Sox6 has been proposed to play a conserved role in vertebrate skeletal muscle fibre type specification. In zebrafish, sox6 transcription is repressed in slow-twitch progenitors by the Prdm1a transcription factor. Here we identify sox6 cis-regulatory sequences that drive fast-twitch-specific expression in a Prdm1a-dependent manner. We show that sox6 transcription subsequently becomes derepressed in slow-twitch fibres, whereas Sox6 protein remains restricted to fast-twitch fibres. We find that translational repression of sox6 is mediated by miR-499, the slow-twitch-specific expression of which is in turn controlled by Prdm1a, forming a regulatory loop that initiates and maintains the slow-twitch muscle lineage.