Reebok LTD Harnesses Women’s Empowerment Roots With Ruffle Sneakers Drop

All products and services featured are independently chosen by editors. However, Footwear News may receive a commission on orders placed through its retail links, and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

Sneaker fans have seen it all in, but Reebook wants to prove it can provide some swagger and shed new light on the brand’s DNA and values.

More from Footwear News

Reebok LTD, the upscale line designed and operated globally by Milan-based NGG++, a division of Farfetch-owned New Guards Group, is dropping the first womenswear collection curated by Ada Kokosar, the fashion consultant who joined NGG++ as head of womenswear design at Reebok LTD in 2022.

The alliance between New Guards Group and Reebok came on the heels of the latter’s acquisition by Authentic Brands Group from Adidas in 2021, a deal pegged at 2.1 billion euros. Inching toward the closing of the deal, the new owner revealed it had forged ties with New Guards Group as Reebok’s core operating partner across Europe and the global partner for the development of premium collection and collaborations, which NGG++ folded into the Reebok LTD line.

Comprising apparel and footwear, the drop marks LTD’s first full-fledged push into womenswear. It includes the hero DMX Ruffle sneaker modeled after the DMX Run 6 sneaker style, introduced in 1997, reinvented in a couture-nodding version with a pleated mesh ruffle protruding at the top, from ankle to toe.

Mesh detailing defines the ruffle embellishments.
Mesh detailing defines the ruffle embellishments.

The premium line’s moniker LTD stands for “learn, test, design,” explained Cristiano Fagnani, a Nike veteran who is chief executive officer of NGG++ and of Off-White, detailing the company’s ambition for Reebok.

“As a group, beyond the business [opportunities], we are in love with brands and what brands can offer…Reebok is distinctive, one of the most recognized brands in the world and among the top five sportswear labels when it comes to brand awareness,” the executive said.

Touting the Boston-based sportswear company as a pioneer across products, languages, gender conversations, community and diversity, he described it as a “silent giant” at the time the licensing deal was inked in 2022.

“Reebok is a canvas rich in layers,” he said, noting how like-minded it is with New Guards Group, as both have always operated on the edge of different industries and cultures, from streetwear and luxury to music and communities.

NGG++’s two-pronged approach — on the main line as its European distributor and LTD as its global developer — is aimed at building a more directional offering for Reebok.

The executive declined to disclose sales projection for the line, or its Reebok licensed business overall, beyond highlighting that “LTD is an incubator and as such it’s directional by definition and potentially scalable in its intentions, even if not necessarily item by item. It’s like our catwalk, our runway show.”

Reebok’s roots began in aerobics
Reebok’s roots began in aerobics

“Inside LTD there’s new product ideas, revamp or recraft of archival pieces, or design and craft innovation, collaboration projects, a focus on wiring and connecting the brand with its customers…its audiences in the fashion community but also in music, culture, art,” Fagnani explained.

The womenswear push with LTD speaks to Reebok’s long-standing support of women in sports, with nods to pivotal moments in the history of the brand, including a 1998 campaign that came with a dedicated anthem and tag line reading “I take me.”

It also aims at fueling the underdeveloped apparel category at Reebok, which the NGG++ executive contends has particular viability in the womenswear space.

“I was not only moved by the intention of making women feel strong, sexy, bold, fierce, comfortable, empowered and safe in their bodies,” said Kokosar about designing the collection. “There’s also something more solid, something that has to do with the history of the brand Reebok…which played a huge role into shaping what is now the space of women in sport,” she said, noting how the brand endorsed the fitness centers that introduced aerobics classes, the first sport specifically aimed at women. “Reebok had a huge role actually, and took the lead of the phenomenon.”

The LTD apparel collection includes iterations on signature fitness and workout gear, from the color-block integrated leggings and leotards, to the mesh insets geared at breathability, comfort and performance as much as to adding a certain degree of sex appeal.

“Overall, I wanted to conceive this collection as an open wardrobe.…So my contribution to it and the overall vision of Reebok was to merge together design and styling,” Kokosar said.

The DMX ruffled sneakers boast a one-inch integrated heel “to flatter the body,” Kokosar said, and they are available in black-and-white versions sold on Reebok’s e-commerce, as well as at select retailers, for 280 euros.

Kokosar said she picked that particular style because it “nailed perfectly that time of empowering women. So, for me, this was the main inspiration, the DMX was actually a shoe that was representing the moment of liberating women.”

Previous LTD drops included tie-ups with Noir Kei Ninomiya, Botter and Hed Mayner, as well as retooled classics, including the Reebok Club C LTD, Classic Leather LTD and Premier Road Modern sneakers, in addition to a collaboration with retailer Machine-A, among others.

Distribution for Reebok LTD is geared at high-end streetwear and luxury or fashion concept stores, Fagnani said, while a lot of distribution fine-tuning has been behind its strategy for Reebok’s main line.

“In the curb-out [phase] we worked on reshaping the business, leveraging some pillars to ensure consistency, from building new headquarters in Milan for Reebok Europe…to resetting terms and conditions with our portfolio of clients and valuing key accounts, critical for business and connection with customers,” he said, mentioning such examples as Sports Direct in the U.K., Intersport in Germany and Zalando, among others.

NGG++ also rebooted the European e-commerce platform and, as reported, invested in key hires to beef up its management and workforce.

New Guards Group is home to 10 international brands, which, in addition to the Reebok licenses operated by NGG++, include Marcelo Burlon County of Milan, Palm Angels, Unravel Project, Heron Preston, Alanui, Peggy Gou, Ambush and There Was One. It is also the licensee of Off-White. The fate of the group overall remains in flux given the sale of its parent Farfetch to Coupang. As reported, Style Capital is among the parties said to be interested in acquiring NGG.

Reebok LTD Ruffle Sneakers Drop: Release, Details, Info
Reebok LTD Ruffle Sneakers Drop: Release, Details, Info

Reebok LTD DMX Ruffle Sneakers

$303 Buy Now at farfetch

Best of Footwear News

Sign up for FN's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.