With the release of adidas Consortrium's FYW S-97 dropping tomorrow, the first shoe to ever have FYW technology, we thought it's fitting we take a brief look at the history behind adidas' Feet You Wear legacy. The innovative principle was based on the concept of natural motion for a shoe, so that it acted as an extension of the wearer's foot.
1997 was the year that adidas first released their Feet You Wear Technology. However, the technology wasn't developed by the brand with The Three Stripes directly. It was in fact designed in Frampton Hills by a third-party investor who then licensed its use to adidas. Designed to mimic the natural curves and shape of the human foot, Feet You Wear was invented by Ellis after noticing how the squared-off soles of traditional footwear designs were one of the main causes of ankle roll and overall instability in footwear.
They started by creating a wider, lower-to-the-ground base with an organic curve from outsole to the midsole. What resulted was better stability for lateral movements. Ellis, the inventor of the technology, offered the concept to various brands but it was adidas that bought it up. And with that, they released their first Feet You Wear models in 1997, with big plans to use it extensively in their performance products. The first sneaker was the FYW S-97 running shoe, the very same sneaker adidas is reviving this month.
adidas newly introduced technology did well to stand out from its competitors. It was bold. Unlike other popular performance technologies of the time, the Feet You Wear concept was less about gimmicks and visible tech, and more about bold and wavy lines, something that wasn't common on store shelves in this era. And the whole look was tied together by the little face logo that many came to love.
Another element of the Feet You Wear range that can never be over-looked is that of Kobe Bryant's massive influence. It was perfect timing that Kobe joined the NBA as the hottest new member to don The Three Stripes at the same time as the Feet You Wear introduction. Although he only averaged 15 minutes per game his first season with the Lakers, Kobe’s well-publicised jump from high school straight to the pros still created buzz around the young phenom, which translated to an ideal endorser for the new-look adidas.
Kobe was with adidas before he was even drafted. And that's thanks to a guy named Sonny Vaccaro, the same guy who told Nike to get Michael Jordan in their camp. After leaving Nike for adidas, Sonny Vaccaro struck gold once again with Kobe, who would soon become the league's most electrifying player. Kobe played his 1996-97 rookie season wearing the Top Ten 2000, Top Ten 2010, and EQT Elevation, all of which have become certified classics in adidas hoops history.
The adidas Consortium FYW S-97 drops tomorrow 16 February exclusively to Shelflife CPT, JHB and online store for the retail price of R2499.