LAST week on The Anfield Wrap you may have stumbled across a piece I wrote about how I’d somehow fallen out of love with trainers; how these days I’m more likely to go out and buy a pair of suede Clarks Originals than the latest ‘must-have’ adidas Originals re-issue of a re-issue.
Well, it wasn’t always this way.
Here, in reverse order, are my 10 favourite trainers ever.
It’s not; I hasten to add, supposed to be a list of the 10 rarest or ‘coolest’ trainers that everyone seems to pick when compiling these sorts of lists. There’s no black adidas Sambas – alright for playing football in as a kid, shocking when worn with a pair of blue jeans – and there’s definitely no Trimm-Trabs or Munchen (the Radiohead of the trainer world) to be seen – two of the ugliest pairs of trainers I’ve ever had the misfortune to see. There’s also a few pairs that don’t happen to be made by adidas which I know will upset some but, such is life – it’s my list and I’ll pick what I want. I’ve even picked some trainers that I don’t even particularly like myself these days but at some point in my life, I must have thought they were great. Anyway, here goes…
10. adidas Italia
Not the God-awful adidas Samoa version that one day got renamed adidas Italia with someone thinking we might not notice. No, the version I’m on about were first released in the 1960s and re-issued in the late ’90s or early ’00s – when I first bought them. White and dark green, amazing leather, a nice bit of suede in places, not amazingly popular – which is always nice – and very sleek because as Sean Ryder almost sang, no room for clumpy trainers in my wardrobe today…
9. Puma Clyde
Sadly neglected when I went through an adidas-only phase for about six years but I do love these trainers. Got a pair in light brown and beige sat in my cupboard but had navy and light blue in the past – inspired by seeing breakdancers and graffiti artists in American films like ‘Wild Style’ and ‘Beat Street’ when I was at school. If I was a black basketball player, I’d want to be called Clyde too and have a pair of trainers like these named after me.
8. Nike Air Max 1
I wouldn’t be seen dead in these now but when I was 14 or 15, they felt like they were from a different planet. I remember getting them for Christmas the same year I got vinyl copies of the first Bomb the Bass and Jungle Brothers albums and thinking to myself, whatever you do, don’t step on a drawing pin.
7. Reebok Workout Plus
Never owned a single pair of Reebok trainers apart from the all-white Workout Plus – which for a short period, I used to buy a new pair, exactly the same, every six months or so. I’ve seen them in a shop recently and the tongue seemed abnormally puffed up for some reason but when I remember them, worn with a pair of dyed navy 501s around 1990, they used to look fantastic.
6. adidas Dublin
I could easily have picked the adidas Berlin or London (both of which I’ve bought in the past) or the Hawaii (which I haven’t) for this spot on my list because they’re pretty much the same trainer from the City series but I’ve gone with the Dublin as I think it’s just a classic trainer and one I’d been wanting to buy for ages before I got the chance when it was reissued first time round. Nice sleek design, timeless and great colours.
5. Puma Referee
Google Puma Referee and you’ll get presented with images of some awful monstrosity that looks like it could have been made by Reebok or something SportsDirect might sell for £14.99. Just to be clear, that’s not the trainer I’m claiming to like. The version I used to own was basically a total rip-off of the adidas Stan Smith – which, in my eyes, is not bad trainer to rip-off. One plus point it had going for it was the fact that hardly anyone owned a pair – which in trainer world is obviously a good thing.
4. adidas Gazelle
I thought long and hard (well, for about 30 seconds) about whether to go for the Gazelle or the Spezial in this list and in the end, I’ve opted for the former as over the years, I’ve probably owned more pairs of Gazelles than any other trainer – Stan Smiths aside. At school, it was the original aqua-bluey colour but since then, I’ve had everything from white leather ones (bit dodgy), dark blue suede ones (not dodgy at all) and the one pair I still own, a pair of chocolate brown ones bought in Amsterdam in 2001 or 2002, while watching Liverpool in a pre-season tournament. I actually prefer the OG re-issues that are out now as they’re less clunky – saw a nice burgundy suede pair in Aspecto this lunchtime – and the Indoor versions with the gum soles that are due out next month look great too. Very tempting indeed.
3. adidas Indoor Super
The only pair of trainers on this list that I’ve never actually owned. When they were re-issued briefly a while back, my mate bought a pair from Wade Smith but for whatever reason, I never had the money to buy them at the time and when I did, they were all gone. I had my chance and blew it but in a way, I’m glad they were only re-issued in small numbers. That’s the way it should be – which is probably why they now cost about £200 on eBay. I’ve seen the various different editions that have come out over the years in blue and also in black but unless it’s off-white version with red and blue stripes, I’m not interested. Obviously if I ever do get my hands on a pair I won’t be able to wear them as that suede toe will just get filthy straight away. No need.
2. Diadora Borg Elite
I loved these trainers when I was at school and even bought the first re-issue over 10 years ago despite the fact that I knew, with no Borg signature on the side, they were severely lacking real credibility. Nice trainers all the same – the white/gold version obviously – not any of this white/silver or white/red nonsense. Back at school though, when I had the real deal, they were the absolute business. Playtime fashion parade: Pair of grey Farah, Slazenger v-neck, Patrick cagoule and Diadora Borgs – what more could a young lad want? Apart from a girlfriend, obviously.
1. adidas Stan Smith
My favourite trainers of all time. All-white, Stan’s face on the tongue and his name on the back over a green heel or they don’t count. Totally timeless. Never fashionable but always stylish – just the way it should be.
Now, bring it on, trainer snobs!