As a brand, adidas has a long history of representation, relevance and consumer devotion within the hip-hop world. It all started with Run DMC back in the mid-80s. The pioneering Hollis, Queens rap trio were the ultimate champions of the Three Stripes (particularly the classic Shell Toes), and it wasn’t because they were getting paid to wear the shoes – it’s because their passion for the brand was so truly organic and the fact that their endorsement of adidas came from a place of real love and not a contractual obligation. As a result they helped make adidas sneakers a way of life for a new generation and demographic, and forever cemented the brand’s timeless and historic standing in the hip-hop universe.
Rather than to be skeptical of a still young and misunderstood art form like much of corporate America at the time, or afraid of the rough image and leathered-up street look of the Run DMC crew, adidas recognized what they were doing for their products and showed love right back by embracing the group and even creating exclusive shoes and gear for them. The special relationship they forged has stood strong for almost thirty years now, and along the way, it’s paved the groundwork for adidas to work with other musicians and artists in a similar way that feels like a natural fit rather than something forced just for the sake of attaching a marquee name to their shoes.
Nowadays, it seems like every hip-hop artist you can name has their own shoe or an affiliation with some brand or another, but despite the rush by sneaker companies to sign any rapper they can find to a deal, adidas has managed to stay selective and true to the formula that made their marriage to Run DMC such a success in the first place. A passion for the Three Stripes comes before all and if you don’t have it, they’re not going to try to force it on you. For one of the biggest names on their current roster, the partnership couldn’t have been any truer to that blueprint.
Before signing with adidas, Big Sean was actually getting pairs of Pro Models customized for him on a regular basis, and that made it a no-brainer to team up with the emerging rap star so he could bring some of those concepts to life in a more official capacity. For their first joint-offering, Sean put his own personal spin on his beloved Pro Model II, wrapping the shoe in a luxurious bright red snakeskin-embossed leather and setting it off with shimmering gold accents. Dubbed the “Detroit Player”, Big Sean’s first retail offering with adidas saw an extremely limited release, and in effect, a lot of his fans were unable to secure a pair of the highly sought after collaboration.
The scarce availability left the people hungry for more and adidas has responded with a follow-up, that while still slated to be limited, will be more widely available than the first go-around. With Big Sean’s second studio album, Hall of Fame, releasing today, he and adidas have whipped up a more toned down and sophisticated version of the Pro Model II, still using the luxe reptilian leather upper, but this time blacking out the entire shoe with the exception of its metallic gun metal accents. Featuring call-outs to Detroit on the insoles, some lyrics on the lining and a “HOF” lace dubrae to futher tie in the new album, personal elements can be found throughout the shoe, all while balancing a clean and classy aesthetic with a little bit of tasteful flashiness thrown in for good measure.
The shoe captures Sean’s personality and unique sense of style in a way that feels completely at home within the “adidas meets hip-hop” lineage, and the future certainly appears to be bright with regards to the coming endeavors that await. The blacked-out “Hall of Fame” Big Sean Pro Model II will hit select adidas Originals retailers as well as adidas.com this coming Saturday, August 31st, but before it does, you can get a better look at the shoe and learn a little about how it came together. Continue on as adidas Originals Design Director, Brian Foresta gives us the scoop on what it’s like to work with Big Sean and what he brings to the table for adidas, as well as some juicy hints at the future of the Big Sean x adidas Originals partnership.