adidas EQT: Celebrating a gamechanger

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It’s a slow shoes day so we’re breaking ranks and using an image from our friends at Packer Shoes in New Jersey who recently upped the new mita and adidas Originals ZX 8000 on their site with some excellent photography by O’luyemi N’namd. If you’re interested in getting that shoe, head over to Packer’s site right now. Between these EQT Support inspired takes on 1988’s ZX 8000 and the Prototype Air Max 95, mita are on fire at the moment with the collaborations, because they’re displaying a reverence for the early 1990s era of technical performance at its nerdiest, pre-blog essence. We loved the Classic Runners Consortium pack from 2010 that did a very similar thing with the 8000, but these are a little better in their execution (did anyone else think Wood Wood’s superb ZX 9000 was an EQT nod too?).

We cannot stress how much we love the early seasons of adidas Equipment to you. As far as we know, despite the EQT Support, Racing (minus the Equipment markings) and Basket dropping as retros, it remains a grey area, seeing as it was introduced as the performance wing opposite Originals’ lifestyle offerings back in 1991. We think the aforementioned reissues were a couple of years ahead of their time — they’d fit in a lot better. Taking into account how the Torsion Allegra colourway that took inspiration from its EQT predecessor’s makeup went down with fans, it feels like the right time to break out the Equipment again.

adidas Equipment was instigated by former Nike marketing man and force of nature Rob Strasser (RIP) and Nike designer Peter Moore (who designed the Nike Air Jordan I among other classics). In the late 1980s, adidas was being hammered in the US by Nike and Reebok. Strasser and Moore had exited Nike and set up an agency called Sports Inc in Portland. adidas sought them out because of their Nike history but in Herzo, Rob and Peter gravitated towards the brand’s archive and Adi’s philosophies. From that. the Equipment concept emerged after some internal presentations that showed the aggression of the opposition and what was needed — a complete rehab of the performance category. Originals would emerge from some of that brainstorming too (we know that a lot of Los Angeles and NYC residents who are making their own powermoves nowadays in shoes and streetwear were part of Originals’ original team too), but EQT was intended to be pure performance in line with the brand’s original vision across running, tennis, basketball, squash, hiking and football.

What was brought from Nike’s mode of design was an aggression and experimentation that would allow product to be recognised as adidas without the traditional branding. It’s here that the adidas Equipment logo emerged, with the trefoil becoming part of the past for lifestyle releases. EQT shoes weren’t cheap and the apparel and bags were pricey too — we saw a few pieces on the sale racks back then, but ultimately it helped move the brand into more successful territory. Peter Moore’s way-out eye for aesthetics and Jacques Chassaing’s more commercially compatible fluidity made them a design dream team. Whereas blue seemed to be the colour before, EQT was built around a green, white, black and grey palette, with a red makeup cropping up regularly too — another part of the new design language. Rob Strasser passed away in late 1993, but his mark on both brands remains.

Hopefully we’ll be seeing the mita ZX 8000 on these shores and in these stores soon, but in the meantime here’s a reminder of what the groundbreaking 1991 EQT collection looked like. We hope adidas fleshes out the adidas Equipment running story a little more in the next few seasons.

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