Adidas Is Bringing Back Some of Its Most 'Spezial' Shoes Ever

Some sought-after trainers are being re-released for the first time.

Adidas' latest Spezial collection. Via Gary Aspden

Adidas is bringing back some very "Spezial" shoes. In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Adidas Spezial line, the creation of Gary Aspden and Mike Chetcuti, there's a "Decade Pack" releasing as part of the Spring 2024 collection, and it has some really great trainers amongst the bunch.

For those who don't know, Spezial, or SPZL, is a collection that started in 2014 and takes from Adidas' past, mainly obscure footwear from the '70s and '80s, and recreates and interprets it for the modern day.

Many of the Spezial styles are influenced by the UK's love for Adidas that was birthed through the football casual scene and the footwear, clothes, and bags that supporters would bring back from European trips when they followed clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester United abroad. Spezial also draws from the subsequent '90s rave scene that followed the football casual boom of the '80s.

The Spezial collection is of note because Aspden ran entertainment marketing for Adidas in the '90s and early 2000s, getting the brand on the biggest celebrities. And helping create collaborations with the likes of Kate Moss. He’s one of the brand’s most passionate collectors, and his archive of footwear is the stuff of legend.

The Spezial line has garnered a fanatic following and every season brings different footwear. This is the first time they've re-released product from the collection, and it's starting with a bang.

First and foremost in the new line is the return of the Adidas Ardwick, the green suede shoe that started it all. Released in 2014 exclusively at Oi Polloi in Manchester, the shoes go for over a $1,000 on the resell market, if you can find someone who will even sell a pair. I've seen people get rid of them to finance family vacations.

The Ardwick came about because Aspden wanted to recreate the Adidas California and use a pair owned by Oi Polloi co-founder Nigel Lawson. Lawson wouldn't give the shoes to Aspden.

"Now we’d already talked about Oi Polloi having our own shoe, but then this California thing came up,” Lawson said in a blog post then. “As the weeks went on I realized that I wanted to do a certain color of this California. And then I realized that if the Oi Polloi shoe was going to be the same shape as the California, or Topanga as it’s now known due to trademark issues, then he’d need my old shoes to get the shape right. If I didn’t give him the shoes to copy then we’d have a pair of really crap shoes."

He was so nervous about his shoes disappearing that Aspden told him that he'd need to fly them in person to Germany. And he did just that.

Next up is a Nightsafe version of the Adidas Blackburn from 2019, a City Series Adidas trainer created to represent Aspden's hometown of Blackburn and the Nightsafe organization that helps vulnerable youth in the area. There were originally only 160 pairs made, each with a special logo on the insole, while the shoe sans the logo was released as part of the regular Spezial line. This time, the logo has been placed on the heel, a la the Blackburn Elwood. Bringing these back will be a big deal for collectors.

There's also a re-release of the Adidas Lacombe, which has been released in several colors for Spezial and found its way into Adidas' mainline in 2018. Even Donald Glover did a Lacombe for his Adidas collection in 2018. But the first Lacombe was from 2016. They're great white leather trainers that are supple and perfect for summer.

Lastly, there's a new, updated version of the Adidas Garwen, the leisure shoe that Spezial released in 2017. It's most notable for a version made in collaboration with Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, as well as a two-shoe collection with Union. The new pair has a tan leather and suede upper with a gum sole.

In an Instagram post, Aspden says, "To celebrate 10 years of Adidas SPZL, the Spring 2024 DECADE Pack of footwear (this is a footwear-only release) will be launching in limited quantities on 24th May through Adidas Confirmed and stockists of the Adidas SPZL range."

He also says, "These are tenth anniversary editions (ie there are changes/tweaks to their predecessors)."

And lastly, "Please note, aside from 100 pairs of the Blackburn SPZL 'Nightsafe' edition that will go on sale at the DECADE exhibition on the 24th (details to follow in the coming weeks) the DECADE Pack will NOT be available to purchase at the Darwen's DECADE exhibition or surrounding events."

There has been a huge rise in interest in these styles over the past few years, but Spezial does it best. For those looking to get something authentic, this is the place to start.