Cryptic messages? Well not really, these are the codes (followed by a number) which Descente used on their Japanese released running models. I talked about Descente in my last post - they held a licence to produce and import adidas shoes in Japan from 1984 to 1998. After 1998 adidas operated it's own regional distribution of adidas in Japan.
Descente did a pretty good job with adidas to be fair. In the 90s in particular they experimented a lot with designs, materials and colours. So we had the Athens in those really vivid colours, Samba in faux lizard skin and Country in a metallic finish. They did some wild stuff with textiles too like racing jumpsuits during the Formula One craze in the early 90s.
Samba Lizard from 1995
Formula One race jumpsuit made be Descente [thanks to Adi-Files for the picture]
Anyway, back to mid 80s and running. If the 60s were all about leather, the 70s suede, then the 80s was definitely nylon. I remember in school everyone had nylon runners, whether you were a runner or not. Japan was no different and they pretty much had all the top models you could get in Europe and the US, but also some interesting variations of their own.
JO = Jogging
These were the budget runners - aimed at the amateur and casual joggers. Typically made in Taiwan or Korea to keep the costs down, they often featured little of the shoe technologies which adidas were incorporating into their top of the range models at the time. Descente released a lot of what you could get in the rest of the world but they also messed around with the colour schemes so we have some really bright looking shoes in the mix.
JO 4301 (Ranger 301) made in Taiwan. This model was known as 'Seaside' in Europe
JO 4300 made in Taiwan. An example of the use of different colours.
RN = Running
So these were the choice of top athletes and serious runners. Packed with all the latest technologies like Dellinger Web, dual density soles, 'adiflex' soles and durometer wedges. You could get all the top models in Japan like 'Centaur', 'Fire', 'Micropacer', 'Phantom' and the ZX's but they also made their own shoes.
RN 6300 was known as Centaur in the rest of the world. These amazing colours were again an exclusive.
Made in Japan 1985
The sole on these is lifted straight off the first version (pre Dellinger Web) of the 'New York'. It's an 'adiair' sole with a concave rubber outsole. The adiair reduces risk of injury by softening the impact of the foot on hard surfaces while the concave outsole rolls the foot into it's correct position reducing stress and fatigue. The upper is made in two parts - the sides are nylon while the toe box is a breathable tricot nylon mesh. The shoe is reinforced with suede overlays and includes a 'vario' lacing system for individual adjustment. All in all it's a pretty sleek, lightweight runner and the colour combination is just so unusual; - gold nylon, with brown overlays and orange stripes.
MR = Marathon
Specialist shoes for long distance and marathon running.
Made in Japan 1985
First thing I notice when I picked these up was how light they are! When I put them on my feet they felt like carpet slippers. Reducing the weight of a shoe can save masses of energy on a long distance run and while I'm not going to be running in them I can see their value. The upper is made from a nylon twill and is reinforced at the toe and heel. Interestingly a row of small perforations have been inserted into the suede on the toe to further reduce the build of heat. The midsole is of two tone EVA dual density. The outsole has been lifted of the European 'Rotterdam' model and is divided into profile sections for landing, rolling and pushing off. It's a great looking marathon shoe but was actually the cheapest of the three Japanese made MR models released in 1985 coming at 6,900 Yen in comparison to 9,300 Yen for the MR 2111.
The Outsole of the 'Rotterdam' was used on the MR 2500
The MR 2111 - the top of the range Japanese marathon runner.