Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Adidas: Top Three Three Stripes

Launched back in 1920, Adidas has been producing the world's top sports shoes since it started kitting out top athletes at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

Mainly seen as a tennis of running shoe supplier, Adidas did not really branch out into football until the 1960s - and even then the world of fashion was still a million miles from the forefront of the firm's design team.

The iconic three stripes were originally added to reinforce the shoe and add extra stability to the the foot but, after a mammoth 83 per cent of athletes donned the shoes at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the label made the crossover from training pitch to terrace - albeit it gradually.

The late 1970s was when Adidas really took hold of the feet of football fans in England - with Sambas and Stan Smiths making the breakthrough which would end with Adidas as the dominant footwear of the casual movement.

One popular rumour is that in the late 1980s, more than half of all Adidas trainers sold ended up on Merseyside as Europe continued to look at the label as sports equipment, not sports casual.

But, as the trend spread, football fans from across the country started trekking round Europe to find the newest and rarest designs.

Germany was the destination of choice for travelling trainer hunters, but Belgium, France, Italy and even Ireland provided rich pickings.

But which have been the best trainers to make it onto the terraces? No two football fans will agree, but for the record, my Top Three Three Stripes are as follows:

Three: Forest Hills.

An eighties classic, the Forest Hill stood out largely due to its footbed, which incorporated technology developed by NASA for astronauts. Quite why a football fan would need that is anyone's guess. The shoe was hugely popular and has been the subject of an extensive reissue range in recent years, including this natty all black offering.

Two: Trimm Trab.

The Trimm Trab hit the streets in 1977 and became an overnight classic for anyone lucky enough to track a pair down.
The name loosely translates as 'Keep Fit' and its iconic stand-out indented sole set it apart from all other shoes on the market. By making such a feature of the base of the shoe, designers effectively added another dimension to the trainer's appearance and although the colouring of the sole was often plain - the fact it stood out so clearly from underneath jeans was all important and attention grabbing.
Was made from more high quality materials, meaning a higher price which, if anything, made it more desirable.

Number One: Samba.

Honourable mentions to the Gazelle, Munchen, Stockholm and Stan Smiths, but the original and best is still the Samba.
Perfect for the five-a-side court as well as the terrace, the Samba remains one of Adidas' most perfect offerings.
Its dual rubber toeguard made them more hard-wearing than other trainers and the simplicity of the contrasting three stripe branding makes it a timeless classic.
For a touch of individuality, the Samba is now available with non-white coloured striping - like this yellow number (available at JD).

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