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MADE FOR SKATE

Three Stripes for the Second Wave With many technical innovations and new, spectacular ma- neuvers, skateboarding‘s second wave was creating a new demand for resistant, grippy and comfortable footwear. Since the skateboard industry wasn‘t able to provide shoes on a large scale yet, most riders were sporting those from the established athletic shoe brands. A famous three-striped company from Germany called adidas was on board too – and soon launched some of the first skate-specific shoe models in Europe. At this point adidas was strongly associated with mainstream team sports such as football. When skateboarding first made its way into California schoolyards in the early 50s, adidas had just helped Germany‘s football team win the 1954 World Cup. adidas had equipped the team with cutting-edge football shoes having removable studs. When Nasworthy‘s “Cadillac Wheels” were beginning to fly off the shelves, Germany had just beaten the Netherlands 2 to 1 in the 1974 World Cup final in Munich. There was no way around the three stripes, espe- cially in the 1970s. At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, 83% of the athletes wore adidas. Apparently, that wasn‘t enough to scare off skateboarders. Halfpipe legend Claus Grabke of Germany, one of the most popular riders in the 80s, still remembers the red adidas “Handball” shoe worn by many riders in the early days. As skateboarding turned into a countercultural movement, Grab- ke and others turned away from mainstream shoe models “because my father was also wearing “Handball” shoes. He was actually a handball player. Skateboarding was an escape from the world of the parents, so there was no way I could have worn those.” Thanks to its sense of freedom and individuality skateboard- ing was now getting the glory that had been re- served for mainstream sports like football. In another reversal, football was now stigmatized as being strict and team-ori- ented. Despite this fact, adidas quickly gained a foothold in skateboarding. Among the most popular models in Europe was the “Nizza”, a canvas basketball shoe first introduced in 1976. It was fashionable and had all the features a 1970‘s skateboarder wanted: The transparent suction cup sole was grippy. A good ankle and heel cushioning provided proper support, and a rubber toe cap offered further protection. Quickly after the successful launch of the “Nizza”, adidas realized the potential of skateboarding and produced some of the first shoes designed specifically for the sport – the “Skate” and “Superskate”. They were released in 1978, in the same year that Adi Dassler, the founder of the company died. The shoes were designed at Landersheim, France, and launched in France first. Both low- and high- top were vulcanized in their original version and made of wear-resistant kangaroo leather. The three stripes were more than just a brand logo. Actually, the middle stripe provided some well-needed stability for radical skate action. Three Stripes for the Second Wave

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