adidas' 2019 Highlight Reel
It’s been an interesting year for adidas. After 2018’s prize fight over proprietary foam, 2019 saw the industry titans keep to their respective lanes and do what they do best. For the folks out at Herzo, that meant both celebrating their past and charging into the future. Team Trefoil lit the birthday candles for Torsion’s big 3-0 and added another notch to their sustainability belt with the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP. Oh yeah, and they caused a riot along the way.
Of course, there’s more to adidas’ annual report than that, so tap into the Trefoil and read on…
There’s no better way to secure a shoe’s place in sneaker lore than a release-day riot. We are, after all, still talking about Jeff Staple’s 2005 ‘Pigeon Dunk’ nearly 15 years later for that very reason.
This year, it was the Three Stripes’ turn. They caused their own sneaker stampede when the AirZona Iced Tea colab dropped in July for the bargain price of $0.99. After reports of assaults and bottlings, the NYPD shut down the Lower Manhattan pop-up, driving up resell prices and causing pandemonium in the sneakersphere.
You ZX-y Thing
Looking back at 2019, the ZX revival is adidas’ undeniable winner. This year marked the 30th anniversary of Torsion tech, and adi celebrated that impressive milestone with a slew of newbies and OG reissues alike. We heard a whisper of the return when the OG ZX 4000 retro surfaced at an Overkill event late last year, and from there it was all systems go.
With the ZX 10000, Team Trefoil added the next instalment to the lineage, and Overkill nailed it with the three-shoes-per-pair ‘I CAN IF I WANT’ colab. Then, from the future to the past, an OG pack reissued the 5000, 6000, 7000 and 9000, while a stand-alone Consortium release brought back the ZX 8000 in ostentatious fashion… Anyone fancy a ride on a jet ski?
Pop culture franchises were inescapable in 2019, and their licensed wares even more so. Morning scrolls were overtaken by Stranger Things Trivial Pursuit and Marvel merch, and it seemed like every fandom was catered to.
Despite the outlandish volume of pop culture offerings, Team Herzo stood out, bookending their year with some monster franchise friendships.
March saw the Game of Thrones UltraBOOST pack hit with all the force of the Seven Kingdoms. Like the history-making show’s last season, the release had its detractors, but you can’t knock its ambition.
And then, the franchise to end all franchises, the conclusion to the epic nine-episode Star Wars saga. The Three Stripes headed to a galaxy far, far away to bid adieu to the 40-year-old series with a rollout of Nite Joggers, NMDs and UBs that will have even Kylo Ren slipping into some sneaks.
Ozweego We Go
With the ZX revival, adi stayed close to its roots, but the Ozweego 2019 was all about modernisation. The beloved ‘Weego has come a long way since its 1996 debut, updated with an all-over mesh upper and adiPRENE and adiPRENE+ cushioning. The Ozweego was ubiquitous in 2019, from its bold debut colourways to the collaborative clout brought by the likes of Pusha T.
A Spezial Kind of Auction
Some shoes practically live in resell circles. You’d be hard-pressed, for example, to find a pair of Travis Scotts on the aftermarket for less than several times its retail price. The SPZL line, on the other hand, doesn’t usually occupy that space.
It came as quite the surprise, then, when Gary Aspden’s Blackburn SPZL fetched eBay bids up to $65,000 in October this year. The special SPZL were limited to 200 pairs, and garnered the massive asking price even though it was rereleased, without limited edition insoles, just weeks later. Sometimes it’s not all about the hype, you know.
Future-Proofing the Futurecraft
Sustainability in fashion experienced a groundswell in 2019 and, as consumers become more critical, brands are pivoting to more environmentally-conscious practices and products. This year saw the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP join adidas’ Parley program as they moved towards greener processes.
The project, which is still in beta testing, aims to create a closed loop manufacturing model and a 100 per cent recyclable product. The adi lab is currently working on FUTURECRAFT.LOOP Gen 2, integrating the recycled materials from the first round, and it looks like they’ll refine the process even further.
It’s all in R&D for now, but expect this to pay dividends come 2021.