adidas Hikelander

  • MADE ON: 07/11
  • ART.NO: G51688
  • FACTORY: APE 779001

Largely overlooked, the modern day adidas Hikelander is a heavily stylized sneaker with an outdoor twist and a huge nod to a past Trefoil artifact known as the Badlander.

Never heard of the Hikelander? We’re not surprised. Haven’t heard of its vintage relative, the Badlander, either? Still not surprised. Not only are these just uniquely ugly in some people’s perspectives (though, honestly, we rather dig them ourselves) but they reside in a genre of footwear that one doesn’t frequently approach while browsing the available bounties within the so-called sneaker game. And that’s the area of outdoor gear. Hiking boots, trail shoes, and good old aquatic slip-ons.

What we have hear is a deliciously tricked out tribute to the past. The adidas Performance line gave birth to a series of similar silhouettes known mostly as the Badlander back in the day, and their main distinctive feature was the lace covering held down by a series of loops and hooks. The overall look was one that could easily have been imagined on the foot of forest folk, elves, or even Ewoks, or other enchanted and eco-friendly fellows. It’s not that the overall appearance is so vegan, it’s that the shoe itself has a moccasin-like, earthy tone to it. The colorways were typically monochromatic and particularly plain, albeit bright at times. The shape of the bumpy silhouette stood out as well, reminding us largely of the entire Feet You Wear line (in fact the Badlander is known for providing this sole unit feature as well) and other EQT obscenities that we relish in as we dig through the crates of vintage over here at eatmoreshoes.

Looking back it’s evident that there were at least some mid (or high?) and low cut versions and adidas Originals took their cues from the higher of those two to deliver a more street-stylish version of the Badlander, now known as the Hikelander. Differences largely reside around the sole unit itself, currently bestowed with the power of the Torsion bar, and absent of the funkified flavor that clung to the Feet You Wear releases. They’re crispy, though the materials somehow feel mildly cheap and the shoe is extremely lightweight, leaving one to wonder if it’s all that protective against the elements (we highly doubt these are waterproof in any way).

Design-wise they’ve obviously took some hints from Kazuki Kuraishi and other modern day movers by applying a much more shape-conscious structure, pretty intelligent colorway choices (the black and yellow pair pictured here were accompanied by a burgundy set as well), and minor detailing around the shoe that sets it apart. Their blue tongue labels, sockliners, and lace tips suggest a membership within the more recent a.039 (read that as ‘royal blue’) collection however we can’t confirm this one hundred percent for now.

The resurrection of history didn’t stop at these, though, as a snow version was pushed out too, however in a form far too puffy for us. And finally, the wonderfully insane artistry from Y-3 included a ferocious release in 2012 known as ‘Le Savage’ in white, silver, and bits of black that was supposed to be a higher class take on the classic EQT Badlander. Crazy experimental releases aside, if you dig something lightweight and original than pick these up from Originals as we doubt many ‘heads will know what they are. Just beware, they’re actually harder to come by these days than they should be, but having stumbled upon your pair you’ll likely pay a discounted price for them considering their lack of fame.

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol