In Spring/Summer 2016, Gary Aspden and the crew behind Adidas SPZL, the brand’s line that brings back and reinterprets shoes from Adidas’ archive, retroed the 350 for the first time ever.

“The only thing that differs between Adidas 350 SPZL and OG Adidas 350s that were made under license in Japan,” Aspen said of the retro in an interview with Sneakersnstuff, “is that the Spezial version is made of much better leather.”

The white and black leather shoes fit in well with the Spezial collection, which was inspired by the French Riviera and also featured blue and white striped sweaters. When it came to recreating the 350 and the other shoes in Spezial, Aspden told me in a 2016 interview that it was an extremely laborious process.

“We try to work with the toolings that currently exist to keep down our overheads as we try to keep the quantities and distribution on the Adidas Spezial range very tight,” Aspden said. “The next challenge is finding the correct lasts for the uppers. The specification of the uppers are crucial—an adjustment of a few millimeters on the length of an eye stay and depth of a toe box can make a massive difference to how a shoe looks overall. We pay attention to the inside of the shoes, too, including patches and stamped codes to further give that authentic Adidas feel to them.”

The 2016 reissue was the only time 350 would be included in the Spezial range. But it was quickly adopted into the main line of Adidas Originals, something that hadn’t happened before with Spezial sneakers. Adidas released the shoes in a spectrum of colors in 2016. There was a collaboration on the model with Oyster Holdings, the brand ran by Woodie White, a Chicago designer that runs in the same circles as Kanye West, Jerry Lorenzo, and Don C. There was even a Moskva, or “Moscow,” version of the 350 made for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

This sneaker made a lot of sense at the time, and not only because of Adidas’ ties to the World Cup. But also because the Adidas Spezial typically catered to the European football casual fans, well-dressed “hooligans” that have a long history of wearing Adidas. They also have a history of importing, stealing, and smuggling the shoes from continental Europe back to the island of Britain as they traveled on football away days. Supporters of clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool would follow their clubs as they played European competition, pilfering footwear, clothes, watches, and money, along the way.

Back in 2016, when I interviewed Aspden, I spent the majority of my out-of-work time supporting the New York Red Bulls. I was a member of the good old GSU, the Garden State Ultras, a group of delinquent soccer supporters from the New York/New Jersey area. For the first “away day” I ever went on with the boys, to New England, I wore the Adidas 350. I remember walking to the Harrison-bound train station in the shoes with a tote bag packed to the brim with green Stella Artois bottles.

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