Sunday, 13 November 2016

I received my copy of the AOA Collectors box set the other day and well it is simply amazing! Well done to all involved in the project, quite simply the best book on adidas produced so far. The boxed set was a limited edition for AOA members, but the book is available separately and is 100% worth a purchase. Check the link below to grab your copy, order can be posted worldwide

Laces Out is almost upon us, in fact a week today no doubt I'll be waking up with a hangover in Liverpool. A few lads I know are getting together to have a stall and I may well be moving a few pairs from my collection on as I have far too many shoes (as my wife tells me daily). I pulled out a pile of shoes which could be sold and here they are. DISCLAIMER - knowing me I'll put most of the back in my cupboards as I can't bear to part with them, but some of them will make it to the table. Come and have a look what we have for sale and have a chat with us!

Info on Laces Out can be found here

Adidas Only Addiction The Story So Far Volume Two had a number of extra gifts in the Collectors edition. We asked AOA members to select their favourite adidas trainers from a list of 60 models. The shoes that received the most votes were compiled into a top twenty and presented in booklet format. I worked on the text for the booklet and Craig did the layouts using pictures of a number of collectors shoes. The final product really blew me away. He is number four on the list.

I'm working on a book project for 2017 about adidas shoes, if you read this blog and have a collection of pre 2001 adidas training shoes and you are not someone I normally communicate with through social media then please get in touch. I may well need your help with completing the book and I love meeting new adidas fans from all over the world.

Talking of 'adi bucket' lists I also recently managed to tick another one off, courtesy of my good friend Kenny Manton - a sports shop deadstock find!

Loading the haul into Kenny's van.

It's the kind of thing you have dreams about - finding a haul of old shoe stock, untouched;- still in the original boxes and tissue paper. The Spezial teams find of the Carlos haul from Argentina has been well documented and had many a mouth watering and an eye weeping. This isn't in that league but it's still great to find one.

The haul was over a hundred pairs of adidas and PUMA.

It was an extremely long Sunday drive to pick this lot up, but well worth it in my opinion. The owner of the stock found it in his dads loft while having a clear out. The family had briefly run a sports shop in the early 80s but the venture hadn't been successful. At the time his dad had been offered a price to take all the stock off his hands, but the offer was so measly that he decided to keep it and it has been sitting in the loft for about 35 years! There were cricket bats, snooker cues, tracksuits, sports socks and of most interest to us PUMA and adidas training shoes and football boots. These shoes were in pristine condition - no mould, no dust, no crumbling soles (even on the PU models), no damage from the sun - box fresh! It was like a moment frozen in time, going back to 1982 and seeing all these great models like PUMA Dalglish Silver and All Sport and adidas LA Trainer, Action and Kick and you can image these shoes lined up in a stock room waiting for a buyer which never came along...until now.

It also included sports catalogues and price lists from 1982, both adidas and PUMA!

Adidas visit Part 3

The third and final part of my visit to adidas, a long overdue post I know! We are inside the archive and basically it is rows and rows of shelving with white boxes on. At the front were some shoes on display which hadn't yet been archived or were being worked on for current projects, but everything else was sealed enticingly away. We were guided around the different areas;- shoes, textiles, footballs and bags and Martin H showed us a good few gems including Muhammad Ali's signed boxing boots and world cup match balls. Then we got to request to look at shoes from the archives and Martin would go and fetch the box (amazing how he knew where everything was) and bring it out for us to take a look. We had over an hour in here but it seemed to pass like ten minutes. Here is a look at my favourite 5 models I viewed on the day.

Ok most people have seen these and they were of course re-issued as PT Running 76 (as far as I can remember that was the name anyway). Adidas did about 6 or 7 mock-ups of the shoe including one with a ventilation pipe extending from the sole, but Martin at the archives couldn't find it! They were the 1976 prototype for the Formel 1 running shoe which was released in 1977 and although the colourway and materials changed you can see clearly see inspiration for the shoe in this prototype. Back in 1976 adidas were losing ground to Nike in the American running market because they didn't really have many jogging or road racing shoes - so Adi himself worked on some new models including this and the TRX. So there is a lot of design elements in this one shoe like the thick wedged foam midsole for cushioning, the extended outsole for balance and shock absorption and the cut away suede reinforcements at the front which for strengthening the shoe but also increased ventilation. The reflective section on the sole and reflective triangular strip were never used on the final model. The foam wedge on this prototype was quite rough as it was cut by hand - and while exposed here, the finished article would have the wedge encased inside a plastic mould.

