RICH THE KID, SABER & MORE AT ADIDAS’ X18+ WC EVENT IN LA

While the world is aware that brands like to put in money and effort into their campaign events, it’s safe to say that as of late adidas has risen the bar, especially with what they’ve done out here in Los Angeles – their 747 event for basketball back in February being a prime example. Last week the sportswear giant went at it again for its soccer division to celebrate its latest innovation for the sport, coinciding of course with the 2018 World Cup. If you’ve been following us – and any other soccer-orientated platform for that matter – you’ll already be well aware of adidas Soccer’s X18+ silhouette, a slim and sleek, laceless offering that focuses on the power of speed. It’s been dubbed “the fastest and lightest laceless boot available.”

Highlighting its release, the X18+ Energy Mode event brought in crowds to experience a live customization of adidas soccer kits, enjoy the open bars and food courtesy of Sweet Chick, and to witness a live Tango League with an MVP to be chosen to win a trip to Russia to compete in the global Tango League final. Rolling up to the event, which took place at adidas’ The Base location in Los Angeles – yup, the same as where we hold our The Association game nights – we were set loose to enjoy all the aforementioned happenings and then some.

While soccer was very much the main focus of the day, adidas managed to mix in music and art with the beautiful game by inviting OG Graffiti legend Saber, who conducted a live art installment that saw him spray painting over a wall of soccer balls, each being handed out to the public along with a Saber signature. The main event, however, was when adidas brought out Queens-native Rich the Kid who got the crowd into a frenzy. To cap the night off, a squad of motorbike riders tore up the cement outside – from wheelies to donuts – all in a bid to create some near-deafening noise to celebrate the Tango League MVP winner: Melvyn Owen Perez Cortez – congrats, kid!

While we managed to enjoy ourselves at the event, if there’s a work opportunity, you know we’ll take it, so we asked adidas if they could sit us down with its soccer division’s merchandising manager Joseph Sleven to talk all things X18+, as well as his thoughts on the current landscape of soccer culture. Check out the interview below, as well as our official visual recap of the event throughout.



To start, can you summarize adidas’ new X18 Energy Mode pack for those that are still unfamiliar with the innovation?
Put it frankly, the thought process behind the design of the shoe was to build something for the fastest player possible, down to the look, down to the field, down to the weight. Everything about it is supposed to enable our most explosive – our fastest players – to perform at their top level.

So there’s obviously a lot of aspects when it comes to playing soccer in terms of product design. Why focus on speed for this release?
When we create the range, and when we look at our footwear, there’s any number of players that take part or participate in the game. So for us, the predator is that person who controls the game, they dictate the tempo, their touch, their field or class… everything they do can kind of permeate throughout the team. X players are extremely explosive with getting to the end of the pitch and putting the ball in the back of the net. Nemesis is for those agility players who are really unpredictable – they don’t really fit into a box. Maybe they’re floating around the field but they have these moments of magic that you can’t recreate. And then the Copa is the boot. It’s the soccer player… It’s almost your favorite player’s favorite boot. So everything within that portfolio speaks to different players of the game recognizing that no two players are the same.

Can you speak about the thoughts behind the X18+’s colorway and the overall aesthetics of the shoe?
Well, first and foremost it needed to look fast and speak specifically to that speed player. So you look at its sleek minimalistic design and all these elements which are kind of pulling back and giving it that almost movement visual – even when it’s stagnant it looks like it’s moving. That’s what we want for the speed silo. When we talk about the flash you have these iridescent parts at the branding, as well as on the sole of the shoe. When we talk about colorway, again when you’re on the field you want it to pop. You want something that really jumps out. So this blue is really shocking, it kind of jumps out at you and it really speaks to this silo because it’s like nothing else within the footwear family right now. When we talk about being fashion-forward, with bringing it on to the street or into the cage, the fact that it’s laceless for us is our top technology. We wanted that to be something that also lent itself to being worn with shorts or as you can see in the cage. It doesn’t just necessarily have performance tooling only. There’s a lot of, I would say, fashionable detailing in there, whether it be raises where there would be lasing, or for that speed look, we’ve given it that see-through aesthetic on the upper, or even the flash on the bottom. So a lot of things come from just thinking through the 365 of what our players’ day looks like.

