Selle Italia and Selle San Marco both bring 3D-printed padding to their top SLR & Shortfit saddles, respectively. But really, we’re still impressed by the performance-to-price ratio of their more sustainable, 50% more environmentally-friendly GreenTech saddles that cost literally 1/9th the price of that SLR Boost 3D, yet are still entirely made in Italy. Plus, their IDmatch ergonomic system gets new semi-custom fit insoles to give everyone perfect arch support while pedaling.
Selle Italia SLR Boost 3D-printed saddle
The 3D-printed tech in the new Selle Italia and Selle San Marco saddles is the same as we’ve seen from Specialized, Fizik & Bjorn… down to the fact that the 3D-printing is done with the same Digital Light Synthesis process and by the same Carbon Inc. 3D-printer. What’s different here is that the Italian saddle makers have worked to actually have their padding printed in Italy, where the rest of the saddle is made.
And both Italian saddle brands have adapted their unique 3D-printed padding layouts to fit over the existing carbon shells of their existing top-tier saddles, while completely retaining the fit & feel of their long-running and popular saddles. The saddle feature “progressive” padding support that seamlessly transitions across four main support zones – from stiffer structure under the sit bones to
The Selle Italia SLR Boost 3D is expected to sell for 450-500€ with a Kit Carbino carbon shell & rails (not the lighter Tekno carbon) or a ~50€ cheaper version with TI36 titanium rails. Both options get a Superflow pressure relief cutout hole, and will be available in S3 (130mm wide) or L3 (145mm wide) sizes from late September.
Selle Italia gravel colors
Beyond 3D-printed padding, Selle Italia takes a bit of gravel inspiration to add a couple of earth tone colors to the popular ti-railed SLR Boost S3/L3, Flite Boost ti S3/L3 & Novus Boost Evo L3 with steel rails. These three saddles will add Blue Granite and Mud Brown to the regular black tops later this fall.
Selle San Marco Shortfit 2.0 3D-printed saddle
Selle San Marco’s slightly more versatile and more padded Shortfit 2.0 also gets its own 3D-printed top.
Again the padding uses its own unique structure to provide the desired level of support and comfort, while again sharing the exact same carbon shell & rails as the standard Shortfit.
It comes in the same two widths (140mm or 155mm), and sells for 400€ as the Carbon FX with full carbon rails or around 50€ less as the Shortfit 2.0 3D Racing with titanium Stealth Xsilite rails – available from late September 2022.
Selle San Marco Allroad & road colors
Just like Selle Italia added some new gravel colors, Selle San Marco does something similar with special editions of their road and all-road saddles too. The regularly padded Aspide Short Racing and Shortfit 2.0 Racing road saddles with ti rails get a shiny Iridescent Gold option.
And the more off-tarmac Allroad Supercomfort gets muted earthy Desert Sage green and light Ice Gray.
IDmatch semi-custom insoles
IDmatch is a brand inside the Selle Italia & San Marco family, that also splits off independently for customized saddle fits, shoe fits, and complete bike fits. On top of the Foot Fit section that was already about getting the right sized shoe and cleat setup, now new IDmatch cycling-specific Footbed insoles offer customizable fit & support.
The insoles are around 2.5mm thin, 88g light (for an uncut pair), and are quite flexible. They offer support from the heel to the arch, while allowing the foot to rotate quite freely as you pedal.
The semi-custom fit process starts with IDmatch’s Footmeter which measures overall foot length, length between the bones in your feet, and a pressure map that defines how high your arch is in reality.
The insoles then offer 1 of three heights of support (1-3), but a surprisingly wide range of 7 arch lengths (XXS-XXL). It’s not about how long your foot is but how long your arch is, then the super thin forward portion of the insole is just trimmed to fit, matching whatever insole came out of your shoe to start with.
I did the fit process for my size 43 feet, and came out with an L2 insole, indicating a slightly longer than average heel:arch and a middle of the road Medium arch.
Selle Italia GreenTech saddles
Back to Selle Italia proper and their GreenTech saddles really are one of the biggest innovations of the year. While 450€ & 400€ saddles topped with 3D-printed padding are cool, the fact that their more eco-friendly saddles deliver a performance fit & feel at a literal fraction of the cost… that’s even cooler in my book.
Sure the 50€ Model X is 315g, but do we really need to be weight weenies about everything?
I’d probably prefer a 100% recyclable saddle, made with less embodied energy, and less of a harmful impact on the environment for a 100g weight penalty…
The GreenTech is a new concept in saddle making, starting with a steel rail insert that gets injection overmolded with a 1-piece reinforced composite structure & shell, and then overmolded again with dense foam padding on top. No need for a conventional saddle top cover, no glue to stick it all together, and no off-cut scraps of waste material. It’s all easier, faster, and more sustainable.
Selle Italia says the furthest component in the 100% made-in-Italy supply chain comes from just 12km away from their HQ.
To really quantify how sustainable they really are, Selle Italia hired Up2You for an eco-audit of the construction and the saddle’s ‘verified’ carbon footprint. The result of the GreenTech Model X saddle was 908g of CO2 equivalent, a 52.7% reduction when compared to a conventional saddle. Selle Italia is also now apparently a carbon neutral company, offsetting their impacts with blockchain-certified carbon credits.
For now, there are just 2 different models… the Comfort+ model adds 100g extra of thick gel padding. And the Model X and its thinner (and lighter) padding is available with a standard dark gray cover, the translucent cover of the Leaf model that is printed inside the padding layer, or an all-black OEM model without GreenTech logos that we’d already spotted on a number of 3T gravel bikes.
But Selle Italia suggests many more GreenTech saddles are in development. They’re cheaper & easier to make, and could theoretically work for any saddle shape in the Selle Italia portfolio. Fingers crossed for more high-performance, low-cost & eco-friendly saddles made in Italy soon!