Sports footwear has a rich history of Olympic tie-ins. Some of the greatest Nike, adidas and PUMA pieces were built around that pivotal summer event - the Dream Team USA colourways, L.A. Trainers and Onitsuka's minimal running breakthroughs for the Japanese competitiors hark back to glory days, controversies and upsets, but it's such a profitable place to be showing off your brand markings, that every company goes hard in the paint, sand, water and track dirt. It's kind of a big deal. If you're adidas, you're blessed in that you're an official sponsor and can throw the word OLYMPIC around where other brands might have to skirt around the term.
After the first fruits of adidas Originals's Team GB themed line hit the shelves and left us a little nonplussed, trust us when we say that they're not playing around when it comes to the Olympic year. Just as the Originals output is stronger than ever, plenty of our favourite shoes have been given a Team GB makeover that stays to a tried and tested formula - after all, our colours, USA colours, plus the NBA and ABA's palettes are alike, meaning we're no strangers to seeing some classic adidas shoes given the red, white and blue treatment - especially on the 3-stripes. Handball is such a pivotal part of the games (though in the office we had no idea how it was played until a recent interrogation of a salesman and hobbyist handballer) that it's getting some major facilities in London's new Olympic development. Appropriately, the freshly revived Handball 5-Plug is part of this duo.
Reintroduced alongside the superior training style of the Gazelle Indoor, which gets a primarily blue colourway with Team GB branding kept to the inside tongue and footbed, that gummy sole revealing the stripes is still killer. On the Handball 5-Plug tip, it's a far more patriotic affair, with the plugs given the colours, a makeup not wildly dissimilar to an original palette. The 'Great Britain' font on the heel is questionable, but it's not like they've got Mandeville and the other crappy mascot printed across the side.
There's something curiously British about these Germanic silhouettes, thanks to the light-fingered pioneers, alpha males and shrewd retailers who made these shoes must-haves on these shores. Both makeups work, drop next month and are available to pre-order in the Crooked Tongues store now, set to pass the baton to some other icons with a similar look and equal focus on premium materials over the coming months...