in an extremely rare unfixed style this fall: To avoid bottlenecks and hazards from other (slower) climbers, Jornet will ascend without fixed lines up a less-climbed face of the mountain, likely via the Hornbein or Norton Couloirs.
Kilian Jornet Everest ‘Running Shoes’
Jornet will employ a prototype footwear system from his sponsor Salomonduring the endeavor. It combines a running shoe, bootie, gaiter, and crampons in a three-piece system that nests together like Russian dolls.
At the end of July, Jornet visited Salomonʼs Annecy Design Centre in the French Alps to have his shoes ﬁt for the last time before departing for the Himalayas in the coming days.
The footwear system was developed with his input over nearly three years.
“Itʼs like one shoe for doing everything. You start from the base and you just add layers all the way to the summit,” Jornet said. “Itʼs modular, so you can get from the easy trails to the more technical terrain up high.”
Modular Everest Boot System
The ﬁrst shoe is a basic layer of insulation with the bottom of Salomonʼs S/Lab Sense shoe. It has an insulated gaiter that will allow him to run at the lower elevations until reaching the snow line. It will be used as the inner boot in the system.
Next comes a mid-layer boot designed with extra insulation to keep his feet warm. Those two pieces together will then be placed inside a large insulated boot with built-in crampons, which Jornet will use to climb at the higher elevations of Everest.