by John Schrup
The other day, or October, I wrote about the soon-to-be-discontinued adidas Rocket. I wrote about how I loved the shoe for all that it was and wasn’t—that it, like all the other Rogue favorites, was simple, functional, and…simple. And when I say that I loved the shoes, I mean, like, really loved them. If it were socially acceptable, I would have taken them to Uchi and shared the foie nigiri with them. I would have picked up some lilies from the Central Market for my Rockets when I was buying some prepared dinners for us to eat while watching LMN. I would have blindfolded them and fed them various fruit and chocolate as foreplay. It was probably a little inappropriate, that relationship.
I also mentioned that my beloved Rocket soon would be replaced by the flashy Hagio, and that I was a bit worried about what might happen with that relationship. Katie at adidas was, as usual, totally rad and seeded a few of us lucky Rogues with the new model in the hope that we would spread the Hagio love.
My boss, Chris, instantly fell in love with his new kicks, though what I know about Chris tells me that it was more of a philial love. My initial experience with them was more like the first couple dates you go on after a long term relationship has ended and you know you like the new person, but keep comparing everything about them to your last partner and then go home and listen to Jeff Buckley on repeat. Kinda like that, except shoes. Honestly, I just wasn’t sure. In a conversation with other Rocket-lovers, Adam flat out said he wasn’t into them and was going to call off the relationship in a text as soon as his closet was emptied of back up Rockets, and Katie was in search of something familiar, but different. I was on the fence, but I trusted what Chris said so I kept on with the Hagio. We’d go for little jogs around the new neighborhood—casual dating—or I’d wear them to the playground with my sons, which is kinda like going on a group date, except shoes.
I think the change that bugged me the most was that the upper, which was contemporarily flashy and lacking the cool retro thing, looked really baggy on my foot. (The shoe’s aesthetic, it should be noted, was taken from a very popular current adidas futbol shoe. That in itself is a form of blasphemy, because we all know that the only futbol shoe is the Copa Mundial. And it futbol and not soccer, because that’s what, you know, assholes call it.) The new welded overlays, which is a little bit like an iron-on, adidas calls Sprint Web, are much lighter and more flexible than the old fabric overlays. They function well, which is to say that the foot is held to the midsole in a snug and comfortable way. But those new overlays do make the upper appear not to fit well. They do, fortunately, and when all is said and done, form must follow function.
The other obvious difference between the new Hagio and the extinct Rocket was the outsole. The midsole is still the wonderfully responsive, low profile, 6mm heel to toe offset, but the new outsole took a bit to get used to. Whereas my old love sported a full rubber outsole, protective and responsive, the Hagio have a lighter weight outsole not unlike another Japanese designed shoe, the almost-perfect ASICS Tarther, which were discontinued in the US by ASICS in a fit of dickheadedness. The outsole is lighter, and traction is better, but it is a harder rubber, and the nubs under the forefoot make a distinct slapping sound when they hit the pavement. But after a few weeks, as the shoe begins to soften up a bit, the slap diminishes and I really only notice it now when I moving at slower speeds.
adidas was one of the first, if not the first to introduce the midfoot support trusses that became the norm—and still are—for more than 20 years. The Hagio have it too, and it is completely unnecessary. I cut it out of most of my shoes, if they have one, and the ride is instantly smoother. It might be one of those cases in which if it ain’t necessary to have, then it is necessary not to have it.
But now, after having spent some time together, I see that Hagio and I will get on well. It seems that some of the folk at the Thunderbird on Koenig dig the looks, because a couple obviously stoned high school kids asked me about them. Hagio and me, well, we’ve been spending more time together, and we are really enjoying each other. We’re gonna go on a run here in a bit, and if it goes well, we might go again later in the day. Our first double. It’s kinda like when you are really good friends with someone for a long time and then discover after a while that you totally can’t live without each other, except shoes.