At this time of the year, it’s obvious what’s on a pro soccer player’s mind. So the inspiration behind Adidas’ new Mercury Pack cleats was practically handed to the label on a silver platter.
“We’ve got the silver cup in the Champions League finals, the silver cup in the Copa America and the silver cup in the Euros — so we were really inspired by this idea, the hunt for silver,” Sam Handy, the brand’s vice president of design for global soccer, explained during an interview with Footwear News.
While presenting the cleats’ three striking silhouettes at Adidas’ Mercury Center interactive exhibition in Santa Monica, Calif., on Friday, Handy said that the concept of a “flying bullet” also influenced the design. “Silver was the focus that brought it all together,” he added.
The sneakers — considered the brand’s fastest shoe — underwent 18 months of development and stringent high-performance engineering and wind-tunnel testing, he said.
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Not only do the cleats enhance an athlete’s performance, but the label’s first mirror-polish boots also add a touch of glamour to the field.
The X16+ PureChaos, X16+ PureControl and Messi 16+ PureAgility are included in the Mercury Pack collection.
In May, Paul Pogba, Luis Suarez and Mesut Özil were featured in the “First Never Follows” film series, highlighting the footwear.
Handy described it as “a perfect thing that people can fall in love with.”
Part of the production process included input from Adidas’ roster of sports stars on its function — and fashion.
“There’s a creative procreation with our most interesting players,” Handy explained. “A football guy in many instances now is a style guy. Paul Pogba is just as much a football icon as he is a style icon.”
Formerly a designer for Adidas Originals, Handy transferred to the sportswear brand’s soccer division around this time last year.
“In the past I’ve been mainly a streetwear designer, so it’s very interesting for me to come into the world of high performance footwear,” he said, adding that he’s “very proud” of his last streetwear design project for Adidas — the NMD.
“The thing I love about coming into a high-performance category is that it’s very rich in meaning,” he said. “I’ve been in the fashion industry for 15 years and there’s that cyclical nature to it, and you know when something’s going in trend and going off again.”
Handy, a longtime Liverpool F.C. fan, said that he finds his new path far more fulfilling.
“You know that you’re building boots to make the best players in the world play better, and that’s the reason you get out of bed in the morning — to change footwear, to make footwear better, to make people score goals, to make people play at the absolute highest level. But bringing some streetwear sensibility and combining it with this higher purpose. That’s what’s really fun.”