When Adidas and Kid Cudi dropped their official partnership’s first sneaker last month, it was a bit of a head scratch (in a good way). Rather than recreate a silhouette or apply Cudi’s crazy eye for a classic Three Stripes sneaker, they reached into the brand’s archives to reissue an old-school basketball sneaker made by Grant Hill and the laid-back movie icons Bill & Ted became famous. A welcome surprise? Absolutely. Still, it was an odd start to such a high-profile partnership. Adidas employees usually start their partnership with a bang, often reinterpreting classic silhouettes like the samba or swinging at the fences with new, inventive silhouettes. Didn’t a fashion pioneer like Cudi deserve a little more … Cudi?
As it turns out, the Artillery Hi was something of a smooth start, with Cudi’s newly revealed Adidas debut on the main stage having a direct impact on this silhouette, among other things. The sneaker is called Vadawam 326 and it will drop later this month. Cudi made the shoe as a tribute to his daughter Vada, who was born in 2010. The 326 in the name of the shoe, which is also printed across the ankle flaps, is a nod to her birthday (and a portrait tattoo by Vada Cudi on his neck).
Where the artillery marked Hi Cudi and Adidas with a view of the past, the Vadawam 326 has its feet firmly planted in the future. It’s the weird, fashionable silhouette you’d expect from a partnership between the man behind the Man on the Moon records and a brand that has achieved unprecedented success in recent years by sharing the eccentric vision of another rap superstar familiar.
The medium-cut sneaker has a chunky, moon-boot-like design that is anchored over the lacing by three off-center Velcro straps. Alternating between smooth and marbled leather and suede patches, the upper has an irregular blocking, creating a rich texture from top to bottom. The outside of each heel has an unmistakable Cudi touch in the form of ridges that seem to be reminiscent of ventilation panels – a clear nod to the design of NASA and the spacesuit.
Even so, cooperation still has a foothold in the past. It’s no mistake that Cudi’s collaboration with Adidas began with a retro of an old-school basketball silhouette. The Vadawam draws as much from the design of a space race as it does from hoop kicks with a high upper material, chunky padding and thick tongues. There are even two direct references to the Torsion Artillery Hi on the shoe: a torsion bar in the sole and an off-center Adidas Trefoil logo on each tongue, roughly identical to those on the Artillery Hi. It’s all drawn along with the official Kid Cudi x Adidas logo, which (of course) has the moon embossed on the heel.
The Vadawam 326 initially fails in two colors, although it is almost certainly on the move. The “Core White” consists of creamy white, which is balanced out by brown and brown spots, while the “Core Black” has black, slate and purple tones of gray as well as some subtle solar pink details.
From making horror mastermind Ti West’s next film to acting as an actor on Westworld, We Are Who We Are, and Bill & Ted Face The Music (and finally a third Man on the Moon earlier this week after a decade of anticipation) Drop album)), it was a banner year for Kid Cudi. He seems to have done everything possible to remind us that there is no point in putting him in any kind of box. The guy does it all – and adds sneaker design to this list.
The adidas x Kid Cudi Vadawam 326 will be available from December 17th via the CONFIRMED app and Foot Locker.