adidas is paying homage to the original Ultraboost with a highly limited “Friends & Family” edition of the Ultraboost 19. Inspired by the Black & Night Flash colorway that first introduced the Ultraboost in 2015, only 20 pairs of the “Friends & Family” colorway exist and they’re up for grabs over on Highsnobiety’s Instagram channels.
Despite countless iconic colorways released over the years, the very first Ultraboost is undoubtedly the most legendary. On top of its release being a defining moment for adidas, it kick-started a revolution in comfort and style and its influence eventually extended far beyond the sneaker scene. So when adidas decided to create a highly exclusive Ulraboost 19 colorway that best reflected the Ultraboost franchise, it was a no brainer: “We very quickly decided that it would be the OG,” explains Ultraboost’s senior product director, Stephan Schneider.
“From that moment on, we tried to find new and unexpected ways to integrate the classic colors into the Ultraboost 19. We also wanted to include little details that help bring the story to life in a new and different way,” Schneider continues. Looking at the “Friends & Family” colorway, the cues are clear. The gold lace tips are a nod to the gold “boost” lettering on the original’s heel counter (“Ultra” appeared in black). The upper itself, realized in adidas’s Primeknit 360 technology, incorporates a metallic yarn that imitates the sheen on the original Night Flash heel counter.
Together, these elements retell the monumental story of Ultraboost. But, in order to bring it to life through a contemporary lens, Schneider and his team introduced various new features. The line dividing the upper’s colors, for example, highlights the use of Primeknit 360 knitting technology. The colors are separated but meet and blend in the middle, symbolizing the evolution of Ultraboost from OG to 19. When put side by side, the resemblance between the siblings is uncanny.
The “Friends & Family” colorway isn’t just a celebration of Ultraboost, it’s a gift to fans. By giving it away as opposed to selling it at a ridiculously high price or giving it to brand ambassadors, adidas levels the playing field and gives everyone a chance at getting their hands on what will certainly be a grail among sneakerheads. In a way, breaking down barriers to access is what the Ultraboost has always been about. In one fell swoop, it democratized sneakers in 2015 and made them more appealing to the everyman; no longer restricted to the gym or the wardrobe’s of streetwear aficionados, anyone could wear a super comfortable performance sneaker and dress it up or down.
Stephan Schneider, senior product director at adidas
“Influencers get family and friends shoes to increase visibility all the time, but for us this was really a case of asking, ‘how can we build something that Ultraboost fans will love, and want, and will relate to?’ It’s not something for people that have a loose connection to the franchise.”
When the Ultraboost 19 dropped late last year to continue this legacy, fans rejoiced, elated that a worthy successor to the original and iconic Ultraboost had landed at last. As we documented upon its release, the final design is a testament to modern sneaker technology and one that would have been unimaginable four years ago. After deconstructing the original piece by piece, adidas carefully examined the value of its individual parts and eventually designed the Ultraboost 19 from the ground up. The result is lighter, more responsive, and more comfortable than its predecessor.
For your chance to win 1 of 20 pairs of the Ultraboost 19 “Friends & Family” colorway, simply follow these instructions:
Winners will be randomly selected & contacted via Instagram direct message on March 26. Good luck!
- Photography: Julien Tell