Moving on from the X18+, with you coming from adidas, how aware are you with the way that soccer is going on a cultural standpoint, or what it looks like when it comes to say fashion, music, or art? Is that something that adidas is very much up to date with?
Absolutely. I think that’s really what they look at when they’re putting everything together. So even beyond cleats, take for instance jerseys, we look at that and recognize that these aren’t just specific to playing on the pitch. We’re looking at the hem line, looking at shoulder drop lines, the technology, and those tech details, or even call outs for that country specifically, those are things that we feel lives on the pitch as well as off the pitch. So it’s recognizing that again, soccer is 365 for people who live, breathe, eat, and sleep the sport. And beyond that, when you look at what we’re offering, it’s not just cleats, it’s not just performance jerseys. We have seasonal specialty product that is bespoke to Argentina or Mexico, but it’s really for the street specifically. Maybe not for an avid consumer, but somebody who recognizes that they are a casual fan of this club and that they can wear that shirt, they can wear the pants or the woven shorts, creating a whole offering across every federation, across every club that allows you to rep no matter the circumstances – after, before, or during a game. We’re looking at product holistically now through that lens of the entire year and day.

Last question: speaking of repping, with the World Cup underway, do you have a country that you’re rooting for?
For me specifically, I mean I would love to see Messi get one, right! But honestly, as a fan of the sport, I just want good games. I want to see just incredible moments, the ones that give you chills and that keep you wanting more, and I think when you put the best countries in the world together, you’re going to get those moments inevitably. So I’m just really looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.

Images by Ben Higginbotham.

WITNESSING THE UNVEILING OF ADIDAS’ ENERGY MODE X18+

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to witness the official unveiling of adidas Soccer’s latest boot for the beautiful game: the adidas Soccer Energy Mode X18+. As it was an invite-only Media Day, we’ve had this tasty bit of news sitting on ice until today, its official public release. As such, we’re excited to run through the details of the new boot, as well as our experience during the unveiling event that took place at adidas’ German-based HQ. Aside from being able to see the new boot in al its glory, we were also treated to a full dissection of how and why the boot was made. Essentially, speed was the main focus, with adidas Football’s fastest players in mind. The shoe also brings on new innovation that helps accomplish its goals when in use.

There to explain its construction and design was VP of Design at adidas Football Sam Handy and his team, who ran through all the details with us, as well as showcase the behind-the-scene stages the design underwent to result in what you see before you today. But while hearing all about the new boot is great and all, we honestly just wanted to put the damn thing on to actually experience first-hand adidas’ latest soccer offering. Lucky for us, they had a wear test planned, so out we headed to the fields at adidas HQ to put some stretch marks into the Energy Mode X18+. Our feedback from the experience: these things are light as f*ck, incredibly secure, and have insane touch. But while we now know all about the boots, it’s only right that we highlight it for you, because you’re going to want a pair.

The design of the adidas Soccer Energy Mode X18+ comes to us in three iterations, including an in-stadium version, as well as a cage and a street version. As mentioned, the boots come with an emphasis on maximizing the player’s speed, aided by its lightweight and minimal construction. Inspiration wise, adidas looked to its past models to see how they could improve on previous efforts in a bid to create something current and innovative.

Now for the details: the adidas Soccer Energy Mode X18+ comes with a stretch laceless upper that reduces obstruction between the ball and touch while maintaining security in fit around the mid-foot – a crucial aspect to acceleration. The collar of the boot features a new stretch claw collar construction that simply adds to the stability and support. The outsole boasts a new lightweight speedframe with drillium engineered tooling and minimalistic construction meant to offer extreme traction.

The most impressive innovation behind the brand new boot, however, lies in its unique skeletal weave that results in an ultra-thin woven grid of optically charged speed yarns as the entire upper. What this ultimately means is that the player will experience a super-light boot that’s very responsive to the touch. On top of that, you had adidas’ ultra-soft speedmesh layering that puts ball control into the mix without sacrificing foot mobility.

As mentioned, the new silhouette takes a seat within adidas Soccer’s Energy Mode pack alongside other favorites likes the Predator, Nemeziz and Copa. The boot just came out today, so it’s available for purchase at selected retailers, as well as on adidas Soccer’s online webstore. Have a look at the boot foryourself, as well as our photo recap by photographer Luca Jaenichen of the official Media Day throughout.