You may have seen pictures of these floating around the internet before, I had. They are simply amazing close up. They do not have a name but Martin called them SL 74 because they were made around that time. The upper is nylon and has ghilly lacing like on the SL 76 but the sole is hexagonal pattern microcell wedge which was used on the 'Runner' model. Adidas therefore really made two final products out of this prototype; - the SL 76 and the Runner.

It wouldn't have felt right to visit the archive and not get to see something Austrian made! These Mustang certainly made me feel better, all the more so because they are super rare, in fact only the third pair I have seen. They were manufactured in 1974 (as can be confirmed by the 'pre Trefoil' vinyl tongue) and were a sight to behold. The colourway will draw comparisons to the Mexicana but the sole is a 3 zone type and in black! Adidas didn't make enough training shoes with an all black sole, which is a shame because it finishes the look of shoes off so well.

I had seen the red pair in a previous archive picture from many years ago and the blue in a mid 60s French catalogue so I was certainly aware of their existence, but to see both together was amazing. The Kyoto are an extremely rare French shoe from around 1966, one of the first adidas models to be made of suede. The colours may draw comparison with Gazelle but the style is more like a suede version of 'Vienna' or 'Buda' (as they called it in France) with a wavy Olympia type sole and a rubber toe bump at the front of the shoe. As far as I know there was no direct German equivalent of these, unlike the Chamois which was known as Gazelle Blau in Germany and the Rubis which was Gazelle Rot. But the French catalogue code for Kyoto was #3252 which was latter used for the Mexicana model so I guess these morphed into Mexicana at a later date. The colour on these two models was simply stunning, particularly the reds which were so vivid. Interestingly the red and blue seemed to have slightly different finishes and feel, not sure if that was because they were made from two different types of suede or because one had aged less well than the other.

I saved my favourite until last. Runner circa 1976/77. It is unknown if this shoe was ever released in this CW. The traditional colour was yellow-blue, although some colour variations do exist, but these Runner are made from Nylon which is odd because Runner are normally a thick nylon mesh material. So they could be a sample or maybe they were made for a US University team (possibly USC) as a friend has some Texas State CW SL 72. Both adidas and Nike were making SMUs for university teams in their colours by request.

Well that was my archive visit, thanks to all at adidas who made it happen and were so welcoming, it is a day I will never forget and it definitely ticks one off my 'adi bucket' list.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Part Two – adidas Archive
Trefoil Square. This giant trefoil is an advertising sign which lights up.

After a coffee we went to the archive and Martin G gave us a presentation about the purpose of it which was extremely insightful.  So what is the archive? It is a collection of adidas articles dating from the pre-war Gebruder Dassler era up until relatively new products. For a shoe fan like me I guess I imagined it as an Aladdin’s cave of lost treasures all waiting to be viewed and touched (but only with special gloves on and very carefully). Actually there is much more to it than that and the archive includes textiles, bags, sports equipment and match balls. There is also a stack of documents (all now scanned into a computer) of catalogues, advertisements, company memos, videos, technical drawings, patents and legal documents. There are even some handwritten notes from Mr Dassler and a short sound recording of him speaking (the only known recording of his voice). So basically it is the history of adidas all in a giant vault, stored in optimum conditions including temperature and humidity control, as well as in specially constructed storage boxes.

Is it complete? No, but I think for a company with such a long history that would be impossible. The bulk of the collection is German made or came from factories associated with Germany (Taiwan, Yugoslavia etc). They are missing quite a bit of the French range and also Austrian. So where did the stuff go? A lot of stuff was lost, binned or destroyed;- either accidently, through inattention or for security (as an example when the foreign licence deals began to wind up in the 80s adidas insisted the companies destroyed the moulds so they could not be used to make counterfeit goods). You also have to factor in adidas was a forward thinking company, always expanding, moving forward – thinking of the future. There simply would not have been enough space to keep everything and if you are creating new products all the time then why keep the old stuff? Of course we have to thank Adi for starting the collecting by keeping samples and shoes he liked and adidas got into the habit of requesting shoes from winning athletes, often signed or sealed in bronze or gold for perseveration. In 1994 long term employee Karl Heinz Laing found Adi’s old collection in a basement under the IT department while looking for an unfinished Adi design for inspiration for a new one. Realising the value of the find, the collection was soon rescued, restored, catalogued and archived. Since then it has been added to as more products have been found and new ones created. Old products have been found from everywhere within the brand and they have been forwarded to the team to be archived, while new products are donated by the designer to become a future part of the company’s history.
A collection of different box styles from the 1950s to the 1990s. Part of the archives collection.

