This upcoming weekend sees the release of a new Reebok Classic Leather SMU by German retailer Snipes. The Camp Out is inspired by hiker boots and outdoor gear, making it a good choice for the upcoming festival season in Europe. Our mates from Sneaker Freaker Germany talked to Snipes designer Kamran Rafie, who is a real sneaker enthusiast – he caught the virus in the early 90s and is still feeling ill today.
Kamran, how did this collaboration with Reebok come about?
Reebok has been a very good business partner of ours for many years now. A collaboration was long overdue. And now we finally pulled it off. Sometimes you simply have to put ideas into action.
Did you enjoy total freedom regarding the model and colours or did you have to check back with the folks at Reebok?
At the beginning we did a little brainstorming together. But in the end I designed the shoe by myself. So basically I had an almost free pass. I am very grateful to be given this opportunity by Reebok.
Why did you pick the Classic Leather?
The Classic Leather is simply a running icon and an absolute Reebok classic. In addition, the model has one of the best shapes! In my opinion, the silhouette must be right, otherwise a shoe won't work.
Your design is called 'Camp Out', which will probably make some sneakerheads think about waiting in front of a sneaker store. But you had a very different kind of camping in mind, didn't you?
Correct, the inspiration has nothing to do with camping in front of a sneaker store! Right from the start, the aim was to develop a shoe that is suitable for festival and camping use – hence the nickname Camp Out! This one's about the classic outdoor experience, even including bad weather and other surfaces besides concrete.
How is this concept expressed in the shoe and its details?
Let's start at the toe box: It's made of wheat-coloured suede. The combination with the gum sole hints at a Timberland boot. Then there are colours including red, blue and yellow and ripstop materials, creating a link to a tent. An Ortholite insole offers the high level of comfort known from first class hiking boots. Added to this are rope laces for the climbers among the sneaker friends and at last a Teflon coating to keep the shoe water- and stain-resistant.
The Classic Leather is – the name says it all – a real classic from the Reebok Running archive. The monochrome colourways are especially popular. How do you think friends of the Classic Leather will react to this clearly colourful make-up?
Sure, basic colours are and will always remain classic! But for the true Classic Leather connoisseur this colourway will be love at first sight! I am pretty sure about it.
What obstacles or difficulties did you have to face during the design process?
Honestly... none! I had my ideas straight. Colours and materials were chosen to fit these ideas. Therefore the first sample was directly on point. Props to Reebok – you did a top job! All this made the work quite relaxed.
It usually takes months to finalise a shoe's look. How long did it take in this case from the first idea to the final sample?
Exactly four months. I think if you have a firm idea of something, it's the fine tuning that takes up the most time.
The colourway of the Camp Out is really good but also a bit surprising for a Classic Leather. To what extent did you want to surprise with this?
This is not something I actually thought about! The inspiration and ideas were there from the beginning, and from this the design and the colourway emerged. So, my starting point was not the intention to surprise. The focus was more on the Camp Out approach.
You are the designer, the Camp Out is your baby. Are you proud of the result?
But of course! As you said, it has become my baby after months of work. And as the proud father I'm now looking forward to how people will react to 'the little one'.
Are you already onto new ideas for another colourway?
There are still some ideas buzzing in my head, but those have to remain secret for now. We will see!
Aside from the Classic Leather, which model would appeal to you?
LX 8500 and GL 6000 are amazing, for example. I'd like to play around with these in other colourways and designs. I think both models still have great potential!
Would you describe yourself as 'sneaker crazy'?
Oh, I wouldn't call it crazy. I have been buying and collecting sneakers for 23 years and own approximately 470 pairs by now. So it's all still in the normal range! (laughs)
If we could take a look at your shoe racks, what styles and models would we see there?
My collection is very b-ball inspired. For me it all started in the 90s, and that has influenced my approach to collecting. I've always rooted for The Chicago Bulls and played basketball with friends. That is the reason you will frequently find shoes with a certain Jumpman in my shoe rack.
Ever more releases in ever shorter succession – how do you look at such a development?
In my opinion there are far too many shoes in the market today. With this rapid succession, and the amount of the releases, I simply can't keep up anymore. But maybe I'm just too old ...
Do you have an absolute favourite sneaker or one you have been searching for a long time?
The answer is clear and simple: My absolute favourite is the Air Jordan IV Eminem!
The Snipes x Reebok CL Camp Out will become available from this Saturday the 5th of July in select Snipes branches in Berlin (the Alex), Hamburg, Cologne (in the Ehrenstraße), Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich and Vienna (at the meat market).