In the pantheon of sneaker collaborators, Berlin's Solebox holds rank. It's not just because the German boutique has worked with brands from adidas to New Balance to Reebok and Saucony. The collaborations, rather, tend to be ahead of the design curve. The sneakers are colorblocked successfully, come in short runs, and are hunted down by a core group of collectors across the globe. It also doesn't hurt that the shop's brick-and-mortar location is built-up in a minimalist, all-white design with a robot in the stockroom.
That's why when we got wind that Solebox was set to work with adidas again — this time on the EQT Running Guidance 93 — we jumped at the opportunity to talk to the shop's co-owner and co-founder, Hikmet Sugoer, to see a full reveal of the collab and get some insight on what went into the project.
If there's anyone who knows adidas' history, it's Sugoer and Solebox. The brand's runners tend to dominate Berlin's sneaker scene, with the company's global headquarters located about four hours from the city. That's why, at first glance, the collab on the Guidance looks strikingly close to the O.G. white/grey/red/black color scheme of the early-'90s silhouette. But that's merely coincidence, the make-up actually gets its inspiration from the Berlin flag, a red-and-white striped flag with a black bear in the middle.
"I always have in mind to have a strong but simple colorway," Sugoer said. "On this one, we have used the Berlin colors. The good side effect is that it looks like a possible O.G. colorway."
Like previously stated, this isn't Solebox's first time getting together with adidas, and it's not even the shop's first time working on an EQT model. In 2010, the two collaborated on the "Then and Now" pack, a two-part collection consisting of the EQT Running Support and the adizeo Aegis. Both sneakers came in similar fashion to the now-releasing Guidance, and, as Sugoer told us, he sees this time around as a great follow up to their previous collaboration.
There's nearly a new collab being teased everyday on sneaker blogs and social media. It's tough to distinguish which partnerships are authentic and how many of them are done to generate hype and revenue. It's a different situation for Solebox and adidas, however, and Sugoer doesn't take it for granted. "I am old school. I am loyal," he said. "Adidas trusted in me and my work back then, and I am happy that we have an ongoing relationship."
Even though this is the first time that Solebox has presented a detailed look at its Guidance, it's not the first time the Internet has seen the sneaker. Late in August, Sugoer teased an image of the collab's heel. Not too long after that, the cover of Sneaker Freaker Germany, which has the Guidance on it, leaked online.
As one would expect, Sugoer wasn't too happy about the situation, but he's dealing with it just fine. "I'm relaxed," he said. "It would be fine, if the people behind the project announced it themselves, instead of those who are seeking E-fame."
And it's understandable. Sugoer has gone from a kid who, in his college days, helped pay his bills by reselling adidas Basketball models such as the Rivalry, Attitude, and Forum, to someone who now puts out his own sneakers with the same brand he grew up admiring.
"I'm lucky to work with brands that I was not able to afford when I was younger," Sugoer said. "Just imagine this: back then I was a kid who couldn't afford certain sneakers, and now I'm able to work with these brands. Thank God."
That's profound, to say the least. It also goes without saying that the execution on this Guidance collab is top notch. For those looking to get their hands on a pair, they'll be releasing November 29 at Solebox in Berlin, with a retail price of $135. Expect a worldwide release to take place after that at adidas Consortium accounts.