At the beginning of the year, adidas Consortium announced the launch of its Sneaker Exchange project, inviting its network of 84 accounts to reimagine some of Three Stripes’ most iconic models. In collaboration with KITH and NAKED, the program now unveils its brand new silhouette, the NMD CS2.
Overcoming geographical challenges, the NYC retailer and the Copenhagen-based women’s sneaker boutique have come together to design a “females first” runner that also looks flattering on their male counterpart.
Available in “Pink” and “Sandstone,” the sock-like sneaker abandons the conventional lacing system for an ultra-modern look. Captivating from every angle, the two colorways are inspired by a high resolution imagery of powder paints colliding and exploding. Constructed with a breathable Primeknit upper, the shoe features an updated BOOST midsole with a medial pod and lateral grooved stripe detailing. Additionally, co-branded logos can be seen from the heel tab as well as the leather insole.
Look out for this pair as it is set to drop exclusively online and in-store at KITH and NAKED on March 4. The NMD CS2 will see a general release at No.42 Paris, No.74 Berlin and Consortium accounts worldwide beginning March 11.
We recently caught up with KITH’s Ronnie Fieg, adidas’ Senior Director of Statement Collaborations Daniel Bauer, and adidas Consortium’s Senior Product Manager Jimmy Manley to talk about the concept behind the sneaker as well as the future of the female footwear sector. You can read our full conversation below.
NAKED has been a pioneer in the industry for promoting women’s sneakers and sportswear, while KITH has been catering to the female customer with its in-house female apparel line. Compared to its male counterpart, what is so unique about the female sneaker and streetwear community?
Ronnie Fieg: The key difference is that men and women shop differently. They have a different process and routine with how they browse product and ultimately purchase. Of course there are similarities in terms of taste and quality, but that’s why it’s crucial to balance these ideals in a way that speaks to both shoppers.
Today people can wear sneakers and not be perceived as dressing down. People no longer have to sacrifice comfort to be considered fashionable.
The sneaker industry has long been a boy’s club. Over the past few years, however, we’ve seen a surge of women’s exclusive styles on the market. What do you think prompted the change?
Ronnie Fieg: It really stems from the shift towards more casual-wear in fashion and the need for versatile garments. Today people can wear sneakers and not be perceived as dressing down. People no longer have to sacrifice comfort to be considered fashionable. In extension, footwear brands have recognized this change and are investing into women’s sneakers now more than ever.
What are some of the challenges of designing unisex footwear?
Ronnie Fieg: It’s really about dispelling common misconceptions about men and women. For instance, a lot of footwear brands think that they need to add a wedge or a lot of feminine colors to a sneaker for women to buy it. Those same people also don’t think that men are trying to buy pink sneakers. With these two models, we are proving that these ideas aren’t true. We didn’t design these shoes with women or men in mind, we just designed them to be the best products possible.
[KITH and NAKED] are very successful and probably don’t necessarily need to work together, but they are total catalysts for what consortium is all about, which is partnership.
How do KITH and NAKED represent the ethos of adidas Consortium?
Daniel Bauer: Simple, partnership. I think these are two accounts, in their own right, who are very successful and probably don’t necessarily need to work together, but they are total catalysts for what consortium is all about, which is partnership. Once I saw the result of the collaboration, I didn’t have any problem coming together and working on a single vision I think this is what sets us apart from many other organisations.
Can you talk us through the creative process behind designing the NMD CS2? What is it that makes the shoe especially suited for the modern woman?
Jimmy Manley: I’ll speak on behalf of our in-line design and product marketing team. I think the idea was just to have it as simple as possible. If you look at what NMD actually stands for, the City Sock 1 was a higher cut and we have taken it down at the ankle. It is just an easy shoe to walk in, to run, to train or to travel with every day. We thought together with KITH and NAKED, this would be a perfect silhouette to introduce to women first.