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 Spiritus SPZL History
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.