I like my trainers, and - as I hope you'll have read elsewhere on Sabotage Times - I've got a fair few of them. Having a lot means that you can put a kind of squad rotation system in place. Now, squad rotation has its detractors. Liverpool fans for example were bemoaning their ever chopping and changing team a few seasons back and Ranieri at Chelsea was labeled the Tinkerman for his frequent changing of players. It does though, allow you to keep players fresh and rest them for those vital games. It's the same with trainers, yes, bare with me here. Wear them sparingly and they'll reward you with many years of fine service. Wear them every day and they'll be knackered within a month.
That said, every manager has his favourite starting XI, there's always the player that's 'first on the teamsheet', the ever-present captain, the set-your-watch-by-them reliable old pros that put the effort in whether it's the League Cup first round or the Champions League Semi-Final. A dash of foreign flair on the wing, crossing to the ox like centre half, who'll knock both the ball and the keeper into the back of the net. There's a lot to be said about having a strong squad but a consistent XI is a must. And so here's mine... in trainers.
First up, this classic runner and my favourite of the ZX series. Nice and simple, not too many fancy bits or flourishes, an excellent 'colourway' (I know it sounds a bit poncy say using that word) that's reminiscent of the Factory colour scheme. Above all though, they're damn comfy, which as they're originals, you'd hope they would be if you were to go out running in them. I'm pretty sure I saw these reissued not too long ago, and I wasn't impressed.
Adidas Indoor Super
A reissue from a few years back of a trainer designed to play squash in. I've never really understood squash, it seems to be a game solely played by fat, sweating, red faced business men in a giant tupperware box on their lunch break, or that Scots lass who played in a thong until it turned out to be a publicity stunt. Anyway, there's quite a large family of these squash trainers, but I do love these. Look great with jeans and aren't chunky. Though if you look closely at this pair you'll see the remains of a stain caused by a freak accident with a bloke's dropped fountain pen and a passing London bus.
Diadora Seb Impact
My favourite trainer named after an ex-Tory MP and Barron. Reissued in the early 00s, the originals were designed in 1985, when Coe was one of the best runners of his generation as opposed to fella in charge of daft Olympic mascots and logos that look like Lisa Simpson giving a blowjob. As was the trend in the 80s, they were meant to have some kind of weight system in the sole that would balance your running, or something like that. Sounds a bit gimmicky to me. If luminous yellow's not your thing, then they also come in slightly more conservative - if you will - two tone grey.
Adidas Lendl Advantage
Another sportsmen endorsed pair makes it onto the list. This time the 80s tennis legend Ivan Lendl. Following on from other tennis greats like Bjorn Borg he put his name to a range of Adidas trainers and tracksuit tops, that ended up being sported by none tennis playing youths. A really great pair of trainers that you're not likely to see around every day.
Adidas New York
One of the range of running shoes Adidas brought out named after cities. These are an original pair, still in mint condition, and very very comfy. The New Yorks are another that were reissued around the early to mid 00s and didn't look a great deal like the ones here. Similar in their chunkyness to the popular Oregon, with the midsole webbing they're still incredibly light.
I'm not that big a fan of Nike, apparently they're all the rage these days, but I make the exception for these. If they look familiar and you can't place why then it could well be because these are the very trainers sported by Brain in the 80s Brat Pack teen angst hit The Breakfast Club. Or possibly not. Either way, these look ace and are, like most of the runners on the list (can you guess I like runers?) very comfy.
When these came out, they were accompanied by a set of pens that allowed you to colour the stripes any colour you wanted... provided it was one of the colours of the pens. A novel idea that didn't really take off, but the trainers themselves were great. Adidas recently reissued a whole series of Adicolor (the Americanised missing 'u' really grates) none of which were a patch on these, and most of which were horrendous.
The trainers I've worn most since these came out and I bought them about 7 or 8 years ago. Not just a straight Adidas trainer, these were a collaboration between Adidas and oki-ni, who's stuff I'm not normally a fan of but who excelled themselves with these. Turning the suede into ultra-soft kangaroo leather in a glorious mahogany chocolate brown. The heels fold down, with the idea being you slip them on after sport. If you're wondering why these look virtually brand new, or even if you're not, it's because these are the backup pair I bought a few years back. Always have a backup.
Adidas Marathon Competition
I don't know a great deal about these, so if you do, let me know in the comments below. They're obviously from the 80s, and part of the Marathon family, but fit and feel very similar to Adistars. I bought them off a fella in the US who's dad was a runner and they were brand new and unworn, hence as you can see in the photo, they still had the tags on. A great summer trainer.
Made for the sport of shot putting/putting the shot/the shot putt/that one Geoff Capes did, these have a smooth sole that means they're a no no in winter. Yet another model that was reissued a few years back in a couple of horrible colours, but these are the originals, as you may be able to see from the 'Made in West Germany' on the tongue. Another great summer trainer that don't look too chunky with shorts or just sit nicely under cords or jeans.
The good old Gazelle. The workhorse of the Adidas trainer, and still in my opinion trainer perfection. Introduced in 1968, they've been in production in one form or another and in a variety of colours ever since. As I've mentioned a few times above, I like trainers that aren't chunky, nice and simple and that sit well under jeans or cords. These fit the bill perfectly. The pink's just for something a bit out of the ordinary.
Finally, in at number 12 and taking their place on the bench, by virtue that they're not exactly every day trainers, the Adidas Micropacer. Not everyone's cup of tea, and I can see why, but I really do like these. From 1984, when whilst we weren't all living in the Big Brother state that Orwell predicted (he was just 26 years out with that) the future was still one of silver robot servants and Marty McFly hover-boards. Since 2000 there's been a host of increasingly horrible and over the top Micropacer reissues, but these were the pair that kicked it all off. Built in pedometer that worked out not only the distance you'd run, but the calories you'd burnt, and all wrapped up in glorious Buck Rogers silver leather. The future had truly arrived.