Looking smart in the dying days of capitalism
As a marketing idea you can’t knock it – a back catalogue of classic designs and dynamic colours stretching back to the early Seventies coupled with a terrace culture heaving under the expectant weight of the modern day footie casuals and up-for-it dressers. Put the two together and you’re onto a certain winner with the newly released Adidas 2015 ‘island series’.
Originally conceived as an opportunity to bring a set of bright new colour schemes into the Adidas range, the island series – named unsurprisingly enough after exotic island locations around the world – lasted throughout the 1970s and into the 80s eventually rolling out 20 different styles, and due to the obsessive diligence of the adifreaks they have taken on almost legendary cult status, especially as they have never been re-issued. Until now.
Starting in April Adidas decided to release a new pair of island trainers over regular intervals throughout 2015. Each one rich in history and buzzing with colour. The first out of the bag were:
- Samoa (released 18 April),
- Hawaii (released 9 May) and
- Tahiti (released 16 May), followed by
- Jamaica (released 30 July) and
- Cancun (released 29 August, and unlike the others it’s the name of a city and technically not an island) and eventually
- Trinidad (release date set for 30 Oct).
So far we have five available to choose from and we take a look on what they are and what we went for.
Samoa. Start with addressing the problems with the Samoa release. Adidas received a lot of complaints about this mainly because of how they were made, the glue and sole and insole being recurring issues. In response Adidas pulled the Samoa from their website and promised to refund all those unhappy with their purchase. Probably still available from various retail outlets but people should be aware and check thoroughly before purchasing. It looks a good solid no nonsense shoe, a matchday staple in anyone’s wardrobe. (Plus will probably become highly collectible in the near future because of the fuss).
Tahiti. First thing, the colour scheme is dazzling. It looks absolutely stunning. The blue suede is almost luminous, as smart and as sharp in real life as it is in the photos. The problem with the Tahiti is in the shoe design itself. The styling is long and thin, the ankle height is low, as is the achilles and ankle collar. It’s almost as if they shaved a couple of millimetres off the upper and shunted it down onto the top of the sole which itself is flat as a pancake. In terms of styling it looks and feels like you’re wearing a pair of plimsolls. Other little niggles is the toe box is angled-in at the sides making it almost triangular at the end, and it’s super lightweight which again makes it feel flimsy, like a fancy pair of slippers. Of course these are all personal preferences, if you like a light streamlined trainer with all of the above then it’s definitely worth the investment.
Jamaica. Has a similar design styling to the Tahiti so the same criticisms apply to this shoe also. Again lovely colouring and superb presence it just doesn’t wear like a proper trainer. It’s got a more severe cut than the Tahiti from the uppers into the sole, a bit more pointed. On the plus side it has got the Adidas Trefoil logo on the back of the heel collar and Jamaica written in gold letters along the back stripe. Nice little touches strangely missing from the first three in the series.
Cancun. Not tried these on so hard to know how they look on the pavement as it were, but despite having a different design styling from the others, it comes out more Tahiti than Hawaii which brings us to…
Hawaii. These are the standout trainers. Everything about this shoe is a dream, from the moment you put them on your feet you feel like bouncing down the road to New Order’s greatest hits [“it seems like i’ve been here before”]. Perfectly proportioned, it’s got a bit of weight and height to them, and a high collar so your feet feel well protected, sturdy and bulky without losing any of the curvature; it feels like a complete shoe. Serious business, designed for the terraces. The angle up from the toe along the lace holes is beautifully judged and even the toe box has a nice rounded finish which sits solid in front of you. The colour is astonishing. It changes in the light. When the sun catches the nap it explodes into a frosty gold colour, in the dusk it changes to a soft rustic glow. You feel a bit fucking special in them. Which is exactly as it should be. The only down side is the tongue which Adidas describe as ecotex but frankly looks like cheap plastic. Still doesn’t take away from the loveliness of the shoe itself. A joy to wear and these are made to be worn believe me.
Adidas Hawaii trainers – 2015 Island series