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Style / November 2020
Lisa Buco, Reebok Editorial

Reebok and Hot Ones Serve Up the “Hottest” Kicks of the Year

Hot Ones host Sean Evans answers all our burning questions in celebration of this piping hot collection.

Take the hottest sauce and a suffering celebrity and what do you get? Complex Networks' First We Feast series Hot Ones, a wildly popular show with millions of viewers devoted to both its manic energy and charismatic host, Sean Evans. Show guests (and some would say, victims) peer down a row of wings dunked in fiery hot sauces, and hesitantly move through each increasingly spicy wing while responding to a slew of questions.  Faced with a burning mouth of fire and curiously still enjoying every minute, celebrity and athlete heat seekers always come back for more. 
 
The mystery of why guests put themselves through the spice onslaught is part of the show’s appeal. Fans can’t get enough of all the sweating, coughing, swearing (and sometimes crying) as each show progresses, and the experience still somehow remains fun – thanks to Evans’ pleasant yet coercive interview style. Some experience a catastrophic meltdown of the senses as the spice escalates: Most hit their melting point at wing #7, so getting to the tenth and final wing is a point of pride. With bragging rights on the line, the most competitive guests flourish in the heat of the moment. “Athletes are certainly more competitive [than celebrities],” Evans says. “Sometimes you can see that ‘one more rep’ eye of the tiger when they're in the back half of the Hot Ones gauntlet. We could go 15 rounds and athletes would still get through every time, I think.” 
 
Reebok brings its own swagger to the table by tying its bold heritage to Hot Ones, cooking up a collection for fans who live for too-hot-to-handle shoe collabs. The Hot Ones x Reebok pack features shoes that mimic the Scoville scale, introducing a “mild” Club C 85, a “medium” Classic Leather, and a “hot” Shaqnosis. Chemist Wilbur Scoville developed the scale as a way to measure the burn (level of spice and heat) of various peppers. Simply put, a bell pepper is a “0” on the Scoville scale, the Scotch Bonnet pepper is a medium 150,000 to 325,000, and the aptly named Dragon Breath chili is a whopping 2,480,000. With this spicy collection, any sneaker lover can conquer the Hot Ones challenge – it’s all in how you sauce it.
 
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Evans, once a writer for Complex, knows his hot sneakers and reminisces about his favorite kicks of all time. “When I was in fifth grade I got a pair of Questions and it felt like Christmas when I opened the box. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs when the Bulls dynasty was in full force. It felt rebellious to get those shoes and ride with Allen Iverson when everyone else on the playground were wearing [other high tops]. It's a dream come true to see the fire red Questions in the Hot Ones x Reebok collab pack.” (Spoiler Alert: Hot Ones Question Mids are coming your way in 2021.)
 
Evans tends to impress by going toe-to-toe with his guests, coolly treading through each spice hike while his guests sputter out answers between gulps of water or milk.  His ability to maintain his composure in the heat of the moment begs the question, does he train for the show’s spice the way athletes would for their sport?  “When we first started the show I would go down in flames just as bad as our guests. Slowly but surely, and with a lot of practice, I was able to work myself to a place where my tolerance for spicy foods was much more comfortable. Like everything in life, practice makes perfect and that goes for hot sauce as well in my experience.” 
 
Clearly, Evans can handle the heat, but he doesn’t suggest working out or going for a run to sweat out that sauce.  “Going to the gym after doing Hot Ones is the true definition of ‘playing with fire’. After a shoot I chill out in basketball shorts and crank the air conditioning. That's it. That's about all I'm good for in that state.”  And, all those hot wing chow-downs can wreck a waistline, so Evans keeps a good balance. “I try to run in Central Park every day and eat as healthy as possible when I'm not on the clock.” 
 
When asked if he puts a “last dab” on his look to add some personality during a dreary time, Evans keeps it real. As a self-proclaimed “cozy boy through and through”, a stay-at-home situation is seemingly ideal.  “If we're not doing a shoot, I'm in sweatpants and hoodie all day every day in quarantine. I'm not even wearing pants right now. True story.” 
 
Taking Evans’ lead, bump that fan setting up to “3” (whether you’re wearing pants or not), and get your spice on. The Hot Ones x Reebok collection brings the heat.
Style / November 2020
Lisa Buco, Reebok Editorial
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