The NMD made a relatively low-key debut in New York City with a special launch event back on December 9, 2015. Building on the unparalleled success of the UltraBOOST, the new adidas design — helmed by adi’s Nike Air Pegasus 83 Femme VP of Global Design, Nic Galway — managed to take the German sportswear giant’s flagship Primeknit and BOOST technologies, and pair them with design cues from Three Stripes classics like the Boston Super, Rising Star, and Micropacer. The resulting creation was the perfect blend of the old and the new, and a relative oddity compared to some of the most popular kicks of the past decade. Heritage-inspired without being a derivative rehash, the NMD is a design-driven triumph in an era where celebrity endorsements, influencer co-signs, and limited-edition collaborations are paramount to a shoe’s success. You’d be hard pressed Nike Air Max 95 Femme to find any new silhouette from the past few years that can compete with the NMD’s ‘instant classic’ status.
Fast forward to 2018 and adidas have clearly gone all-in on the NMD, building upon the success of countless Nike Air Max Thea Femme sold-out drops with new variations on the midsole-plugged OG. Whether it be a laceless mid-top or a Pharrell-designed variant fit for the trail, NMD has seen it all and shows no sign of letting up.
With the second wave of the NMD on the horizon, we take a look back at the variations on the BOOST-cushioned silhouette since its 2015 debut.
This one started it all. Unveiled on December 9, 2015 before launching a few days later, the original Primeknit-constructed NMD_R1 laid the groundwork for all of the releases that have followed. Coupling an all-black Primeknit upper with a white BOOST midsole, black rubber Nike Air Max 95 Dámské outsole, and red and blue midsole plugs, the kicks offered enough tech to be a runner’s go-to, but were also understated enough for everyday casual wear. As Nic Galway put it to us in 2016, ‘We built it for a lifestyle rather Nike Air Max 95 Femme than for a look. People wear it many different ways, and not necessarily how we would have expected.’
To coincide with the debut, adidas produced a special ‘Friends and Family’ version of the design that featured a combination of black and grey throughout the knit upper. The uber-limited pair would ultimately set the stage for the ‘Camo’ NMDs that followed in 2016, as well as the coveted ‘Pitch Black’ F&F colourway, which was limited to just 500 pairs — 100 of which were given away via Snapchat — and commanded upwards of $5,000 USD on the resale market.
In addition to the Primeknit versions of the design, Adidas Stan Smith Mujer adidas launched a mesh version as a Foot Locker exclusive that same day. All in all, the three pairs set the stage for the countless R1s to follow, including collaborations with the likes of Nice Kicks, BAPE, Overkill, Hender Scheme, Adidas Superstar Damen and Sneakersnstuff.
The Three Stripes played off of the NMD’s success as a casual shoe for its first variation from the original design. Dubbed the NMD_C1, a chukka-style mid-top debuted in March 2016. The design retained the signature sole of the OG, but overhauled the upper entirely, swapping it out for suede and a higher cut. The result was one part desert boot, one part NMD.
Joining the NMD_C1 in March 2016 was the NMD_CS1, or City Sock. The kicks were the perfect mid-top alternative to their more buttoned-up Chukka counterpart, and arguably kicked off the current trend of sock-style sneakers thanks to its slip-on Primeknit upper. White Mountaineering and UNITED ARROWS both put their own spins on the design following its debut, while adi itself eventually gave the kicks a Gore-Tex assist to combat the elements — something Adidas Ultra Boost Dámské the Herzo crew would also do with a number of future NMD releases.