2016 was undoubtedly a massive win for Adidas. From the continued hype about Yeezy Boosts to the massive success that nobody saw coming with the NMD, momentum is on the side of the Three Stripes this year. So, how does Adidas plan to top last year’s success? Aside from what looks to be a healthy dose of more of the same, Adidas is also releasing another “new” sneaker for everyone to lose their mind over. Calling any EQT “new” is sure to get collectors from the 1990s in their feelings, but despite being born from the same “no bullshit” attitude, the EQT Support Ultra is distinctively different from any EQT you’ll remember.
At first glance you’ll notice the absence of the famous “Turbo Green” that was unofficially referred to as “EQT Green” on past models. After you allow your eyes to process the color switch, you’ll of course notice the addition of new technology that has helped Adidas make a comeback in recent years. Boost? Check. Primeknit? Check. Naturally, there was a fear that die-hard EQT fans would reject the idea of switching up the silhouette, but that attitude would be against the very idea behind the sneaker. In 1991, the EQT series was described as “Everything that is essential, nothing that is not,” and the same can be said about its 2017 editions. The EQT was birthed from an idea of cutting out the clutter and making a sneaker that only had what was needed. During the 90s, that may have been an idea that was ahead of its time, but it looks like the future has finally arrived and the times have caught up to the EQT’s mission.
We spoke to Adidas Originals Vice President of Product Torben Schumacher about the return of the EQT and why the line will be Adidas’ next big hit.
Why the change from the traditional Turbo Green to red?:
Torben Schumacher: First of all, [the EQT] doesn’t try to be fashionable or on trend. We talked about color a lot because it was the EQT Green. It was so iconic at the time, and it was so bold to pick that one color. We really asked ourselves, “Why did they go about that color in the first place?” That was the key inspiration behind it. Now, with the idea of bringing it back in a very different way, we tried to look at the same mindset, and it’s something we want to do now, but we also want to continue to challenge ourselves.
The EQT has always been a fan favorite in Germany, but how do you think it will be received this time around in the U.S.?
We’re really keen to tell the story of EQT. The mindset that stands behind it is no bullshit, cutting all the clutter and focusing on what’s really important. Which I think from a product standpoint is important, but also from a social standpoint with all the noise that is happening. The no bullshit attitude that was important at the time is really important today. It’s taking the same mindset. At the time, the first generation was not compromising any technology and function. It was really just the best for the athlete. If you look at today, you have to have Boost. That’s the best. NMD and Ultra Boost, that’s what people love about our brand, and Primeknit. It’s the same mentality and mindset behind the products and of course they feature Primeknit and Boost. We hope it can talk to the collectors and lovers of what EQT stood for and where the journey starts, but then take people along the journey towards to the future.
How do you think O.G. EQT fans will react to seeing their favorite sneaker changed?
We wanted to make sure we that don’t lose those guys but we also recognize and realize that times have changed. It’s important to tell the story and how it evolves.
Pusha T said he wanted to be the face of the EQT. Does that kind of represent the U.S. market with collaborators taking ownership of the EQT?
I would hope so. That’s the beauty of collaborations, and we look at ourselves as a collaborative brand. We don’t want to limit partners to one box or label them. Pusha is a creator of culture. It’s very much a journey we’ve been on, and it’s always been very authentic to who he is and his connection to the brand. But then it also very much honors EQT as a franchise.
What is the research process like for your design team when you start working with artists like Pusha T? Do you research his music to make sure the product comes off authentic?
For us, it’s really important to have those honest conversations and test how we fit together and if there is an authentic connection between us as creators. If it’s not authentic, it’s going to be spotted as fake and as marketing, and that’s the worst. The outcome is really authentic. No one questions if this is the real deal, and that’s why he is also talking about it in such a passionate way.
Will there be EQT collaborations?
Yes, I think it’s fair to say without giving too much that we definitely want to embrace ideas from different sources to help us tell the story.