Deal Breaker

adidas Marathon
The premise for the collection was a simple one, but for sneaker buyers with a penchant for the inherent history of archived models, it was one of the more enticing concepts of 2018.

Marketed as the Never Made Collection, adidas experimented with combinations of vintage uppers and contemporary sole technologies. The result was predictably fantastic, a seven-shoe assortment of retro uppers bizarrely juxtaposed with platforms currently on trend.

It’s easy to imagine how adidas ended up retailing these cobbled-together sneakers: Having finally grown weary of endless counterfactual arguments, adidas designers must have finally convinced the bean counters to let them turn talk of abstract combinations into action.

Today was the day that abstract turned into reality. Today the Never Made shoes became made shoes.

If you’re like most of us, an often abused sneaker budget prevented you from running out and buying the entire collection. It was something we were sorely tempted to do. We pared down the collection to two models instead, but it wasn’t easy. In the end it was sentimentality that played the biggest role in the decision process, and we ended up targeting archive models that spoke the most to us.

With a well-worn credit card at the ready, we waited for the 10:00 embargo to lift, and then rushed to add those choices to our virtual shopping cart.

First up was the Country X Kamanda. It was the easiest choice as it featured adidas’ newest sole unit, and we really liked how the near forty-year-old upper from the Country running shoe was practically smothered by it.

adidas Marathon
Top: New adidas Marathon X 5923. Bottom: Original Marathon model.

Next up was the Marathon X 5923.

Wait, not so fast. A last minute check of the online photos suggested that there was something amiss with the shoe, and the unexpected twist turned out to be a big disappointment. It actually turned out to be a deal breaker.

For some inexplicable reason, adidas had painted a mock webbing pattern over the Boost material instead of using nylon for the Dellinger Web, which was a prominent feature of the original Marathon model.

Was it a cost-saving measure? Or was it technically impossible to encase Boost material in an actual nylon web?

Regardless of the reason, painting the sole was a terrible decision.  After having invested all the creative resources required to merge such an important profile from adidas’ archive with a Boost sole from the Iniki (I-5923), adidas fatally cheapened the end product with its paint booth fix.

It was heartbreaking to have to pass on the Marathon X 5923, but it’s one of those details that aficionados can’t ignore. The only winner today was our sneaker budget, and while that’s a good thing, it’s hardly something to get excited about.

adidas Marathon
adidas Marathon x 5923 G27860 by T-6
adidas Marathon 5923 EE3656