Offering a new interpretation of its vast archive, Reebok is launching a premium line.
Titled Reebok LTD, the line will focus on Italian craftsmanship and build off the iconic sportswear label's 65-year history to redefine the space between sport and culture. In a statement released by the brand, it calls Reebok LTD, "a playground for creative evolution."
Delivering premium collections, exclusive collaborations, and special projects, the first product to be released from Reebok LTD is the Reebok Club C LTD. Providing an early look into the approach the line is taking, the shoe sees one of Reebok's most iconic designs re-imagined with calf leather and enlarged proportions.
We spoke to Evan Belforti, Senior Footwear Designer for Reebok Special Projects, about the new line which is led by New Guards Group and part of a partnership with Authentic Brands Group.
How do you describe Reebok LTD?
Reebok LTD is an expansion of the work we have been doing for some time now. LTD which stands for Learn. Test. Design., is a new unique philosophy that sees the brand as a platform to experiment freely, collaborate, and give us the opportunity to share insight about the work that we do.
You’re launching with a new model, the CLUB C LTD. What drew you towards focusing on the iconic Club C silhouette?
The Club C has existed for almost 40 years and was originally inspired by tennis silhouettes, but designed as a lifestyle shoe. It's the perfect example of a shoe that has been able to stretch past its initial intention and carve out a history for itself that could never have been predicted. Usually, I gravitate towards stories told by years of evolution within an entire line of heritage footwear and the Club C has remained consistent.
While the world has evolved around it, the Club C has always found a way to fit into its own niche space, whether that’s on the court, in the skatepark, or as a lifestyle shoe. It’s simply a staple that has made its way into a variety of wardrobes, and to be able to redesign such an iconic shoe for Reebok is very exciting.
What new updates have you brought to the Club C with this release?
Historically while my work has focused on more progressive silhouettes, I have always been interested in stepping into the “Classic” sneaker space. This design features a completely new upper and midsole, but the goal was to retain the key elements of the Club C.
The upper features new patterning that elongates the internal lines of the shoe, an update to the shoe’s overall silhouette, and new elements of layering and texture can be found at the eyelet and perforations. With the midsole, the goal was to retain the low height and the asymmetry of the original Club C while also having the side walls engulf more of the upper. The midsole features several splits that divide the taller shape with a textured front panel, and an extended lip inspired by some court shoes from the 80s.
With such a rich history, how does Reebok’s archive continue to inspire you?
The archive is the starting point for every project and makes it easy to connect concepts to the brand as you’re digging through its history. I like drawing connections between the stories that were told in the past and the stories we want to tell today. There’s an endless number of ways we can connect the past with the future, and the further the actual connection, the more fantastical the concept can become and move away from tangible problem-solving.
The most inspiring aspect of the archive is when you can reference a specific era or trend, and let that concept transform into something new and wondrous, where the element that grounds the concept is simply it’s connection to Reebok. It’s very cool for me to be able to design things that couldn’t exist without this brand, while also pushing this brand into new spaces that could potentially define how our archive will continue to inspire new designers.
Can you give us any insights into what else is coming up for Reebok LTD?
Reebok LTD is an expansion where we are pushing past our limits to bring Reebok’s pinnacle products even further. This collection features products directly from Reebok, as well as collaboration projects executed with our partners.
The two largest changes will be expanding our footwear collection as well as adding an apparel collection for all distribution levels. With footwear, we will divide our collection into two different visions: constant, progressive experimentation that focuses on new silhouettes and the new execution of Reebok Classics that builds off the iconic heritage archive.