Unlike a lot of his hype-chasing competitors, when Engineered Garments founder Daiki Suzuki decides to collaborate with another brand, it’s almost never a one-off. Season after season, year after year, a handful of labels like Vans, Adidas, and Uniqlo get blessed with a healthy dose of Suzuki’s slightly-off-kilter vision. One of the more recent joinees to the EG Illuminati is also among the most obscure: Hoka One One, the decade-old Californian performance running specialists behind some of the chunkiest, comfiest, race-readiest kicks in the game.
Suzuki, an accomplished (but now-retired) marathoner in his own right, was first turned on to Hokas by a running friend back in 2015. “Hoka is still a very young footwear company,” Suzuki told GQ via email, “but with such a strong vision for its products.” He became obsessed with the brand’s unusual designs and cloud-like cushioning, and immediately put them in an Engineered Garments lookbook, before connecting more officially last spring.
This time out—their third collaboration overall—Suzuki turned his attention to Hoka’s very first road model, the Bondi B. By 2019 standards, after years of Balenciaga and Versace ballooning their soles to Godzilla-scale proportions in the designer sneaker arms race, the bottom-heavy Bondi B looks downright normal. But when the shoe first launched in 2011, it was a total anomaly in a running market dominated by barely-there Nike Frees and Vibram FiveFingers. Suzuki’s three takes are meant to both accentuate and downplay that stockiness: two of the colorways are ultra-minimalist white and black; the other is the totally bonkers, mismatched, primary color explosion you see here. “EG’s design philosophy is to either go all-out crazy or stay simple and solid,” he explained. “So [here], we did both.”
In either case, the flips help to translate the Bondi’s technical-minded silhouette into something that’ll look tight off the pavement with jeans or tweedy trousers or hardy fatigues. It’s a way for Suzuki to bring a taste of his former marathoning life into his day-to-day wardrobe—and to let current runners add a little extra sauce to their race-day fits. And with a massive Hoka catalog at Suzuki’s fingertips, you’ll likely have plenty of chances now and in the future to do the same. “Trail running shoes and road shoes, hiking shoes and recovery shoes—there are so many revolutionary designs that I want to work with.”
Originally Appeared on GQ