There are not many 3 word combo’s that get the sneaker community more excited than ‘Sneaker Freak collab’.
Led by Founder and Sneaker Guru Woody, the pioneering Sneaker Freaker team leads the way in sneaker culture in numerous areas and understandably whenever they turn their attentions to a collab the sneaker world stops and takes notice.
Woody’s passion and knowledge of sneakers means that everything he puts his hand, mind and name to is both innovative yet respectful to sneaker culture at the same time and the new Saucony Grid SD ‘Kushwhacker’ is set to blow minds with it’s kushiness plain and simple for all to see.
It’s set to be another huge drop in Sneaker Freaker’s imperious history of collabs, and I’m delighted Woody had time within his hectic schedule to talk about creativity and collabs in the latest IDYSM ‘In Their Shoes’ interview.
IDYSM: So, the Kushwhacker, the latest in a long list of great SF collabs – what’s the story with this one, and where will it sit in the SF collab chronology?
WOODY: Thanks Lester! I think we’ve done a really nice job of putting together something that looks pretty simple but if you look at it closely, the colours are really strange.
It probably shouldn’t work at all – there’s three kinds of purple and beige with asymmetrical blocking on the medial side, which is a classic Sneaker Freaker trademark.
Our previous shoe with Saucony was called the Bushwhacker. It had a camo flavor and loosely referenced the old WWF wrestlers from the 90s.
As always with our collabs, it’s pretty subtle and abstract, this time we called it the Kushwhacker for no good reason at all except for the fact it rhymed with Bushwhacker and the purple toes look dope. (literally) There’s no corny pot leaf logo imprint anywhere, we just had a little fun and kept the name going.
We had planned to release the Kushwhacker on 4/20 but we had a few setbacks and it’ll be ready now June 13.
IDYSM: It’s round 2 for your creative partnership with Saucony, so how does the Kushwhacker differ from the Bushwhacker you dropped 3 years ago?
WOODY: The Kushwhacker is based on the GRID SD model, which is a sleeker design than the GRID 9000 we used for the Bushwhacker. The GRID SD’s toe is nice and sharp with a really fast rake and it just looks so good.
When you put them on, it looks triple fresh. It’s weird how some shoes just look so much better on foot.
IDYSM: What’s the creative process behind an SF collab – where does the concept come from and how do you see if through?
WOODY: The whole process generally takes 12 to 18 months. I might spend ten minutes or ten days on the initial design, producing a few different concepts until I think it’s definitely done right.
I then send over a CAD drawing with all the colours and materials then the brand send back a sample a few months later. Depending on how accurate that is, there may be another sample or two.
Once it’s all signed off, the usual production timeframe is between four and six months. Some of the projects we’ve done have taken longer than three years, which is nuts.
Along the way there’s any number of hurdles from factories burning down to Chinese New Year delays, stores going under, jammed release schedules, manufacturing fuckups and whatnot.
I’m not sure kids realize it but we’re not really in control of the situation. It can lead to some hazardous highjinks.
IDYSM: Sneaker Freaker’s been involved with some amazing projects in 2015, what does the rest of the year have in store for you?
WOODY: We’re currently working on three different books, plus we have a few more sneaker collabs due to come out this year and a really amazing project in November that is going to blow some minds.
I’ve been doing this for a long time now and it has always been a lot of hard work but it’s never been stale for a second. I just keep plugging away trying to make good things happen. We seem to do alright.
IDYSM: The signature question to end all these interviews is always the same so brace yourself…what’s on your feet right now?
WOODY: Today I’m wearing a pair of adidas Forum lowtops in python snakeskin from about 2005. Killer shoe! I just had a massive clean out when we moved office recently and I found a bunch of old stuff. Some crap, some gems. These are definitely the latter.