Year Released: 1984
Propers to the brilliant product team at adidas for getting as much burn as it did out of Ivan Lendl. How boring was Ivan Lendl? Here's the best the adidas marketing team was able to come up with: "When your name's Ivan, you can't afford to look terrible." Yikes. ("Heyyyy. . . what if we freak a reference to a Russian dictator from the 1500's who conquered not only Astrakhan, but also the Khanates of Kazan? That'll get 'em buying adidas!"). Nonetheless, over about an eight-year period, adidas destroyed it season after season, not only in Lendl Footwear, but also in Apparel. Early Lendl gear was extra-crispy argyle that was completely innovative and different in the athletic world. From there, it morphed into a study in geometry, then a wild cat face design that in the 012, you would be more likely to see from Alexander McQueen than you would any athletic brand (although I guess Jeremy Scott, but you might get a shoe with a real live cat on top. . . tough to pull off). adidas even teamed up with an Austrian company called Kneissl on the flyest Lendl racket ever. Put it this way: if Ivan Lendl ever brought women home on tour, it was only because of the adidas product team.
On the footwear side, I can remember no less than nine very good Lendl shoes. And a couple of real strugglers that popped out of the machine at the end of Lendl's run (I see you, Lendl Favorite!). For me, the best of all of these shoes was the Lendl Competition aka the Lendl Comp. For the initial launch, the Lendl Comp was white-blue, but the second time around it matched the white-red-blue colorway of the Lendl Supreme. When Lendl apparel came up with the cat motif, it showed up on the tongue of the next Lendl Comp (my man Digital Milo owns these. . . he'd get robbed if he didn't have such dainty little feet). The reason these were so fresh was that they pretty much did the same thing for your feet as the Lendl Supreme, but they were mesh, looked lighter and better for summer run, and they weren't $100. When Adidas relaunched these a few years back, I bought like three pairs—when they went on sale (for $29.99).