Thirty-seven years since its 1984 debut, the Adidas Forum remains one of the brand's most iconic sneakers, and if there was a sneaker hall of fame, it would surely be enshrined.
Thanks to its versatility in both low and high adaptions, classic leather construction and its allure among both novice and seasoned sneakerheads, the Forum is a bonafide cult favorite and the perfect vehicle for self-expression.
To further delve into the Forum's rich history, Foot Locker and Adidas partnered with multiple creatives for a Forum Fridays platform. This exclusive, episodic series allows artists to discuss the shoe's impact, the future of streetwear, love of basketball and more.
It's impossible to categorize Beija Velez's talents. A former athlete, current model, consultant and music curator, her journey to cultural significance can be literally attributed to the Forum trainer.
"Basketball is built in my DNA," Velez told Yahoo Sports. "So, to have a brand like Foot Locker witness me and have this alignment with a basketball shoe and storytelling is just the perfect collaboration."
You could say Velez's love of footwear and her influence in the industry has come full circle. Prior to inking partnerships at Three Stripes, she was working at Champs Sports, which is a part of the Foot Locker family.
"I remember some of my friends from high school and college would see me at Champs. They would ask, 'What are you doing here?' But, I just really wanted to be hands-on and see what consumers were demanding because if I could apply that business knowledge to my future endeavors, it would have that ripple effect and elevate my brand.
"I remember being in the stock room and having boxes of shoes constantly falling on my face and feeling lost in my path," the 25-year-old continued. "But, it feels very clear now that it was a part of my story."
What makes the Forum so functional is its ability to perfectly transition from the hardwood to the street. A quick glance through Velez's Instagram presents an elevated streetwear uniform with monochromatic styling, but the Forum can also be paired with your team's favorite jersey or dressed up with a dress or suit.
"I just really love how the design perspective can take a lot of different approached with the stylistic vibe."
Making the sneaker industry more diverse
Though women are slowly making a mark in the sneaker market, the industry continues to be saturated with male voices. The notion that women can't take a liking to footwear is ludicrous, as some are the faces behind the designs of popular drops, and others have literally started campaigns for more inclusive sizing. When asked what brands can do to erase that stereotype, Velez said it all begins with more women and especially women of color and members of the LGBTQ community as decision-makers.
"It's a new day and age so it's like, let's have everyone up in here turning it up! Like, we know what needs to be done and if the product is directed toward a certain audience, we need that proper representation so that it's genuine."
Someone's connection to a product is essential. In fact, having a silhouette or colorway that's both attractive and timeless furthermore contributes to a shoe's prolonged success. Said colorway, however, shouldn't be pink for women or blue for men.
"At the end of the day, representation matters. I've been on both sides of the sneaker market, so I understand things from a consumer and now influencer. I want to help brands tap into their potential of making it easier for buyers to cop their favorite pairs and also design things that will resonate with all age groups and genders. We're definitely shifting to a time where these companies are listening and I'm excited to be in the middle of that."
To have a shoe that fits those aforementioned qualifications while also being generally easy to obtain and afford is in large part the reason why the Adidas Forum will remain in style for another 37 years. Thanks to the likes of Beija Velez, inclusion and diversity will no longer be demanded, but the norm.
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