My Stan Smiths story takes me back to a lads holiday mid 2000s. Kavos. Theatre of dreams.
Laying by a noisy pool in the midday sun was doing nothing to shift a particularly weighty hangover, so I opted for a mope down the strip instead. On the coach in I'd noticed a little sports shop on the outskirts of town - I was hardly expecting armfuls of Lacoste as if it was some European awayday in the 80s, but there could be a few cheap pairs of adidas knocking about. I just had to get there without passing out from the fumes of last night's Headfucker cocktails seeping out of me.
Sure enough I made it in, nodded to the old Greek fella sat watching the football on his portable telly, and embraced the godawful selection of running shoes and basketball vests on display. I don't know why I was surprised. In the corner of the top row however, peeking out from behind a wall of tatty Nike boxes, was a flash of familiar blue. I knew that colour anywhere, it was adidas, but it looked slightly faded.
"Scuse me mate, what's up there?" I pointed to a clearly neglected corner of the shop
"There?!" He asked grumpily, as if I'd just asked him to bend over for a colonoscopy
"Yeh, the blue box"
As he passed it down from his stepladder I saw the old school adidas trefoils beneath a thick layer of dust. I knew what that meant. Deadstock, possibly rare as fuck adidas. I had to stop myself snatching the box off him and sending the poor bloke toppling over. Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta opens the briefcase and feels the gold glow on his face? I know what that feels like. Inside was a pair of gleaming white Stan Smiths, deadstock, made in France, one of the rarest models of the timeless tennis shoe.
"Got any more of these?" I asked pointing at the adidas logo. He shook his head, charged me an arbitrary 30 euros, (about £20 then, pittance compared to their worth at the time) and sent me on my way. I like to think he sits around his dinner table now laughing about the crazy Englishman who got excited got over a dusty old box that'd been sat there for years.
When I got back to the pool none of my mates, nor the barman, nor a pissed and sunburnt group of girls from Burnley, gave a shit about my deadstock trainers. They probably had a point. But as I'd already planned to extend my holiday for the rest of the season, I trusted my mate Bill with the job of transporting them back to London.
For the next two months I wallowed in my discovery, buzzing off the fact they were waiting for me when I got home. Imagine the accolades I'd get from the very few trainer heads I knew. Didn't matter that they weren't my size, I'd just stick them on eBay anyway.
So what happened when I got home? My mate told me he'd worn them down the pub and had thrown the box away. I realised after a few minutes that he wasn't joking. "I didn't know you'd want to keep the bloody box" he explained, quite reasonably.
Looking back I'm glad he did it to be honest. It taught me to stop being such a trainspotter. Before you know it I'd have been breaking into sports shops in sleepy villages all over Europe looking for an elusive pair of Kolns. Banging on people's doors in the middle of the night "Did you have a sports shop in the 70s? Can I look in your garage?" For me, trainers are meant to be worn just like records are meant to be played. I'll leave the collecting to a dedicated few.
As it happens, the Stan Smiths are getting a reissue this week. Buy them here.