Behind the Design: Livestock x adidas Consortium Equipment Running Support 93
By Chris Danforth
Livestock and adidas Consortium team up to celebrate the 30th anniversary of adidas Equipment. For the special occasion, Livestock has re-worked the most iconic adidas Equipment silhouette; the Running Support 93, a ‘90s runner that pushed the boundaries of technical footwear-design.
Livestock’s take on the adidas Equipment Support 93 celebrates the hands-on craft of the prototyping and modelling process. The colors, materials and graphics are inspired by the tools (such as cutting boards and measurement tools) used through the prototyping and modelling process.
To learn more about Livestock’s latest partnership with adidas, we spoke with the shoe’s designer, and a close friend of the Livestock family, Kenta Goto.
Hey what’s up Kenta? First, you’re certainly no stranger to the Livestock family, how did that relationship form? What other Livestock projects have you supported?
I was introduced to the Livestock crew right at inception through Garret Louie. I remember sitting on the dusty floor of the empty Gastown location on Abbott Street with the gang, brainstorming on what Livestock could be. From there, I worked on the branding and the store designs for their first few locations. Since then I’ve had the privilege of designing many of the Livestock collaborative shoes. The initial adidas Consortium ZX450, adidas Toronto, Madfoot Mad Professor, and now the adidas Consortium Equipment.
Tell us about the overall concept of your Equipment design.
Livestock lives in this world where they curate the best or most sought-after footwear and apparel available. Many of these items are either the pinnacle of performance or the most creatively expressive. adidas Equipment is all about performance so we wanted to add an element of expression, but still keep with the theme of equipment. We took aesthetic cues from the tools of product design. Equipment of the designers and makers. The mono mesh is a reference to tracing and drafting paper, the grid print represents drafting pad and measuring tools, and the yellow lace stay represents a cutting knife.
The Running Support 93 is quite a technical silhouette, there are different components and facets to work with. Did this make the design process more challenging or laborious at times? How did this play into your design?
The Support 93 has so many components and layers of material to play with. I think this makes it easier to apply details to help tell the story. We definitely wanted to introduce contemporary footwear materials and applications, while keeping the essence of the iconic silhouette. We used a mono mesh that lightens the weight but gives an interesting translucency where you can play with layering, printing or materials. The upper tongue is made up of four layers, but we kept it thin while giving some elevation to allow your fingers to pull on the tongue.
The cutting board is a great reference to the original Equipment green. What else does that detail represent to you?
The drafting grid allowed us to apply the Equipment green in a different way by printing on select panels. Being a graphic designer, the grid is such a pleasing pattern that represents precision and deliberate placement. It was important for the print to be at a certain scale and applied level to be aesthetically satisfying.
Something I’m always interested in, how many samples did it take you to get the result you wanted?
We went through three samples before landing on the final production version. The adidas team is so good at execution, it was more to do with communicating our vision. We had to trouble shoot a few construction methods but overall I’m super impressed with the capabilities of the adidas product team.
Personally, what is your favourite detail of the shoe?
We decided to offer a three-pack of Livestock socks to go with the Equipment shoe. Using the semi-translucent mono mesh on the toe box, tongue and vamp means the aesthetic of the shoe can vary depending on what socks you’re wearing This gives another level in choice or expression to the wearer, and it feels fun.
As a designer, what does Equipment mean to you?
To me, the adidas Equipment range means product designed and build with purpose. Being a huge fan of the Air Jordan I, I hold Peter Moore’s design work in very high regard. From branding to product, I appreciate the disciplined approach to the color story and purpose-driven design of the Equipment line.
About adidas Equipment
“Equipment is a no ‘bullshit’ word, you don’t have a piece of equipment to have fun with, you have a piece of equipment to make you better.”
1991 heralded the birth of adidas Equipment, a collection of cross-category sports shoes informed by four core principles of protection, cushioning, stability and traction. Framed as ‘the best of adidas,’ the Equipment franchise was defined by its quality and superior utility.
Behind the scenes of the Equipment project, Peter Moore and Robert Strasser created a foundational partnership, underpinned by Moore’s eye for design and Strasser’s keen sense for marketing. For the visual identity of Equipment, Moore selected a pared-back color palette. White, black, grey and green become the color story to define Equipment. Along with the Equipment color scheme, Moore drafted up a new logo to complement adidas’ three-stripe and Trefoil branding. This new logo arrived in the form of the “Badge of Sport,” which incorporated adidas’ three stripes into the design by rotating them on a 30-degree angle to create the form of a mountain, reflecting an athlete’s ambition to reach the peak of their performance.
To realize the Equipment concept, Moore tapped Jacques Chassaing, creator and designer of the adidas ZX franchise. Borrowing proprietary technology from ZX, Chassaing built the Torsion bar into models across the Equipment range, from running and basketball to tennis and squash shoes. Then following the original 1991 release, adidas moved onto the second series of Equipement shoes for 1993.
For the official launch of the Equipment range in 1991, adidas pulled back the red curtain on four silhouettes; the Equipment Running Support, Equipment Running Guidance, Equipment Running Cushion and Equipment Racing. Much like the ZX collection, Equipment products were categorized by their functions. The Support was for runners who required additional stability and motion control; the Guidance offered additional cushioning and forefoot response; while the Cushion offered a softer impact, with increased energy efficiency. The Racing model was the lightest of the range, featuring an open flex-point at the bridge of the foot. Complimenting the Equipment footwear, an apparel component included track suits, bags, caps, and other accessories.
Just as sneakers from the ZX range eventually found themselves to be commonplace at UK warehouse raves during the summers of 1988 and 1989, adidas Equipment was also adopted and embraced by an unexpected group. As Equipment represented the cutting-edge of adidas performance, the footwear franchise became a status symbol for aspiring East Berlin teenagers after the fall of the Berlin wall. Thanks to the technology, high quality materials, and the craftsmanship of Equipment, the ‘90s saw the rise of a dedicated fanbase for Equipment, in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
The Livestock x adidas Consortium Equipment Running Support 93 is available September 10, 2021 at 11AM EST from Deadstock.ca and in-stores at 11AM local time.
Shop the Livestock x adidas Consortium Equipment Running Support 93 here.