In a year plagued with strife, two companies came together to shed some light into the darkness. Louisiana sneaker boutique, Sneaker Politics, collaborated with Adidas to launch a re-release of the Forum 84: an iconic basketball silhouette originally debuted in 1984. With a then-shocking price tag of $100, the original Adidas Forum was considered a status symbol and often seen on the feet of athletes and entertainers. However, Politics looked to tell a different story with this release.
The collaboration was officially announced by Sneaker Politics in an Instagram post on September 26th and, though there had been leaked images of samples prior to this, this is when we got our first good look at the official images of the final product. The shoe comes in a primarily white, tumbled leather upper with varying accents of grey suede around the heel. The cream colored midsole gives a nod to the age of the original Forum while accents of blue are reminiscent of classic Adidas boxes and branding. A velcro strap across the top of the shoe ensures proper lockdown, should you choose to actively wear these. And finally, the shoe is finished off with a Politics logo on the lateral midfoot, individual numbers on the medial midfoot, Adidas leather tag on the tongue, and a Politics logo appearing again on the leather insoles.
Not only did that Instagram post give us our first look at the shoe, but it also outlined one of the most unique details of this release. While the original Forum may have been reserved for the wealthy, Politics aimed to break down the walls of price-exclusivity by focusing on one core theme: Community. With that principle in mind, they announced that they would be giving away all 500 pairs...for free. The idea was to not only give back to the community which had continued to patronize their business during a global pandemic, but to directly support other local businesses as well through this release.
To encourage growth in each Politics store's local community, Politics partnered with local restaurants in each city to host the release. For their two Texas locations (Dallas and Austin), they partnered with local coffee brewery Merit Coffee. Each Louisiana location featured a different partner: Legends in Lafayette, Overpass Merchant in Baton Rouge, and Turkey & The Wolf in New Orleans. Some restaurants even had a special menu item for the release, like the A.D.I.D.A.S. (All Day I Dream About Shrimp Toast) sandwich at Overpass Merchant. Each location had a similar format for release: go to the restaurant, place your order, and grab a raffle ticket for a chance to win the shoes, a hat, t-shirt, or gift card. That's right: unlike most sneaker raffles, you were going to walk out of this raffle with something free - regardless.
The shoes released in Texas first on October 3rd and then released in Louisiana on October 11th (originally scheduled for October 10th, but moved back in light of Hurricane Delta.) On the day of release, restaurants experienced unfamiliar lines of customers wrapping around the building waiting for their shot at a pair of shoes. Though each restaurant started their official release at 2PM (except for Turkey & The Wolf, which started at 11AM), people started lining up several hours prior hoping to increase their odds in the raffle. In the hours leading up, Politics employees walked down the line to pass out swag and explain the ordering/raffle process. While it was impossible for every single person to walk out with a pair of shoes, you still saw smiles on the faces of people who won something else. After pulling their raffle ticket, many people stuck around to hang out and talk with other sneakerheads. In a year filled with isolation and quarantining the likes of which many have never seen, it was nice to have a moment of "normalcy" to visit with others while remaining socially distant and masked.
Regardless of how you feel about the shoe, the intention behind this release deserves recognition. While this shoe can't fix the current state of the world, it serves as a reminder of something we will always have: community. In a subculture pervaded by bots, competition, and comparison, this release is a perfect example of how we can continue to grow our communities and support local businesses while still participating in a hobby we love.
All images courtesy of Houston Dragna.