Prior to officially inking Kanye West as the brand’s foremost ambassador and collaborative designer in 2014, adidas found itself struggling to compete with Nike’s endless innovations and deep archive. At the time, the brand relied heavily on heritage models like the Superstar and Stan Smith to maintain relevance, but with the rise of fashionable everyday-sportswear — what we now call athleisure — adidas knew if it couldn’t innovate and disrupt Nike’s perpetual rise, it would remain a distant second for years to come. coveted drops landed on mobile applications; and AR replaced released lines.where forums transitioned to social media;
Insert the adidas UltraBOOST in February of 2015. For the first time ever, adidas combined its three biggest in-house technologies — BOOST, Primeknit and Torsion — into one model. BOOST soles promised exponentially more energy return than any other runner on that market, offering industry-leading comfort that quickly caught the attention of casual wearers. At the same time, the Primeknit upper not only complemented this industry-leading cushioning, but it also capitalized on the then-current infatuation with sleek, form-fitting sock-like uppers — which was started by the Flyknit Racer. Touted as “The Greatest Running Shoe Ever,” the UltraBOOST did not disappoint.
The adidas UltraBOOST set an entirely new benchmark for how a performance sneaker should feel and perform, but it was world-class tastemakers like Kanye West who brought the perfectly-simple yet complex design into the world of style. It became the most talked about shoe of 2015, even in a year when Kanye released his BOOST-equipped YEEZY 350. Thanks to this tandem of shoes, the Three Stripes gained market share, increased revenue, sold more product and most importantly, found itself back on the heels of Nike. If it wasn’t for the UltraBOOST serving as a proper intro to the YEEZY BOOST, there’s no telling where adidas would be today. But Kanye put those suspicions to rest when he followed the 750 with the 350, — a, sleek, streamlined design that touched on all the trendy points of the mid 2010’s, selling out all over the globe and solidifying the world’s love for this archetypal sneaker.