Tuesday, 16 August 2016

My Collection - adidas Ibiza

Another shoe which is somewhat of a rarity and I doubt whether people are going to go crazy over it - but I like the design, which is a little different from your typical adidas model. Adidas themselves clearly saw something they liked in the design also, as it was re-issued in various colourways in 2006 (albeit with a different sole), although the original was always white or blue. The Ibiza was actually a Norwegian creation which gives me chance to talk a little bit about Gjøvik Skofabrik.

In 1956 adidas signed their first  manufacturing licence agreement when they made a deal with Odd Onsrud who owned Gjøvik Skofabrik (Gjøvik Shoe factory). The Onsrud family had been making shoes and work boots since 1916 and had expanded into ski boots and running shoes. They clearly saw the potential of licencing Adi's designs and manufacturing them in Norway. Onsrud was even allowed to put his own brand name 'Jette' on the products. The vast majority of licencing agreements adidas signed were with countries outside of Europe, so it would seem a bit odd to sign one on virtually their doorstep. In fact with the exception in the late 50s of an agreement with a company called 'Berma' for the French market (which was soon rescinded in favour of an adidas controlled subsidiary) there was no other European manufacturing licence awards. But the agreement was a product of its time - in the middle 50s the adidas export was only a small department, run by Kathe Dassler with only a few employees - as exports made up only a fraction of their sales in comparison to the domestic market. In fact you could still place individual orders with adidas at the time, so an athlete (in say Canada) could write to adidas and request the deliver of a single shoe! Adidas was still feeling its way in the market, growing steadily, before rapidly expanding in size during the 1960s. Even the concept of allowing Onsrud to write 'Jette' on the side of the shoes is a concept which wouldn't have even been considered a decade on, as the brands shoes virtually sold themselves by then.

Gjøvik Skofabrik was to manufacture adidas shoes under licence until 1986, with the distribution part of the agreement (known as Adinor) continuing until the early 2000s. Although adidas was produced in a state of the art factory in Gjøvik, they only produced select lines of shoes, with a lot of their range supplemented by products from the Austrian and French factories.

One of the select line was of course the 'Ibiza' which does not appear to have a direct equivalent manufactured by any of the other factories. As far as I can tell the shoe was introduced in 1979 and produced until 1986 (at least in Norway). Described as a light, comfortable and fashionable leisure shoe, the leather finish is actually aniline which gives it a high grade look and feel. The sole unit has a microcell hexagonal pattern encased in a rubber foxing like on a Gazelle, but the upper is completely different. Aside from being leather, a row of  perforation holes have been inserted in between the stripes and the leather overlay on the toe extends from the lacestay to the foxing in a very wide pattern. Actually this style of toe piece has more in common with PUMA, in fact it was one of their (almost trademark) looks in their 70s training style design.

Puma wide overlays were a common feature in their 70s designs.

I mentioned earlier that the model was also made in blue, but I've never actually seen a blue pair so if anyone has one then please get in contact. I also mentioned that the shoe was produced until 1986 in Norway (I reckon my pair date from around this time), but it's also worth saying that an Austrian version exists which look like they were made around 1987-88. They are virtually the same but have an adidas 'word plate' built into the side of the lacestay like the design on the 'Samba Super'. I think probably the Austrian factory made the shoe exclusively for the Norwegian market.

I've just got time to throw a picture of this brilliant adidas 'Jette' bag from Morten Lundstein's collection. He sent this picture to me years ago for an article I was writing for a Facebook page which sadly never happened. Sorry mate, but here it is now! Morten told me the zip on the bag is made by Mustad, another Gjovik based factory, actually famous for making fishing lures and hooks! I love the little details like this.

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