The terrazzo cubes in the new Soulfoot Studio Sneaker Store are the first indication that this is no regular trainer shop. The seemingly normal composite is actually covered with an unexpected material: the high-tech Adidas Boost. Created five years ago by BASF, the foam is made up of hundreds of energy nuggets transformed into a squishy thermoplastic polyurethane, and is usually placed in the (now) easily recognizable midsole of their special running shoes. For Adidas, it was the little foam that could: beyond the visual appeal of the Stan Smiths and the Yeezys, it was the brand’s decidedly strong foray into R&D that more than tripled its share in the famously swooshy US market – let’s call it the Boost boost.
So, when Studio DLF conceived those custom seats for the Soulfoot flagship store in Constance, the message couldn’t have been clearer: the way to sell sneakers today is by seamlessly combining beauty and tech.
That’s exactly what Daniele Luciano Ferrazzano and his team did in the rest of the shop: along with the semi-transparent glass stairs and the pulsing linear lights on the ceiling are the RFID scan stations that allow customers to know more about each model, from the asics to the Reeboks, and confirm stock. The large one on the ground floor features a set of integrated screens with an upper surface made of spy mirror that only becomes transparent when illuminated from the inside when a sneaker is scanned. And more importantly for the introverts who want to shop for kicks in peace, the table functions as a point of sale – thanks to the easy try-on process associated with sneaker stores, physical shopping for introverts is finally getting the focus it deserves.
The fitting rooms, by the way, are inspired by basketball lockers, with shoes on display as part of a scenery hooped together with balls and light spheres. But tellingly, there’s no jazzy tech in that: sheer beauty still has a place of honour in the retail process, no matter the audience.