At first glance, Adidas’s new shoe looks like their iconic Superstar, just sewn up in leather. That is, until you look closer at the toe box, ankle, those three stripes. You see that’s not stitching holding the shoe together. Actually, that’s not anything holding the shoe together.
In fact, the entire upper is one continuous piece of leather that’s been milled to various thickness. It’s Adidas’s latest bit of technological showboating from the Futurecraft group—what’s essentially Adidas’s answer to Nike’s push towards materials innovation story we've seen with the Flyknit and Flyweave.
The trick has functional merit. Adidas's designers claim leather of varying thickness can give different levels of flexibility and support around the foot. The assembly doesn’t require cutting and combining swatches of polished and matte leather. And in avoiding superfluous glue, there’s an arguable environmental benefit, too.
For now, Adidas only plans to sell just 45 pairs at the Dover Street Market in New York, London, and Tokyo on November 7. But it might not be long before the masses can wear them, too.
"This unique process offers the opportunity for athletes to have bespoke leather footwear, which can be milled exclusively for them in real time, from the leather of their choice," the company explains in a press release. As Adidas gears up for their next big move, to open stores across the world that allow customers to customize and build their shoes right on-site, the Leather Original serves as an early proof of concept teasing their bold, personalized shoes to come.