Summary

We spent 8.9 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what sneaker fanatics think:

9 reasons to buy

  • Many liked the absence of logos on the low-top Adidas Spiritus SPZL. The only subtle branding on this sneaker is the jagged Three-Stripe leather patches stitched to the side panels.
  • The classic look of this Spezial version is its standout quality, as expressed by some.
  • Purchasers loved the interesting choice of colorways.
  • The use of leather on the upper and lining is liked by several wearers.
  • A buyer was attracted by the T-shape design on the forefoot as it is nostalgic of the 1970s trainers.
  • Delighted buyers loved mixing the Adidas Spiritus Spezial with lots of casual wear.
  • A good sum of reviewers vouched receiving good quality pairs of this sneaker in spite of the bad comments they received about its construction.
  • Weartesters who are pleased with the quality of this shoe said the Spiritus Spezial is a beautiful addition to one’s collection.
  • As affirmed by lots of commenters, the insole offers comfort.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Several reviewers noticed glue residues on the suede cover.
  • Quite a lot of displeased buyers mentioned that the price they paid for the Adidas Spiritus Spezial is slightly expensive considering its imperfections.
  • A couple of sneaker collectors were irked with the dirt marks on the upper and slightly ripped portions on the the suede cover.
  • Several purchasers complained of the uneven shape of the suede overlay in the toe area and the misspelled shoe name on the toe box which says: “Spritus” instead of “Spiritus.”

Bottom line

Adidas Spiritus Spezial grabs the attention of sneaker lovers who are in for anything vintage as its design is reminiscent of the 1970s Adidas athletic shoes. This lifestyle kick from the Spezial collection that’s bursting in vibrant colors won’t leave the feet unsupported since its thin sole is moderately cushioned. Despite its appealing look, some pairs appeared to have visual production flaws that irked several buyers.

Facts

Top: Low
Inspired from: Other
Collection: Adidas Spezial
Price: $110
Size
Small True to size Large
See more facts

Rankings

A top rated sneaker
A top rated Adidas sneaker
A popular pick

Expert Reviews

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The Adidas Spiritus SPZL, a low-top lifestyle sneaker is made up with a standard lacing system that offers a customized, secure fit. This men’s sneaker that has a thin tongue generally runs true to size. The sizing scale for this shoe if from 3.5 to 10.5 US and comes in medium width measurement. The footbed is made of an Adiprene insert which offers satisfactory cushioning.

The low-top Adidas Spiritus Spezial echoes a definite vintage vibe with its straightforward upper construction which has a direct link to the all-suede 1979 Adidas Spezial indoor handball shoe. The performance abilities built into the old model is stripped off from this updated version. However, the resemblance is so close in terms of design. The Spiritus SPZL is covered with a supple suede upper, contrasting leather heel patch, and jagged Three-Stripe branding on the medial and lateral sides. The Adidas Spiritus Spezial is initially available in red-yellow and collegiate royal-scarlet-night navy colorways which add an appeal to any lightweight chinos, slim-fit jeans, and shorts.

Some vintage styles can survive even in modern times, which is why it is one bold move for the Spezial team of Adidas to resurrect the 1979 Spezial athletic shoe into a lifestyle sneaker branded as the low-top Adidas Spiritus Spezial. The updated version left the performance properties of the original silhouette in the past. The T-toe overlay at the front part of the shoe adds a sense of antiquity to this sneaker, the same toe design seen in other Adidas classics such as the Rom and the Gazelle.

The initial drop of this shoe has shaken Adidas collectors and sneaker fans, questioning the level of quality the brand has placed on this model regarding material and craftsmanship. However, in spite of the criticisms, this model has found its way into the sneaker capsule of those who heartily approved of its vintage style.

Adidas resurrects the vibrant colors of its 1970s vintage sports shoes with the release of the Adidas Spiritus Spezial in the Fall/Winter of 2017. This shoe catches the attention of a particular audience who are into retro-inspired sneakers and appreciates the dark gum rubber concept for outsoles.

