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The story so far.....

Around the time Kenny Dalglish was scoring the goal which won Liverpool Football Club the 1978 European Cup, I had just acquired my first pair of entry level trainers. The game was at Wembley Stadium in London (LFC's 2nd home during the 70's & 80's). A family friend took me to the game (Mr. Webb & Son, thank you for this, and all the other momentous Reds victories we witnessed over the years. They were special times for a young kid and are fond, fond memories). The time of this European victory was also around my 9th birthday. It's hard to fathom over 30 years have passed.

I had graduated from the "No Name Specials" which we all wore at some point, to the beloved world of adidas.

adidas kick, black leather, white stripes, the entry level trainer (I've finally hit the big time). Courtesy of Sullivan's (Sully's) Sports in Old Swan (Liverpool, U.K), I think they cost around 11 English Pounds. Over the next year or 2 the following came and went; Gola Cobra, black leather with lime green striping; Mitre Meteor, blue nylon like material with a white m;  A pair of classic Kickers also took pride of place "Cree en France", still classics 30 years later. Patrick Rio, black leather with the 2 Patrick stripes in gold. The Patrick were stolen from me while at a local park in Liverpool. I was enjoying the pleasures of jumping up and down on "the inflatables", a summer treat for the under 12's and I assume a "scallywag" made off with my trainers. (This thief started at an early age, (even for Liverpudlians) I would now expect them to be serving at least 10 years).

After the trauma of having a beloved pair of trainers stolen, I moved on to bigger and better pairs. In 1981 I went on my first "European Holiday". Thirty 11-16 year old Liverpudlians invading a small town in northern Denmark for a football tournament. (There's a book there somewhere!) It was in Denmark that I invested in a pair of adidas Handball Spezial (Blue suede, white stripes, dimpled tongue, translucent gum sole, a thing of beauty). For a 12 year old and the year being 1981, these shoes cost a fortune. I barely wore the shoes and still had them until the mid 90's, I actually threw them away. Can you believe that? Original German made Spezials and I threw them away. Now that I am a trainer collector, this provokes feelings similar to losing the Patrick Rio all those years ago. While on this Danish trip, others invested in Hummel, Diadora, Trimm Trabs and other classics. A new era in fashion was exploding.

From the mid 1970's to the mid 1980's a group of tennis players (Borg, McEnroe, Nastase, Lendl, Edberg, Becker amongst others) changed the way we dressed. Watching tennis back then was sometimes more about the players attire than the actual tennis, the trainers, shirts, track suits, it was a fashion show. When these tennis icons walked out on court, dressed in their respective brands, they just looked magnificent. Bjorn Borg with his classic Fila BJ line and his magical Diadora footwear, McEnroe wore Nike Wimbledon and Sergio Tacchini apparel. Later came Ivan Lendl, kitted out from head to toe in his majestic adidas range. L'alpina / Australian, Lacoste and Ellesse all became prominent brands endorsing various players. The fine European quality of these items demanded a high premium at the retail level which in turn made them available at very few outlets. These brands and styles soon became popular with young casuals.

Mr. Wade Smith opened his small store in Liverpool in 1982, he offered some of the most desirable trainers one could wish for. I purchased the majority of the following shoes from his store. adidas Suisse, basically Munchen in red, Suisse was printed in gold on only one of the stripes. I remember walking through St.Johns Precint wearing them, it was a proud moment. I had to take them back and opt for blue Munchen as they were too small. I remember pleading with Mr.Smith to exchange them, even though they had been worn. If I didn't go home with a pair that fit "Mother would not be happy".

adidas Olympia S, very similar to Trimm Trab but in blue leather with white stripes. adidas Columbia, dark blue pig skin/suede, silver stripes and the 3 peg shock absorption system. I picked up a pair of adidas Cord at JJB Sports in Wigan, they were basically adidas Jeans but in dark brown with camel stripes. Looking back, I don't remember seeing many of this model around, I know they would be super rare now. Many other models followed during the 1980's: adidas Jeans, adidas Palermo (shoes), Puma Azzuro, Nike Wimbledon, adidas Denver (Kind of an Oregon/ZX 500 mix) Nike Bruin, adidas Continental, adidas Lendl Indoor, adidas SL80, adidas adi-color and Forest Hills 82.

Friends indulged in adidas Jogger, TRX, Grand Slam, Rom, Abdul Jabbar Lo, Trimm Trab, All Black, LA Trainer, Marathon, Seattle, Oregon, Waterproof, Samba, Bamba, Mamba, Rhodes, Samoa, Hawaii, Trieste, Vienna, Zelda, Grand Prix, Wimbledon, Korsika, Davis Cup, ATP, Barrington, Indoor Super, Formula 1, Gazelle, New York, Country, Orion, Boston, Summit, Comfort and many others. Looking back, I don't remember seeing many of the "City Series" shaped shoes like, Dublin, Amsterdam, Tobacco etc, not sure if they just weren't popular or if production was limited/stopped at this time. Nike started to make headway during the early to mid 80's, with the popular models being, Internationalist, Colombia, Wally Waffle, Wimbledon, Bruin and Pegasus. Diadora was also prominent with its magical Elite model.

Not long after opening his small store, Wade Smith moved to a much bigger and centrally located premises in Liverpool. "Wades" as it became known, now offered the most extensive line of designer/sporting goods in Liverpool, if not England. The original store was basically a single room with a couple of windows, it was like walking into a living room. You walked through a doorway and there it was, 2 walls full of the latest European made models to drool over. If only one had known that 20 years later, a new pair of original boxed Trimm Trabs may sell for 3-400 English pounds. Not even housing has appreciated at that rate.

Up until the mid 1980's the majority of adidas footwear was made in Europe ( Austria, West Germany, Yugoslavia, France, Italy, Romania, Hungary and Spain) These models are the most desired by collectors. The original shoes aesthetic appeal was ehanced by quality materials and superior workmanship. When comparing an original to a reissue, the original usually wins. Nearly all adidas shoes are now made in Asia. Limited edition shoes are also desirable and it seems that the footwear companies are issuing more and more limited edition shoes.

Sometime after the mid 1980's there was a change in the direction of the shoe companies, many of the styles and classics we had come to love vanished. Companies started experimenting with new technologies, materials and designs. Over the last several years there have been many re-issues of 70's and 80's classics. Nike, adidas and Puma to name a few have started to realise there is still a market for their vintage models. Most of the re-issues are limited releases, they may be available for a few months or a year, then they will vanish into the vault once again.

During the late 80's and early 90's I found myself somewhat moving away from the trainers/sports brands. In 1991 I remember buying a pair of jeans and a shirt by a company called Replay, I'd never heard of them before, but for once, the look and quality of the item was more important than the brand. 120 pounds for the both and I still have the shirt. I have been a fan of Replay ever since. While I still had the odd L'alpina/Australian top and pair of Kickers I found myself buying more expensive/less obvious brands, usually Italian. Several stores in Liverpool offered such items. Cricket, Harold Ian, West Side, Etc, Sisley, Issy Crown and a few others.

Now I find myself wearing adidas, Lacoste, Tacchini, Australian, Replay Jeans, Hugo Boss etc more and more. While there are other brands that I wear, the classics are still there.

All in all........

"What goes around, comes around"