GQ Editors on Their Menswear Addictions
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One way to describe the new red-white-and-blue Adidas Ultra Boost made in collaboration with the New-York based brand Engineered Garments? Counterintuitive. These sneakers seem to come from a world where nothing has changed since the halcyon days of the early 2010s, when the trendiest footwear wasn’t lovingly described as “ugly” and dressing up a shoe in the shades of the American Flag was all you needed to create something volcanically hot. Now, all things Americana mean something distinctly darker. But leave it to Japanese designer Daiki Suzuki to make something Americana-adjacent that doesn’t feel offensive—to anyone.
The upper is made out of a royal blue “Primeknit” upper, the sole is Adidas’s money-making Boost technology, the brand’s signature three stripes alternate yellow, red, and white, and the laces come in red, too. The Engineered Garments take on the shoe is in line with what we’ve come to expect from someone like Suzuki. The designer grew up in Japan chasing classic American brands and his appreciation for that style carries over into his military- and Ivy League school-inspired Engineered Garments.
“What I do is basically a rehash of something I saw in the past,” Suzuki said in a profile of himself by Nepenthes, EG’s parent company. These shoes tap into the sort of fuzzy nostalgia of mashed-up Americana that fueled the #menswear moment a decade ago, while also leveraging Adidas’s from-the-future technology. Adidas is still finding new ways to push Boost, the I-put-the-team-on-my-back of proprietary running shoe materials that continues to sell well for the Three Stripes.
That a sleek runner like the Ultraboost could be a hot shoe in 2018 runs contrary to much of what we’ve been lead to believe about the shoes people are currently after. The fashion sneaker ecosystem is mostly crowded by brands attempts to one-up one another with one massive clunking sneaker after another. The EG Ultraboost is the Formula 1 car to those monster trucks. Fitting considering that over the years Suzuki has proven himself to be unwilling to bend to trends.
The other bit of weird timing here involves the colorway: is this the best time to streak our sneakers in the red-white-and-blue? America in 2018 is largely defined by the casual degradation of governmental norms and civic rights—but maybe a shoe in the flag’s colors can, in some small way, reaffirm the values we’re trying to hold dear.
These sneakers may go against the grain by 2018 standards, but in Suzuki’s hands they are unexpected in a way we can appreciate. They have one foot in the past, and one in the future. If you recreated Take Ivy, a cult book by two Japanese photographers that documented prep style in the ‘60s, you could expect to see these on one of the stylish undergrads—rushing to a protest, of course.
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