It’s been a strong year for adidas. The Three Stripes had a massive hit with the Ultra Boost. It built on Tubular by introducing new styles to the line. And some guy named Kanye debuted a collection under the brand.
Building on that momentum, adidas is looking to end 2015 strong by launching a totally new style under its Originals wing. Dubbed the NMD, the new silhouette uses two of adidas’ most popular technologies — Primeknit and Boost — not for running or basketball, but for traveling the streets on a daily basis.
The sneaker is the brainchild of Nic Galway, a 16-year veteran at adidas and the man who helped developed the Yeezy Boost line with Kanye West. Here the adidas VP of Global Design breaks down what you need to know about adidas NMD.
The adidas Micro Pacer, Rising Star and Boston Super are all referenced in the design.
“What I really loved about the products in the mid-‘80s was it was a time where the future was the thing. No one had computers at home you know? We, as a German brand, were making this wearable technology when no one actually had the computers. It showed a real great pioneering spirit that they must of had at that time. I always feel my responsibility as creative director now is to say we don’t just look at how the shoes used to look in our archive, we also have to understand the spirit that they were made in...I wanted to pick up some of those memories and inject in the latest emotions of today.”
One of Galway's goals was to make NMD recognizable from far away.
“You know it’s adidas and you don’t just have to see the stripes. It’s adidas in its heart. That was the challenge. The way we approached that was to make sure there was nothing on that shoe that didn’t need to be there. Everything has a function. You have the Boost foam. You have the Primeknit upper, which gives it a real modern sensation. They’re not decorative. It informed a very new, unique silhouette in its own right.”
One thing designers DIDN’T want to do: Make the sneaker look like a copy of the Ultra Boost.
"I tell my design team, 'If you go into our archives and you look at our sneakers from the past, don’t take them back to your desk. Leave them in the archives and then sit back in your desk and see what you remember. Work from that.' I don’t want to make things that look like the Ultra. I want to capture what it is people love."
Those LEGO-like blocks on the outsole aren’t just a nod to the Micro Pacer, but they also have a specific purpose.
“The blocking element provides support in the Boost foam. The elements on the upper provide some level of structure to the Primeknit because there’s no lining or reinforcements in the shoe. That was the challenge for us, but it also informed a very new silhouette, and that’s what I liked.You kind of forget about the lines.”
In fact, every stitch and piece on on the shoe has a specific purpose.
“Everything has been informed by working with the innovations. Thats the attention to detail. We have the holes cut out on the sole for a reason. It’s not decorative, it’s to allow the Boost to move freely to get the best energy return. The blocking is familiar, but it’s providing stability. The heel mustache on the back references something very iconic from our brand, but also allows us to not have all the reinforcements on the inside. Everything is there for a reason, and if you were to remove one element, it wouldn’t work. That’s important to me. It’s not decorating product. It’s really integrating, and the result is something familiar, but completely new."