‘Retro Runner Rehab’ is a column where we bungee into the world of bygone running shoes, scoop up our favourites and throw them back in the spotlight. Given that there are so many discontinued running models with extra mileage left in them that you could line them up heel-to-toe and you’d have a distance Forrest Gump wouldn’t want to run, it looks like we won’t be checking out of rehab anytime soon.
To cut to the chase; the much vaunted EQT sub-division of adidas first took shape way back in 1991. Eschewing the trappings of aesthetics, the line was introduced with the sole purpose of serving the athletic or recreational requirements of the wearer – function was job number one. A masterstroke in the development of the program by adidas’s Peter Moore and team was the strategic decision to name the range ‘Equipment’. The title served as a transformative term, instantly elevating the sneakers from ordinary footwear to advanced apparatus designed to meet the rigours of a specific undertaking.
The early days of EQT saw an unbroken line of slimmed down technical masterpieces, featuring variations of three-stripe-like straps and Torsion bars running underfoot. Ditching the Trefoil for an updated angular logo, many featured iconic colour combos of Sub Green, Core Black and white. The Equipment line divided into subsets and offered Cushion, Support and Guidance variations targeted at different gaits – you had a certain requirement, there was an EQT solution.
Then 1995 hit and the EQT line-up took a curious detour. Instead of slimmed down and lightweight, adidas delivered an unwieldily – almost bloated – duo. The EQT Cushion and Support sat squat above a thick ‘Vibrastop’ outsole which could definitely be classified as ‘durable’. The sheer amount of rubber stuck to the underside would ensure endurance like no other and gift the wearer a few extra inches in the lineup. However the routed outsoles, replete with a large Torsion component below the instep, offered inferior traction.
While perhaps not the greatest moment in the history of ‘Equipment’, the silhouette does have its own charm. The striking straps, lit in Sub Green or signature adi-blue, and staunchly resolute upper jutting unashamedly out speak of another (perhaps more optimistic) era. One just needs to look at that crisp combo of neoprene and white mesh to feel a little sentimental. Is it time for a re-up? Is there room in the world for a husky hustler from times once passed? We kinda think so. Maybe.