When Adidas and Kid Cudi dropped the first sneaker of their official partnership last month, it was a bit of a head-scratcher (in a good way). Rather than create a new silhouette or apply Cudi’s eye for the zany to a classic Three Stripes sneaker, they reached into the brand’s archives to reissue an old-school basketball sneaker made famous by Grant Hill and slacker movie icons Bill & Ted. A welcome surprise? Absolutely. Still, it was a strange start to a partnership as high-profile as this. Adidas collaborators tend to start their partnerships off with a bang, often reimagining classic silhouettes like the Samba, or swinging for the fences with new, inventive silhouettes. Didn’t a fashion trail-blazer like Cudi deserve something a little more…Cudi?
As it turns out, the Artillery Hi was something of a soft launch, with Cudi’s newly revealed mainstage adidas debut actually drawing direct influence from that silhouette—among other things. Called the Vadawam 326, the sneaker will be dropping later this month. Cudi crafted the shoe as a tribute to his daughter Vada, who was born in 2010. The 326 in the shoe’s name, which is also printed across its ankle flaps, is a nod to her birthday (and to a portrait tattoo of Vada Cudi has on his neck).
Where the Artillery Hi marked Cudi and Adidas looking to the past, the Vadawam 326 has its feet firmly planted in the future. It’s the weird, fashion-forward silhouette you’d expect from a partnership between the guy behind the Man on the Moon records and a brand that has found unprecedented success over the last several years by trusting the eccentric vision of another rap superstar.
The mid-cut sneaker features a chunky, moon boot-esque design anchored by three off-center velcro straps across the lacing. The upper alternates between smooth and marbled leather as well as patches of suede and features erratic panel blocking, creating a rich array of texture from top to bottom. The outer side of each heel features an unmistakably Cudi touch in the form of ridges that seem to resemble ventilation panels—a clear nod to NASA and spacesuit design.
That said, the collaboration still has—*ahem*—one foot in the past. It’s no mistake that Cudi’s collaboration withAdidas started with a retro of an old-school basketball silhouette. The Vadawam draws just as much from space-race design as it does from hoop kicks with high uppers, chunky padding, and thick tongues. There are even two direct nods to the Torsion Artillery Hi on the shoe: a Torsion bar in the sole and an off-center Adidas Trefoil logo on each tongue, roughly identical to the ones on the Artillery Hi. It’s all drawn together with the official Kid Cudi x Adidas logo, featuring (of course) the moon, embossed on the heel.
The Vadawam 326 is dropping in two colorways to start, with more almost certainly on the way. The “Core White” is composed of creamy whites offset by brown and tan patches while “Core Black” features blacks, slates, and purple-hued greys as well as some subtle solar pink detailing.
From producing horror mastermind Ti West’s next film to putting in work as an actor in Westworld, We Are Who We Are, and Bill & Ted Face The Music (and finally dropping a third Man on the Moon album earlier this week after a decade of anticipation), it’s been a banner year for Kid Cudi. He seems to have spent it making every effort to remind us that there’s no point in trying to put him in any sort of box. The guy does it all—and add sneaker design to that list.
The adidas x Kid Cudi Vadawam 326 is available via the CONFIRMED app and Foot Locker on December 17th.