Ronnie Fieg started his now legendary run of footwear collaborations in 2007 with the Asics Gel-Lyte 3. With the retro running silhouette’s 30th anniversary here, it’s only fitting that he delivers something truly special to celebrate.
On Black Friday, Fieg will deliver his largest footwear collection to date: “The Palette.”
Speaking with FN, the Kith founder admitted his initial concept to commemorate the milestone of his longtime collaboration parter was to create 30 different versions of the statement Asics shoe. However, after much thought, he grew weary of the idea and decided to scrap the plan. Searching for a new way to celebrate, Fieg explored the signature hues that have adorned both Kith footwear and apparel for nearly a decade.
“I started to do some deep diving into color and understanding all the colors we’ve used through the last nine years in apparel and footwear, really diving in to create a palette because I’ve never done that before,” Fieg said. “Organizing all of the colors and going through the archives took a long time, but after we did that we put together the top 30 colors that we’ve used.”
But Fieg and his team didn’t just identify the standout tones. Instead, they developed an organized structure that will help inform how the brand will approach color moving forward.
“It’s really like a map, how we’ve organized these colors,” Fieg explained. “We set up this chart working backwards from the colors that look best together — the first row looks best with the second row and vice versa, and third row looks best with the fourth row and vice versa, and then the fifth and sixth look best together.”
He continued, “The way we set up the rows in the palette was just a lot of trial and error — and it was a lot of fun.”
With the palette solidified, Fieg created his celebratory Asics Gel-Lyte 3 collection that will feature 30 iterations of the shoe, each constructed with premium pigskin suede uppers that sit atop subtly contrasting tonal soles. (For example, the “Monsoon” upper is paired with the “Asteroid” sole, and vice versa.)
“It’s meant to look from a distance as a whole,” Fieg said. “I approached it [thinking about] how it would look as like an art piece, and then going in shoe by shoe and style by style, perfecting it and making sure that each color matched up well with the midsole and outsole.”
Aside from the color pairings, Fieg altered elements of the shoe to further bring the concept to life.
“We were playing around with the stripes, and I believe this is the first time I didn’t use an underlay on the stripes because we wanted to simplify it so the colors stood out more,” Fieg said. “When you use the same material on the stripes, on the bottom layer and then the top layer, it could become a little bulky. We really wanted to streamline what the color looked like.”
Although having an established palette helped, putting together a project of this magnitude did come with challenges. Fieg revealed the collection took 16 months from ideation to completion, and that he and his team saw three rounds of samples of all 30 shoes to ensure they were ready to come to market.
However, the toughest part of the process was getting the colors right.
“When you have it up on a screen and you come up with colors that you’ve seen in fabric form from apparel, matching them up with different materials is always a challenge,” he said. “Luckily enough, we had the references to go by with the apparel pieces that we used because we have a full archive with everything and we were able to match them up perfectly.”
The Ronnie Fieg for Asics “The Palette” Gel-Lyte 3 collection will be available at all Kith shops and via Kith.com on Black Friday at 11 a.m. ET. The 30 looks will be limited to 300 pairs each. Retail price will be $180.
Following the Black Friday shoe launch, Kith will drop 30 classic logo tonal embroidered hooded sweatshirts on Cyber Monday. “It’s basically to celebrate this palette and is meant for fans to build favorite colors for themselves,” Fieg said.
Although thrilled with how the palette came out, customers shouldn’t expect to see it used frequently.
“In terms of the concept of all of the colors being used together, we wanted to launch it with this, we felt like this was the right moment to do it. I have some plans for the palette in the future but we’re not going to use it a lot,” Fieg said. “The concept itself is coveted. But the colors will potentially live on their own one or two at a time in collection.”
He continued, “Thirty shoes for the 30th anniversary, and for it to represent our brand for the last nine years, is a big moment.”