Smart booking can mean the difference between a flash in the pan and a beloved classic that is relevant years from now. When a hit comes from out of nowhere, whether it be a hot holiday toy or an undrafted athlete all of a sudden takes their league by storm, it’s always interesting to see what path their bosses take them to see whether they just ride out the initial wave or build something special with it for the future.

The Nike Roshe Run and the adidas NMD both experienced unbelievable amounts of critical and retail success when they first launched in 2012 and 2015 respectively. But whereas now the Roshes are seemingly afterthoughts in Nike’s catalog meant to just satisfy the entry-level crowd, adidas appears to be turning the NMD into something that becomes not just their own Roshe, but their own franchise not unlike an Air Force 1, Air Max or Air Jordan. Let’s take a look at the ways The adidas NMD Avoided Becoming The Next Roshe as we continue down our look back at the year that was with #KoFBestOf2016.

Starting From The Top On Down


When the Nike Roshe Run first came out back in 2012 it became an overnight success thanks to its everyday look and low price point. It was about as minimal a sneaker as Nike has ever dropped in terms of design and materials used, but it resonated in a way that few could have ever imagined. When a hot sneaker can cost just a little over how much a video game might go for, you just get it no questions asked. However, we probably didn’t realize it then that it would doom Nike’s further plans of elevating the Roshe. By being a surprise hit that was easy on the wallet, it set a level of expectation for future editions that they too would be cheap. On a personal level, once I owned a pair of Roshes, I didn’t see the need to get a more expensive sneakerboot version or even one with Flyknit (and I loooooove Flyknit).

The original colorway of the adidas NMD was a revelation and set the table for all future colorways and styles to come. Entering the market with a black Primeknit upper was smart on adidas because it introduced the NMD as something that was instantly wearable, versatile and came in at a premium price point. The drops that followed did not stray far from the formula and kept the hype train moving until they finally released the affordable R1 styles that opened it up to everybody. By that point, those who did not yet own a pair of NMDs or weren’t willing to spend the money for the Primeknit versions were hooked by the $120 editions.

Every Launch Felt Like An Event

Earlier in the year, we called the first massive drop of the NMD R1 a revolution followed up by a sequel that lived up to the hype. There was even a game-like quality to each of these big launches because you couldn’t just pick one store and try your luck there. While different retailers stocked the same general release NMDs they each also had their own exclusives that had everybody guessing. Ever thought you would pay nearly three hundred bucks for a Champs Sports-exclusive reflective colorway of the NMD R1?

During their initial run, Roshes experienced unprecedented levels of success as well, but it was eventually engulfed by other Nike releases at the same time. The NMD came along when adidas was riding the wave of success set by the Ultra Boost and Kanye West and Nike/Jordan wasn’t delivering the consistent wave of hits like they used to.

NMDs Went Viral


The build-up for the NMD rivaled anything Jordan Brand was able to pull off in 2016. The big difference between the two? People actually wore their NMDs. Resellers tried to scoop up as many pairs as possible for their own nefarious needs of course, but by the time the summer and fall seasons came along, it was impossible to walk outside – especially in Southern California – without seeing somebody rock a pair.

You couldn’t pigeonhole the NMD to a particular subset of the population. Hipsters, grandparents, “real sneakerheads”, wannabe style icons all wear the NMD. You know what shoe was like that a few years ago? You guessed it, the Nike Roshe Run. But where the Roshe met their demise as a “cool” sneaker was when they eventually all became beaters. I can’t even recall the last time I saw a fresh pair of Roshes; meanwhile, everybody is keeping their NMDs nice and clean for now. It’ll be interesting to see if people are still wearing the same pair in 2017 or if we’ll see a re-up.

Smart Collaborations

Packer Shoes
Packer Shoes

Quick, name a memorable Nike Roshe Run collab. I’ll wait… still waiting… ok…

In the past year, adidas has worked with stores, blogs, and world (world) famous celebrities to create a suite of memorable NMD collabs. In following with the plan so far, none of them have really strayed far from the formula that made the NMD a hit. You have the much-hyped (and maligned because of the reseller drama) BAPE collab that drapes the NMD in their iconic camo style, the Pharrell Human Race entries that more or less follow in the footsteps of his Supercolor Superstars in terms of color palette, and the Masterminds and Offsprings drops that don’t hit you over the head with their uh, collab-iness. You know the shoe has been well-protected when the most “out there” colorway so far is the Packer collab that would turns the NMDs into an 80s track jacket.

This leaves the door open for adidas to really go crazy with the NMD at some point. It could come in 2017, but when the silhouette finally needs that shot in the arm and brands are able to really play around with the possibilities and create real stories with the shoe, it should be a glorious mess… in a good way.

Duh, Boost


One shoe has Boost, the other doesn’t. Guess which one we’re going with?

Because the NMD is still in the “honeymoon” period much like the Roshe was in its first full year, there is always the chance that the shoe could eventually hit a tipping point and become overexposed or be considered overrated. But because we still haven’t found the successor to Boost and adidas is really playing the long game with the NMD, it seems likely they will drop something that will sully the brand.

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