The adidas x Raf Simons Ozweego, one of the most beloved and well recognised silhouettes born out of the esteemed Belgian fashion designers work with the German sportswear company, a trend-setting powerhouse and one of the few somewhat innocuous silhouettes, alongside the Stan Smith and Response, fortunate enough to be plucked from the adidas archives for a generous dose of collaborative TLC. Adding an expectantly elevated touch to the ‘90s original, the Ozweego found itself at the forefront of the pairings debut collection and quickly set to work tearing the low top sneaker rule book of the time cover to cover.
With ‘ugly sneakers’ now seen as an established trend, with the likes of Balenciaga, Maison Margiela and countless other designers throwing their hat into the proverbial ring, the same can’t quite be said for 2013 when the Ozweego, with its multilayered frame, bulky exaggerated uppers and chunky midsole took its first tentative step into the limelight.
Like much of the Belgian designers work, the trainers starkly contrasted the typical styling found at the time but through their acceptance into popular culture, most notably with A$AP Rocky’s ‘please Don’t Touch My Raf’, and sightings on the feet of countless celebrities they slowly but surely became mainstays in rotations across the world, setting the wheels in motion for not only the larger than life footwear seen pounding modern day pavements but the degradation of the walls which stood between high-end fashion and streetwear.
Now, after a brief foray into a spot of 3D mapping and some optical illusion inducing French painting techniques earlier in the year, adidas and Raf Simons once again turn their attention to the forefather of chunky sneakers adding a fresh lick of paint to a now undeniable cult classic.
Taking influence from the ‘Bunny Boot’ a type of footwear worn by the American armed forces to combat the harsh conditions found in Alaska, the adidas x Raf Simons Ozweego remains largely unchanged, utilising the same oversized panelled design and sculpted midsole combination that has etched its name among the very best in gargantuan proportioned kicks.
Up top the trainers take a more subdued approach than some of the Ozweego’s past iterations, boasting a supple premium leather construction and swapping out some of the more out there features, such as translucent plastic inserts and entirely cut out sections, for clean coatings of monochromatic colouring.
Perhaps one of the most notable features, and where things begin to take a more left field approach, is below where a mirrored TPU film coats the trainers from mid-section down, playing with proportions and hailing back to the ‘70s glam rock influences found embedded throughout the designers SS19 offering.
With fads changing like the wind, the pressures of hype and a seemingly unlimited supply of styles waiting in the wings for their chance at the top spot, we think it’s fair to say that the footwear landscape has never been so fiercely contested. Which is why, 6 years on from its original release, the fact that the Ozweego still remains firmly positioned amongst the best of the best is not only a testament to the shoe itself but the great minds responsible for its creation.
The adidas x Raf Simons Ozweego is available both in store and online at Aphrodite1994 on the 23/05/19.