Future’s New Shoe Finally Brings Knitwear To The Reebok Line

Getty Image / Reebok

LONDON – Though Future has been insanely busy releasing two back to back No. 1 albums, he still made time in his schedule right after the release of HNDRXX to head over to London and help Reebok launch their newest shoe, the Zoku Runner last week.

Since their partnership was announced last July, the Zoku Runner marks Future’s second shoe launch with Reebok, following up the release of the Instapump Fury Overbranded last October, and before that, his Freebandz capsule collection with the brand.

For the Zoku, Future performed at a special Reebok event for London fans at the Village Underground to coincide with the shoe launch on March 2. Currently, the trainer is available in stores and online in seven different colorways, but as Future fans know, there’s always a backstory when it comes to his collaborations.

There’s much more to this new knitted shoe than what you see at first glance.

The Zoku Runner is the first time Reebok has done an upper knit style trainer, and it’s a big step forward for the brand, who have always been heralded for their classic throwback looks. Instead of going vintage, the Zoku is cutting edge, and aligns perfectly with Future’s own forward-thinking aesthetic. According to Sarah St. George, the Global Brand Communications Manager for Reeboks Classic, for this model in particular, partnering with the Atlanta rapper was a no-brainer.

“He is a good fit for this shoe, and for Reebok in general, because he is very forward-thinking,” St. George explained. “His name is literally Future, and he’s very fashionable and very ahead of the curve. But he’s still is true to himself and true to his roots just like we are, and that’s why we brought him on for our contemporary shoes and for Zoku, to help us represent this shoe. He’s very much in demand and he’s a very good partner for us when it comes to contemporary models, because that’s what he is, very fashionable and very contemporary.”
Zoku is a Japanese word that means “to be continued” or “always in motion.” Like many Japanese words, it has several meanings, another of which is “subcultures,” which also helps symbolize the way Reeboks have made their way into unlikely or unexpected places.

“The people that do wear Reebok, they’re aren’t traditionalists,” St. George says. “They aren’t your mainstream people sometimes. You get a lot of people who are super fans. And we have shoes like the workout shoes that wer taken into the skating community in the ‘90s. It wasn’t a skating shoes, it was a workout shoe, but you get kids that are from subcultures, and they take things in and make it into their own. So we really liked that Zoku also meant subcultures.”


Zoku uses Reebok’s ultraknit technology, so it’s a little bit denser of a weave than is traditionally seen on a knitted upper. The density helps the shoe keep its shape, and allows the colors to pop, as you can see on one of the colorways pictured above, the Womens Classic in grey and pink. Though the pink is just the slightest accent, its hue comes through clearly on the knitted fabric.

Another benefit of knitted shoes is they are more environmentally friendly than leather or nylon counterparts, there’s no scraps leftover, every bit of material is pre-planned and used in the production.

Though it is a contemporary model for Reebok, the Zoku still manages to incorporate several throwback elements that honor the brand’s long history. On the side, notice the Vector from their 1979 Aztec Runner, within that, there’s the the window box branding from their 1983 Classic Leather, and on the back, the heel counter from the 1991 Dual Pump Runner helps the knitted shoe keep its shape.

Even with the DMX foam technology on the bottom and the heel counter, these trainers aren’t really suited for running — use them after a workout for comfort, when you need something to quickly slip on, or when you’re merely lounging around the house listening to Future.