Acne Studios releases the N3W Transparent sneaker with sneaker reviewer Brad Hall
A contemporary take on the classic running shoe, the N3W sneaker was launched earlier this year, but Acne Studios now presents the N3W Transparent edition. With completely see-through uppers that clearly display the signature Acne Studios pink insoles, the N3W Transparent sneaker have the same lightweight rubber sole, angular ridges on the mid-sole and lace-up front as the original iteration. They also come with special white socks with black graphics that mimic the bold line accents and eyelet panel of the first N3W.
For the release of the N3W Transparent sneaker, Acne Studios invited the serious sneaker reviewer Brad Hall to give his thoughts with a trademark video review. In his deadpan voice, Brad explores the notion of transparency for a shoe, gives some sock styling tips and elevates his fashion modelling along the way.
“I always think about what’s interesting to me about a shoe. And it’s obvious that this shoe is fully transparent. It’s not a new thing to have a translucent or semi-translucent shoe, but the N3W Transparent sneaker takes this even further. And that was the most interesting thing to me. So [with the video] that’s really what I kind of fixated on, and I wanted to do something to honour and explore that,” says Brad Hall.
Q&A with Brad Hall
What was it like to review Acne Studios sneakers for the first time?
It was definitely a change of pace from what I normally make videos about or review. But I was excited about working with Acne Studios in general because it’s such a departure and I’m always excited to try new things. I thought this was a perfect way to explore something else.
What was your initial reaction when Acne Studios reached out to you?
I felt very honoured that they reached out to me and just to be recognised by someone from a different world from me was very nice. I also thought from what I knew of Acne Studios that it made sense and would be a good fit, mostly aesthetically.
Had you seen any Acne Studios sneakers before?
I actually owned a pair of the Rockaway, but I got them in the wrong size so I don’t have them anymore. When I did have them, I always felt a little bit nervous that I would fall over in them because they’re a little bit higher than normal. They were very chunky, but I like the way they looked a lot.
What were your immediate thoughts when you saw the N3W Transparent sneakers?
Initially, I didn’t put it quite together because I remember they told me it was a transparent sneaker. But at first, they sent me a rendering, like a mock-up of what the N3W Transparent would look like because they didn’t have the actual shoe produced yet. When I got the actual shoe,
you can see the insoles through the transparent upper, and I had thought from the mock-up the insoles would be kind of like a light red, but instead, they’re pink. And I had thought the logo was actually printed on the upper of the actual shoe, like a streak of colour and then the words Acne Studios. So I didn’t fully appreciate how transparent those shoes were really going to be in person. Because they are perfectly transparent. They are very Cinderella, like a modern glass slipper kind of look.
What is the concept or creative idea you’ve developed to reveal the Acne Studios N3W Transparent sneaker?
I always think about what’s interesting to me about a shoe. And it’s obvious that this shoe is fully transparent. It’s not a new thing to have a translucent or semi-translucent shoe, but the N3W Transparent takes this even further. And that was the most interesting thing to me. So that’s really what I kind of fixated on, and I wanted to do something to honour and explore that. What was also fascinating to me was Acne Studios’ packaging of the shoe with a pair of socks that actually looks like the normal colourways of the N3W – the same design elements are on the sock. With the transparent version, I thought it was really interesting how the sock basically creates the look of the shoe so I wanted to do something with that. Because to me, it’s just so cool that you can – depending on what sock you’re wearing – totally transform the way the shoe looks.
As you brilliantly explored in your video. The toes and the flip-flop were especially memorable.
Thank you. That one came out the best. I found it hard to draw on socks. In my mind, they were going to look like the Acne Studios pair, but it was very difficult to colour them in dark enough. But yeah, I was pretty proud of that foot. It definitely looked like a foot.
How would you personally style the Acne Studios N3W Transparent sneaker?
I saw some photos of people wearing the first N3W colourways with socks going up to the knee and I was intrigued by that, but I think it isn’t quite the right look for me. I think the transparent ones go well with a pair of jeans and with things not doing too much to fight with the shoe. I like that look the most.
And we have to ask, would you ever go bare feet in them?
I would give it a shot, I’d be open to it. I would be worried about sweating a lot in them and fogging them up with a bare foot. So I think my preferred method would be wearing a sock that looks like a foot.
In your opinion, what makes an iconic sneaker?
You can’t make an iconic sneaker – it’s impossible to set out and make that, it just kind of has to take on its own life. I think it’s always surprising what ends up becoming an iconic sneaker. I think a lot of the time, it’s not the design on its own, but it’s the story surrounding it that really makes it iconic.
Did growing up in Chicago during the Michael Jordan and the Bulls era influence your love of sneakers?
Yeah, Jordan definitely kicked it off – that was my introduction into that whole world. You would see these shoes and maybe think, “I don’t know if I like them”, but then seeing Michael Jordan playing in them, you just want to be like him. So you ended up wanting those shoes. They grew on you because you got to watch the best player ever playing in them.
What do you personally look for in a sneaker?
There are shoes that I’m just drawn to because of how they look. But I’m also drawn to shoes with a story to tell and not necessarily a whole backstory, but even small, great things like shoes that have some kind of sustainability element or if it’s introducing a new cushioning. I’m interested in just something that feels different and feels noteworthy. Even if I don’t necessarily personally like the look of those shoes, I might be drawn to them because of that different thing.