Benji Blunt x Hanon x adidas CNTR

  • DESIGNED BY: Hanon

What happens when an original brand like adidas allows an innovative team like Hanon develop a shoe that later gets optimized by the ingenious touch of a customizer?

Benji Blunt’s Year of the Snake meets Hanon’s adidas Originals CNTR. That’s what happens. And it really comes as no surprise, seeing as how the UK-based sneaker painter has been upping his craft, one pair after the other, churning out new ideas and solid commissions for fellow friends in the worldwide sneaker circle. This time around he’s done not one, but two pairs: the grey tinted CNTR’s pictured here for a Supestar fiend in Germany, and another, reddish pair for a classics fanatic in the United States. Despite the wide reach across the world, we were lucky enough to get not only Benji Blunt (Derbyshire) and Torsten Steinmetz (Leipzig) but also Ed Toft (Aberdeen) from Hanon to drop some words on us about this wild, venomous collab.

Tors, you first; tell it to us straight, what happened here?

Tors: Hmm, good question… I bought the Hanon’s because I liked the colorway, the materials, and the little specials (such as the reflecting speckles on the stripes and the laces). When I got them in my hands I thought, yeah they’re still nice, but not THAT special. So where can you go, if you want something really special? Yes sir, direct to Mr. Blunt!


Alright, so is that how it went down Benji?

Benji Blunt: Well, I posted a Photoshopped pic of the Hanon’s when the first publicity shots came out; I had changed the toe box to a snakeskin pattern. I may have suggested they were an exclusive staff pack, for a laugh. Anyway, I was challenged my Mike and Tors to make it happen. I took the colourway colours and came up with two variations.

Right, a brighter red one for Michael Sterling and then these subtler greys for you, Tors. Tell me, did you influence Benji’s design choices at all?

Tors: Ben designed the snake pattern first as black on grey (red wasn’t even a choice, and you know why, Mr. Sterling). But these where too black in my opinion. So he decided to go with a light grey and a bit darker pattern. But all in all, Ben’s the designer.

Speaking of design, Ed, did you ever think of (or practice) sneaker alterations yourself before being given the chance to actually design shoes professionally?

Ed Toft: No not really. The furthest I went with sneaker alterations would’ve been converting skate high tops to lows with a pair of scissors in the 90s. It was pretty messy stuff and only worked on some styles. The Vans Cab was a favourite for some reason but it was actually one of the worst as it fell apart really easily. I also dyed a pair of Sal 23 shoes from a baby blue – which I hated – to a navy. The outcome was actually quite good. They had a white tongue and white 23 detail on the heel that seemed to pop out much more with the darker colour. It also looked like more of a rich purple rather than navy. I wish I had kept them now but I wrecked them.

There’s always a lesson to be learned with time and sufficient sneaker wear and tear. What about you Benji, can you tell us what you learned this time ’round?

Benji: The nubuck on the shoe is a great base, it isn’t the flattest finish in the end, but it’s the strongest bond. The better the key the more wearable. I also used a different shoe product for the mesh, which turned out okay. I really like the UV flame on the back of these. This glows red under black light.

Yeah, that was a killer final detail that we love. But it’s not about us… Tors, how do you feel about the outcome?

Tors: Same as you… I love my Benji Blunt x Hanon x adidas CNTR’s!

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol

shoes contributed by Torsten Steinmetz