One of my favourite stories from Martin H was the rescue of around 20-30 foreign licence shoes. Foreign licence companies were requested to send adidas sample manufactured products so adidas could check of the quality of the range. Some of these models ended up in a storage room which eventually ended up being cleaned out and refurbished. An employee decided to go the rest room and saw workmen carrying some bin-liners, enquiring what was in the bags she found all of these shoes and thought ‘I think Martin would like these’. So a toilet break ensured the shoes survival!
The entrance to the brand archive. I have idea what the numbers mean but they just make it seem more top secret and official.

What purpose does it have aside from being a historical record? Well it can be used for modern design and innovation. For instance if a designer wanted to make a new leisure product for women they could look for inspiration from an archive product. Perhaps a ski boot may have an innovative system of fastening which would suit the new model. The History Management team has six full-time employees and they are each assigned to a different historical function. The team may be requested to research for the release of re-issue, a new design, for brand communication, to create an exhibition or contribute to a video project. They work with all departments from design, to promotion and even the legal team.

Part 3 to follow shortly
Adidas Visit Part One

Left to right, me, Mr Dassler and Craig.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the adidas Archives at their Head Quarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany. I went with Craig Butler the designer of the AOA books and actually it was the first time I had talked to him in person, which I guess isn't that unusual when you think of the trainer community and how we interact on social media. I have to say we got on great and he is a really top lad as well as being very creative. We arrived the evening before, stopping in a hotel in Nuremburg, the largest city nearby and where many adidas employees actually live, as Herzogenaurach is so small. After a  chat, a meal and a few drinks I retired for the night hoping to get some quality sleep but knowing full well I'd be like a kid the night before Christmas! It is something that as an adidas fan I have dreamt of doing for a long time, especially after seeing the pictures of the archives when other people have visited. In case you are now madly scrambling to book a flight to Nuremburg, you have to know it is by invite only! That isn't because adidas don't care about their consumers, in fact I discovered during my day actually how much respect they do have for collectors. It's because this is a fully functioning corporate HQ where design, business, finance, research, legal, HR etc. all take place. So tours of the campus (as they call it) are guided by staff  which takes up a lot of their time. Also while I wouldn't say it is top secret there were certain areas where photography was forbidden - because who knows what unreleased product you might snap in the background that adidas are currently working on!

This library had books about the history of sport, sports heroes, rules of sport, fashion, design, marketing and of course the brand itself. It wouldn't have been complete without a copy of AOA Volume 1 of course!

In the morning Martin H from adidas picked us up at our hotel and on the drive I discovered how passionate and knowledgeable about the brand he really was. After a short delay at the company car park we were inside getting our visitor passes. We then met the other adidas History Management staff including the other Martin (Martin G), had a look at their offices and took a walk around the campus which is actually a converted former US Army base. It is leafy, spacious and surprisingly calm. I imagine that it would be a lot different for some professionals who may be used to the hustle and bustle of a cosmopolitan city like London, Tokyo or New York but to me and I imagine many others that was the attraction. Martin G was telling me that when the rebuilt and expanded the adidas HQ that made the decision to stay true to their roots and keep it Herzogenaurach, which I think Adi himself would have liked. By the way the original adidas office still exists and is across town and can still be viewed.

