adidas ClimaCool Makes A Return

For many, the early 2000s was a time of rapid modernisation without the cheesy retrofuturistic undertones that defined design in the ‘80s and 90s. Design was made for the present era, not a far-reaching concept of the future. This pragmatic mentality applied loudly to the world of footwear.

With extensive emphasis on cushioning technology over the previous three decades, adidas exhaled a sigh of fresh air in footwear design with the adidas ClimaCool. By making almost every single panel on the upper of the shoe from a multi-layered 'sandwich' mesh and vented TPU windows, ClimaCool's breathable ideology then integrated itself into the rest of the shoe. The underside of the midsole and outsole is hollowed out extensively for a seamless transition into the perforated innersole, rounding out the 360° of ventilation that ClimaCool came to spruik.

adidas ClimaCool was introduced to the world in March 2002, over 15 years ago. Some may remember the tagline accompanying the breathable shoes during its extensive advertising campaign: 'Feel The Breeze.' Early TV spots blew up in a variety of whooshing and wind sound bites, plus cameo appearances by athletes on adidas’ roster – including Ian Thorpe, footballer Joe Cole and perhaps more famously, Anna Kournikova.

adidas climacool athletes

Attention spans were much longer back then, so marketing for the ClimaCool extended well into the year. And the timing could not be better punctuated than by the 2002 FIFA World Cup, exposing millions to the brand new ClimaCool. adidas, the official equipment supplier of the World Cup, teamed up with major sponsor Coca-Cola to produce a highly limited red colourway of the ClimaCool featuring the soft-drink company’s branding, further bolstering the shoe’s presence on the world stage.

Unlike other various footwear concepts that barely survived the dawn of the new millennium, ClimaCool continues expanding its influence into contemporary adidas silhouettes. The concept of breathability being a structural component of upper design is a precursor to current Adidas technologies, namely Primeknit, but has found its way extensively into clothing and accessories too.

adidas Climacool vintage

Another milestone technology introduced with the ClimaCool was adiPRENE®, also still in use today. The lightweight cushioning inserts integrated in the heel and forefoot of the midsole for impact protection and a more efficient stride. This technology trickled into non-athletic footwear too, and currently plays second fiddle to the flagship BOOST midsole system, however it is still the preferred choice for the serious adidas athlete.

The ClimaCool in its first incarnation was a resounding success for adidas, with the annual company report listing over 1 million pairs sold in 2002. With this upcoming round of retro ClimaCool – now named Clima Cool 1, due to release in street-ready colourways, numbers will be much more limited.

Feel the breeze again this Thursday 18th May, when the original ClimaCool flies in on selected Hype DC shelves and online.


adidas Climacool 1