When Quavo belted out “Raf Simons! All kinds of crazy colors!” in his guest verse on A$AP Rocky’s 2017 hit titled “RAF”, he was not talking about men’s suiting. He was talking about adidas Raf Simons sneakers.
Quavo isn’t the only musician to name-check Raf adidas in their music. From Playboi Carti to Future to Wale, the love for Raf Simons’ collaborative efforts with adidas is expressed throughout pop culture. Today, the Simons name is synonymous with luxury sneakers. But while the name may be widely known, the history of the designer and his collaborative relationship with adidas may be a little less familiar. We put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide to better inform that next purchase of Raf adidas.
Who Is Raf Simons?
Raf Simons is a Belgian fashion designer who has built a reputation off of his youth-centric aesthetic and sophisticated interpretation of visual art through apparel. Since 1995, his graphic and pattern-heavy menswear collections were some of the first to integrate streetwear themes into luxury fashion shows, breaking down barriers for future generations of designers. The success of his self-titled Raf Simons label led to creative direction stints at Jil Sander, Dior, and Calvin Klein. And now, Simons is currently the co-creative director at Prada.
History of adidas Raf Simons
The adidas Raf Simons collaboration debuted at Paris Fashion Week, as part of the Raf Simons Fall / Winter 2013 show. Four silhouettes were featured in the collection: the Ozweego 1, Ozweego 2, Terrex, and Response Trail 1. Each design was inspired by various running and hiking sneakers from the 1990s adidas archive but executed with a futurist approach. Holographic panels, bulky layered mesh, and exterior piping on the upper sent these reinvigorated adidas silhouettes to a new time period. The avant-garde feel captured the imagination of the fashion community and ignited a trend of chunky high-end sneakers.
In the following year, the adidas Raf collection gained mainstream appeal with the help of the Stan Smith. Simons presented a new iteration of the adidas Stan Smith alongside a monumental collaboration with artist Sterling Ruby. The vibrant, bleach-splattered looks sent shockwaves through the fashion industry, but for the casual sneaker fan, the Stans stole the show. Unlike sneakers in the first few collections, the Raf Simons Stan Smith was less intimidating to style and familiar. Compared to normal Stans, the main points of difference were in subtle detailing. Simons’ Stan Smith featured a perforated “R” on both sides of the upper, replacing the traditional three-stripes perforations. In addition, an illustrated portrait of Raf Simons replaced the portrait of Stan Smith, which is traditionally present on the tongue label.
The Raf Simons Fall / Winter 2014 collection also brought back the Ozweego 2. With outlandish features and color palettes, its look could be perceived by some as intimidating when it first released. But in time, it became clear that Raf was just ahead of the industry. Every high-end label was manufacturing its own chunky runner by 2015 (most notably the Balenciaga Triple S), and the Ozweego became one of the most popular luxury sneakers for a stretch of time. Together, Raf Simons Stan Smiths and Ozweegos are the most notable silhouettes in the adidas Raf Simons collection. They have released in some capacity every season from 2014 to 2019, slowly evolving in their construction over time.
While it is unclear if the collaborative partnership between the two has ended, Simons launched an in-house line of sneakers named (RUNNER) in late 2019 and it seems to have replaced the adidas sneakers in his collections.
How Much Do adidas Raf Simons Cost?
Being that adidas Raf Simons is a designer collaboration, retail prices are higher than what your typical adidas shoes would go for. The average retail price ranges from $130 for a pair of Slides ($95 more than a general release pair), to $550 for a pair of Ozweegos ($440 more than a general release pair). But on the secondary market, the majority of adidas Raf Simons sneakers actually sell for below retail. Of course, there are exceptions: highly coveted releases like the adidas Raf Simons Stan Ozweego can sell for as much as 2x retail. But in most cases, resale prices can fall deep into bargain territory. You can grab a pair of adidas Raf Simons for as low as $37 in silhouettes like the adidas Spirit Low Raf Simons. That’s cheaper than a pair of non-collaboration Stan Smiths!
How Do adidas Raf Simons Fit Into Your Wardrobe?
The adidas Raf Simons collection has options for shoppers of all tastes. The bright color palettes and abstract design of the adidas Raf Simons Ozweego or Detroit Runner might be a good option if you are an adventurous shopper who prefers footwear to be the focal point of their outfit. For those who are more reserved, the Raf Simons Stan Smith is a subtle flex that doesn’t stray too far away from the norm, but still carries some zest in its details.
The adidas Raf Simons collection is historic. It ushered in one of the biggest luxury sneaker trends of the past decade and helped bridge the divide between high-end and low-end. With Raf adidas more affordable now than ever before, our data suggests that if you’ve ever wanted to own a piece of history, now is the perfect time to buy them at a bargain.