Calm and serene at adidas HQ 

I strolled around in a half-daze while we stopped at the tourist spots for obligatory photos;- including the giant trefoil advertising light and the bronzed stature of the great man himself. The adidas campus is pretty big and there are lot of facilities like a gym, a running track, tennis courts and a football stadium. Visiting athletes can train or try out new shoes, but employees are also encouraged to participate in sports. Many of the office buildings are converted and modernised army barracks, town houses and offices and they certainly had a charm;- sometimes situated in leafy open spaces, sometimes in neat rows but always with a mixture of former military functionality and Franconian design. There were also new purpose built buildings including an open plan exhibition (which gives a visitor a whistle stop tour of the brands history) and the large central offices which were a sight to behold. Arranged on several levels with bridges allowing easy access between offices, it bustled with creativity and excitement. Having said that it had a real calm feeling about it and people seemed to go around with a smile on their faces. The brand encourages both freedom of expression but also a flexible approach to working, with employees working hours to suit them and in a style that brings the best out of them. A nice was touch was a kindergarten on campus for the employees children. If you didn't want to work in your office you could easily take your laptop to a quiet seated area to muse or an eating area to meet with other employees while enjoying a coffee. I imagine at times as with any business there would be stress and deadlines but it all seemed a world away from my own drab office meetings and work place! The floor space near the front also doubled up as a seminar area and talks were held regularly on company ethos, branding and creativity. If any high ranking adidas bosses ever read this I'd just like to say I feel you are getting it right!

That is the end of part one, I'll return with part two shortly.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A big thank you to Quote from Berlin for sending me these Tech made in Korea 1989 in a rare colourway. They didn't fit him so he sent them to me as a present. Thanks Q I owe you one pal!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

I recently received a few copies of Obermaterial Vintage Qualität Volume 1 from my good friend errol. It’s nice to have a book in print which I contributed to and the overall product is really slick. You can grab a copy from here.

The fifth instalment of the Spezial range launched last week and once again there was a mix of styles to suit a variety of tastes. Everyone went mad over the Manchester GT (as expected), while the Indoor Super sold well, but I’m going to focus on the Harwood which in my opinion was the pick of the bunch. The Harwood is actually based on a mid-80s running shoe called the ‘Seaside’. If the choice of Harwood as a title seems a little strange (named after a borough of Bolton in Greater Manchester), then think about the original choice. Maybe they were running out of names for shoes by the middle 80s, maybe the name was meant to conjure up images of early morning jogs on the beach or maybe it merely reflected the cross over between sports and leisure typical of the era – whatever the reason I quite like it and it fits along with equally inexplicable running shoe monikers such as ‘Jolly’, ‘Gipsy’, ‘Flip’ and ‘Zany’.

Name aside this is actually a well-developed shoe and showed the level of detail adidas were putting into budget runners in 1984 both in terms of technology and cosmetic appeal. The Seaside retailed at £20.99 which was less than half the price you what you would have to pay out for the Fire, ZX 600 or ZX 700.

The first thing you might notice about the shoes appearance is the use of accents in the detailing. Two colour blocks were quite standard on the detailing of stripes during this period but the heel accent is less usual. More than being merely aesthetic, the double heel offers further protection and stability. The use of contrasting tones can be either muted or bright dependent on the colourway of the ‘Seaside’ you are viewing (to my knowledge there were at least 9 colourways)

The upper is made oxford nylon and has velour trim in the usual places. The insole is a pre-moulded single piece designed by structural footwear specialists Texon. The midsole is made of two density EVA and sole is made from an extremely hard wearing carbon rubber. The block sole pattern on the outsole is concave to roll the foot into its correct position, while the design is a new type which adds flexibility. All in all it’s a tidy looking running shoe, more than suitable and resilient for long road runs.

The ‘Harwood’ is a close looking re-issue. The shape is pretty much perfect and the materials are of good quality and the colours are spot on. The only thing I could find which is different was the sole as they seem to have lifted the outsole pattern off the ZX 710. Why I am not sure, but possibly because the 710 has been re-issued recently, they had the tooling to hand. It doesn’t really detract from the shoe and it’s refreshing to see something a bit more obscure coming out of the archives. A thumbs up from me.

AOA Volume 2 is but weeks away and is promising to be very special indeed. I got chance to do an extra bit of writing for the boxed collectors version. If you want to pre-order a copy check out their page

Size AS 350

I did an interview with Dan Sanderson from Mundial Mag for the Size? AS 350 release. You can find the article here

And buy the shoes here  

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Addendum – back in July I posted an article about Universal made in Eastern Europe and whether they were real or fake. Well it appears Ebay and social media are awash with these models at the moment and some are of extremely dubious quality. Thanks to Dimmy Nail (who is of Yugoslav descent) for doing a bit of research on the subject. Sloga DD of Croatia did have an official licence to produce adidas products but lost the contract and continued to produce adidas shoes without a licence. In an article published in 2002 police seized stock from a number of stores in Croatia considering the goods to be counterfeit. So there we have it, be extremely careful of buying Universal without the proper markings, as you may well be buying a fake pair. Typically the fake pairs look quite shoddy (uneven stripes, poor leather, poor stitching) so use you judgement and look for signs of official authenticity and good quality workmanship.

