As our best of 2012 follow-up series continues
, we thought it would make sense to take a look at theadidas Consortium
reissue of the ZX 500. Forums, Twitter and blog talkbacks are riddled with shape complaints about shoes, but 99% of the time those arguments are going to be futile because sadly, product has a habit of selling regardless, even if shape and materials devolve with each drop. What if somebody actually went back to the essence of a shoe and remade it to do it justice? That's what adidas' Consortium team did when the ZX 500 appeared as part of the new Consortium approach late last year and in 2012, that corrected ZX 500 shape got its original colours back, resulting in one of the best reissues in a long long time. No shots, but there's a lot of shoes that deserve a back to the drawing board approach of this calibre. Why do we get so excited about the ZX 500? Because it's a running shoe archetype and we really, really love running shoes — it's that simple. Plus this project drew on the folks who've been at adidas for a long, long time and represent the very essence of the brand to us.
This is a quick fix world, but when it comes to a project like this, that's no use — you need age-old knowledge from some of the most experienced folks in the industry. Top tier doesn't mean fly-by-night and this release was proof of that. We caught up with our friend Otto Christian, Global Concept Manager for adidas Originals, to get a little more information on the ZX 500.
Otto, what changes were made to the ZX 500 for the Consortium reissue? There seemed to be some alterations to get it in line with the original shape.
We completely redid the upper with the help of Markus Thaler and Jacques Chassaing in order to restore the original shape of the shoe.
Did you use an archive pair to get the reproduction right?
Yes, we worked closely with our in-house archive. They provided us a sample — unfortunately in women's size, which made it a little bit more difficult — as well as original catalogue pictures and Jacques' drawings to get it right.
Is sourcing original style meshes and Pantone shades tough? Are there still records of these kinds of things within the company?
Some still exist and the archive is always very helpful, but of course, unfortunately, a lot of the original data has been lost, so we had to dig deep into our material library and rely on the experience and memories of people like Jacques and Markus.
The Consortium range has encompassed so many different shoes in 2012 — is there a specific criteria to make something Consortium?
We are trying to achieve two criteria: Create exciting adidas product and make people excited about adidas through our product. Therefore we always try to create shoes with a high standard of quality and executions. Even thought you might personally not be a fan of a certain silhouette or model, we'd still like to excite you with its quality and workmanship.
What's the ZX 500's significance with regards to adidas performance history? Is it held up as a breakthrough moment for the brand in-house?
As this was the start for the ZX series it certainly is kind of a game changer. From the hundred to the thousand series, Torsion and Equipment, followed by several generations of models to the modern Performance runners, it is a vital part, not only of our brand, but running history in general.