Pin It
Adidas Deerupt sneakersPhotography Johnny Dufort

adidas Originals rejects the ugly sneaker trend with a disruptive new style

The Deerupt takes its cue from pared-back, 1980s archival silhouettes

Over the course of the last year, it’s fairly (okay, very) safe to say that the ugly sneaker has taken the crown as the silhouette of the moment, as the likes of Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga send their models stamping down the catwalk in them season after season.

The trend for these so-called ‘absolute units’ can be traced back to 2013 and the release of Raf Simons’ re-vamped Ozweego. Designed as part of his ongoing partnership with adidas Originals after rummaging through the German sportswear behemoth’s extensive archives, the Belgian iconoclast presumably came to an abrupt halt when he reached the corridor chronicling the trainers your dad used to favour in the 90s.

Filtering into a number of adidas lines, including Yohji Yamamoto’s futuristic Y-3 offerings, you’d imagine the brand would be keen to capitalise on the ugly sneaker’s ongoing success as part of their mainline collection. Not so. Instead, vice president of global design Nic Galway – who’s been at adidas for the last 18 years and has worked closely with the likes of Simons, Pharrell Williams, and Kanye West – had other ideas in mind when it came to creating the label’s latest release, the Deerupt.

“I find the term ‘ugly sneaker’ funny, you know, I don’t see a trend, I see a generation’s reaction,” Galway explains. “Each generation has a reaction to the one that came before it – you see it in music, you see it in fashion, and you see it in sneakers. What we’re seeing now are sneakers reminiscent of those worn in the late 90s and early 00s being bought by a generation that see their childhood in them, there’s a real sense of nostalgia there. And the Deerupt offers that, too, just in a different way.”

Launching last week at The Louvre – where the brand took over the historical museum’s basement – the innovative adidas Deerupt strips back the label’s signature details and branding to a bare minimum, and features a unique external grid structure system first seen in the 1980s. It also offers an altogether different silhouette than that of the chunky styles that have risen to dominate the fashion scene at the moment. “We went into the archives and started looking at these really lightweight styles, the New York for example, and a few others from the early 80s. There were some really innovative styles down there, like nothing that had been seen before at the time, and we really wanted to expand on that technology and put them in front of a new generation,” says Galway.

And as for the ‘ugly sneaker’ trend? “We’re here to develop new styles and push boundaries – the whole message around the Deerupt is one of disruption, and disrupting what has been seen before,” concludes Galway, “we’re not about getting caught up in trends.” As always, the original athletic innovators are here to disrupt the system, this time with the super-light Deerupt silhouette. Triple S who?

Check out the campaign – shot by Dazed contributor Johnny Dufort – above.