We doubt we need to introduce you to the three partners, but an introductory paragraph just seems courteous to all involved.
Nigo’s Bathing Ape brand – that’s BAPE to you and us – was at the forefront of the Japanese streetwear boom in the mid ’90s and has stayed in pole position. Strong design, an incredibly wide range of products and some incredible endorsement has only cemented the brand’s place in the history books. Los Angeles is the home of Undefeated: one of the most highly-regarded sneaker spots ever and a successful brand in its own right. Pick out any project that head honcho James Bond has been involved in and you’ll soon see why the UNDFTD name gets the respect it deserves.
And do we really need to introduce you to the home of the Three Stripes? Steeped in over 60 years of history and expertise, adidas originals is about as credible as it gets. Providing the perfect canvas for the other two participants in the project, it’s telling that adidas blueprints for decades ago are just as relevant and cherished in this day and age.
The birth of the adidas Originals Consortium range set new standards for mutually-respectful collaborations.
So, history and background briefly covered, what’s new here? Well, yet again, we’re seeing something special. Gone are the simple colour blockings and logo placements that are the sum total of many collaborations: the attention to detail on these three pieces of footwear puts these in a new league altogether. First up in the trio is the ZX5000 UNDFTDxBAPE shoe.
Once upon a time, a mid ’80s runner would’ve felt out of place in the mix of a streetwear collaboration. The ZX5000 follows the now-familiar lines of the other runners in the ZX family, but at the time of release, these were groundbreaking pieces of footwear.
Fashion may have overtaken function in priority, but leave the badging and colour-blocking aside and you’ve got a technically excellent running shoe that is more than ready to handle some serious miles. The Torsion bar in the sole was revolutionary at its time of unveiling and it’s a true testament to the design that it’s still so well-respected today. This incarnation is perhaps the most exciting make-up of any of the ZX range we’ve seen yet. An incredible application of the BAPE camouflage pattern to the suede uppers looks truly premium.
The gum sole adds a little court shoe spirit to proceedings and then the gold foil logo application, hole-punched tongue tab and tricolor stripes on the side panels round things off perfectly. You’ve not seen anything like it before.
The other two models are premium versions of the much-loved Campus 80s model: there’s a black version featuring the three stripes in suede, whilst the more-exclusive olive version features perforations on the side instead.
In fact, the base model is perhaps the only similarity when it comes to breaking down the details on these two. Both shoes use the camouflage print on the inside liner and on the tongue, but the tongue on the black shoe features a nice pull tag, whilst the olive version features the same tag, but fitted flush to the edge.
The leather on the heel tab is smooth on the black shoe, but tumbled on the olive shoe, adding another textural element to the construction.
As with the ZX5000, the left shoe on each pair features the UNDFTD logo in gold foil on the heel, whilst the right shoe features the BAPE ape head. Flamboyancy has never looked so good.