Create Tonal Looks with adicolor

adidas Originals’ most iconic franchise celebrates the new generation in a quartet of colour

adidas Originals Adicolor

Photography: Hayden Phipps | Art Direction: Charl Edwards | Styling: Jason Basson

In 1983 adidas launched its adicolor concept in a wooden box that included acrylic paints, paintbrushes and a wooden palette alongside a pair of fresh white sneakers. Originally encouraging customers to customize their shoes using the supplied equipment, the adicolor has been revisited several times since, and whether it’s our favourite primary colour cartoon characters, felt-tip pens, world renowned creatives or even a series of short films, fun has always been at the forefront of the fashion favourite.

adidas Originals invited The Way of Us to celebrate colour with them as part of their global online colour movement, and using parts of the SS18 range we created four looks that define South African youth now. However, before you dive into head-to-toe tonal you need to understand the psychology behind these colours, as understanding the theory behind a particular shade and how it works in a look will make or break an outfit.

Simply put, tonal dressing works best when the shades differ, so that each piece is defined while still fitting into the whole. When shades are too similar things get confusing, so the trick is for each piece to be a different gradient in order to create balance. With us? Good! Here’s a breakdown of the four sneaker colourways in adidas Originals’ adicolor range with tips how best to wear and pair.

adidas Originals Adicolor

Sun Yellow

Softer yellows are commonly used in gender-neutral looks and this particular shade is lively without risk of ever becoming overwhelming. Wear with bright yellow accents, which is the brightest and most energizing of the warm colors, and retro golden yellows to create cheerful, happy looks.

adidas Originals Adicolor

Scarlet Red

An inviting and passionate tone that’s energetic without risk of being aggressive. When worn together with other red tones it achieves a poppy, retro vibe, and so marrying this somewhat muted red sneaker with brighter pinks and darker reds evokes a feeling of passion.

adidas Originals Adicolor

Fairway Green

Signifying new beginnings, growth and renewal, the minty-fresh cooling colour of these kicks has a harmonizing effect. Best worn with vibrant bright greens, down-to-earth olives that riff on the natural world and the type of money-green that shouts affluence.

adidas Originals Adicolor


Feeling blue? Ha! The resulting look is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face where the lighter shade of these sneakers is refreshing, peaceful and calm, almost spiritual, and works best with strong and reliable navy tones and highly energizing bright blues.