The adidas Consortium line has become more of a freeform concept in the last year or so, with a concept led pack here, a faithful reissue there and a scattering of collaborations along the way too. We’re glad that’s the case too, because a reliance on partner pieces helps no one and the Consortium design team having their own set of skills and product knowledge that’s showcased on shoes like this. Remember back in 2007 when this line launched a load of poker themed shoes and other gimmicky stuff? That wasn’t a good time for retro adidas shoes. Product like the Water Colour Animal Print pack is the sort of thing we wanted to see back then. If you’re gonna theme a pack, you need to get that execution on point and we love these. Yes, animal prints have been done before, but they’re certainly not done and dusted yet, because there’s a rich tradition of prints on sport footwear (think Concords, Safaris and The Beast) that just works. Like a well-executed camo, it’s something that rises above a fad.
That doesn’t mean there’s not some abominations out there that go on safari, but this Consortium trio applies a watercolor splotch print to canvas and mesh that looks wild from a distance, but surprisingly artful close up. It doesn’t look like some ironically trashy aesthetic like some collisions of big cat coats on a shoe often do. The Matchplay really works well here despite being a shoe that hasn’t grabbed us in previous packs and it’s good to see the Decade and Centennial’s mid-cut 84-era younger brother, the adidas Strider looking tremendous with the printed canvas underlays. And the technical running looks of 1994’s Tech Super mixed with a print feel like a crowdpleaser in the making. Ditching the synthetic leathers on that shoe makes all the difference too. Those red, blue and yellow accent colours were deployed with a certain intelligence too