Time for a Renaissance? Reminiscing on the adidas Feet You Wear Line


It may not be the most hyped, but in my opinion, the best new story in the sneaker world for 2018 is the introduction of the BOOST YOU WEAR line from adidas.

Not content with merely slapping a new cushioning tech onto an already existing model’s upper like we’ve seen so many times before from multiple brands, adidas Originals has taken the retro-meets-modern hybrid concept to the next level by combining Boost cushioning with heavy inspiration from vintage Feet You Wear basketball shoes, but in a fresh and on-trend way. In other words, it’s like redesigning a classic hoops shoe like the Top Ten 2000 or Real Deal through the lens of the NMD. adidas executed the concept to perfection, seamlessly combining modern performance with today’s lifestyle aesthetic. The debut Boost You Wear model, the BYW LVL 1, is just as at home on the basketball court as it is in the mall with a pair of jogger pants.

Before I start sounding like an adidas Originals commercial or raving too much about Boost You Wear, let’s get to what I really hopped on here to accomplish today. With the exciting new Boost You Wear sneakers in mind, I wanted to take it back to show some love to where it all began, the original Feet You Wear line. As Nike tends to dominate the sneaker history narrative throughout the 1990s, I’ve always felt the adidas Feet You Wear line has been significantly underrated and underappreciated by the culture—and even by adidas themselves. But perhaps that’s changing now if Boost You Wear and Kanye’s YEEZY models like the Desert Rat are any indication of a renaissance for Feet You Wear into the sneaker zeitgeist. adidas should strike while the iron is hot.

Of course, the brand has already brought back a few classic Feet You Wear models, but Kobe’s early models have been heavily favored. There’s so much more! With the chunky direction Kanye’s line and much of fashion-minded sneaker design is taking right now, there’s been no better time for adidas to revisit some of the other Feet You Wear models in the archives.

Reaching into my own archives, here’s every Feet You Wear related scan I could find. These help illustrate the rich history of the line beyond the few models most of us are most familiar with (but those are in here too!).

adidas top ten 2000 ad kobe 1996.jpg

Feet You Wear debuted in 1996, with the Top Ten 2000 being the most famous of the earliest models. This is thanks in no small part to a kid named Kobe Bryant.

adidas EQT forty lo keyshawn johnson ad 1997.jpg

Keyshawn Johnson was another early endorser of Feet You Wear. Before his signature Key Trainer came this ad with the EQT Forty Lo.

antoine walker adidas top ten 2010 ad 1996.jpg

Antoine Walker and the Top Ten 2010, which was the first shoe Kobe wore in the NBA.

adidas salvation running shoe ad 1997 A.jpg

Feet You Wear gets remembered most in basketball, but the tech was used throughout the brand’s different categories. How hot would this EQT Salvation runner be right now?

adidas-eqt-xtr-all-terrain-shoe ad 1996-b.jpg

Even hiking, the activity you would probably least want to be walking around barefoot while doing, had Feet You Wear models.

adidas KB 8 II 1998 B.jpg

After the early Feet You Wear ad campaign in 1996-97, adidas launched this eye-catching new ad design with mirror images of the featured shoe across two pages. The KB 8 II is my personal favorite from the series.

adidas equipment gamespeed keyshawn johnson ad 1998.jpg

adidas eqt mercury running shoe ad 1998.jpg

adidas equipment burst power eddie george ad 1998.jpg

adidas real deal 1998 ad A.jpg

adidas forum supreme ad tim thomas 1998.jpg

Thought there was never a sneaker ad featuring Tim Thomas? Think again.

adidas equipment ultimate tennis shoe 1998.jpg

The EQT Ultimate tennis shoe. Again, how hot would a retro of these be right now?

adidas equipment predator accelerator ad 1998.jpg

I’m still not really sure how Feet You Wear tech translated over into a soccer cleat, but nonetheless, the Predator Accelerator is definitely a good looking model.

adidas kobe KB 8 II Ad 1999 slam.jpg

converse adidas bball 98.jpg

Everybody loves a good Eastbay page scan, so here’s one I dug up from ’98 that includes some FYW classics along with a few forgotten gems.

[By the way, if you want to read a little more in-depth about the history and tech of Feet You Wear, check out this old Sneaker News article I did.]

3 thoughts on “Time for a Renaissance? Reminiscing on the adidas Feet You Wear Line

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