Not All-Leather!

Hender Scheme teams up with Adidas, like you’ve never seen them before


Adidas Originals X Hender Scheme ZX 4000 4D.jpg

By Shu Xie

I am so used to seeing Hender Scheme’s vechetta-tan, full-leather uppers with their take on Adidas’s classic styles that when this newest style appeared, I felt I was looking at something with missing garb. Undressed anything these days hardly surpises, of course, but that this collab is visually more Adidas than Hender Scheme is perhaps a little unexpected.

That’s not to say that the signature tan leather isn’t applied, only a little stingy in its use. On the ZX 4000 4D, they come in bits: above the mid-sole for the foxing and the trim beforw the toe box, for the eye stay and tongue label. Which is to say, more the cubes on the chriashi don than actual sashimi, but, still, no less appetising!

The choice of Adidas ZX 4000 4D is a weird one, if you ask me. Hender Scheme has always worked on more recognisable and classic Adidas styles, such as the unadulterated ZX, rather than what’s technology-driven. After all, fans pay a not inconsiderate amount for their hand-made shoes.

Admittedly, the ZX 4000 4D is not my fave sneak; the mid-sole—the Furturecraft—is a peeve because it’s a major dust and dirt trap. In addition, Hender Scheme’s simple artisanal leather patches, with their red zig-zag stitch, is a little at odds with the latticed “4D” mid-sole.

But, I know people who love it (shoe and sole!), even when they frown at the price. Well, better this than the seriously over-rated, over-hyped Yeezy, dare I say.

Adidas Originals X Hender Scheme ZX 4000 4D, SGD550, is available today at Club 21 Four Seasons. Photos: Adidas/Hender Scheme

Two-Tone Hender Scheme

The Japanese brand teams up with Adidas Originals once again 


Adidas Originals X Hender Scheme

By Shu Xie

The Japanese label Hender Scheme is so synonymous with single-tone vachetta-tan leather uppers of their take on classic sneakers that when this appeared, it took me by surprise. Their latest collaboration with Adidas Originals is a Boost-sole-bolstered iteration of the ZX, a running shoe that was first released in 1984, and is enjoying a bit of revival when Adidas announced early this month that they will offer a circa-1989 version, the ZX 4000, come December.

As with everything Hender Scheme does, premium is the mantra. But this time, in this version, the upper composes of both the said tan leather and a black mesh fabric that is, in fact, rather typical of the ZX. The bi-coloured effect is striking in its simplicity, even retro-vibe, especially when what is now considered cool is colour-blocked to death. Perhaps this is what Hender Scheme’s Ryo Kashiwazaki meant when he said that he “wanted to give more of a true sports feeling” to the shoe. In fact, this version, prefixed HS, is the most track-and-field-like of the Hender Scheme output with Adidas Originals, as far as I can remember. The effect also affects the price: since it is not a full-leather shoe, it is actually more affordable than the typical Hender Scheme kicks.

It will be interesting to see how, after long use, the aged leather—which will turn darker—pairs with the black. I think the contrast as you now see will be diminished. What I find especially appealing are the white, zig-zag, top stitches on the serrated-edge three stripes. There’s a dressmaking aspect to this, a detail that only matters to those for whom such small touches bring mysterious joy.

I have been always been intrigued by Hender Scheme and Adidas’s collaboration. It’s like Adidas doing couture. Okay, I exaggerate, but you know what I mean. The artisanal hand of Mr Kashiwazaki is unmistakable, and Adidas sneakers that shouldn’t be this beautiful are given a near-bespoke treatment that draws the eyes. Simply put, I like.

The Adidas Originals X Hender Scheme HS ZX500 RM (pictured, but also in white and tan), SGD340, is available at Club 21. Photo: Adidas Originals

Adidas Originals Goes Nude

Is adidas Originals’s latest collaboration a little belated?


It’s one tone close to the shade of our skin—unless you’re especially swarthy—and in that unmistakable vegetable-tanned leather: it’s Hender Scheme. Now, Japan’s premium sneaker maker has paired with adidas Originals to reprise three of the German sneaker maker’s most iconic shoes: MicroPacer, NMD R1 and Superstar.

Hender Scheme’s Ryo Kashiwazaki has divided sneakerheads with his creations even before this latest collab, when, in 2010, he created some of his favourite kicks strip-down the barest form, all constructed by hand. In particular, his take on Nike’s Air Force 1 high tops caught the fashion sneaker world’s attention. Some people call him a rip-off. Hender Scheme labels it Homage.