A look at the Montreal  ‘76

Adidas were never shy of tying their products to sporting events – for the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal they outdid themselves, releasing four different shoes. They also produced a running shoe called Montreal, but that was in late 80s and had nothing to do with the Games. Interestingly none of the shoes were really new - adidas modified existing models and rebadged them for the games.

They produced a model based on the classic cities silhouette à laStockholm’, ‘Brussel’, ‘Bern’ etc. The original 1975 version was blue with green stripes, followed by blue with a yellow in 1976, a very rare yellow with blue striped pair (which I have seen once) and the final version and in my opinion the best - blue with sky blue stripes which as the inspiration for the recent Spezial release Hochelage.

Montreal made in Yugoslavia from 1981 from the collection of Gary Corbett.

Next up is a variant of the ‘Varsity’. The 'Varsity' was an all-purpose budget training shoe originally released in 1971 and intended for the US college market. The ‘Montreal 1976’ is pretty much the same, even in the same colourways;- blue-white, red-white and blue-yellow. It’s has really big Olympic Ring logo on the side of the shoe, which looks brilliant in my opinion.
Made in Yugoslavia the 'Montreal 1976' was basically a re-badged 'Varsity'

The third shoe is called ‘Montreal Super’ and is really rare, in fact outside of a 1976 Dutch catalogue image, I’ve never seen a pair. The shoe pretty much looks like a ‘Vienna’ even down to the Star profile sole - until we reach the ankle where we see the shoe rises to a mid-cut with some interesting padding around the collar. If anyone has seen a pair or has a pair please get it touch.
The 'Montreal Super' one of the rarest adidas models out there.

Finally and most famously the ‘Montreal 76’. Although this shoe has a very famous silhouette it was actually based on the earlier ‘Munchen Super’ from 1972. It has got the same hexagonal pattern microcell sole encased in rubber foxing, a perforated toe box and a rubber heel support that extends from the base of the heel to the Achilles tendon protector. The heel support on the ‘Munchen Super’ is coloured the same as the upper, while on the ‘Montreal 76’ it’s the same colour as the foxing which is why people don’t perhaps notice the similarity of the shoes.
The official adidas shoe of the 1972 Munich Games was the inspiration for the 'Montreal 76'

Regarding the famous rubber heel support, I heard a rumour that it was designed as such so that you could slip your foot into the shoe and tread the back down under your foot and wear them almost like a flip-flop. Furthermore if you peak inside the shoe you will find that there is only half an insole in there, which cover the toes and ball of the foot, but stops half way under the arch of your foot. Where the rest of the insole normally sits we just have a panel of smooth leather. However, I couldn’t find any evidence in any promotional literature to suggest that is true - but you can actually do this, as the back is fully collapsible and folds underneath your foot well. It’s hardly comfortable for long distances, but it works and I keep a pair by the back door so I can slip them on for a quick visit to the garden (Tip of the Day that).
The Famous 'Montreal 76' Silhouette, this is the second version with the name running parallel to the stripes. The first version from 1975 had the boxed logo.

Traditionally the shoe was navy with sky blue stripes, but a couple of colour variations exist. Black with white stripes and a very rare black with red striped version from 1980 time. The black-red are minus the rubber heel support for some reason, being replaced by a suede overlay.
Colour variation of the 'Montreal 76'. Image provided by the legend that is Funkyadi.

Montreal ’76 were extremely popular and were produced for much longer than the other models, although adidas dropped the ’76 part of the tag in 1980. A number of variants now start to appear. In 1981 the Montreal’s foxing and heel support receives a makeover with a much stronger rubber finish (although it is still collapsible). 1982 sees the first version with ‘D’ ring lacing system allowing speed lacing. The stripes are now also silver as opposed to sky blue. Around 1987 the shoe is now tagged ‘Montreal II’. The isn’t a great deal of difference between this version and the previous except the shoe now has two tone stripes (silver with navy accents) and an oblong adidas word plate inserted into the lacestay (as on the ‘Samba Super’). The final version of the shoe from 1992 dispenses with the rubber heel support altogether.
1982 catalogue image of the 'D' ring Montreal.

