Speak about the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, and you probably won’t recall the athletes that won gold. Mark Spitz won seven gold medals in swimming, a record until Michael Phelps came along in 2008, and set new world records in all seven of those events, and yet the thing most people remember is the Munich Massacre.
Eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed in an act of terror within the Olympic village, and the fallout after the demands, the killings, and the failed escape sparked an investigation over an alleged German cover-up that went on for 40 years.
Only the most astute watchers will remember the role the adidas SL 72 played in the Games, and that’s a shame, because before there was the Nike Flyknit trainer, there was the SL 72.
Always designed with the intent that it’d be a perfectly comfortable off-the-field shoe, the SL 72 featured a T-toe design and a sculpted concave midsole. As an original lifestyle shoe, it also debuted with the iconic Trefoil logo. It was naturally a hit, and when track-n-field runners crossed the finish line, they got rid of their on-field sneakers and laced the SL 72 up for podium wear. In this way, it was ahead of its time.
As is the case with many original “lifestyle” sneakers, the SL 72’s status went to another level during the 1980s when they forayed into fashion. The exceptional traction tread outsole and the light-weight design (SL = “super light”) made this one of adidas’ most versatile sneakers. You could wear it after working out. You could wear it out to dinner. You could wear it just about anywhere and feel comfortable and confident.
Between the birth of the brand’s logo, the role they played in one of the most notorious Summer Olympics, and, of course, the reception they received from athletes, the shoe became a classic. It was well ahead of its time, as Nike wouldn’t dip into the so-called cross-training genre until 15 years later. Even over 40 years later, the SL 72 has to be considered one of the pillars of the adidas Originals brand, considering it basically helped start the brand.
For this summer, adidas infused the classic hit with modern day innovation in order to update the sneaker for a new audience. With that, the SL Loop Runner was born.
The T-toe and midsole are still intact, but the lightweight upper material has been adjusted and modernized. Then there’s the serrated stripes, which have been crafted so they peel up to form the eye stays. The sneaker’ll be meant for the summer, but no doubt it’ll be worn all year long. This is a silhouette that never gets old.
Debuting this month, the SL Loop Runner will drop in solar red, solar green, frost mint, and onix for $75. Turning back the clock never felt so good.
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