Benji Blunt x Visioneers x adidas Pro Model 80s “Hipology”

  • DESIGNED BY: Benji Blunt
  • MADE ON: --/12

It’s been a cold London minute since we last heard from the UK’s finest shell toe sneaker tweaker Benji Blunt, but that surely doesn’t mean he’s sitting on his hands and chewing his toenails to pass the time. Benji’s had himself locked away in his laboratory, concocting brilliant madness as always, and still somehow managing to broadcast beams of creativity out into the world, securing solid collaborations with liked-minded and inspirational figures.

This time around it’s adidas Pro Model meets Hipology’s Marc Mac. If you don’t already know. Marc Man was a co-founder of the electronic music crew, 4hero, known for pioneering breakbeat hardcore and drum and bass tunes. Marc’s a busy man, however, and that’s not the only place he’s pushed his passion, though we’ll let him tell more on that subject himself.

Now that we’ve tossed a taste of Benji’s latest treat onto your plates, let’s dig into the meal itself and see some hip hop flavors arise from the (four) main ingredients.

Honored guests go first, so Marc, tell us (and those of our readers who don’t know already): who are you, and where are you from?

I’m Marc Mac from London. I’ve been producing music since the late 80s, when I started the jungle and drum and bass label, Reinforced Records, and formed the group 4hero. I produce under several aliases, the most known one being 4hero and Visioneers, I guess.

And what about Hipology? How would you describe this project?

Hipology is the latest Visioneers album. I use the word Hipology to explain or describe the influence and relationship hip hop culture has on people. I also have a website that’s kind of like a scrap book, breaking down my own Hipology. My general definition is: a collage or montage of elements, events, music, and fashion, that make up an individual’s personal interpretation of hip hop culture.

That’s deep Marc, really cool to see you strengthening your musical work with a bit of philosophy as well. It’s no wonder you get along with Mr. Blunt so well… how’d you two first hook up?

Benji visited the site and liked some of the content there, and I checked Benji’s profile and was amazed by the cool sneaker art he was doing. My man Decoy from our record label contacted Benji about doing some customs and I guess the vibrations between us were positive and he agreed to collab.

That’s the Benji bait and hook right there! Speaking of the devil, Benji, welcome back, it’s always a pleasure to have you in the HQ. We already know a bit of the background story, so let’s jump right to the design itself. What can you tell us?

The base shoe was a nubuck Pro Model, a classic hip hop shoe, though originally a basketball shoe as you know, and not originally in nubuck. I wanted it to venerate the Hipology concept and album, but also reflect what I’m about at the moment. I feel that customising classic BBoy shoes is as much ‘Hip Hop’ as ripping samples on an Akai MPC60 or juggling old breaks from rare vinyl. It’s about reinvention; taking something and making it your own. I used the safari pattern that features through nearly all my shoes, but gave it a bit of a twist. I did think of painting Hip Hop imagery all over the shoe, but that would not really be me. I’m still a custom newbie and I wanted to bring all the shoes I’ve done together in this one.

What about your part in the design process Mark? Did you bring some ideas to the table, or was this a full-on Blunt production?

The truth is, we were so excited that Benji was gonna do the shoe and I had seen his work and trusted him to take the lead on the design. I sent Benji a copy of the artwork and the audio CD as a guide to vibe off and he delivered.

No surprise there though. Alright Benji, the ball’s back in your court: what inspired this particular colorway?

I went for a sand coloured base with a safari pattern, which changes hue in places and the base drips and kind of melts the pattern on one shoe; a nod to graffiti. The tongues depict Hip Hop iconography and one shoe incorporates the Hipology album logo. The heel tab trefoil was removed and repainted with sand and copper; highlights found in the safari pattern. The rear seam quotes ‘La di da di’ as a motto for all inducted into the Hip Hop family. The insoles were rebuilt and decorated with a Hipology pattern depicting more hip hop imagery. The stripes and other elements featured a deep indigo blue.

Overall the design is top, but your stretch to doing sockliners now was a cool addition to your already vast library of tricks. Aside from that, any new techniques you used that you can share with us?

This was the first nubuck shoe I had painted. It looks to me like this base provides the strongest bond between the shoe and paint. Making them all the more wearable.

Sounds like we’re gonna be seeing more Blunt nubuck in the future. As for challenges, did you hit any?

[Benji laughs]

The freakin’ blue bled all over the place. Not sure if it was a bad batch or just the particular pigment not being very stable. But we got there in the end. I’m using the same blue at the moment on a commission but taking lots of precautions. You live and learn.

No shit. Nice clean up. We can’t even see a trace of that calamity Benji! And as always, what’s coming next?

I have a long list of commissions and people are being very patient, thanks peeps! Also going to be working on a shoe passed to me by another brand. I hope they will be something different and the brand likes what I do with what they give me!

Word Benji, you know we’re wishing you all the best on that endeavor! And Marc, let’s lead out with you, ’cause we absolutely gotta know: do you rock these sweet Mods now, or keep ‘em safely stashed in a glass case somewhere beneath the Earth’s surface?

Maaann, I so wanna rock ‘em but I know there will never be another pair like these so the custom glass case is being made as we speak.

[all laugh]

Boys, what a blazin’ collab. There ain’t much more to say than that. For anyone out there interested in some sweet customs, you should, by now, know where to find Benji Blunt. And as for music fans, if you don’t already know, then step over to Hipology and get acquainted with the talented Marc Mac.

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol

portraits by Decoy

shoes contributed by Marc Mac


    [...] details on a classic Hip Hop silhouette. Check out an interview about the mash up over at and see more of Benji’s custom classics at [...]

  • jana

    where can I buy these ??????