Easily my favourite ever release from Die Marke Mit Den 3 Streifen, the adidas Superstar 'Shelltoe' is back on the shelves once again. A staple for what seems like centuries, these puppies pop up once again in their original gold-stamped slim tongue form, and looking at these icons takes me back, way back, back to 1997. During the early to mid-90s, Shelltoes were popularly re-appropriated as skate shoes, and in my home town of Prahran, Melbourne, down at the skate park they were the shiznit, along with PUMA Clydes and adidas Gazelles. None of these models were hard to come by, you could pick Shelltoes up for about $80 at a spread of local stores – but... in Australia we only received the skinny tongue edition (exactly as seen above) and pretty much only in white with black stripes (as seen above). You could tell if someone had been overseas because they would be rocking Shelltoes with red stripes or the most sought after Down Under – all black with white stripes and puffy tongues. If you had a pair of those you were in king status territory.
I dipped out of high school about a year and a half early, mainly due to lack of interest, so by the time I was 18 I had already been working and had a bit of cash saved up. I was gonna buy a car, but I didn't know how to drive. I decided to use my money to travel to the USA to get me some black Shelltoes – with the puffy tongues. A month or so later I was in San Francisco, staying at a the Globe hostel in the South Mission. It was all gravy there, nothing but skating at EMB, Pier 7, drinking 40s, making pocket money by helping out kooky backpackers with cabbage connects and eating burgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After being robbed and harassed in SF for a month I was getting ready to move on, and so it was time, time to do what I had come to do. I hit up a sneaker store just off Market Street and scored my prize, actually I scored a bonus prize too, Air Max 1 Leathers. My afternoon was about chain blazing green sticks and staring at my prizes.
Here comes the shit part. In the hostel I'd been keeping my travellers cheques and passport in a safe behind the counter, but in my room – which I shared with two completely crazy Ozzy bogans – there were no lockers or anywhere to keep your stuff. That night, faded as Frankenstein's monster I hit the sack early, only to be woken up a couple of hours later by the Ozzies having a full-blown orgy with two Irish slappers. It was comical but annoying. I got up and went downstairs to watch rap videos on BET. In the morning I woke up on the couch, getting shook by Wayne (one of the bogans). 'Oi, Sweet Kicks! Wake up mate!'. 'Wa, wa, waaaaaa.' 'You seen them sheilas from last night? They've flogged all our stuff mate!'....
On inspecting my stuff back in the room only two of my things had been taken. The first was a bum bag (fanny pack (LOL... fanny) that I had filled with rolls of unprocessed shots of my adventures, the second... Yep, my bloody Shelltoes! Skanky dawgs, I was irate. Wayne and his mate (whose name I can't remember) had been completely rinsed; passports, cash, drugs... everything! I didn't give a shit though, I wanted my Shelltoes. Word of the fiasco spread throughout the building, and suddenly someone came in to the room holding an adidas box. 'Hell yeah, that's my box!' I snatched that blue bastard out of the holder's hands and popped the top. What I found inside has haunted me until this very day. It was.... Gees it's tough to talk about this... It was, oh man, I can still smell them. It was, in the box I found, what was in front of me, in my hands was... a size 13 pair of completely violated Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. 'Ahhhhhhhhhh, WTF, 4 real?!!!!'. Soon 2 and 2 came together as Wayne blurted out. 'Those are (insert Irish man's name here)'s shoes. That bloody dog, that flaming mongrel bastard!' As it turns out my roommate's sexual romp was all a con. Obviously Irish guy had been waiting in the flanks for my roommates to tire from their sweaty session before the sheilas open the door for him so they could raid the room.
Needless to say I lost my marbs, went of the hook, argued with Wayne and his mate and got myself kicked out of the hostel. Cursing my way down Market Street to my skating mate's hotel room in the Tenderloin all I could think about was the Irish dude suffering in pain. I'm a size 10 and as all adi fans will know, Shelltoes do not give a millimetre. I hoped that all his toes would turn black and blue and fall off, I hoped that after his toenails ripped off that they'd get infected and started rotting and that he'd cry... a lot. Later that day after a couple of bugles and some Jack In The Box, I hit up the same sneaker store and bought a second pair of black Shelltoes, took them straight to the post office and mailed them back home to my mum.
A couple of months later I bumped into Wayne in New York. After losing all his shit, he'd gone to LA to get a hustle going of some kind and was back on top. We talked about the night that everything went down. 'Was it worth it Wayne? Did you have the time of your life or what?'. 'Oh yeah mate, it was spot on, just what the doctor ordered.' Well, at least Wayne had fun.
PS: Irish guy, if you read this and for some weird reason you still have my rolls of film, or even better yet, had them developed and put them in an album for me, then please email in at [email protected](dot)com. I've got some size 13s around and am willing to trade.
PPS: These shoes are available now at select adidas retailers, including Overkill.
Peace, Sweet Kicks Willy