Adidas’ Latest Spezial Collection Revives Obscure Old Models From Its Archives

The history of the Three Stripes is much richer than you think.
IMAGE Adidas Originals

When Adidas surpassed Jordan Brand’s U.S. market share last week, people weren’t all that surprised. Because the German athletic institution has been investing so much in lifestyle- and fashion-oriented collections over the past few years, including its collaborations with Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, the Three Stripes has no doubt surged in terms of cultural relevance. Adidas has also been successful in pulling from its archives, bringing back the Stan Smith and the Superstar while doubling down on special collections.

One of these special collections is (aptly named) Spezial. It started as an Adidas initiative with one of the brand’s biggest enthusiasts, Gary Aspden, who traveled to remote areas in South America to hunt down relics of Adidas’ history. Adidas eventually enlisted Aspden to curate the Spezial collection, which would revisit the further reaches of the brand’s archives to make new clothes and sneakers based on vintage designs.

The fall/winter 2017 collection of Adidas Spezial was recently released by online boutique END., which also published a video interview with Aspden and British hip-hop icon Goldie, the face of Spezial this season:

 In the interview, Aspden discusses the specific inspirations behind the latest collection, including and especially the sneakers. He introduces the Adidas McCarten SPZL—a modern take on the obscure freizeit Adidas sneakers of the ’80s, which had an unconventional, Clarks Wallabee-esque appeal about them. The collection also includes the Spiritus SPZL, a faithful recreation of an Austria-exclusive Adidas shoe that never got the mileage it deserved; the Winterhill SPZL, the signature boot of a German mountaineer from the ’70s; and the Wensley SPZL, a Russian fencing shoe combined with a German army trainer. It’s background stories like these that lend a certain provenance to the SPZL shoes, making them all the more desirable.


The Adidas Spezial fall/winter 2017 collection is available at END.

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Miguel Escobar
Assistant Features Editor for Esquire Philippines
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