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Reebok Returns to Its ‘Tech Style’ Roots with Zig Kinetica Concept_Type 1

Looking back to the ’80s and ’90s, Reebok was known primarily for two things: performance and style.

These days, the brand has branched out into a lifestyle and athleisure direction like many of its peers, signing lucrative deals with entertainers like Cardi B to promote its products as fun, retro and athletic-inspired sneakers and apparel.

However, with the upcoming relaunch of the Zig Kinetica line, beginning with the $180 Concept_Type 1, Reebok is fully embracing its technical past—with a twist.

The Zig Kinetica family will be the first release out of the athletic brand’s new department “Tech Style,” a branch dedicated to blending Reebok’s’s athletic roots with fresh, style-forward personality.

Right off the bat, one of the department’s most important tasks is to inform its target demographic, which skews younger, of the brand’s performance footwear history while keeping their attention with eye-catching designs, Greg Korbas, global product manager for Tech Style at Reebok, said.

For example, even though the first Zig product debuted back in 2010, Korbas said that most of Reebok’s target consumers have little to no knowledge of the line.

“Our whole thing was this intersection of technical innovation and then more of a style-first [approach]. So, everything coming out of our category is going to end up being a little bit more forward-facing, pushing the idea in the consumer’s mind of what Reebok stands for,” Korbas told Sourcing Journal.

“With our history, back in the ’90s, that was kind of what we represented, this juxtaposition of technical innovation and a disruptive point of view on style. Tech Style as a category is new, it’s a new name, a new word probably out there for a lot of people,” he added. “But as we get a few seasons under our belt, it’s going to completely change the point of view, from a design standpoint and a style standpoint, for Reebok.”

Reebok Blends Performance and Style with Zig Kinetica Concept_Type 1
The Zig Kinetica Concept_Type 1 features the three-pronged “Zig” energy system to provide maximum rebound. Reebok

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The technical heart of the series is the Zig energy system, which focuses on rebound properties. Korbas explained that the system is composed of three separate elements, each powerful in their own right but much more than the sum of their parts when combined.

The design is built on the Floatride Fuel foam found in the sole of the Zig Concept_Type 1, which Korbas is nothing new to Reebok but that the brand’s Advanced Concepts team was able to further reduce the foam’s density while providing even more energy return than before to create an upgraded version of the old material.

Surrounding the Floatride Fuel system is the Energy Shell, another layer of foam designed to absorb and reverberate the energy that is dispersed into the Floatride foam. The final component, the Energy Web, sits within those layers of foam and provides a “spring-like” burst of energy to propel the wearer’s next movement.

“The Advanced Concepts team worked through a number of trials to find the right balance that we were going for—and the durability,” Korbas said of the Energy Web system. “Think of a rubber band, it basically stretches and snaps back. So as you move through your stride, it bends in certain areas where there are grooves in the shape of the foam. That energy, when it stretches, it returns that energy right back to you.”

Reebok said the Zig line would start with the Concept_Type 1 release targeting an “elevated fashion consumer,” selling for $180 at retail. However, new Zig Kinetica releases are planned to be closer to mainstream sneaker prices, likely in the $120 range by 2020, the brand said.

“Zig is going to be a big, big, big, number one priority story for us in 2020,” Korbas concluded. “We have a few other things coming up our sleeves, so we’re not done yet.”

The Zig Kinetica Concept_Type 1 will drop on Nov. 8 on Reebok’s website and through select retail partners.