How to identify the age of your adidas sneakers?

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Introduction

Well. Hi to all and thanks for reading this. The reason for writing this is that I'm fed up with tooo many sellers putting up misleading titles and descriptions, like stating "vintage" while they're selling recent reissues. I've been selling vintage adidas since about 2001. I wanted to write this guide a long time ago, but I just couldn't be asked to be honest. Now I feel I'm fed up with finding too many re-issues listed as vintage, not just on eBay. I know that many of us who just want to add another shoe into your collection, do a search, and too many reissues pop up. I hope I can enlighten some sellers out there. At least those who bother just a bit, and take the time to read this. As I'm aware that many sellers don't even take the time to find out what they are selling.  I also know that most sellers don't take this as seriously as I do, and they don't mislead on purpose. Still it can be annoying for collectors and enthusiasts. The following few steps will surely help you to know at least the differences between a pair made in 1980 and a pair made in 2010.
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The tag

Probably the most important thing you should look for, if there is a tag inside the shoes. I'm aware of 3 main types of adidas shoe tags. To my best knowledge, the oldest pair of shoes I've seen with a tag was from 1988. Before that, adidas used printed serials and sizes, usually on the tongue or the side of lining.
So please check this photo to the right with the  3 main tag types, in time order. (In general: Don't confuse the size tag with the brand logo tag!)
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The oldest tag (c.a. 1988-1994)

The oldest one was used c.a. 1988-1994, this was stitched on either the edge of the tongue, or the side of the inner lining, under the collar.
The material of the tag is usually a bit paper-like, and is always rectangular, vertically a bit longer. The front of it usually states sizes, and place of manufacture. The rear side usually has the code of the factory and the art number. Not always though.
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Tag used c.a. 1995-2000

The next tag is typically stitched onto the inner side of the  tongues, top-middle area. Also square-shaped, usually a bit horizontally wider.The horizontal, colourful band/stripe can have various colours. Most common are red, blue, orange, yellow. Date of manufacture can be found in the bottom right corner: 02/98, which stands for February 1998.
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The modern tag, as used today, c.a. since 2000

As far as I know and have experienced, the latest tag is being used since the Millennium. It is much smaller than the previous one, and is plain white, with black lettering, without any colours. Note the  date of manufacture: 02/05 for February 2005. Also note that scannable code which is square shaped and is in the lower-right.
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made in France tags

Also a pretty common one, a sticker on the insole. To my best knowledge, mostly (or always?) these shoes were made in France, 2nd half of 1980's, as far as I know, probably even a bit earlier too.
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Before-tags era

These stampings were used before the tags,  as far as I know before around 1988. The print could be on the side of inner lining, inner or outer side of tongues. Usually golden, silver, black, red coloured numbers. The first or last number, separated by a gap from the line of numbers, is always the UK sizing. These are size 8. This era of shoes usually have the place of manufacture on the outer side of the tongues, under the adidas logo. Or it can be next to the stamping, as on this photo.
This printing was used for decades, I don't know when they introduced it. However, was def. used in the 70's and 80's, but I've seen it on 60's shoes too. 

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Place of manufacture

This is an important point too. To my best knowledge, adidas moved most of their factories to the far-East around mid-80's. Before that, look for countries like Austria, Yugoslavia, West-Germany, France, just to mention the most common ones. Note that Yugoslavia and West-Germany don't exist in this form any more. So if you see either of these, your shoes are true vintage.

After around the  mid-80's, Taiwan was common in 1985-1987 for running shoes, and nylon/canvas leisure shoes. A serial was printed along the edge of tongue, inner or outer side. To mention are models like 'Arizona', 'Nizza', 'Tennis' etc.

In around 1987-89 Rep. of Korea became popular.
Around 1990 -1994, look for Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and China too.
After like 1994, Indonesia and China are the most popular ones, and occasionally Germany. 
From like 2000, Vietnam and Indonesia are common, still are.



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Signs of age

Look for damaged materials, often the sole and the synthetic skin or the paint. Especially the PU soles get sticky first, then start to crumble into bits. Thin, synthetic skin was often used on high-tops, basketball shoes, around the ankles, or on any other shoe, on the collars. These often crack, tear or get sticky. Also, originally white soles can have yellow discolouration, and the glue between the soles and uppers can get brown. Often if the glue is old, the soles will detach from the uppers.
Paint and rubber soles often get dry, and will have many minor cracks.
Some rubber soles can get stiff, plastic soles can snap if you bend them. White discolouration on black or dark soles usually means that the sole will crack or snap under pressure.


P.S. : The purpose of this guide is to quickly learn how to make difference between true vintage and re-issued (recent) adidas shoes. I could go into more details, and much information could  still be added. 
No text or info was copied from any outer source. This was fully written by me, and if you want to use this info elsewhere, you must ask for permission first. 
All was written to my best knowledge, and I'm aware of many other guys who could add info or correct me if I was wrong. Please get in touch and do so!

All the best and have fun.
András Eszlinger aka STRIPEGURU
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