For the present salute to adidas Originals’s instantly recognizable styles, released worldwide on 1 September, Sneakerfreakermag calls it a “high-class overhaul”. We don’t see a real revamp with these shoes, but the high-end feel of the make is indisputable. But we’re not sure if these are any longer a class of their own when so many shoe brands have released—in homage, too?—their own take of footwear in unblemished, supposedly un-dyed leather.

MicropacerHender Scheme X Adidas Originals Micropacer

NMD R1Hender Scheme X Adidas Originals NMD R1

SuperstarHender Scheme X Adidas Originals Superstar

Truth be told, we have never tried the Hender Scheme, but we have taken into consideration online complaints (such as this one) that these shoes, spared of the tech used in their original versions, are not terribly comfortable to wear. It is, thus, not outrageous to compare them to raw denim jeans. You probably need some time (months?) to break into them. What struck us is the weight of the shoes. They’re by no means as light as the originals they are based on.

But to most, the deterrent could be in the pricing. These reiterations are sold at more than USD$900 a pop!

So do they, therefore, come with adidas Originals’s sole technology? Hender Scheme is known for complete handwork using very old-school methods of shoe-making. And Adidas won’t say if any of their technologies are incorporated into the collaboration. Looking at the collab’s NMD R1, it seems that it does not sit atop Adidas’s Boost sole.

Despite these shortcomings, shoe freaks are not going to miss the chance to cop one of these, even if only to re-sell them on e-Bay later.

Hender Scheme X Adidas Originals is available at Club 21. Photo: Adidas Originals

Nike Goes Luxe

It’s about time

Air Max 90 Royal

For too long, luxury brands have barged into sports shoes territory by outputting their own take of popular sneaker styles. Right now, we’re thinking of the persistent intruder Louis Vuitton. Then there are designers who put their spin on their favourite kicks under the invitation of sports brands. We’re thinking of Riccardo Tisci and Olivier Rousteing, both giving Nike shoes a makeover—the Air Force 1 and Free Mercurial Flyknit X respectively, just two among other styles that both have worked on.

Now, Nike’s fighting back. Last year, for Air Max day (which, this year, fell on 26th March, three days ago, with the campaign tag “kiss my airs”), the world’s most popular shoe brand released an Air Max 1 dubbed ‘Royal’ that sneakerheads were quick to call the most luxurious ever while the media hailed it a “stellar release”. Then, five months later, came the Air Safari, also given the Royal treatment. SOTD did not get to see the Royals until the end of last year, when we came face to face with the Air Max 90 Royal, not once but twice—in London, at Dover Street Market and Footpatrol.

As the name suggests, Royals receive a rather regal treatment when it comes to materials and finishes. Supple suede, as the main upper, is a material of choice and here, Nike made it one-tone (the Swoosh and other branding look embossed). This is further enhanced with leather details that truly augment the built’s premium feel and look.  Indeed, the Air Max 90 has never looked this fine.

Air Max 90 Royal Pic 2

The softness of the suede somehow tones down an otherwise hunky shoe, so much so that the normally thick tongue is now a thin skin that sits very comfortably atop the foot—even when you’re sockless. The typical padding of the Air Max 90 seems reduced too, which makes the Royal version rather streamlined. But more unique (and the pull is clearly here) is the quadrilateral that frames the visible air sole near the heels: it’s now in a piece of leather that goes right under the outer sole, sitting firmly among the grips. Perhaps because of this, the Royal is a tad heavier than even the leather versions: 6 grams more.

A piece of leather is also slipped between the upper and the midsole, forming a corridor, on top of which the quadrilateral sits and is top-stitched. The natural tan of both immediately brings to mind Hender Scheme’s take of sneaker classics, such as Nike’s very own Air Presto, in which designer Ryo Kashiwazaki re-imagines the world’s favourite kicks in hand-crafted, natural and unstained leather. The irony of this is not lost: even a giant such as Nike cannot escape the influence of the indie-shoe maker.

That Nike would forge a path alongside luxury brands is not surprising. Through the years, they have been releasing shoes that go beyond the USD200 threshold, culminating in the self-lacing HperAdapt, which was sold at USD720—not counting what you’ll find on eBay. In fact, since the introduction of NikeLab in 2014 (with only a few boutique-like stores around the world—last count six), Nike has been offering “exclusives” way beyond their typical price points. Sure, all eyes are on the Nikelab VaporMax—launched 3 days ago—but that being completely new is, as expected, sold out. The Air Max 90 is the most elegant in the Air Max family and a luxurious version is always welcome.

Nike Air Max 90 Royal Cool Grey, SGD359, is available at Limited Edn Vault, 313@Sommerset. Photos: Chin Boh Kay