Initiated back in 2007 as a tight-knit collection of boutique adi-retailers that included Alife, Bodega, DQM and Foot Patrol, Consortium quickly became a byword for understated quality in footwear. As things moved quickly on the street, not to mention amongst retailers, adidas wisely and somewhat mysteriously put the project on ice, cryogenically preserving the Consortium name and reputation. Now we can exclusively reveal, Consortium is back.

This story originally appeared in Sneaker Freaker Issue 22. Buy yours here.

It’s tempting to reach for the cliche book and add ‘bigger than ever’, but that wouldn’t actually be totally accurate. Rather than bursting into the saloon guns ablazing with mad colour and loony materials to get our attention, adidas have gently tiptoed back onto the scene, releasing what will definitely be the most delicate, thoughtful and inherently subtle quintet of shoes in 2011.

Perhaps it’s a reflection of the current appetite for minimalism, but the first five under the Consortium banner are definitely of the less-is-more academy of thinking. At first glance, it’s a simple all-white affair. The official word is that the colour is to be known as ‘white vapour’, however, after speaking with the design team in Berlin recently, we came away with a deeper understanding of the intricacies of ‘white’, especially in relation to matching suedes, nubucks and mesh. Not all whites it seems are created equal! Suitably chuffed with our newfound knowledge, it is our duty to inform you that this is not merely an ‘all-white’ affair, rather what you are looking at is a precise shade, a custom tint that required the very best tanneries to be right on top of their game.

As expected, corporate tags have been virtually banished. Shoe callouts are likewise removed and there’s a new riveted tongue logo, replacing the previous Consortium eyelets. Lightly embossed trefoils are as loud a statement as you’ll find here. The materials themselves are consistently auspicious across all five models. The finest pig skin, nubuck and goatskin is embellished with waxed laces, metal aglets and the use of a heavier gauge thread, which gives the shoes a more luxurious hand-crafted feel. Inside, the lining has also been stripped back, highlighting their raw essence.

You could even go so far as to say that by presenting their shoes ‘au naturel’, adidas are striving for the ultimate in honesty, a worthy and noble aim. At the time of writing we had no further information, other than that these five Consortium models will be released November 26. We are sure all will be revealed soon enough, and in any case, it certainly offers a tantalising preview of what may be in store for adidas Consortium.