adidas Go Big with Prophere! Nic Galway Interview
As SVP of Global Design, Nic Galway is the methodical mastermind behind adidas’ recent runaway global growth. With an aggressive armada of sock-fit sneaks already at his disposal, Galway has just announced the most experimental new-gen addition to the lineup. At first glance, Prophere is an imposingly chunky rig. With a beefy wraparound sole and a minimal stretch-fit upper directly influenced by adi-heritage, this is a balls-out follow up to the NMD. Love it or just not quite sure how you exactly feel about it, there’s no doubt Prophere reeks of the future. We caught up with Nic to find out what inspired the Prophere and what’s coming next.
You’ve been with the Three Stripes for a while now – tell us a little bit about your path to date.
I oversee all aspects of creativity for adidas Originals and Style. During my time with the brand, I’ve had the privilege of working in a range of creative roles and with some of the best resources and creators in the industry, which continues to inspire me to push the boundaries, even after 18 years.
It's no secret adidas have been on a serious roll the past few years. Does that success embolden designers or, when the stakes are higher, do you think there’s a natural tendency towards a more conservative approach?
For us, it’s important that we don't take the successes for granted, and that we continue to push ourselves and challenge the status quo. We approach everything we do as a work in progress, and are always looking at how we can improve and make things better. We design in a way that is unexpected and starts a conversation.
Demand has been insatiable for the new-gen adi designs like Tubular, NMD and the EQT ADV. Do you think we’re at a point where retro shoe design is losing its appeal?
This question is interesting because the examples you've given – NMD, EQT and Tubular – are all designs that pulled inspiration from our archive. They’re not literal 1:1 recreations, but they took suitable cues that tap into our shared memories. Today we have one of the best innovations in the industry, BOOST, and our colleagues in performance are always challenging themselves to uncover what’s next, which is a great resource for us to tap into.
We believe that when you are able to connect the best of the past with today's best innovation, you can become part of the cultural conversation in a new and meaningful way. That being said, sometimes you just want to throw on a pair of Stans or Superstars and know you will always look good – I don’t think that is a feeling that will ever get old.
Prophere is a bold silhouette – we love seeing that in a new sneaker. What was the thinking behind its design?
When we first approached the design process, we started by looking at our archive in a different way, more specifically looking to the bold aesthetic of the 90s. It was a period where we as a brand were really experimenting with proportions and silhouettes. We wanted to translate this design thinking to present day and also take a confident approach to branding, which you can see in the final design.
The monster sole unit is obviously the hero. Where did the inspiration for its shape come from?
We referenced running silhouettes of the 90s, sculpted the midsole and exaggerated its size. The result is something that pays tribute to the past but is reimagined to create something new.
With a project like this, do you begin the design process with a particular audience in mind?
When we create a silhouette, we are inspired by the spirit of the shoe itself and what it stands for. We have an idea of the consumer who will connect with the design, but ultimately once we release it, it’s up to them as to how they will relate to the product and make it their own.
The NMD was obviously a huge hit. Do you think Prophere has the potential to reach the same level of commercial success?
The Prophere silhouette is very bold in its approach and offers a point of differentiation compared to the lifestyle runners we have released in the past. Although it’s entirely different in look, it incorporates the Originals design language and it still feels familiar. We’re excited to see how people respond. Culture decides in the end.
Where do you see adidas in five years?
I can confidently say, we will continue to challenge ourselves and our creative partners to take risks and inspire the next generation of creators to do the same.