A visit to the lost-in-time adidas shop in Argentina
Steeple Pine
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A visit to the lost-in-time adidas shop in Argentina

Wed 24 Feb 2016 at 19:30 by Distant Echo in blog


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Back in 2014 a team of adidas enthusiasts led by collector/brand-honcho Gary Aspden and including Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown ventured to Argentina to follow up on a rumour that a shop full of vintage Adidas training shoes existed.

They found it deep in a Buenos Aires suburb. The gang filmed their visit as they met the enigmatic store-owner Carlos Ruiz and carefully filed their way through decades old adidas.

The film caught the imagination of trainer enthusiasts around the world and in autumn 2015 the team returned for a follow up movie.

It even inspired the 80s Casuals Sole Searching t-shirt.

Just prior to the second film being released three Liverpool lads captivated by the movie flew to South America themselves to try and track down the illusive store.

We caught up with Carl Irvine, one of the Scouse-trio, to get the low-down on his visit.

Argentina

How much of a part did the adidas film inspire you to goto Argentina and how hard was it find the shop once you arrived?

The documentary was the whole reason I booked the trip. It was a complete gamble whether we would actually find the shop if it existed but I had to try. 

So many people had said before we were wasting our time that the shop didn't exist, I got the impression certain people "in the know" of the shops location tried to send us on a wild goose chase.

It was only that I blagged the lad who helps Carlos that I was a good friend of Gary Aspden that he give me the address and actually opened the store. I got the feeling it doesn't open much anymore. Even with the address it was hard to find. We jumped in a cab. It was like going from the centre of Liverpool to Skelmersdale [a satellite town on the city outskirts]. The taxi driver couldn't even find it at first.

Tell us about Carlos? Is he as humble as he comes across on the video?

The language barrier was hard but he was as close to a typical Scouse grandad as you could imagine. Old school and stubborn, but very welcoming.

He would not budge on the prices of the trainees, which were "apparently expensive" compared to before the documentary but we're still roughly £50-£70 a pair.

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You got a sneak peak at the adidas New York SPZL 'Carlos' trainer didn't you? 

I knew as soon as I seen the brand new Spezial boxes something big was happening. I took a few photos on the sly as I didn't want to upset Carlos and his mate Cristian was insisting we kept quiet about them.

The same night it had spread like wildfire we had been. I ended up getting a message from Gary Aspden about the trip. They'd just been for a second time but the video hadn't been published yet. I think he was worried we would tell the world. 

What was the best thing you saw in there and did you come away with anything in particular?

The whole shop was magic. We were in there for what felt like five mins but it must have been approaching two hours. I still didn't get to look through everything - it was all a blur.

Like in the film boxes were old and trainees were crumbling as you touched them. I was that nervous I dropped a box of mint condition 20 odd year old adidas volley and they fell into a million pieces.

Cristian brushed them under the shelf before Carlos seen them and told me to keep quiet, he said Carlos would of hit the roof.

The kids Silverwind and New York were boss. I got a couple of pairs of kids Silverwind, a pair of adult adidas Squash which would never fit me but I couldn't leave them and a pair of Argentina colourway adidas Indoor for myself which are now my pride and joy.

There wasn't much left in adult sizes. I don't think it gets a lot of visitors but just being in the shop was the most surreal experience I've ever felt.

Anyone who loves their trainees would of cried at what could of been if there was more left and the humidity hadn't eaten it's way through the vintage stock.

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With thanks to Carl for the insight into the trip and the pictures. 

The first video can be seen here. The second is here.