The Deerupt is adidas Originals’ latest sneaker silhouette, and a new lifestyle option that is being freshly introduced this year.
The name is a rough portmanteau of disrupt and erupt, but the design itself takes mainly from vintage running styles, more specifically the adidas Marathon. adidas invited us into their infamous archive for a hands-on experience, where we looked at the real inspiration behind the brand’s contemporary approach to design, and spoke with the designers of the Deerupt.
The brand’s namesake, Adolf “Adi” Dassler,” passed away in 1978, and the Marathon trainer is actually one of the last shoes that Adi himself was involved in developing. The shoe came to market one year later, in 1979, featuring a signature mesh support structure on the midsole, which was intended to achieve uniform compression and rebound.
Later on, in ’81, ’82, and ’83, additional adidas models arrived featuring similar mesh technology on the midsole, including styles like the New York and the Atlanta. James Thompson, Global Senior Designer for adidas Originals, tells us, “The mesh is one of many classic technologies from the archive, and I think it’s never really been celebrated, somehow. It’s got such an impactful visual quality that it seemed a shame that we shouldn’t explore that, and really, take it to the next level and see how it would be re-envisioned for the future. I think, just by taking that sort of classic midsole mesh and applying it to the upper as well, just creates this whole new kind of graphical feel, which we’ve never really applied to a shoe before.”
The sampling process of the Deerupt almost went into triple digits, as the adidas Originals design team worked to re-contextualize archival design references, painstakingly considering every detail, right down to how the shoe would look on Instagram. The shoe’s “toe-down” design is actually considerate of Instagram fit pics, according to Oddbjorn Stavseng, Global Senior Design Director for adidas Originals. “We increasingly see Instagram pictures where people shoot their sneakers with their foot planted down, making sure that the toe is pressed down. So when you see Deerupt, you’ll see this same “toe-down” effect which was a purposeful design choice.”
So does that mean that adidas was designing with Instagram at front of mind?
Stavseng continues, “The digital world is becoming increasingly important. Being able to have a direct line to our consumers – how they feel about our product and how they style it for themselves – provides us with valuable insights that were not available to us in the past. For us, it’s always a good gut check if the shoe looks good in photographs – changing how we look at design and how we review shoes as well.”
The adidas archive holds around 7,000 shoes, even dating back to the days of the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik, the name of the family business where both Dassler brothers worked before forming their own brands PUMA and adidas. A wealth of inspiration for adidas designers, as well as brand collaborators like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, the archive could one day decades down the line, house shoes like the Deerupt, which could subsequently be referenced by future adidas designers. But what would adidas designers do without this archive? Would new, innovative design be possible in the same way? Global SVP of Design for adidas Originals & Style, Nic Galway, responds.
“Culture brings context to new innovative design, it allows us to make emotional connections with new technology. The archive for us is more than just shoes from the past – it represents moments in time, people we’ve met and connections we have made. This links back to our collective memory which inspires our design and the way we are as a brand today. Without it, we would not connect to culture in such a meaningful way.”
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- Photography: Chris Danforth / Highsnobiety