In Spring 2015, Vetements chief executive officer Guram Gvasalia visited the Reebok archives in Canton, Massachusetts to discuss a collaboration between Reebok and Vetements. Ever since, the collaborations between the fashion label and sportswear giant have must-have sought after grails in streetwear.
From their recent emoji-inspired Instapump Fury “Logo,” to their dystopian look of their genetically modified leather trainer, each piece blurs the line of fashion and sportswear with high-end designer atheistic and innovative technology underneath the hood. Their new upcoming sock runner continues that trend in a major way.
Gvasalia and Reebok have been working together for two year to apply a series of knit (and sock) uppers to the iconic Reebok split-tool outsoles, and specifically using an unreleased Prototype Pump runner from 1996 as a base for inspiration. The Reebok running sneakers of the 1990s are designed with outsoles technology, and the sportswear giant wants to pay homage to their heritage.
This, and forthcoming Vetements Reebok collaborations are created with split-tool performance running outsoles, a Reebok innovation that makes these shoes more comfortable, flexible, and lightweight. This is all apart of Reebok’s new Innovative collective.
We caught up with Scott Daley, General Manager of Reebok Running to talk about the significance of Reebok’s Innovative collective, emojis, and the new sock runner collaboration.
Scott, thank you. Can you talk about how the Reebok x Vetements collaboration came about?
The project has been ongoing, Anastasia Franquillo from our team has been working with Guram and Demna of Vetements) since 2015. The collaboration continues to evolve, and I am always excited to see what comes out of the project. We have done both clothing and footwear, and this season there have been some really interesting ideas in this capsule.
Can you tell me about the design process for the recent Instapump Fury “Logo” sneaker released on Mr. Porter?
That version of the sneaker, just like so many of the projects that we have been able to release together, are testament to the creativity of the Vetements team. We work to provide the innovation platforms and the footwear technology that can then be interpreted by our partners.
Are you an avid emoji user?
I would have to say that I’m a late adopter to the emoji game, haha.
The next Vetements sneaker to release is the Sock Runner, which comes out this weekend from what we understand. Can you talk about this project?
This project actually dates back to Spring 2015. The Vetements team visited the Reebok archives in Canton, Massachusetts, to help kick off the collaboration between the two brands. Demna chose an unreleased prototype Pump runner from 1996, a sneaker that we never put into production. He chose it because of the unique outsole, a multi-piece construction that we call “Split-Tooling.”
What does this refer to?
Split-Tooling is the multi-piece outsole that Reebok first developed with this prototype. This was originally developed to make the running shoes more flexible and lightweight, and this design innovation came to define a lot of the running shoes from that time (the mid-1990s) by Reebok. It was adopted by basketball as well, and in my opinion it was ahead of its time. The sneakers were futuristic, and it’s interesting that now, over 20 years later, this type of Split-Tooling is coming to define a lot of the fashion projects.
Yes, we’ve seen this trend in the market.
Reebok was a pioneer with these outsoles, with shoes like the Instapump Fury, and later the Opus, and now we are seeing people responding to this type of footwear construction.
Can you talk further about the evolution of the prototype runner into this weekend’s release?
We took the outsole from this prototype and reverse engineered it so that we can start to reuse it with new uppers. The first sneaker that will utilize this type of Split-Tooling will be the sock runner, but you will see us interpret this in a variety of ways in the months to come. Split-Tooling is going to be a design platform for both collaborations and Reebok’s own product lines within the Innovation Collective.
What is the significance of Reebok Innovation Collective?
The Innovation collective is our product and storytelling platform where we house various collaborations and partnerships on performance and innovation products.
Only a few years ago, all of the collaborations were happening in Classics. Partners were looking towards our heritage silhouettes, and we were doing a lot of artist and brand partnerships across the styles.
The Innovation Collective has been our response to a new desire to work within our performance products. Reebok has a strong heritage of looking forward, and its current performance innovations are very tech driven. This is attractive to our partners, and so the Innovation Collective is our newest initiative to promote performance product through fashion collaboration.
When did this group start? What other products are in the Reebok Innovation Collective?
We have just started to release product under this category, it started in 2017. Reebok Innovation Collective houses collaborations with partners like Cottweiler and Opening Ceremony, but it is also the area where we are experimenting with new technologies like FlexWeave and FloatRide. You will see these technologies and platforms as part of collaboration next year but also as part of Reebok brand releases as we continue to push forward to create shoes that look good and also perform.
For more on Reebok, check out Gucci Mane shutting down the Reebok NYC store for a meet & greet.
- Photographer: Thomas Welch