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The Inspiration and Infrastructure behind the adidas Originals Tubular

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Inspired by brutalist architecture, the Tubular X takes hints and hues from the shapes and views across the world’s vast city scapes.

Nic Galway, the man behind the design, delved deep into adidas’ archive during the process of sketching up the shoe. Rather than admiring the silhouettes and shapes from their back catalogue, he used them as the foundations and put them at the forefront of the thought process.

One thing I would say about our archive is, you can look at it in two ways. It can be a museum or it could be a resource, and I always see the archive as a resource.

Upon looking at defining a new silhouette, the most obvious assumption is that it was just a direct take from one of the originals. Nic however, explains that there was actual several prototypes which played a part.

The whole starting point of the Tubular was… there’s the shoes that you know that were from the 90’s… but what’s really interesting is the samples that got them there. There’s four or five prototypes, all handmade.

It’s all collective memory and that’s really incredible. Everyone knows and loves the classics, but I think we’re so much more than just shoes. It’s the stories behind them: things that work, the things that went wrong and why we couldn’t make something before that we wanted to make but can make now.

This mentality and spirit meant that with no fear,  Nic could break boundaries and take a shoe places it has never been before.

If you look at my original 90’s Tubular shoe, the idea is so simple. Based on a car tyre, the realities of making a sneaker were a bit different. You have this tube, and then you have a plastic plate etc and somehow the tube got lost. It was ahead of it’s time. I wanted to strip that back.

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The other thing I always tell my designers is not to just draw things, but to make things.

This sentiment is echoed this time round with the launch of the new Tubular X, showed by Lydia Kasumi Shirreff’s handmade paper version.

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Available online it its re-issued state here, several new iterations of the Tubular, including the Tubular X are just around the corner. Head over here for a closer look.

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