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Around the World in Style: adidas Originals NMD Runner

Created for those who are never in the same place for long, adidas used its global reach to show off the NMD Runner around the world.

At the start of March 2016, adidas revealed upcoming colors of the NMD in major cities like Moscow, Tokyo, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Los Angeles. The shoes captured an aspect of each city’s style. For example, the model shown in Los Angeles featured an industrial burnt orange upper, while the São Paulo version was bright white with ocean blue accents. In addition, this shoe’s global reach ties into its lightweight, minimal design.

Travel-Ready Design

NMD may look like it stands for “nomad,” but designer Nic Galway says it was just a design code. He wanted to let his team’s creativity run wild, uninfluenced by a name or suspected purpose. Kicking off the spontaneous approach, the first NMD was designed as a physical mock-up – skipping the sketch stage completely.

As Vice President of Global Design for adidas Originals, Galway has a history of creative collaboration. He worked with Kanye West on the design of the Yeezy and with fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto to create shoes inspired by high fashion. Galway’s rich experience with adidas let him bring an interesting approach to the table – drawing inspiration from past shoes but ultimately pushing the focus toward a lightweight, futuristic design.

Heritage Style Influences the Present

Three sneakers from adidas’ vault influenced the NMD Runner directly: The Micro Pacer (1984), The Rising Star (1985), and the Boston Super (1986). Galway and his team looked to these three running shoes because they were all ahead of their time. The Micro Pacer, for example, was wearable technology, featuring a computer chip that could track a runner’s pace, speed, and distance.

Meant for Mobility

Due to its lightweight design, the NMD might feel like a running shoe, but it was meant to keep up with fast-paced lifestyles at any time of the day or night.

A thick layer of Boost cushioning keeps feet supported and comfortable all day. Originally designed for energy return, Boost adds a springy feel underfoot. Keeping with the minimal design, supportive EVA isn’t visible but is present in the midsole to add support. To maintain the lightweight feel, but to make sure the shoes last a long time, the heel is covered with high-abrasion rubber.

The NMD also features a fairly wide toe box for a natural stride. The whole upper flexes and bends for a distraction-free fit.

Elite Style

Some versions of the adidas Originals NMD Runner feature a Primeknit upper. This material is soft, smooth, and fits like a sock. It’s designed to sit comfortably around your ankle and slide smoothly across the foot – eliminating hot spots and reducing chafing. It also allows flexibility in how you wear the shoe. The soft upper removes the need for socks, so you can pair these shoes up with joggers for a clean look.