After the Autumn/Winter reissue of the classic Keglar Super, Adidas Originals have given another iconic trainer a re-boot as the Rom headlines the Spring/Summer 2011 collection.
Adidas originally released the Rom in 1959 to coincide with the 1960 Olympic games which were to be held in Rome – quite why they weren’t just called ‘Rome’ is anyone’s guess!
Back then it was simply an all-round training shoe and it wasn’t until it’s re-release in 1979 that it became the iconic shoe that it is today. This reissue coincided with a major shift in men’s fashion as more and more young men in Britain, football fans in particular, took to wearing more expensive European labels such as Lacoste, Sergio Tacchini and Adidas – a far cry from the MA-1 bomber jacket and Dr Martins combination that had previously been prevalent on the terraces.
Whilst the Gazelle and Samba seemed to be the most popular trainers of the era, the Rom, Leader and Forest Hills were the choice of those that really wanted to stand out from the crowd. The 1979 reissue came in white with classic Adidas blue stripes and heel counter and had an EVA midsole with a trefoil design and a ‘rip-saw’ outsole.
Adidas reissued the Rom a few years ago in white and dark blue and gave it an exaggerated rip-saw sole, which has, unfortunately, remained on this year’s reissue. But this latest incarnation should have more success than the previous one as Adidas have released the Rom in more eye-catching colourways, the Bluebird and White version looking like the best of the lot.
The White and Green version looks a little too much like the Leader as Adidas have decided to go with a gum sole unit and, if you’re looking to be picky, the sole unit is the only flaw in what is a fantastic shoe. The sole appears to be a cross between that used on the Leader and the Samba and, whilst this style of gum sole was used on some earlier versions of the shoe, it was the white sole unit with trefoil design that really made the late 70s/early 80s Rom stand out from the other Adidas trainers available at the time.
So, with that in mind, would it be better to try and get your hands on a pair of vintage Adidas Rom?
The 2011 reissue will set you back around £60 whilst a quick look on ebay has them coming in at anywhere between £45 and £160, which means you may have to raid your savings account to buy a pair.
And whilst it is always great to have a pair of genuine vintage trainers, there is always a risk that there is not a lot of life left in them. Even if they have not been worn for years, the leather or stitching may have deteriorated else the glue may not be as strong as it once was and there’s a risk that the sole could come away from the upper.
In addition, if you’re going to be breaking the bank for a pair of shoes that are, potentially, older than you are, you need to be sure that what you are buying is genuinely vintage. A good rule of thumb to follow with Adidas trainers is that they are most likely to have been manufactured somewhere in Europe, probably France, Spain or West Germany and anything citing ‘West Germany’ is guaranteed to have been manufactured before 1989.
From an aesthetic perspective, there will be clear signs of wear on a vintage shoe and even if they have hardly been worn and kept in storage for years any white rubber on the sole will probably have taken on a more off-white hue.
If you are looking for a pair of vintage Rom then the main difference between a 1970s reissue and the reissue from a few years back is the thickness of the sole as the 1970s release had a much thinner sole than the later versions. In addition, Rom were only ever available in a white and light blue colourway (as in the classic Adidas or A.039 blue) and if you come across a pair in any other colourway then it is probably a more recent reissue.
So with that in mind, the choice is yours as to whether you want to scour the vintage market to purchase a truly original pair of Adidas or go to the high street for a pair of Adidas Originals. But, if you don’t want to break into your ISA or rack up any credit card debt, or you simply don’t like the idea of second hand shoes, then this latest incarnation of the Rom is well worth the money.
So, all that remains is the most important part of all and the question I hear you shouting now is……..”Oi Dude, where do I get my hands on a pair of these cool trainers….”
Article written by Les Roberts, Adidas junkie and writer at Moneysupermarket.com.