adidas Torsion Handball Super

  • MADE ON: 03/92
  • ART.NO: 033856

The adidas Handball Super Hi is one of my all time favorite models due to the subtle mix of surface materials; soft suede, four colors of leather, breathable mesh, extra-fuzzy inner padding, and a bit of textile foam in the heel ribs (ala modern-day Conductor Hi style). And it’s for these very reasons that the low version of the silhouette caught my eyes immediately.

Pictured here is the upgrade of the above mentioned sibling silhouettes; the adidas Torsion Handball Super, in its low-cut form. Mainly featuring the Torsion system in its gum sole, appropriately painted white in the middle parts to highlight the area that provides more flexibility between forefoot and ball movements. The only downside to this technology is that it breaks up the sole, and over time, given the wrong storage conditions, the braced area between the front and back of the outsole can begin to erode, completely crumbling upon each step (the adidas Torsion Artillery SE Hi II is a perfect example of this artifact decay). However, with that said, in my experiments with these so far the sole units have felt nothing but sturdy as hell, so fingers crossed adidas.

Beyond the ups and (potential) downs of the sole itself – and no, that’s not a metaphoric walking joke there either you crazies – the shoes feature nearly the same aspects of the Handball Super (and Handball Super Hi) that I found so appealing: mixed materials, blue and yellow hues against a white and off-white upper, all stacked on a classic gum sole.

Differences? Sure thing, these Torsion upgrades have a super soft patch of textile running the upper length of the eyelets, prominent adidas branding on the outside walls above the added, ribbed, bright yellow plastic underneath the textile stripes, possibly placed there to additionally highlight the centered Torsion flex-bar. The lower heel is wrapped in soft textile instead of suede and the upper heel tab is leather-wrapped, ditching the foam ribs. There is, however, a high cut version of this Torsion upgrade that brings the ribs back above the leather heel patch (and you damn well know I’m huntin’ a size I can squeeze into).

Comfort is just about all these provide physically. Not much ankle support and incredibly low toe protection, though fans of the Torsion system will commend the flexibility of movement when walking or running in such a pair. And those soles, I’m not sure what it is about vintage units, but they seem to organically polish themselves over their years of aging, providing a sturdy yet incredibly slippery base (making them magic for a moonwalk and yet perilous for any fast-paced performance actually). Overall, the adidas Torsion Handball Super is an experiment from the early ’90s that certainly deserves a point of success in my book.

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol