Last fall, designer
at his New York
Fashion Week show
with an Adidas
shoes and clothes.
leaps through the flames. He’s
dressed all in black except for the
two white Ultra Boosts, which hang
in the air like exclamation points.
“What happens next? Every single
store that had [Ultra Boosts] cleared
out within the hour,” says Yu-Ming
Wu, founder of shoe-culture network Sneaker News, with only a
touch of hyperbole.
Never mind that the fames
weren’t real, or that, after more
than a decade as the second-largest
An onyx stage catches fre and
three performers, silhouetted in the
blaze, begin to sing from behind the
fames. You can hear Kanye West’s
voice, but you can’t make out his
face. The frst glimpse of him, poking out of the fre, is a shoe.
But not just any shoe: specifically, a white Adidas Ultra Boost,
which until this moment—the Billboard Music Awards in May 2015—
has never been worn in public.
West begins his next song and
By aligning with cultural
icons at least as much
as athletes, Adidas has
refound its footing.
By Mark Wilson