Rick Owens is a dedicated gym buff but he despises cardio. Now, in an effort to motivate a running habit, the Paris-based designer has designed a line of men’s and women’s running shoes with Adidas.

This story first appeared in the June 12, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I work out like a fiend but I hate, hate, hate cardio. I realized I’m in my fifties now and I need to do something for my heart and lungs. So, I’ve got to start running,” said Owens, on the phone from a beach on the Venice Lido, where he was taking a break from visiting his Italian production partners, Olmar & Mirta. “I thought to myself, ‘What shoes am I going to wear running?’ I can’t wear my big chunky basketball shoes — I’d look like a dinosaur running through the Tuileries.”

Earlier this year, Owens got in touch with Adidas, which had previously approached him about a collaboration. He ended up designing a group of running shoes for the German athleticwear giant based on a single silhouette in a range of materials and colors, with six styles for men and four for women. Of course, in the world of Rick Owens, those colors were limited to black, white, gray, pearl and bone — with a shot of yellow on some of the women’s styles. Materials include various combinations of leather, suede, nylon and canvas.

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Owens and Adidas are keeping images of the designs under wraps until the Rick Owens men’s spring show in Paris on June 27.

Dirk Schönberger, creative director of the Sport Style division at Adidas, headed up the partnership from the Adidas side. “Personally I have been an admirer and fan of Rick’s work for the longest time. I realized that his design vision is very different from anything the company has done or is doing at the moment, even with any other design collaboration,” he said. “Partnering up with Rick Owens gives Adidas the opportunity to explore a new look, creating products with a unique perspective on design, technology and craftsmanship.”

The Adidas by Rick Owens designs, which are so far planned for a single season, will retail for $400 to $500. They hit retail in December and will be sold at Rick Owens stores and premium specialty fashion retailers.

The only branding on the exterior of the sneakers are perforations that give a hint of the iconic Adidas three-stripe logo.

The designer’s own basketball-style high-top sneakers have become a cult item among Rick Owens aficionados and a sizable chunk of the brand’s business. The aggressive leather designs sell for $1,200 to $1,600, while versions under Owens’ more accessible Drkshdw label sell for $500 to $800.

“When I did my basketball shoes it was all about style. But for these running shoes, I wanted them to be technically really good and I want people to be able to run in them,” he said.

Owens has been cautious about collaborating with other brands. His previous co-branded projects have been a group of apparel, sneaker and jewelry designs with Chrome Hearts in 2010 and a line of backpacks and bags with Eastpak under the Drkshdw label in 2009.

“I’m not great at collaboration — I get too anal, too detail-oriented and impatient. It’s very innocent on my part — I’m not trying to provoke anyone but it ends up being a mess,” explained Owens. “But Adidas is a classic brand and it reminds me of Eighties hip-hop. They just have an authentic, old-school realness that appeals to me.”