On October 24, 2014, the adidas Spezial exhibition opens in Manchester. Curated by Gary Aspden, the presentation includes over 800 shoes spanning the late ‘60s to the advent of Boost technology. Though historical in nature, Spezial is not built on facts and timelines. Instead, it executes on a notion that there is an inherent quality to adidas design that resonates across cultures and across generations.
Within the exhibition are sections dedicated to the brown “geography teachers” shoes favored by some people in the north of England; areas displaying collaborations with fashion and musical heroes; and full runs of the fabled Equipment era. Additionally, there are some superb trainers found by Aspden and friends on a recent excursion to Argentina.
Then, there are the shoes that most adidas fans (and certainly the casual ones) have never laid eyes on. There’s a version of the Marathon trail runner called “Highway,” Gore-Tex sample Trimm-Trabs, and a mid-90s tech runner called the X-Special. There are court shoes like the adidas 350 and unnamed Made in Germany shot-put shoes. Spezial is a feast for the eyes. Here are a few shoes that caught ours.
adidas Spezial runs through November 2 at 7 Dale Street in Manchester.