Building on the design language of NMD S1, adidas Originals and Humanrace™ unveil NMD S1 RYAT, a boot that allows wearers to go their own way and stems from Pharrell Williams
Source: adidas Originals and Pharrell Williams’ Humanrace™ Reveal the NMD S1 RYAT Black: The Latest Colorway of the Hiking-Inspired Boot
adidas are dealing with the problematic alignment with Kanye West. The billion-dollar Yeezy brand is in a state of uncertainty as the Germany-based company deals with anti-Semitic tirades and Ye’s unpredictable behavior has placed the company on shaky ground with various communities. I have long discussed the problematic sponsorship and endorsement by artist brands. adidas has always been at the heart of some of hip-hop’s most vital moments. Run-DMC and Missy Elliot created some incredible moments for the Trefoil, but Ye, he delivered a contentious and thirsty segment at adidas. One rooted in fashion, hype and resale. This community doesn’t care what an artist does or says, it only cares about the value of a sneaker. These aren’t the brand fans a business needs. adidas recognizes it now, but they can’t pivot. With leadership changes on the horizon and no product truly triggering Yeezy’s visceral response, the Three Stripes are on hold.
Luckily for adidas, the change of season and product in the release funnel includes the NMD S1 Ryat. I’ve long said that adidas should have relied on their catalog and held on to their performance products and other influencers instead of relying so heavily on Kanye’s mercurial approach to collaboration. In the past, Pharrell played it a little too safe and relied on a repetitive rollout of similar drops that included low-cost options like the Tennis HU that went out. Pharrell did what Ye claimed to want. There was an abundance of low-cost options that came from the HumanRace side. These items weren’t high profile and didn’t sell well, but there’s a weird element to resale for brands like adidas. When the price is too low, it does not resonate or become valued. Pharrell’s previous product was not a legacy and his cool, calm demeanor does not arouse interest.
But that same cool, calm demeanor is exactly what adidas needs right now, and pairing it with images of stealthy, urban ninjas is something the brand should definitely invest in, especially when the product arrives at just the right time. The S1 Ryat “offers a functional design in which every element and every detail serves a purpose. The shoe’s upper is constructed from a mix of premium suede and leather overlays, while a rubberized TPU mudguard and toe cap add to the shoe’s sense of utility. The design is completed with a Boost midsole for cushioning and a sturdy outsole with trefoil-shaped grip.
Kanye has long flirted with postmodern/apocalyptic design, but in this S1, Ryat Pharrell seems to be slipping through the gap left by Yeezy as adidas uncovers their arrangement with Ye. If this is the start of Pharrell’s Essentials uniform, with the breakdown and marketing correct, the Three Stripes could find themselves moving forward without Kanye in a quietly aggressive and determined manner.