Last month, adidas invited us to Paris to join them for the huge launch of the Deerupt, adidas Originals' latest sneaker. 

Taking place in the iconic Louvre Carrousel in Paris, the launch party featured an impressively immersive and interactive experience. The silhouette's grid-like design was echoed across the site, from the glassed pattern on the iconic Pyramide De Louvre and throughout the concourse inside, the event tangibly brought the shoe to life.

We were eager to learn more about some of the inspiration behind adidas' latest cutting-edge silhouette, so we linked up with James Thompson, Global Senior Designer for adidas Originals, who talked us through his creative background, the model's homage to 80s adidas' runners and the Deerupt's design being catered for a generation of fit pic takers. 

Image via Adidas


COMPLEX: Take us through your journey to becoming involved with adidas Originals.

James Thompson: I started out studying industrial design but I have always been interested in streetwear culture and have always been obsessed with sneakers, even at an early age. This informed how I approached my education and zeroed in on footwear based studies so that I could get into the industry.

What was it about 80s running shoes in particular that inspired the Deerupt?

The idea came from iconic styles from the past such as the New York runner and the Marathon trainer, which have such a rich heritage of midsole net technology. It’s an iconic look with a very appealing graphic quality, something that we wanted to explore in depth.

What are the key innovations with the shoe?

The grid inspiration provides both innovative qualities and an aesthetic that we have not explored before. By using the netting to encapsulate the whole shoe, we were able to create comfort for the wearer through compression support and the EVA midsole.

How long did it take you to conceptualise the Deerupt?

The initial concept process took a few weeks and this was in the form of sketch workshops and the creation of handmade mock-ups. This generated a shoe which is quite close to the one we now all know but we persisted and pursued other directions for quite some time before realizing that our earlier explorations had a strength in their simplicity.

Image via Flora Metayer


What is the main inspiration behind the silhouette?

The inspiration for Deerupt really started from our brand’s rich heritage and the midsole net technology from the 80s. The idea was to push the grid to its limits and ultimately wrapping the entire shoe.

Can this Deerupt silhouette become an iconic classic at adidas, like the Stan Smith, Superstar or Gazelle?

We never go into a project with this type of goal in mind. Of course, we have a specific wearer in mind and time and place but we cannot predict the reception a style will have on culture.

The webbing was a very minimal detail on the heritage pieces you used as influence for the Deerupt. What caught your eye about the webbing on these pieces?

As a design element its graphical quality is extremely appealing. This is what we wanted to showcase, the simple qualities to create a bold sneaker design.

Image via Flora Metayer


Why did you decide to stretch the web across the whole silhouette and not include the Three Stripes?

The idea was to push the grid to its limits and ultimately wrapping the entire shoe.

Although the shoe doesn’t feature three-stripes, it still feels very adidas Originals through this exploration of past technologies and the application of two Originals colorways together creating contrast against the grid.

What do you believe are the key components of the shoes design principle?

The essential components of Deerupt are its bold visual identity and net structure, the design speaks loudly in its bold simplicity.

adidas has enjoyed a great previous year of sales. How are adidas Originals planning on maintaining that growth this year?

We are always challenging ourselves to create products that will excite our consumers.

Have adidas Originals got any other exciting projects in the works this year?

Everything we do is a work in progress. You’ll just have to wait and see.

You can purchase the Deerupt now on adidas