We’re glad to welcome a new face into the Ten On Feet family. For the third edition of our in-depth footwear series, we have tapped French footwear designer Martin Sallieres. Before he got into kicks, Sallieres had early aspirations of being a car designer, later pivoting into footwear during his studies at Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Having explored all sectors of design, footwear was the unlikely fit that both intrigued his creative mind and pushed him into something new. “I didn’t really think of footwear design until the last couple of years of my studies and from then it kind of happened naturally. I was fascinated by the performance and engineering aspects of it. The variety of shapes, materials and colours. It felt like a lot could be still done in the field so I just dove into it fully,” he says. “I was posting a lot on social media about my process and designs and I received the right amount of attention to believe I was in the right direction.”
After graduating in 2018, he swiftly made his transition into Filling Pieces and stepped foot into the label’s headquarters in Amsterdam. He was appointed footwear designer under creative director Guillaume Philibert and head footwear designer at the time, Michael Lennheden. The first year on the job introduced Sallieres to a wide range of responsibilities as he was tasked with producing the label’s first formal line and was promoted to senior designer after being at the company for only a year and a half. “Philibert asked me to be in charge of it, of course with a lot of input from him and Dieylane Cissé which was a crazy learning curve because I was calling the shots all of a sudden,” explains Sallieres. Soon after, designer Matthias Weber joined the team and the self-proclaimed duo quickly went on to define the brand’s new aesthetic. Upgrading Filling Pieces’ classic loafers, mules and derbies, his thorough design process reshaped the brand’s footwear.
“I sketch every single day. Some people go for a run or workout, I just sketch. So I guess I am always in the mood to create in a way. Creating two to four collections a year, there isn’t really time not to be creative,” he says.
Since entering the industry, the designer has learned a thing or two about building shoes from the ground up. “I entered this world wanting to design running and football shoes. Out of interest, of course, but also because I didn’t feel comfortable with not having the performance as an ‘excuse”’ to design. So I learned how to design pretty shoes, just pretty, it doesn’t need to make you go faster to jump higher. It opened up new horizons for me that I am and always will be exploring.”
After nearly four years at Filling Pieces, Sallieres has chosen to depart the label and move into a new realm under Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo at Italian brand Sunnei. “When Sunnei showed up as a new opportunity, it felt right,” he says. “I knew the brand and I thought that it could be a new challenge for me because my style already fits the brand’s aesthetic in a way. The offer was for a leading role which meant more freedom and the responsibilities that come with it.” At Sunnei, Sallieres is set to trump his previous successes.
When did you start admiring sneakers?
“Probably at 11 or 12 years old in middle school.”
What is your favourite sneaker in your collection?
“Nike Moon Racer.”
What’s the best sneaker silhouette?
“In my personal opinion, it’s the Nike Presto.”
How many sneakers do you have in your collection?
“Not so many for a shoe designer haha, roughly 50 pairs.”
What sneaker reminds you of your childhood?
“My younger brother’s Nike Air Max 90 in white and gold.”
What’s your dream sneaker purchase?
“The Nike Air Superfly x Junya Watanabe.”
Photography courtesy of Martin Sallieres.