Saucony Originals Shadow 5000 Elite Pack Reissue

Saucony Originals Shadow 5000 Elite Pack Reissue – Release Info


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The SAUCONY ORIGINALS SHADOW 5000 ELITE PACK REISSUE sees the return of one of the brand’s most revered collaborations.

The SHADOW 5000 was the 1990 iteration of the Shadow DNA, which is a story that began back in 1987 with the introduction of the original Shadow silhouette. The silhouette was intended as a big brother to the well-established Jazz and offered a beefed-up build for both heavy hitters and extra milers. Since its reintroduction in the late noughties, the SHADOW 5000 has been the recipient of many a premium reinterpretation, from the likes of END, Solebox and Play Cloths, to name just a few. These notorious collaborations came about thanks to the brand’s concept of a capsule collection that was intended exclusively for an ‘elite’ group of Japanese retailers, which then morphed into the hugely successful collaborative program. As we have come to expect from collaborative programs, it offers premium manifestations of the best from the brand’s impressive back catalogue and in the case of the ELITE programme it owes much of its success to JAY GORDON, the proprietor of Boston’s Bodega and a frequent traveller to Japan, which made him perfectly positioned to lead the unique project.

It all started in 2010 when the two got together to create the first unique line of footwear destined for the Japanese market. Five years later and on the eve of the shoes rerelease, we caught up with Jay to get his recollections on the project.

TDD: How did your involvement with Saucony initially come about?

JG: Geography helped. Being in Boston, we had we crossed paths a few times: Bodega had already worked with the brand and the Elite project was borne out of that.

TDD: What are your recollections about the Elite project? Was there an initial brief?

JG: It was pretty organic. The idea was to reintroduce some of the classic models in a premium way – they (Saucony) had never really tried that approach before. With the Red and the Blue, we wanted premium materials and a classic look: we wanted it to be wearable.

TDD: What was the initial thought process behind having these shoes as a JP exclusive?

JG: I just thought that if we did it initially in Japan – the centre of all things cool – and said no to the rest of the world, that might build a little demand and it worked out pretty well. Also, it was a bit of a throwback to the days when you could travel and find different things in different places. We were entering this age of everything being available to everyone all the time – we wanted to take it back to the days when you could discover something new. We kept it very Japan-focused. I don’t even have the first few releases, because the biggest size was a US11!

TDD: With Saucony being on your doorstep, does that make the collaborative process easier?

JG: Much easier. When the samples would come in, we would grab a beer and go over any changes there and then. Saucony are so easy to work with: they would try anything – whatever materials we wanted, they would never say no to. Sometimes it wouldn’t work out, but they always tried to do everything that we wanted. We would sample eight different shoes to try and get two that we loved.

TDD: How did the Japanese stores react to the Elite series?

JG: They were pretty receptive. Saucony had no real distribution there at the time, so I was going over and selling to stores myself for the first year or so. It was a grassroots thing – a lot of fun.

TDD: Do you think it’s fair to say that the Elite series gave the brand a focus for future collaborations, which perhaps has lead to a wider appreciation of the brand?

JG: I think it would have happened eventually, even if we hadn’t done Elite. A wider audience would have discovered Saucony: it might have taken a little longer, but the models are great, the shoes are well-made and it has true heritage. Ultimately, that’s what people respond to.

TDD: Boston is home to several notable brands, each with their own unique heritage. How does Saucony fit in to the mix?

JG: There is a lot of love for the brand, especially around certain models like the Jazz. It has a crazy loyal following of more mature consumers who love it for its clean, simple, classic silhouette. A younger audience seems to gravitate towards things like the Courageous, the Shadows etc.

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TDD: Five years on, is there anything you would have done differently with the project?

JG: The things I would change would be minimal, nit-picky details. I think the way it all came together really worked out well: it really let us grow as a design team. It’s one of the most rewarding and fun projects that we have done so far.

TDD: Did you already have a connection with Japan?

JG: My wife Is from Tokyo, so I was going there quite a bit to see her family. I’m crazy about Japan, so this project was a good excuse to go there even more!

TDD: For a long time, it seemed that the Japanese were way ahead of the game when it came to having discerning tastes for athletic footwear. Do you think that’s still true? Do they still incubate and export trends in the same way they once did?

JG: When I used to go to Tokyo, every store had different product and they would be proud of that. Now, it seems to be a couple of main retailers leading the way and everyone else following. Hopefully it’s just a cycle and things will come back around.

TDD: Is there anywhere else that you get a sense of excitement from currently?

JG: Actually, the last place I went to where I got excited was Paris. The women’s sneaker game was on-point: how girls were rocking things in cool, different ways was really inspiring.

TDD: It seems like the last five years have seen the rise of the running silhouette. Do you see that trend continuing?

JG: We saw the running shoe thing start to happen before a lot of other people, but to be honest I thought it would probably be over by now. It keeps getting stronger and stronger. Once you wear runners, they’re so comfortable and easy to wear that it’s harder to go back to anything else.

These two colourways, which were originally part of a collection of four, have a lot in common; such as the combination of premium leathers and sumptuous suedes, as well as the creamy off-white midsoles and gum outsoles, but they can be distinguished through their choice of colour, with the monotone uppers coming in a choice of regal blue, whilst the other goes with patriotic red, both of which are contrasting by clean white leather linings. As a finishing touch and a nod to the brand’s heritage, the introduction of the ELITE PACK saw the revival of the winged shoe logo, as seen on the tongue label. Reissues are nothing new, however it is not often we see collaborations rereleased, but maybe this could be the start of a new trend?

The SAUCONY ORIGINALS SHADOW 5000 ELITE PACK REISSUE is set to drop on SATURDAY 9 JANUARY and will be available via the RELEASE PAGE, which you can link to below.


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