The Brand with Three Stripes are also the brand with 300 balls in the air. Their 2017 output has been relentless and we’re pretty sure it’s safe to say they haven’t put a foot wrong. We witnessed the now-standard slew of NMDs, countless colabs and even a run-in with the feds. Here’s the best of Herzogenaurach’s goings-on this year.
Jumpman Eats adi-Dust
The year saw adidas BOOSTed up and over the Jumpman to steal the spot of second most popular sportswear brand in America. Get this: in the year’s third financial quarter, adidas sales grew by 31 per cent in North America and 29 per cent in China. Whoa, right? Online sales ballooned by almost 40 per cent. And while a shit-tonne of people would credit Yeezy with fuelling at least a fraction of the brand’s surge in popularity (famously not Matt Powell, though, who instead views the ‘Kanye Effect’ as more of a ‘zero impact’ kind of thing), there’s so much more to it than BOOST-bottomed 2.0s and co.
But we’ll start there anyway. Yeezy BOOST 350 v2s did what they do best and sold out the second names like ‘Zebra’ or ‘Semi Frozen Yellow’ were even whispered. The surprise sizable rerelease of ‘Zebra’ saw streets the world over flooded with the tears of resellers – value on the Bay fell from $3000 to around $550 (little more than double retail). By the year’s end, ‘Semi Frozen Yellow’ held the coveted title of rarest Yeezy BOOST 350 v2 according to Yeezy Mafia. The Wave Runner 700 launch came out of left field – the shoe landed unannounced on Yeezy.Supply and fans actually had more than a millisecond to order the heavily dad-vibed sneaker (which shipped three months later). As the year reached its pointy end, a couple of bulbous-soled Desert Rats came scurrying out of Yeezy HQ and offered a glimpse of what 2018 might look like for the label.
P and the NMD
The NMD continued to crush in 2017 – no surprises there. And while traditional iterations didn’t drop with the same kerfuffle as previous years, Pharrell’s ‘Human Race’ Hu NMD Trails ensured hype never wandered too far from the nomad. Four eye-popping colourways stamped with Breathe, Walk, Moon, Clouds, Earth and Body hit stores in November and in response people hit each other. From NYC to Kuala Lumpur, tensions in queues boiled over and fists flew– so much for ‘humanity.’ P’s other (by all reports violence-free) offerings deserve mention, too: the ComplexCon-exclusive N.E.R.D Hu NMD, and the €1000 Pharrell x Chanel Hu NMD. We don’t even have time to cover the pair that just sauntered onto eBay calling for $12,000.
A brush with the law, light and oxygen
Never let the minor inconvenience of having your global sports marketing director arrested by the FBI get in the way of your brand’s hot-fire run. In September, adidas’ Jim Gatto was charged with bribing high school basketball players to enrol at adidas-sponsored colleges and sign with adidas upon entering the NBA. Without digging into detail, the scandal and fallout have been huge. The event was described by a New York Times writer as the ‘darkest day’ in college basketball history. In response, the Three Stripes declared: ‘We’re unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with authorities to understand more.'
Now for a rapid-fire rundown of everything else: Rick Owens and adidas ended their four-year collaborative partnership. Futurecraft 4D blew shoe tech out of the water with its mind-bending build (yeah, we’re making shoes with light and oxygen now thanks to ‘Digital Light Synthesis’). The UltraBOOST blessed us with a sleek Laceless iteration as well as the 4.0. And the Prophere grunted its way into the sneakersphere bearing an absolute tank of a sole unit and promising big things for 2018. We could harp on about the Stripes well into the New Year but we’ve got a Christmas party to go get loud and rowdy at so we’ll leave it there.