Montreal II from my own collection circa 1987. The place of manufacture has rubbed off the tongue but they have the hallmarks of West Germany production.
'Montreal' from 1992. Without the familiar heel support.

I really like all of the versions of Montreal adidas made, so it’s hard to choose a favourite. To me they epitomise the classic 1970s era of adidas design and production – relatively simple designs, clean looking silhouettes and of course well-made to exacting standards – the Golden Age of adidas.


Picked up a copy of this excellent Nike Chronicle Deluxe book by Lightning Magazine. It is a visual compendium of everything Nike from the early 70s to the early 80s. Excellent photos and really well produced. A lot of it is written in Japanese but it’s easy to follow without the language skills and you could always run the Google Translate phone app over it if you so wish.

I picked my copy up from Son of a Stag and I can’t fault them for service and delivery time. Link is here;-

Frixshun Magazine presents Obermaterial Vintage Qualität Volume 1

I’ve been a bit quiet recently as I’ve been on holiday and perhaps more importantly working hard on a project with the good guys at Frixshun. Frixshun Magazine presents Obermaterial Vintage Qualität Volume 1 will be dropping in mid October and if you pre-order now there is a good chance you will get one of the limited edition copies, individually numbered and with a set of really nice postcards. I’m not going to bang on about it too much as there is a full product review on the link, but let me tell you it’s a really professional piece of work and even if you are more on an adi-head then why not have a peek at what the other Dassler brother was getting up to? I’d also like to say it was great fun to get my teeth stuck into writing on such a top quality production and the other guys (Dean and Errol) are so easy to work with it was a real pleasurable experience.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Mexico City 1968

The first Games in Latin America were played against a back drop of civil unrest and change - the Vietnam War (accompanied by protest the world over), the black civil rights movement in the US, the ‘cultural revolution’ in China, student demonstrations in France and the USSRs occupation of Czechoslovakia. In Mexico protests against government policies saw hundreds of people killed, while South Africa were banned due to its apartheid policies. The actual games were played at an extremely high altitude which favoured some athletes but put endurance event competitors at a disadvantage. Synthetic track (called Tartan) was used for the first time over traditional cinder.

The Athletes

Tommy Smith and John Carlos (first and third respectively in the 200m) is the most enduring image of the games, taking to the podium shod in single black gloves and giving a black power salute in protest of racial segregation in the US. Al Oerter won his fourth consecutive Gold Medal in the Discus for the States. Other successes for the Americans included Bob Beamon’s incredible jump in the long jump, Jim Hines’s breaking the 10 second barrier in the 100M and Dick Fosbury using an unconventional style in the high jump which became known as the ‘Fosbury Flop’. The Americans had put a lot of effort into building a successful team and had even trained at Lake Tahoe to emulate the high altitude conditions of Mexico. It is no surprise that they finished as the leader with 107 Medals [45 Gold].

Adidas at the Olympics

If the Americans had prepared meticulously, then so had adidas. In 1968 adidas had built a factory [called ‘Canada’] in Mexico to produce shoes for the games, which also gave them special dispensation for other shoes to be moved through customs. Unlike PUMA who found their shoes locked in the customs depot, some would say with a little helping hand from Horst and his agents. It took PUMA an almighty effort (and some tactics of their own) to get some of the shoes released in time for the games. The sports shoe companies received worldwide media attention when Sports Illustrated magazine broke the story of illicit payments to athletes with the headline ‘THE $100,000 PAY-OFF’. Any athlete who wanted to receive payment for wearing adidas or PUMA shoes was furnished with a brown envelope stuffed with cash, but many athletes refused to take part in the scandal. The IOC were furious but they could do little to stem the tide of athletes receiving payment for participation and the move actually began the long process of the governing body accepting that sponsorship was now part of the game. Adidas were once again the official outfitters of the German Olympic Team and their overall success was 85% of athletes at the games wore their brand.

