Adidas’s Radical New Shoe

Mark Wilson:

Aside from engineering, Adidas also had to figure out an aesthetic point of view for the shoe. At first glance, its white-on-white design looks something like the highly sought Ultra Boost triple white. In fact, it’s not a single, perfect white. The shoe doesn’t make use of bleach–and its recycled versions won’t, either. The upper in particular has a pearl, or even yellow tinge, and it’s sure to yellow more over time because Boost itself does yellow. Given the various weaves, that yellowing might happen unevenly across the shoe. It might look interesting. It might look terrible.
“For this beta phase, we really allowed ourselves to be as vulnerable as possible,” says Sahanga. “Yes, it will yellow. It could happen at varying degrees. But it tells an interesting story.”
That story only begins with Loop generation 1, which was designed to look like a blank canvas. Loop generation 2, or 3, crafted out of old Loop shoes, will continue to change color–its core pigment would be an average of every used, ground-up Loop shoe that had reached the end of its life.
This neutral-colored Futurecraft Loop gives Adidas a baseline of what to expect generation after generation–the small solar red logo is its only nod to color. One could imagine that ending badly, with every Loop shoe eventually reaching a shade of dishwater gray. But its designers imagine that other Loop lines might slowly introduce dyes, too. That means you could watch a blue Loop go from periwinkle to midnight blue over the course of several years and several generations. Or maybe Adidas will choose to combine colors, adding red to the blue mix to make purple. Black Loop shoes would occur naturally over enough generations mixed with enough colors. But the big idea here is that every individual product would have a rippling, heirlooming effect on every other product. Imagine the sanctity of your grandfather’s weathered leather baseball glove, oiled for decades to a rich chestnut patina–but on the scale of tens of millions of shoes, made of what’s essentially plastic.

I love this idea. Take an obvious weakness of not just this shoe, but all shoes -- that they get dirty over time -- and flip it to be a feature of the shoe. A personality, if you will. A uniqueness. I wish more products were designed in this way. (via MediaREDEF)


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