A Q+A with Tinman Elite’s Sam Parsons, who led the Adizero Boston 10 TME project.
Q: When did this process start?
A: During quarantine in the spring of 2020, adidas reached about working together on this project. It was such an inspiring and uplifting moment during a pretty dark time for everyone. Designing a shoe is something I’ve always dreamed of doing with adidas, so when I got the call from the head of sports marketing it was truly a dream come true.
Q: How did this process start?
A: I got in contact with Nick Roché and his entire adizero team to learn about the upcoming shoes, and which model would align most with our team from a performance standpoint. After we tested out some early samples of the Boston 10, it became clear that this was the shoe for us. This new Boston is probably the most versatile running shoe adidas has ever made, and we loved that. So, with the model decided on, I started sketching on my iPad, making mood boards, and pulling from some of my inspirations to bring the Tinman Elite Boston to life.
Q: Where did your big inspirations for the shoe come from?
A: I looked at a lot of “gen 1” shoes, and how important they were. The first signature shoe for a team or player in any sport always has the DNA of that person or team reflected in the colorway and materials. I wanted to make sure we captured the TME ethos with the Boston 10. I've always gravitated towards shoes that would look great whether you were training at a high level or headed to your first day of school. I wanted the shoe to be versatile, but empowering no matter what occasion you're lacing them up for. Probably the biggest influence from an actual shoe was the early white/cream/gray colorways like OG Ultraboosts picture below.
Q: What was your favorite part of designing the shoe?
A: Getting to work with Nick Roché. Nick has been a huge mentor for me since my internship with adidas in 2016, he's taught me everything I know about shoes. It was surreal at times going back and forth with him on what we can and cannot do on the shoe and just trying to push the envelope to make something really special together.
The whole process was really cool for me, growing from an intern to a pro athlete working with the lead adizero developer was so cool.
Q: What was the hardest part of the design process?
A: Getting the colors right. Specifically, the metallic gold on the midsole of the shoe. It’s probably the most defining part about the shoe, and getting the right gold was something we really had to work closely with the factories on.
I think we went through four sample rounds, which is a ton for most shoes, because each one takes around two months to get from the production factory to Boulder. Even the smallest tweak or change adds months to the timeline, only for the sample to arrive and still not look right. It was a tricky process, but I love the end result.
Q: Was there anything you did not expect?
A: Well, I didn’t expect to be doing this at all in the first place to be honest. I thought maybe, MAYBE, we’d get to design a shoe after the Paris Olympics in 2024 or something. So the timeline was really exciting and unexpected. I also didn’t expect for the shoe to be released internationally either. It's amazing to me that speciality run stores in Singapore, Australia, India, and Paris are all gonna have the shoe and anyone that has access to adidas.com can hopefully get a pair. So the scale of this launch was certainly unexpected when I first started on the shoe.