The Shoes

How could you fail to notice these coming towards you! A gold kangaroo leather upper, Adi once again updated the technology of the track spike with special mention to the thick padding from the bottom of the heel to the ball of the foot, offering protection and comfort on the new Tartan synthetic tracks. Jim Hines took the Gold in the 100m wearing ‘Azteca’.

The ‘Mexicana’ was the official adidas training shoe of the Olympic games. Like the Azteca the shoe was finished in gold colour with its suede upper. The model is based on the earlier Gazelle shoe with a microcell technology sole.

Tokyo 1964

The Games were held in Asia for the first time and it was an opportunity for Japan to rebuild its reputation and show its economic progress to the world following on from the Second World War. The flame bearer was chosen as he was born on the day the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima – and marked a call for world peace. Japan invested heavily in stadia, facilities and transport networks to welcome guests. Tokyo was also the first Games to be telecast internationally.

The Athletes

British runner Ann Packer set a World Record in the 800m despite never having run that distance competitively before. USA Runner Bob Hayes won the 100m equalling Armin Hary’s World Record time. Peter Snell of New Zealand took golds in the 800m and 1500M finals wearing adidas. The USA finished top of the table with 90 Medals [36 Gold].

Adidas at the Olympics

Onsitsuka Tiger were the official sponsor of the Japan Athletic team, the Dassler’s had first come across the brand at the previous games. Once again adidas and PUMA went head to head to compete for the best athletes, with adidas having the advantage of being the official outfitters of the German Olympic Team. Horst could boast 80% of athletes wore adidas and a medal count of 33 Gold, 34 Silver and 32 Bronze.

The Shoes

The ‘Tokyo 64’ was another Adi secret weapon. Adidas kept their best competition models under wraps until just before an event, in fear of competitors copying their designs. Adi first tested kangaroo suede as an upper in 1963 and the material allowed for an even lighter shoe. The shoe has an ergonomically positioned spike plate and the lengths of spikes could be interchanged depending upon the conditions of the race. New padding and foot form were also utilized - to make the most state of the art track shoe to date. Mike Larrabee, Bob Hayes, Billy Mills and Ann Packer all took Gold wearing the Tokyo 64.

The ‘Olympiade’ (later called ‘Olympia’) really is the beginning of the modern training shoe. From a technical point of it features everything;- a new ‘Olympia’ sole with midsole cushioning encased in rubber foxing, a built in arch support, a strengthened heel support and additional padding around the ankle. Like the ‘Tokyo 64’ Adi kept the shoe a secret until just before the Games.

Rome 1960

The Event

Rome had been chosen as the location for the 1908 Games, but the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 had averted public funding to cover the damage to the city of Naples caused by the Volcano – the Games were moved to London instead.

The Athletes

German Athlete Armin Hary set an Olympic Record time of 10.2 in the 100m, switching to PUMA from adidas just before the race. Adidas could claim success with Wilma Rudolph ‘The Black Gazelle’ who took three golds in track events. A young Muhammad Ali took gold in the boxing and would later sign for adidas and become one of the brands most celebrated athletes. The USSR once again topped the medal charts with 103 Medals [43 Gold].

Adidas at the Olympics

Horst was again charged with promoting the brand at the event and could boast that 75% of the competing athletes wore adidas, winning 31 Gold, 29 Silver and 26 Bronze Medals. However, PUMA had latched onto adidas’ tactics and pushed their shoes at the Olympic village. Armin Hary famously accepted a hidden cash payment (forbidden under IOC rules) to swap from adidas to PUMA in his victory, thereby setting a precedent for future athletes and events.

The Shoes

In 1960 Armin Hary (at the time still running for adidas) set a World Record of 10.0 seconds in Zürich wearing the shoe called ’10.0’. Adi secretly developed a new sprint shoe for Rome called the ‘9,9’. Made of kangaroo leather and lighter than ever [less than 5 oz], with improved cushioning, form fitting and with wider spikes. The shoe was an instant hit (even without Armin’s help) and was still being used by top athletes at the next Games.

The ‘Rom’ (together with its sister shoe the ‘Italia’) was the standard adidas training model for the 1964 games, handed out to athletes in the Olympic village. It could be used for all purpose training and leisure but was also suited to indoor sports. The original was made of white elk leather with blue stripes and with a porocrepe sole. The shoe would be one of the brands most popular for decades, going through several updates of the sole unit. With thanks again the archive team for this picture of the original version.