The signature shoe of several time world tennis champion, and still legendary George ‘Rod’ Laver, the adidas Rod Laver has been a mainstay for the brand, and now a central part of the Originals range since its 1970 launch. The key to its success? Utter simplicity. In line with court decorum and regulations of the era, the famous 3-Stripes were shorn for this shoe, and the purity of the Rod Laver set something of a standard for sneaker design – the move to pare down the corporate identity and let the silhouette do the talking is a landmark move too. Beyond favourite colour combinations like the traditional white and green, the material mix of leather and mesh kept things breathable and lightweight without compromising looks. This bare bones approach gave the shoe an ageless quality. A follow-up, wider, chunkier in the sole and with added midsole and heel branding became another icon and a worldwide Summer standard, notably deified in NYC as the timeless hot weather choice. Almost forty years after the original design’s introduction, it returned in a tweaked form for August 2009, retaining its iconic classicism for an ambitious adidas Originals Consortium project. Nine global Consortium partners, each famed for their innovative approach to retail, were given the Rod Laver to rework with their choice of colours, fabrics and more for release in extremely limited numbers at Consortium stores.
Drop one, containing an original makeup and collaborations with Undefeated, DQM, VA and D-Mop was universally acclaimed for its innovative, back-to-basics approach to the source silhouette. September 19th 2009 sees the release of drop two, maintaining the standards already set.
A division of the cutting edge CLOT brand, Shanghai’s ACU retailer redefined the sneaker retail experience in China, mixing tradition and technology with ease to set a store standard. Their take on the Laver is audacious and intelligent without compromising the evergreen wearable nature of the shoe. From Dusk ’till Dawn, with the words alternately placed on the heel patches of the left and right shoes respectively, the brown ponyskin on the upper is the most immediate touch, complimented by shades of grey in leather on the lacestay, tongue and toe. Amplifying the silhouette’s trademark material mix, the premium feel extends to the sockliner, a gold top eyelet, and brown ‘CLOT’ lettering on the heel tab, with this design finished with a matching brown outsole.
Honk Kong’s D-Mop favour futurist style when it comes to their current Consortium remixes of adidas favourites. Further proof comes in their application to this silhouette. Silver leather on the upper right up to the heel patch, embroidered tongue detailing and a white sole is complimented by the piece-de-resistance – a tiny cubic crystal embedded in the side of both shoes like an earring to crank up the levels of hard-to-miss flamboyance the shoe already carries. Completed with ‘D-MOP’ on the heel tab, by willfully going at odds with the subtlety of the source material, the minds behind this makeup have made something extremely effective that’s guaranteed to provoke reaction.
With stores throughout Canada, the Goodfoot empire has been responsible for some of the most intelligent adidas collaborations to date. It’s all in the presentation, with the ability to take a concept and execute it well, their presentation is consistent, and their take on the Laver is no exception. Varsity jacket styling via a grey woolen material alongside premium leather detailing and lining proves extremely effective, and with a matching woolen sockliner, there’s even time for an embroidered local twist on a legendary tagline – “The brand with the three stripes, eh?” Tonal metal eyelets and branded lacetips keep it classy, while the black ‘GDFT’ heel tab on the white midsole, and a gum outsole complete a cleverly designed case of court style going collegiate.
Berlin’s Solebox are no strangers to the collaboration process, but for this adidas project they’ve taken some hiking influences, and mixed it with this signature favourite for a strong balance of two looks. To capture the offroad feel authentically, the dark sand coloured suede upper is accompanied by a D-ring top eyelet, while the reflective detailing ensures visibility. A sturdier, premium approach is nicely at odds with the featherweight feel of the original Rod Laver, but it gives the silhouette a new dimension. A premium burgundy lining and matching mesh tongue completes the upper, sat atop a white midsole, and coordinating burgundy outsole, finished with a ‘SOLE LOVER’ heel tab, as the grass courts give way to less level terrain.
Copenhagen-based, and in line with the city’s reputation, superior in terms of design savvy, Wood Wood are no strangers to the adidas Consortium partner programme. offering a completely fresh piece that lets its instantly appealing aesthetics and clever attention-to-detail do the talking each time. This navy canvas creation, with its tonally embroidered Consortium logo tongue excels in the little things, from a nubuck lining to the dense collection of little logos on the sockliner that borders on avant-garde, and a heel tab that features a rubberized ‘butterfly’ logo. The white midsole and gum outsole certainly doesn’t diminish the overall minimalism, while the red, white and blue laces included in the package ensure several different looks to set this shoe off in all it’s quiet confidence. One of the most consistent collaborators across-the-board, Wood Wood never disappoints.