How This Truly Exceptional Adidas Collaboration Came Together

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This week marks the release of a collaborative project that, frankly, is one of coolest we’ve seen in a long while. And it’s a long time coming. Tokyo-based cult brand Hender Scheme—famous for its impeccably crafted, logo-less riffs on iconic sneakers—is finally teaming up with a major sneaker brand for an official partnership. Hender Scheme founder and designer Ryo Kashiwazaki will be bringing his handcrafted approach to three different Adidas silhouettes: the Superstar, the Micropacer, and the NMD R1.

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SHOP Hender Scheme: endclothing.com

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All three styles will be made from natural leather that will darken and evolve the more it’s worn. And like all Hender Scheme shoes, the new sneakers will be handcrafted in Tokyo in extremely limited quantities and finished with replaceable, nail-in leather soles. There’s no Boost in the NMD, no pedometer on the Micropacer. Though the shoes that serve as inspiration were all the height of technological innovation for their respective eras, this is an entirely different breed of Adidas.

We talked with Adidas Originals senior design director Erman Aykurt and Ryo Kashiwazaki about how the collaboration came together, the craftsmanship of the shoes, and which pair (or pairs) they’ll be adding to their personal collections.

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On working together:

Ryo Kashiwazaki: There are so many shared ideas and common goals between Adidas Originals and Hender Scheme. After noticing our similarities, we realized there are certain things that can be created only when we work together, especially if we combine and highlight the best qualities of each brand. The respect for each other has always been there, though. I own Adidas Originals products, and the team I worked with owns Hender Scheme products, too.

Erman Aykurt: The “Hommage” or “Manual Industrial Products” line that Ryo-san was working on already was sort of a mainstay in the sneaker world. And we always considered that something of a hall of fame. We knew that our products were included in there, and I simply felt very proud that our products were included there. And on our side, with our new creative director Nic Galway at the time, there was a lot more focus on craftsmanship in general. So seeing a true cobbler like Ryo-san and his approach and his dedication to the craft, we just felt that there had to be something in there. We knew that Ryo-san was not just a traditional cobbler; he had interest in modern aesthetics, modern technologies and so forth. So we thought, “We have something to offer, he has something to offer. He has something we want, he has something we want.” That just spells out collaboration.

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