Solebox Pump20 Interview (Berlin)
Aside from being the number one store in Germany, Solebox has built an enviable reputation for creating colab sneakers. From their NB Purple Devils to their recent adidas City Series, Solebox has always raised the bar in one way or another. In the case of the Pump20 project, Hikmet Sugoer and his crew literally shined a fresh light on Pump. They inserted a widget that sits beneath the classic Pump orb on the tongue and lights up like a bright orange pumpkin at halloween. You gotta admit, for a gimmick, it’s pretty damn cool! We caught up with Hikmet to find out a little bit more about his fresh lemon butter Solebox Pumps.
Congratulations on another fine Solebox release. You guys always produce quality... is it still fun?
Oh yes, it is still big fun to create shoes. My mind is full of colorways and ideas. It would be great to have a machine switched to my brain which produces my ideas instantly.
How have you found this year? How has Solebox weathered the storm?
Sure, it was a year full of storms, but they were some good storms for Solebox. We had a stable year with a great output of quality projects and most important was the positive thinking.
Anything really caught you by surprise that made you think twice?
To be true I am hard to surprise. Minimalism is so dominant these days, not only in architecture and design. I think it is getting to be a way of life for the next decade.
You grew up in Berlin when access to American culture was limited. Where does the Pump feature in Berlin sneaker history? Were you a Pump nut?
First time I saw Pumps in Germany I was in school. I had two friends in my class who had a year-long exchange in the USA and brought basketball Pumps back with them. But I was more the running guy not the basketball guy at this time, so I was not instantly in love with them. But I loved the idea!
How did you find the Bringback? It’s one of the biggest shoes ever made...
This one is a huge canvas. It is like one of the Monet canvases of the Water Lillies and it was something new for me to work on a basketball shoe. I used a pretty classic reduced colorway. I even used the same color blocking like on the OGs. Without the extras it would be fitting in a catalogue from back in the days without any problem.
I heard yours lights up like a pumpkin on Halloween?
Yes, we used a light function on the Pump. Do not ask me why, but I love light. You can do so much with it. This is only the beginning. For me this project was not about creating a colorway. For me it is a sculpture, something that you can put on your shelf and not only on your feet. Trainers are popcultural art pieces. To light up the Pump was the solution. On top we added memory foam for the lining making it the best fitting basketball shoe on earth. The laces were chosen as a reference to the unforgotten and ingenious Bungee commercial.
So you added a gimmick to a shoe with the greatest gimmick of all time. It’s like a double-double!
Big thanks to Reebok for being patient with me and letting me do what I wanted to do. There was no NO! And this is not common in the industry.
I gotta say, the pastel yellow and black is sweet. It’s damn hard to create something new... are you feeling this pressure?
Thank you for your words, it means a lot to me to get feedback from people who know what they are talking about. There was no pressure at all for me. My biggest friend is PASSION! I love trainers. It is my life. Maybe I should send out an application to some brands to work on a complete range?
Go for it! Do you think kids will regain an interest in sneaker tech?
I hope so. I think this is something that Reebok is good at. We need innovations in the market. We need people to risk new ways. We need a revolution. New thinking. Safe business is not always the best you can do. Forget the given frames! Go your own ways!
And finally, what’s your favorite Pump?
The Insta Pump Fury aka The Maepsy, which was the working name of this model.(Thanks to Steven Smith)