When we first saw the adidas Tubular Runner, we didn’t even know what it was. I don’t mean “we” as in Complex as much as I mean “we” as in everyone — the immediate assumption about the first sketchy photo that popped up on instagram was that it was the new Kanye shoe, because any new adidas model with no official info that looked halfway cool and futuristic just HAD to be the Yeezi or Yeezy or Yeezee or whatever they wind up calling it. Of course, it wasn’t. And in time it became recognized for what it was, the Tubular Runner, a new model from adidas Originals that launched today. Or rather, at midnight last night.
it’s just a moderately priced shoe presented simply, giving the consumer a rare chance to judge a sneaker on its own merits.
A $110 runner, released in just four colors. If this sounds like something of an anachronism, it’s because it is. More colorways will certainly follow, along with the usual assortment of collabs, Consortium builds and possibly (probably?) a spot on miadidas. But for now it’s just a moderately priced shoe presented simply, giving the consumer a rare chance to judge a sneaker on its own merits. It’s not a Pharrell shoe or a Nigo shoe or a Kanye shoe, simply a ZX runner fast-forwarded 30 or 40 years into the future. It’s simple, it’s sleek, and it comes with no baggage of any kind. It just is. Take it or leave it.
If the Tubular Runner reminds you of the Y-3 Qasa, well, it should. They were designed by the same bloke, adidas Originals VP of Global Design Nic Galway. He says that with the Tubular Runner he wanted to create a “futuristic democratic sneaker,” which describes it better than I can. For a third of the price of the Qasa, it’s possible to get the same ride, a similar fit, and a similarly futuristic look.
Things move awfully fast in the sneaker world these days. No one ever seems to be satisfied with the present. They’re either looking ahead to what’s next, or back to what they missed. The present itself has been honed to a point — that moment of bliss activated by acquisition — which, once satisfied, simply resets. You want it. You buy it. You forget it. Even the retailers and brands have seemingly adopted this model, as sneakers that were hyped for months either sell out immediately or head straight to the clearance section. So when a model breaks that chain, whether it was the Nike Roshe Run a few years ago or the Tubular Runner now, it comes as something of a relief. It’s a chance to breathe.
By all means, continue to look to the future. In the world of adidas alone, Pharrell and Nigo have more drops coming, Kanye is going to put something out eventually, and the Nike-bred, Brooklyn-based design trio of Mark Miner, Mark Dolce and Denis Dekovic will come online sometime next fall. There is still much to come. And great things are coming. But in the meantime, don’t miss the great things that are already here.
Russ Bengtson is a senior staff writer at Complex. Four colorways of anything are about all he can handle at once. You can follow him on Twitter here.