Sneakers
From the ground up

Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto put pen to paper with adidas to form Y-3 in 2003, a brand that was far ahead of its time in terms of merging cues from both fashion and sports. At the time, nothing like Y-3 existed on the market.

Today, for their new Spring/Summer 2018 collection, both parties are celebrating a longstanding partnership that paved the way for later trends like athleisure and, in many ways, the high-low dynamic that dominates the fashion and streetwear landscape today.

In Y-3’s Paris showroom, adidas Originals SVP of Design Nic Galway revealed “What I admire about Yohji is, it’s not seasonal, it’s not mood boards, it’s just a constant evolution of exploration. What I love is that products from 10 or 15 years ago still look good today. It’s much more about the craft, about making, about fabrics, trying things out. I’d much rather make challenging products than make fashionable products.”

As Yamamoto himself put it, “Y-3 has been the uniform of the street,” and the brand’s latest SS18 runway presentation in Paris, adidas and Yamamoto are commemorating this fruitful relationship.

Below, Galway explains three of Y-3’s latest sneaker silhouettes.

Super Knot

“With the Super Knot, we started working with Yohji in 1999, and this SS18 show is a big celebration of our partnership. The Superstar is the shoe of choice for Yohji’s team and our team. It’s nice to take an icon and rework it. From a distance, we still wanted it to be iconic, and we wanted to deconstruct it and highlight the shoe’s identity. The use of silver and gold foil is always an important element of our past too, as well as the iconic heel mustache, and the heel line here. We wanted to refine it, simplify it, and turn it into a shoe that we all want to wear.

Also, we’re celebrating 15 years of partnership, and there are so many collaborations in the world today, some of them last two minutes. This is a long-term friendship. We’re family. We’d rather call this a partnership than a collaboration, so we’re nodding to that via the logos of both brands on the tongue.”

Tangutsu

“Probably four or five years ago, we brought out shoes like the Qasa. That shoe came from a conversation where Yohji observed that everything was starting to look the same. He challenged us to really change that. The Qasa was the first generation of this different last shape with almost a sock-like construction. Since then, many people have followed that direction. We felt it was time to take a different look at proportions, and we wanted to play with our iconic DNA in a new way, and you can see elements of the Gazelle here, and the leather grain we used, which appears here in this easy-to-wear silhouette. The feeling was that we love that sock look, but you have to be bold enough to step forward.”

Saikou

“This shoe is the first time we’ve exclusively used Boost for Y-3, it’s been designed from the ground-up rather than using an existing Boost sole. With all the success that we’ve had with Boost, it’s important that we’re never afraid to challenge perceptions and take things to new places. We really wanted to look at Primeknit in a different way, too, and for me, Primeknit is one of the most amazing innovations in the past few years, but no one has truly explored its potential beyond its sock form. So we played with Primeknit using overlays and underlays, layering those two elements together to build a new structure.”

Now check out Highsnobiety’s picks for the best adidas sneakers of 2017 so far.

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