‘What are your all-time favourite trainers?’ might be a question that would send many a man of a certain age into a maelstrom of indecision, uncertainty and angst. I was recently asked this question by the people at JD Sports and it took mere seconds to answer. I gave an answer as quickly as if I’d been asked my name. The mighty Adidas Gazelle are the first trainers that come into my mind and in the end only serious candidate. I’ve worn Gazelle’s more consistently through my life than any other trainers and whatever way the menswear wind may be blowing there have always been plenty of sartorial situations where nothing satisfies quite like a Gazelle. I’ve no idea how many pairs I’ve had but its well-into the thirties (at least) with two pairs sat upstairs now (Espresso & Black and all-White).
There have obviously been other favourites over the years. From Adidas themselves I’ve gone through lots of Campus, Stan Smith, Oregon, various ZX’s and even Superstars. I’ve long-loved Nike Wimbledon, Elite and Bruin, I’ve had numerous Reebok offerings, have long flirted with various New Balance and have gone through about 10 pairs of Vans Authentic in the past decade-or-so but Gazelle’s are the Ryan Giggs of my footwear squad; virtually a first-choice for well-over twenty years and still more than worthy of a place in my wardrobe (anybody laughing at that can just stop it).
The Gazelle are the perfect pair of trainers; Made of suede, low-profile, rubber-soul, available in enough colours and varieties to satisfy a demanding palette and they’ve got three stripes up the side. What more could anyone want? There’s something smoothly subtle about their approach that maintains understatement even if you’re wearing purple ones. Despite attempts by Adidas to ‘update’ [sic] the shoe, its iconic status, adaptability and dependability ensures that it remains as comfortable at the end of a pair of Edwin jeans as it was at the end of a pair of Farah slacks.
Associated with any number of sub-cults throughout the piece, the Gazelle’s origins in this country lie in the football/casual scene of the 80’s (discussions about which are responsible for 59% of the whole internet) and to me still represent a particularly North-Western menswear aesthetic; i.e. they look dead cool when worn with a kagoul.
I wore Gazelle to my first ever concert (Navy & White; The Stones Roses; International 1; Manchester; 26/06/87), I wore a pair of Gazelle to my first away game (Black & White; Derby County v MUFC; Baseball ground; Derby; 10/02/1988) and I wore Gazelle on my first ‘lads’ holiday (Royal Blue & White and Green & Yellow; Magaluf: Majorca; 12-26 July 1990).
I was wearing Gazelle on the day I got married. Not to actually get married in, I didn’t have any in all-black, but up until the moment I nervously stepped into my wedding shoes I’d been wearing out the carpet in a Navy & White pair. I took two pairs on my honeymoon in Barcelona (All-White and Navy & Deep Red) with the FC Barca-flavoured pair in particular receiving plenty of local support.
I was wearing Gazelle when both my children were born (Royal blue & White for her, Sand & White for him (If you think it’s a bit pathetic that I can remember what trainers I was wearing when my children were born you’re probably right but you’re also probably reading the wrong blog).
I’ll probably have a pair put in my coffin to be fair, especially if they ever get round to re-releasing the original Mint-Green & White ones (without the branding on the side). For now I’ve got my eye on a pair of Hikerdelia-influenced Gazelle II Oak that are the finest example of Gazellism I’ve seen in a while.
To vote for this trainer as your all-time favourite click here: http://bit.ly/WLdf2Y
To buy these trainers visit here: http://bit.ly/SSUDA7