Two worlds collided when designer Stella McCartney met Manchester United footballer Paul Pogba during lockdown last year for a fireside chat about their shared love for the sport, fashion, and brand creation. The event, part of adidas’ ‘The Huddle’ weekly series that brought faces from sports and culture together, laid the foundations for a collaboration with the German sports giant that would become the world’s first vegan football boot.

From the eco-conscious values of McCartney to the striking style of Pogba and the technical innovations of adidas, it comes as no surprise that the PREDATOR FREAK is the product that came from three titans across three disciplines collaborating.

“Something clicked between us, and I could tell that she understood me and the way I like to bring my style into everything that I do,” Pogba tells Highsnobiety about his first meeting with McCartney. “We instantly started thinking about what we could create, and the opportunity to work on something that combined our styles in a disruptive way was really exciting.”

McCartney, whose kids and husband are ardent Manchester United supporters, says “[Paul and I] are from different worlds professionally, but what was so special about this process is that we found so much common ground in our love for fashion and style, and its influence both on and off the pitch. Paul had a lot of ideas on what he wanted the boot to look like, so having regular input from him along the way meant we were able to bring our shared vision to life.”

The result yields two permutations with distinctive silhouettes: one, the PREDATOR FREAK P+ ($280), a laceless design with a sock-like fit; the other, the P1 ($250), is laced with a lower collar but with a similar snug finish. Decorated with leopard print, reflective graphics, and speckled with orange DEMONSKIN rubber spikes (a technical innovation, calibrated by an algorithm that facilitates improved ball control and swerve), the shoe is finished with an ombré rainbow mirror metallic plate and heel logo. It is the first time a football boot has carried this feature, according to adidas.

McCartney’s 15-year partnership with adidas has witnessed many marriages between high fashion and performancewear but “football boots were completely new for me so it was great to be able to work with the adidas football team to ensure the changes to the boot didn’t detract from how it performs.”

Unlike other adidas football boots, like the Copa Mundial that uses kangaroo leather, the components, including recycled materials, are designed to align with both vegan and elite performance standards.

“The vegan aspect was non-negotiable for me. We looked at every element of the production process to ensure we delivered a fully vegan football boot, obsessing the details from every angle. Disrupting a production process presented some interesting new challenges,” says McCartney, who already launched a vegan iteration of the Stan Smith tennis training shoe in 2019.

Intending to challenge what a football boot could look like, McCartney met a suitable match with the sartorially inclined Pogba. “Football is the ultimate place for me to express myself, but at that point, we were in complete lockdown, and I was missing it,” says Pogba. “The opportunity to work with, and learn from, a legendary designer like Stella was a great way for me to channel my energy. I can’t wait to wear them.”

The boot will be available via the Adidas app from October 22 nd and and selected retailers from November 1.

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