adidas Mutombo

  • MADE ON: 11/12
  • FACTORY: APE 779001

With all the remakes coming out from the major brands this year, it’s been really hard to guess in advance which ones are going to be unbeatable and which ones deserve a pass.

I am beyond pleased to say though, that the early peak I’ve had at the adidas Mutombo has me grinning from ear to ear. First of all, what a wonderful shoe to retro. Thank you adidas, thank you. Not only is it an incredibly unique shoe from their past that is undeniably recognizable from miles away, but it holds a massive amount of history bestowed in its bizarrely loud design.

A variety of versions were originally released, both highs and the lesser-known lows (which we’ll be dropping later this year, so stay tuned), though for sure it’s the white, black, and red colorway that most folks will recall the sharpest. Later on down the line some Mutombo 2′s were produced as well, but it’s that first version which truly stands out from the crowd – or at least that’s the general consensus if you ask around, because for me personally, I love ‘em both.

But before we even start talking about various versions and colorways, I want to touch on the fit and feel. For me, the Mutombo’s key feature of comfort-ability was its thick sole unit that clacked against the ground with each step and left one feeling as though they were walking above the ground, not just on it. I must admit that adidas reproduced this down to a ‘tee’. The exactness of their new construction to the old shape is just stupid, and by that (for you older generation out there), I actually do mean one hundred percent spot on. There are four minor changes, two of which are fantastic, one of which is, as we would say in German, ‘egal’ (or ‘nevermind’), and a final that is only a tiny bit negative.

Negative first, and this should make you laugh: the sockliner of the new pair is about two tenths of a centimeter thick, making it to be one of the thinnest insoles I’ve ever pulled out of a pair of basketball shoes. It’s also entirely flat. The OG versions had a variable thickness insert, that started at about the same, two tenths of a centimeter, but grew almost twice as thick in parts, and even curved up on the sides significantly to protect and comfort the foot. This combined with the change of inner lining material leaves the shoe feeling only so slightly less like a pillow against the foot, but in no way is this overly bad or even noticeable to most. However, before we get carried away by talk of changed materials lets roll back to the shape and build itself.

The toe box is the ‘nevermind’ shift, providing a much ‘shorter’ mudguard than on the OG pair, almost half the size. Again, basically unnoticeable to the new onlooker or even vintage heads that aren’t too keyed up on their game. I flip back and forth wondering if this is bad or good, and thus it can be ignored.

Onto the good though, right around the corner from the toe box is a white, chunky midsole piece on the medial side of the shoe. This is about twice as thick and more blunt than on the OG pair and I definitely think it’s an improvement. The shoe itself is loud and clunky in a good way – certainly a moon boot in and out – so why not let this bit of color blast some enhancement to the side? I think adidas’ change (intentional or not) to this part of the shoe is fantastic and I love it.

But what I love the most on the structure is that damn tongue. They’ve done two things to it, first they slightly increased the Mutombo logo on it (awesome, especially when you thought it couldn’t get any louder) and second they cut its shape ever so slightly different, allowing its edges to fan out more like the Jabba the Hutt Metro. This was superb adidas, thank you for this ingenious yet subtle move away from the awkward rectangle of a tongue on the OG version.

Materials are less soft and less smooth than that of the OG but they aren’t shit either, and although the inner lining isn’t nearly as comfy it’s still good in its own right. The sole unit feels damn solid and the toe box is much better enforced than on the OG’s with a stronger, rougher material used for it and the tongue… which were the two main sweet spots for splits and cracks in the vins. Another small change that is neither here nor there really is the funky plastic eyelet frames wrapping up the patterned sides of the shoe; much more flimsy and lightweight than the OG version, but again, this isn’t really of much concern either way.

The other change – at least for my eyes – is the colorway. I’m no fan of the Sixers one actually, and of course I dig the white and black and reds, but these purples are just outrageous. Definitely my new favorite adidas, and certainly the release of the year for me by far. Now do us a favor Originals: drop a few more versions just like these with a different highlight hue than purple (think lime green, sunset orange, a.039 blue, or even a sexy wolf gray) and call it a day. Or if you really wanna blow mind, then simply move onward to push out those Mutombo 2′s that I guess I’m alone in loving…

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol

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