Oi Polloi

Nigel's Musings: The adidas Oregon

Published: Fri Jun 29 2018

adidas have finally brought back the Oregon (or the Forest Grove, as it's now known). To celebrate this momentous, three-striped occasion, Nigel took us on a little trip down memory lane…  

Back in the late 70s and early 80s, this jogging thing was massive. I think Jimmy Carter had got into running and Marathon Man had come out, and it seemed like everyone had started jogging.

In the middle of all this, adidas were bringing out these amazing running shoes. They werent making them for kids knocking about or people going to football matches, they were for running in – and you’d have to go to a sports shop to find them.

The Oregon came out in 1981 – at the time I think they were adidas’s top line runner. I remember picking some of these up in a shop and not understanding how adidas could make a pair of trainers so light.

The originals weren’t made out of suede – it was this fluffy, polyester fleece stuff that looked like suede, but was maybe ¼ of the weight. And then you’ve got this foam mid-sole in this web, which was designed by a guy from Nike called Bill Dellinger. The foam was so lightweight that they put the web around it cos they were worried it would all fall to bits.

Even the stripes were lightweight. Before that we’d have vinyl, leather or velvet stripes, but when these came about, the stripes were made of the same nylon as the toes.

To guys these days, these might look like an early 80s retro runner (which it is), but back then it was the future. But the funny thing was, that even though they were futuristic, they still had this subtle, tonal flavour, so you could wear them with jeans or cords and a crew neck jumper.

Nowadays the people who might be called ‘sneakerheads’ are wearing these big, elastic, blown-up versions of this sort of thing, but this is really tasteful. It’s a great trainer.

The adidas Forest Grove is available now.