Into the Vault

adidas Archive – The Footwear Collection - T-6

The old idiom that warns about history repeating itself might as well have been coined by a sneaker designer.

Older sneakerheads – the pre-millennials – get this; they’ve been buying sneakers long enough to remember buying the originals, long before they became reissues.

Illustrating that design doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and that the most successful designs are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, are reference books that detail sneaker development. Photo book publisher Taschen has just released one such book titled adidas Archive – The Footwear Collection.

For a while, adidas did maintain an online, visual archive of its historical shoes. The impressive website was a wellspring for sneaker researchers, but it was inexplicably shut down. We’ve made multiple attempts to find out why, but adidas’ so-called communications staff refuses to talk to us.

In the absence of this website the Taschen book is at least an alternative for those who want to know more about the shoes they’re buying.

The book contains over 350 pairs of adidas shoes from its archival vault, and not just those everyone is familiar with. Other featured models include one-off designs and prototypes that never made it to production – at least not yet.

Pulling one out of the filing cabinet is not unheard of: The adidas Kamanda comes immediately to mind as an example of such a model, an abandoned design from decades ago that was revisited and finally transformed into a production shoe.

Also included in the book are examples of design collaborations such as those produced by the adidas Consortium.

Best described as a visual history, the publisher claims its book covers the “epic moments” and “groundbreaking designs” that made the company what it is today.

Given adidas’ fecundity there are models that probably didn’t make this compilation, which might seem hard to believe given the book’s size.

The Taschen tome rivals a boat anchor in weight, and the 644 page hardcover volume will likely test the strength of Ikea particleboard coffee tables the world over.

This brings us to the price: Worth its weight in precious metals, the book has a staggering retail price of $200. That’s a lot of coin for a picture book, enough to buy a nice pair of shoes.

Will anyone buy adidas Archive – The Footwear Collection?

More than likely, yes. When it comes to sneaker pricing manufacturers have proven time and again that fervid sneakerheads have deep pockets, and that they don’t shy from overspending on something they desire. And it’s those people who will find this book desirable.