Oi Polloi

Nigel's Musings: The adidas Montreal

Published: Thu Mar 17 2016

As fans of phone-based image sharing networks will already know, it’s nearly adidas Spezial time once again. This time we’ve got the Cote (a brown leisure shoe based on the seldom-seen Beach), the Lacombe (a super-sleek tennis shoe inspired by a rare beauty called the Newcombe), the 350 (a masterwork of perforated leather) and perhaps the jewel in the three-striped crown, the Hochelaga AKA the infamous adidas Montreal.

With all this on the horizon, OP boss Nigel went snooping around in his trainer-dungeon to find his old Montreals. Here’s what he has to say about ‘em...

This is a Yugoslavian Montreal with the round Stockholm sole unit. Paul Price bought me these and my nemesis Acid Bobby was a bit upset. It’s a great colourway. Most collectors out there would probably say that the Stockholm had the best adidas colourway—but this one aces it. You’ve got that acid yellow which is such a late 70s sport colour.

There’s four colours in the Montreal... there’s these, there’s the one that we talked about before—the navy with the acid apple green stripes, there’s royal blue with royal blue stripes and then there’s navy with royal blue stripes.

When Josh (editor’s note: Josh works at Oi Polloi) was on his trip to Africa on his bike, he found a pair of the navy and royal blue ones in a market (editor’s note: Josh didn’t buy these as backpack space was at a premium—he has since regretted this decision). They’re the ones that Gary Aspden is bringing back for Spezial, under the name Hochelaga, which is the Native American village that later became Montreal.

The trainers that Josh probably should have bought.

There are more versions of the Montreal than pretty much any other adidas I can think of. There’s this shape, which you could say has the Stockholm sole on it, then there’s the Montreal that adidas made for the German football team in the Olympics, which have a black wrap around the sole that goes really high up around the heel. Adi Dassler designed these as a leisure shoe for the team to wear between games. Germans love the slip-on slide and the Birkenstock sandal, so they pushed the back of the shoe down and wore them as slippers. There are loads of other versions too.

As a kid the Gazelle was a shoe that everybody had, it was adidas’s best-selling shoe—it was phenomenally big. But these shoes came along and trumped it. They out-Gazelled the Gazelle, and out-Stockholmed the Stockholm.

The weird thing about most of the shoes I collect is that they all look the same, but in and around the mid-70s and early 80s adidas owned sport shoes, and the variety of colours and slight differences between all the shoes is what flips me out.

The adidas Spezial stuff goes online at exactly 00:01 on Saturday the 19th of March (GMT). See it all here.