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Reebok Alien Stomper Release Gives Fans a Chance to Feel Like Part of the Crew
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the first Alien film, Reebok is giving you a chance to be part of the crew with this prototype-inspired Alien Stomper and kit.
In 1979 the FOX movie, Alien, hit theaters and the science-fiction/horror movie genre was changed forever. The seven-member crew of the starship, Nostromo, made history while traveling back to Earth through deep space and awakening from their cryo-sleep after receiving a distress call, ending up fighting the now infamous Alien on nearby moon LV-426.
The film would go on to win multiple awards and receive critical acclaim over the years. It would be the first in what is now one of the most epic franchises to this day becoming a cult classic with a following that rivals all others.
To celebrate 40 years of the Alien franchise on Alien Day on April 26th, Reebok and FOX are re-releasing the Alien Stomper mid and has rewound the story to the mid-late 1970s, when the first Alien film was in pre-production. When its concept art and visual direction were hatching. Reebok footwear Designer Chris Hill worked on the most recent release and has had a hand in each of the past Alien Stomper releases going back to 2015 when the OG mid was first released. But now it's being re-released in a totally reimagined way.
“The idea is that it’s a prototype. Any time you build shoe there’s always prototypes of the samplings a year to 18 months out from the design process. The theory we chose to go with is that the shoe that showed up in the second movie could have been in the first movie and existed.”
The fictitious theory for this unique re-released version of the Alien Stomper mid was centered around the question, what if there was forgotten version that came before the rest? Hill created a prototype-looking stomper that could have existed before the high top style worn by Ripley years later in the sequel, Aliens. He wanted to give fans a chance to experience what it would be like to own the real OG, the prototype of the famous shoe.
“When you buy it, it’s supposed to feel like you just happen to find this prototype of the shoe 40 years later that was on the ship, that’s why it’s aged and yellowed,” he says.
And talk about attention to detail. Alien fans will NOT be disappointed with Hill’s level of meticulous designs. He logged 100 hours working on this project most of which was research in order to make sure that the re-release of the original shoe felt like a totally new, authentic experience for fans. This design carries concept logos and details that were never used in final production.
“I found original artwork or concept artwork that was never used. The insignias and little badges that are on the crew uniforms, hats and all that stuff. The original Wayland logo, that’s on the inside of the shoe. I found documents from the director talking about the original name too.”
One of the bigger things fans will notice is the logo, which Hill uncovered and incorporated into the design as a focal point. Fun fact, the original name for the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, was actually ‘Weylan-Yutani’ without the ‘D’ which Hill notes in the design. It wasn’t until 1986’s Aliens that the company name was changed to Weyland-Yutani, where it became a central aspect of the franchise.
“The original logo is that round one with the WW, it almost looks like the movie. It’s not as cool as the one they use so I used that logo and then as far as the colorway, it’s the same. I removed the straps as those were more of a prop.”
Hill left nothing to chance, making sure even the smallest element of design could be traced back.
“There’s no tongue tag on it, the side windowbox that says Reebok is in red, originally it was black and the materials themselves I upgraded..the original release had the old materials and these are much more premium almost aged leather and it has a vintage treatment to it. The red binding was switched out, the tongue has a subtle crack to it and the materials are aged. Once you compare the two, the new one is much more premium, it’s a quality shoe.”
Fans may also notice the number on the inside of the tongue. There’s a reason for that too.
“Since this was like a prototype, everyone knows Riply (main character) wore the high tops so it’s Riply’s identification code. The thought was originally they only had the mids and then they made something higher for her and gave her new ones.”
And it doesn’t stop with the materials. Hill even took the box into consideration.
“At this time, in the 80s Reeboks were coming out in the vintage union flag boxes. So when I designed this box the thought was, if I was a designer in the 70s trying to design what a futuristic Reebok box would look like, that’s what this would be… so it’s like retro futuristic.”
Hill didn’t just focus on the footwear, he wanted to create a real moment that true fans will appreciate. He designed everything so that you can be part of the famous crew and receive this “starter” kit just like they would have.
“It’s not just a shoe it’s a collector piece. You’re getting this whole experience. There’s a certificate with a 40th anniversary foil stamp it comes with, it comes in dust bags and there’s a field guide. The idea is that if you were fictitious crew member… this is the kit you would get for your footwear which I thought would be pretty cool as a big fan of the franchise.”
The field guide Hill created is a collector’s piece, a little something extra for those who just can’t get enough of this franchise.
“The field guide, the 'stomping guide’ is cool. If you’re a fresh crew member and you’re going into this, they’re giving you a heads up there’s probably Xenomorphs out there, they call them bugs in the movie. So you get the field guide to go with it. It’s inspired by military field guides, but it’s more humorous than anything.”
For Hill, the entire design experience was pretty personal. As a kid, Alien is a movie that really struck a chord and made an impact with him at a very young age.
“It’s a nostalgia thing. I mean they’re still great movies but as a kid, the Xenomorph scared the s*** out of me. I was just terrified, so I wasn’t really allowed to watch horror movies as a kid. I was three when the second one came out so I didn’t see it until later but it always stuck in my mind my entire life.”
Luckily for fans, Hill is a big fan of the franchise himself so his passion can be seen on every seam, stitch, and inch of this design. While the movies were influential to him as a kid, they were also influential for him as a designer.
“It’s cool and it’s very challenging, any time you do something like this you want to pay the correct homage and be authentic and be true to it. There’s a lot of brands that don’t’ get it and you can tell. I just want to make sure I’m not watering it down but still come up with something that’s new, exciting and fresh that people are excited about. It’s just about doing things that are tasteful and authentic to the story.”
For Hill, coming up with a new story and design concept around such an iconic shoe was a challenge that was totally worth the reward. He welcomed the pressure because that’s when you know you’re on to something great. It’s an homage not only to the franchise but to fans.
“Any time you can get a new story from a beloved franchise I think it’s always really exciting as long as it’s done right. It really sucks when it’s done wrong. I know what it’s like as a fan and a consumer to be let down so that’s the pressure I take on is to not let down the fans. So that’s the most difficult part, there’s a lot riding on it. There’s a lot of emotional and personal connection to it so for me I would want the fans to feel the same way. To feel like there’s a forgotten story they didn’t know about and that it was worth it.”
To be able to bring one of his favorite movies to life in his work is something Hill is incredibly grateful for.
“It was cool to have it come 360, where the stuff I was a huge fan of and still am, and as something that’s influenced me as a person and as a designer, to now get to design stuff for that franchise is pretty incredible.”
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