Overkill’s adidas ZX 8500 Is a Neon-decked Nod To Graffiti Culture

adidas Originals’ A-ZX series continues with the release of the ZX 8500 designed in collaboration with Berlin retailer Overkill. The sneaker is a brand new hybrid design and will prelaunch exclusively at Overkill on April 9, before a wider release on April 30.

The newest addition to the coveted ZX franchise, the ZX 8500 is a bold hybrid of ZX ‘000 models, and takes the ZX 8000 silhouette as its base and adding the lace ghillies from the ZX 5000 and overlays from the ZX 9000.

The dedication of the letter “O” to the Berlin retailer comes as little surprise considering founder Marc Leuschner’s known love of the adidas ZX franchise, and the fact that the store is one of just five retailers offering the celebrated series since it kicked off in August. The German duo has collaborated a number of times before, but this release carries particular weight as it is a celebration of Overkill’s origins and journey.

Overkill started out as a graffiti magazine in 1992 and continues to be a destination for graffiti artists in the German capital, as well as being one of the city’s foremost sneaker stores. The vibrant colorway is an ode to its roots in graffiti culture and fittingly the sneaker comes with a removable shoe cover to protect them while spraying. Other notable features include “Overkill” embroidery on the toe, “OK” tags on the tongue, and a spray can warning symbol on the heel.

We caught up with Marc to talk more about the collab, the significance of the A-ZX series, and the crossover between graffiti and sneaker culture.

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Marc, you’re known for being a big ZX fan. What is it about the line that resonates with you?

The special thing about the A-ZX series is the diverse range of international collab partners – from sneaker shops to brands and media partners. An important aspect is the breadth of design and material options that were made possible and this time some interesting hybrid models were even created. The opportunity to have so much freedom on such a varied design is rare.

Why was it important for Overkill to be a part of the A-ZX series?

We see ourselves as the most authentic account when it comes to the “know-how” around the adidas ZX series (which is no secret worldwide) so we always hope to be a partner for such projects. The former A-ZX series has long since achieved cult status and we are proud to be part of this series by representing the letter “O”.

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Overkill started as a graffiti magazine. How did it evolve into being a sneaker store?

From the beginning, sneakers and streetwear have accompanied our passion for graffiti. When we opened the store in 2003, there was immediately a small but fine selection of rare and hyped shoes and apparel. Over the years, the demand for sneakers has increased enormously and we have developed our core competence further and, because of it, we’ve also been able to increase product access.

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Where, for you, do sneaker and graffiti culture crossover?

Pretty much all the graffiti writers I know always place a high value on cool sneakers as well. Somehow it’s automatically part of the outfit and a certain affinity is always there. Furthermore, art plays an important role in life and this is no different for sneakerheads. The enthusiasm for artistic graffiti – whether legal or illegal – is enormous, especially among the younger generation where the demand continues to grow. A lot of graffiti writers are also passionate sneaker collectors and for sure that’s not only the case in Berlin.

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The name “overkill” is a graffiti term. How does “overkill” apply to this collab?

The name says it all, whether based on the graffiti details of the shoe or in the accompanying merch package, the variety comes close to an explosion. The inspiration for the many color facets comes from the Montana Gold [a graffiti can brand] color palette. Lots of different materials and an abundance of unprecedented design details make the barrel overflow – and then the whole sneaker is crowned by the overshoe. The content we created in collaboration with 1UP points to the idea of “overkill” in every way.

Why did you choose the ZX 8000 and the ZX 9000 as the sneakers of inspiration?

On the one hand, these two iconic ZX models are my personal favorites (among a few others *laughs*…). On the other hand, they harmonize together very well. I didn’t want to create a hybrid that is completely recognizable as such, and the individual parts of these two models mixed and matched very well. There are also a few details from other ZX models – the eyelets, for example, come from the ZX5000.

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What are your favorite details on the sneaker?

The embroidery on the toe or the tongue label is my absolute favorite. These two implementations say it all and make for a very special product.

This release is part of adidas’ A-ZX program, a series of 26 ZX sneakers dropping throughout 2020-21. To see what’s dropped so far and what’s coming next, head here.