- MODEL: ADIDAS TAHITI
- SERIES: ADIDAS ISLAND SERIES
- MADE IN: FRANCE
The adidas Tahiti. Made in France. Lets just take a second or two to digest that sentence. Now there will probably be two trains of thought here. The first will be a blip on the radar of any serious collector as soon as its name is mentioned. This is a grail for many, owned by few, and hard to track down in any sort of condition, never mind a desirable size or boxed. The second will be “Tahiti? Never heard of them, what are they? Blue suede? They don’t sound very nice!”
I’ve heard them all… but let’s move on with a bit of the background story on these. They were initially released as part of adidas’ “Island” range, classed as more of a leisure shoe and not necessarily attributed to any particular sport that had been adidas’ unique selling point of the mid 70′s, trouncing the likes of Nike and PUMA with their heavy handed campaigns in which they successfully provided a shoe (or other footwear) for virtually every sport known to man.
The concept of designing a shoe around no particular sport was probably a breath of fresh air for the designers at adidas, as the pressure for it to perform well in a sports environment was lifted, and the main focus was the “look” of the shoe. Initially, the first shoe released was the adidas Tobacco. It wasn’t officially classed as part of the island range although there is in fact a Tobacco Caye off of Mexico, so that’s open to debate there. This trainer was created in the muted colourway of brown suede and brown stripes, and was very well received by the now more fashion conscious buyers that appreciated the comfort and style the shoes brought with them.
On the back of this adidas went into overdrive, bringing out different colourways and renaming them to far flung exotic places where most buyers had not even heard of. The adidas Tahiti was a braver move by the designers, not for it’s shape, but for it’s bold use of colour on the suede uppers. It would have taken a brave man to wear these in the 70′s in the UK. The light blue colourway however appealed on the continent, and sales continued, along with a darker version, which was navy suede, with lighter stripe detail, all in suede, as seen here.
With its instantly recognisable colour and dark sole combination, the Tahiti has become a timeless classic amongst collectors across the globe, and its scarcity only adds to it’s appeal. With the “made in France” model being such a cherished shoe in the trainer fraternity, it was inevitable it would be re-issued by adidas. True to form, adidas re-issued in 1996 with the “made in Indonesia” version, although the quality was seriously lacking, as the stripes and heel tab had a tendency to crack and peel off, the model was still a head-turner, and was joined by “Trinidad”, a red and black version that suffered the same quality issues. The latest re-issue was the “made in Japan” version that tackled the previous issues by using a velour material for the stripes and heel tabs, and some say, is as desirable as the French made original.
Whichever version you’re lucky enough to own, the French original will stand alone as a fantastic statement to shoe design and style.
written by Mike Stopforth
photography by errol
shoes contributed by Fritze