Back in December 2015, adidas Originals took the sneaker world completely by storm, with the then newly announced NMD. Considered by many to be a future classic, the shoe made use of a full Primeknit upper, and sat atop a full length Boost midsole, which was made popular by the Ultra Boost that dropped a few months prior.
Without a doubt, the NMD was an instant hit. Sneakerheads around the world absolutely adored the understated yet radical aesthetic, and the multi-coloured Lego blocks around the midsole gave it a sense of humour that sneakers were simply lacking back then. Soon thereafter, the Three Stripes released five more versions of the Nomad, however, only one of these would stand the test of time.
Unveiled in July 2016, the NMD Human Race - or NMD Hu, for short - was made in collaboration with Pharrell Williams himself. Embroidered with "HUMAN RACE"; across the upper, the 'Yellow' was the first colourway to release, and to this day, it is by far one of the most coveted shades, with an average market value of around £1,250.
The biggest difference between the NMD Hu and any of the other Nomad version was the innovative lacing system. Like the CS1, the Hu featured a sock-like design, however, a cage attached to the midsole allowed wearers to essentially stitch the sneaker together, offering a tighter or more relaxed fit. To no one's surprise, the 'Yellow' sold out instantly, and was followed by several other highly lusted over colourways.
Sneakerheads had to wait over a year for more colourways of the coveted NMD Hu. On November 2017, Pharrell unveiled a brand new pack, updating the sneakers with new messages, and a sweet new outsole. Aptly dubbed the 'Trail' pack, the drop comprised of the 'Multicolor', 'Pale Nude', 'Sun Glow', and of course, the most popular shade of them all, the 'Oreo'. This release was inspired by mountain climbing, and was accompanied by a range of colourful apparel, ranging from jackets to track pants, all painted in the sneakers' vibrant colour schemes.
Around the same time, Mr Williams linked up with Billionaire Boys Club - a streetwear label that he founded in 2005 with BAPE's Nigo. Dubbed 'Cotton Candy', the BBC NMD Hu was adorned with "CUERPO TERRE"; on the vamps, which literally translated to 'EARTH' and 'BODY'. This Nomad became the most limited Human Race of the time… until a few days later.
To celebrate the legacy of Colette, Pharrell teamed up with French luxury fashion house Chanel for a collaborative NMD Hu that would capture the world's attention. Available from just one store, the Chanel Human Race retailed at £1,000, and was limited to just five hundred pairs globally. Of course, the coveted shoe sold out instantaneously, and its market value shot up to £10,000 immediately, making it the most expensive NMD Hu ever made - we can't say we're surprised though.
Following all this NMD Hu hype, Skateboard P went quiet for a few months, until the end of February 2018, when he introduced an entirely new pack of Nomads. Inspired by Holi, a day in Hindu traditions when good vibes and bright colours literally overpower the physical plane, the 'Blank Canvas' was unveiled and it was truly a sight to behold. Made to be customised, this clean sneaker was followed by three other colourways, including 'Black', 'Coral' and 'Pink Glow'. Not only where they unique, they were also pretty understated, meaning sneakerheads could rock them with ease.
While the 'Holi' pack focused more on India, Pharrell moved across to East Asia for his next release with the 'China Exclusive' pack. As its name suggests, this drop was made just for China, and was unveiled in May. Comprising of three colourways, including 'Blue', 'Green', and 'Red', a 'Gold' pair also released, however, it was made just for friends and family. That being said, you can cop it if you have around £5,000 to spare. Each pair was embroidered with 'PASSION', 'YOUTH', 'PEACE', and 'HAPPY' respectively, with the Simplified Chinese translation adorning the other shoe.
After releasing the 'China Exclusive' pack, Skateboard P looked 6,000 miles away for his next inspiration, creating the 'SOLARHU' pack. Inspired by the raw spirit and style of East Africa, they were made available in September 2018. Featuring graphics inspired by the ancient art of reflexology, the 'SOLARHU' pack were certainly not as popular as every other colourway due to its extremely unique design. That being said, the colourways were still fire, and the ethos behind the NMD Hu was retained for this drop. The famed Trail outsole was updated for this release, and a ton of extra design elements were implemented, including a multi coloured collar and a white box that surrounded the embroidered text.
So, what should we expect from future Pharrell Williams x adidas Original NMD Hu releases? Only time will tell, but it's clear that the collaboration will go down in the history books as one of the hottest sneaker partnerships of all time. The perfect balance between form and function, the NMD Hu has always celebrated the best of humanity, and this won't be changing anytime soon.