Boston's Bodega and Saucony make some of the best collaborative footwear there is.
Everyone's collaborating these days, but honestly, how many of those links on your Facebook, RSS or twitter feed do you click? We're guessing none, because they're either plain colours that are talked up as if they're a life changing event or conceptual rubbish with a video of a man wandering about to a Rapidshare rap instrumental. Who cares any more? Bodega and Saucony's Elite project just keeps on delivering by giving us banging makeups. Their store space gives the team a good idea, ground level idea of what a consumer wants rather than a cobbled mood board from 'Warp' and 'Sense' magazines, the fact that both entities are Massachusetts based gives the project a synergy that supersedes the usual brand and retailer gangbang and Saucony's archives house some beautiful shoes that have had their moment to shine in hardcore performance as well as the hardcore music scene. That's all the common ground these guys need to create great shoes.
We've seen some pastels suedes and bright leathers since the Elite project started, but while the team Bodega haven't shied from a central conceit on prior projects with other brands, the key to this ongoing collection is a lack of pointless storytelling. This Jazz 91 is indicative of the new collection for spring, but each release is different in terms of application and placement — they're just nice. As hybrids go, the Jazz 91's mix of the original Jazz with a Shadow 6000 style sole, complete with those triangular lugs that have become synonymous with the brand as a quietly effective outsole application. Some hybrids are some awkward, lumbering Dr. Moreau steez. Not this one. There's a backpack-like quality to that ripstop gridded nylon in a teal and that brown suede heel, but the use of different colours for the various densities of that midsole is a smart move too, providing a gradational move from purple to navy to off-white. Leather on the inner collar? The soft underside of the tongue? This is well thought-out footwear. Even the winged branding is always on point.
That you can tell Bodega's involvement from a long way away without resorting to a trademark palette and somehow keeping a certain symmetry is a testament to how much they've mastered this dual label nonsense to the point where it piques our interest in collaborations all over again. These drop in February...