When adidas Equipment came out in 1990, it was a refreshing change at a time of cluttered design and bright colors, which had characterized so much of the second half of the 1980s. Dressed in a confident colorway, “EQT” was a “no bullshit” approach to sports equipment. With simplification at its core, the message that the then Creative Director, Peter Moore, wanted to bring across was nothing less than “the best of adidas”. It was the antithesis of the loud adverts being used by other brands, which included supermodels or celebrity endorsements from stars like Mike Tyson or Madonna. Basically, it was an anti-fashion call. Keeping that statement in mind, it’s truly remarkable how quickly the same adidas line from the early 1990s became the stuff of nostalgia itself, glorified by collectors and ultimately retroed so many times.
Marc Leuschner from Overkill has been an Equipment fan from the early days onwards and never lost his passion for it. With the big return of EQT for 2017, which includes the introduction of the new color Turbo Red, adidas Equipment keeps evolving. And with that in mind, it’s even more interesting to ask Marc about his views on it. While we were invited to Miami to celebrate the big EQT comeback we took the opportunity to interview him. Here’s one of the most important Equipment collectors on the planet and he’s sharing our views with us.
This interview was first printed in Sneakers Magazine issue #33. You can buy it here and subscribe here. Please also check out our Overkill store check as well as our adidas Equipment article and the exhibition curated by Marc.
Marc, do you remember your first pair of Equipments?
My very first pair was the 1993 Support from the second generation of Equipment. They were blue and I clearly remember that they weren’t new. This is because when I started collecting, price levels for the Equipment series had already become pretty much unaffordable. You had to shell out two to three hundred euros for a shoe that had been rocked pretty heavily already.
Where did you manage to find them?
From a private seller, a bit older than me, generation-wise. For me it was all about building that knowledge after the fact, because I wasn’t 20 years old in the Nineties like those guys. So, I tried to absorb all the knowledge available to me.
Where did you get schooled on Nineties sneakers in general?
Football culture was a starting point for me, looking up to the older guys and having my first experiences. Lots of eBay, back then, as well.
Back then, were you already into the entire spectrum of adidas Equipment, including apparel, or was it just about shoes?
Apparel was definitely interesting, but for me it was mostly accessories at the time. The Equipment fanny packs, sports bags, and backpacks were a must-have. I even have the complete series at home. The apparel line was rather special, and really, really broad. With striped polo shirts and all that, most people don’t realize how broad the range was.
Exhibited in Berlin in January – EQT OG models from 1991 to 1994 from Marc’s personal collection
Would you say that Equipment was ahead of its time then?
In a way, yes. What many people underestimate is the quality. There are shoes produced for the second Equipment series that you can totally still wear today, 20 years later. That’s a sign of quality that very few shoes from back then can match. And it works in favor of those collectors who are hyped on the Equipment series.
Ultimately, the collection was about performance. How important were aspects such as comfort or wearability for you as a collector, or has it always been more about the look?
I can only speak for myself and the scene I ran with, and it was really more about lifestyle. It was not really about it being the greatest running shoe of the past few decades or so, but it revolved more around the look.
Whereas today, comfort plays a big role, right?
Well, comfort plays an immensely important role today. It’s also a realy great opportunity for adidas Equipment to go and further evolve the whole thing into 2017, including being able to further elevate the comfort twenty years later in an entirely new iteration. After all, things have come a long way in the last 20 years.
As a collector who’s been hunting down originals for such a long time, what’s it like witnessing this evolution of the line – all the updates on original silhouettes with Primeknit and Boost and all that? Are you open to these new things?
I’m pretty much open to the whole thing. I always say that the past few years have really given me a chance to broaden my horizons. I’m definitely not stuck on that whole old school game where it’s OGs and nothing else. I was really satisfied with my first impressions, especially after the ADV release, and also after seeing the first images of the Future Support and the Support 2017. I’m also hearing positive feedback within the scene and acceptance has been really broad, which for me is great news as a seasoned Equipment aficionado. When the line continues to run successfully it also gives a boost to some of the old-timers who are still passionate about Equipment.
Exhibited in Berlin in January – more early EQT history
Do you think it’s important to pass on the love from one generation to the next?
I think that it’s being passed on, but there are different personality types involved now. I think that with the Future Support, for instance, you can reach some really fashionable folks. Especially due to the Boost sole. You can really get a different consumer on board nowadays. It’s become way more advanced at this point. There’s still something in it for the old schoolers, like, the ADV is a silhouette that’ll create a huge following. The trends will be passed on while the older guys still burn for the classics, which inevitably trickles down to the younger ones.
What do you think of the change in color schemes to Turbo Red?
I think that Turbo Red is super cool. Personally I’m really into pastels such as mint green or baby blue but Turbo Red really fits the times. In 2017 you will also see that rose and pink hues are trending, that has already been picking up in 2016. I think Turbo Red is a strong statement and also a smart marketing angle to say: “Hey, it’s 2017, we need to advance adidas Equipment and we’re pushing a new, fourth colorway.” That’s a really great strategy and a strong foundation for moving forward.
Marc, thank you for this interview.
adidas Consortium X Overkill EQT Racing 93 “Taxi”