Wondering what a Yung is? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Is it an exercise in phonetics, or a terrible spelling mistake? Did it come from when you run too hard and feel like you’re going to cough up a Yung?
We hired the eminent psychology professor Carl Yung to explain the origin of the popular new adidas Originals shoe, which he claims was named in his honour.
Thank you, Professor Yung (although we were expecting a little more).
Perhaps the Yung should have been called the 20/20? Approximately twenty years passed between the Falcon and the Falcon Dorf – and another twenty years before the latest Falcon appeared; however, it has inexplicably become a women’s shoe while the men’s versions were named the Yung (even more clumsily, the Yung-1 and Yung-96). Weird, right? So much for continuity.
There might have been other adidas models to use the Falcon name, but we’re most familiar with the late ‘70s model. Claimed by adidas to have been the brainchild of Adi Dassler, the Falcon was a shoe designed for cross-country running, as is evident by its very aggressive tread pattern that promised excellent traction on any terrain and in all conditions, even snow.
The Falcon’s upper was made of Cangoran, which was a synthetic leather material that promised quick break-in periods and great durability. adidas marketing at the time claimed the material was kangaroo friendly because it was literally saving their hides.
The 1997 Falcon Dorf shared nothing with the 1970s Falcon except a part of its name. While the first Falcon was probably named after the bird – in respect of its cross-country abilities – the Falcon Dorf got its name from the town of Falkendorf, which is near Herzogenaurach, Germany, the location of adidas’ headquarters.
The Falcon Dorf was a performance running shoe that drew on the technology of its time, a period during which runners were known for their thick midsoles and wild outsoles. Fast-forward twenty years and the now antiquated Falcon Dorf has become an archival design, one that was ripe for revival because of the growing chunky sole trend.
Although the Yung is an example of the transformation of yesteryear’s performance wear into a trendy lifestyle sneaker, we would argue that it’s still as competent a running shoe today as it was twenty years ago, and that its use shouldn’t be limited to pounding the sidewalk in search of other sneaker shops.
As a purely aesthetic exercise, we love the design; the mixture of textures and shapes in such a heavily constructed shoe are easy to admire, and that sublime complexity has to be partially responsible for the Yung’s current popularity.