A die-hard Three Stripe devotee and creative consultant, Gary Aspden pumped up life to Adidas’s archaic models and allowed shoes from an almost obscure past to create new footprints in this era. The interest to link up life support to vanishing Adidas silhouettes was ignited by Aspden’s trip to an old retailer’s shoe haven in Buenos Aires along with a group of Adidas collectors and a production team.

The entire group was amazed at the high stacks of deadstock Adidas sportswear sitting inside the store of Argentinean retailer Carlos Ruiz for perhaps over 30 years already. The team was able to amass some rarities which the owner has grown a sentimental attraction into.

The discovery of such vault led Aspden and his team to conduct a second season exhibition of the Adidas Originals x Spezial in 2014, a follow-through of the 2013 Spezial exhibit held at Hoxton. The 2014 event which occurred in Manchester was like a homecoming to the brand as a huge number of collectors and Adidas fanatics showcased their collections that hit about 800 pairs in total, which is 300 more than the previous year.

Not a single pair in the exhibit came from the Adidas’s archives as it displayed the passion of consumers in collecting Three-Stripes shoes. The gathering was accorded by the launch of the first capsule collection of the Adidas Originals x Spezial, which includes the Adidas Hand-Burg, an all-white leather shoe reminiscent of the vintage Spezial model with the distinct dark gum sole and T-toe overlay.

When the sub-label Spezial was conceived under the helm of Aspden, the goal was to provide a range of leisurewear, since the demand for lifestyle sneakers keeps on growing. Thus, creating athletic shoes is not part of the Spezial team’s objective. They leave that to the industrial engineers under the Adidas Innovative Team who are tasked to develop sports performance footwear.

Some of the products under this collection take homage to the brand’s timeless silhouettes which either create a nostalgic tone or resonate with the 21st-century audience with a sense of belongingness. One particular model with a direct link to the past yet stood colorfully in the present time is the low-top Adidas Spiritus Spezial (SPZL), unveiled in two colorways, three years after the exhibition at Manchester.

The Spiritus Spezial is reflective of the 1979 vintage Adidas indoor handball shoe, the Adidas Spezial which, like the updated version, is made of suede upper.  The 1970s Adidas Spezial is specifically created with a robust structure in hard-wearing suede and cleat-inspired outsole that has enough amount of grip. Apart from its high-quality exterior, a right amount of cushioning is placed underfoot.

This low-top handball shoe became initially famous in Scandinavia, Holland, and Germany that gradually created footprints outside these countries as it evolved into a much-loved fashion wear towards the 1980s. What made this shoe legendary is its basic upper construction that has a prominent T-shape overlay, at the front of the shoe. Overall, this shoe is so versatile to pair with jeans and shorts.

This shoe managed to survive into the new century as several variations were made over this silhouette that retained much of its retro vibe. The Adidas Spiritus SPZL may not have the performance specifications of the original model, but offers the authentic heritage shoe influence which puts a lot of appeal to a lot of casual wear.

  • The heel patch of the low-top Adidas Spiritus Spezial (SPZL) has no design or branding.
  • The outsole of the Spiritus Spezial is made of gum rubber that offers traction.
  • Gary Aspden began working for Adidas in the Entertainment Promotions in the 1990s.
  • Since Aspden was an avid Adidas collector and it was part of his job to interact with prominent artists, he was able to collect dead stocks from some of the bands. He used the gathered items for the brand’s promotions. Eventually, he was able to buy some of the vintage models.
  • As of 2015, Aspden already has over 800 pairs of Adidas in his collection.
  • The first Spezial exhibit curated by Gary Aspden was a display of Adidas shoes from some collectors including Oasis lead Noel Gallagher, American soccerer Robert Brooks, and musician Goldie.
  • The initial drop of the Spiritus Spezial was in red-yellow, followed by the collegiate royal-scarlet-night navy which resembles the Dublin colorway seen on the Adidas Trimm Star.

Comparison

Author
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Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sneakerhead turned sneaker industry expert that believes a good outfit begins from the feet up. His aunt currently isn't speaking to him for wearing a pair of kicks at his cousin's wedding. He spends most of his time trying to keep on top of the latest releases, hitting up his contacts and doing what needs to be done to secure his next pickup. Danny has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.

daniel@runrepeat.com