X-Large x adidas Campus 80s

  • MADE ON: 08/12
  • ART.NO: Q34551
  • FACTORY: SHW / 675001

In the sneaker game it’s all about setting a standard, whether that’s a price quota (see those über-hyped models that sell for grands) or an expectation of quality (such as the common Consortium choice of materials), but sometimes a truly successful mission is completed when the expected standards are broken.

And X-Large is a company that likes to shatter standards, a mantra which aptly fits their name. Even their branding – marked by a big gorilla character – was out on the scene before other monkey businesses went apeshit such as BAPE (and some sources state they were even the first primate-based street wear brand in existence, though we’ve no evidence to back that up ourselves). Built in Los Angeles but vastly popular in Hong Kong, it’s no surprise (though maybe not widely known) that Michael Diamond (aka Mike D) from the Beastie Boys was an original partner. How’s that for setting a standard for the rest of the brands to live up to?

Now when it comes to adidas and Beastie Boys I strongly believe we all think of the same damn thing: Campus 80s. And I’d suggest that generally when one thinks about this silhouette it’s in clean colorways – no matter the hue – with little to no variation in the overall design. I would further argue that it’s this aspect – consistency – that makes the silhouette such a standby, turn-to, highly regarded favorite of the average Joe (and Jane) masses as well as the specialized connoisseurs and collectors alike. It’s just plain safe, mate.

I said something about shattering standards though didn’t I? So, in comes this massive, glory-born Gorilla from the city that houses Hollywood, and we start to see things on the Campus gettin’ crazy. Mind you, not Jeremy Scott crazy, and thank God for that, but at least they’re shakin’ up the bag a bit to show us what else this classic casual kick can do.

It’d be wise to mention that X-Large came through earlier than these 2012 Fall and Winter releases to show off their standard-shattering skills in 2011 with their funky “Bananas” collab. However, those were not a benchmark by any means, flexing only the tiniest of experimental design muscles (if even) by swapping out the side stripes and heel patch for some low-shine silver treatment.

Alright, I admit it. This pair isn’t really blowing us out of the box either (quite honestly, my instincts seldom have me hunting animal-patterned pairs for my personal collection anyhow) and as I mentioned they’ve been done before (see the Foot Patrol Campus 80s pack from 2007 as well as the B-Sides from 2011), but still, it’s no leap to say these are stretching the Campus 80s out from their originally intended design, and for that, we commend both X-Large and adidas Originals for taking a chance.

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol