Interview: Highsnobiety Break Down Their adidas ZX 8000 'Qualität' ColabRelease: 23 April 2021
Continuing their long-standing collaborative run, Highsnobiety and countrymen adidas have teamed up as part of the ongoing A-ZX project to bring the letter ‘Q’ to life! Taking to the ZX 8000, the duo have finessed a special edition ‘Qualität’ colourway which exudes craftsmanship and a keen eye for detail. Not surprising considering ‘qualität’ is the German word for quality.
Ahead of the release, we caught up with Highsnob's Creative Director, Herbert Hofmann, to get the low-down on this tonal collaborative treat, delving into the design process, their relationship with the Three Stripes, and why materials matter.
Tell us a bit about the design behind the ZX 8000 ‘Qualität’?
We’ve worked intensely on our own Highsnobiety brand and designs in the past two years. Collaborations with Sotheby’s, Bauhaus Archive and Maison Margiela have made us extremely proud. When the pandemic hit us all in the beginning of last year, we took the time to step back and sit down with adidas to work on the ZX project in a very subtle, thoughtful and sustainable way. Producing new product isn’t sustainable as such, but working on design that is timeless and built to last has a great sustainable aspect to it. We wanted something comfortable, and a new staple in our wardrobe.
We decided on the letter Q for Quality in the alphabet (for the A-Z ZX project) and worked with the best leathers, skipped all the plastic details of the usual model, and we love that it includes the BOOST cushioning for extra comfort. We wanted a shoe that becomes your new everyday go-to choice and fits with all your outfits – and I think we managed that. I also believe the shoe will become better and better the more you wear it (and it will keep you cool through the mesh parts).
Germany, and especially Berlin, is obsessed with the ZX range. What particular relation do you have with the ZX series?
We live in a ZX city, but I also feel like ZX was a very colourful and loud shoe most of the time. We wanted to make our interpretation of the shoe and open the doors to people who didn’t wear the model so far.
You have a great relationship with adidas through your former colabs. What do you think makes a great colab work the best?
A good colab happens when you have trust in each other’s gut feelings and expertise. The adidas team was great to work with. They believed in our vision, and knew what was possible and what was not. And, of course, they know what they do, so we listened and learned a lot.
Why did you choose materials like goat skin and cork sockliners? How many samples did it take to make it right?
We wanted soft leather and great leather for the quality, but that didn’t mean that a great mesh can’t be equally good – so that had to be part of it to give it a sportier look, and also make it breathable.
The shoes are already available in certain sizes on StockX. What do you think about the re-selling business as part of the current sneaker industry?
I’d love to go back to times where you walked into a store and bought something without raffles or crazy lines. I loved how we sold HTM shoes by putting them on the shelf unannounced in my former job (Voo Store), and people just walked in and couldn’t believe that they were just there to buy. I miss those moments of surprise, when real fans who wear the shoes on the street get their hands on sneakers.
Where can our readers buy the shoes?
You will be able to buy them from our webstore, and also some selected adidas retailers all over the world. We are excited to see outfit pics with the shoes, but also with the apparel pieces that we’ve designed around the sneakers! The touch and quality of all those styles is just amazing.
Last but not least… What’s next for you and Highsnobiety? Any more sneakers dropping in the near future?
We did a little Highsnobiety employee surprise and worked on a made in Italy Adilette in leather and cork in anticipation of the ZX – since so many people loved that Adilette, we might have to make one for everybody. But my bigger dream would be to work on apparel with adidas as the next project. Let’s see what adidas thinks about that.
The Highsnobiety x adidas ZX 8000 'Qualität' releases on April 23 via Highsnobiety's webstore, and select adidas retailers.