One of the greatest footballers of all time, Johan Cruyff, was reaching the twilight of his career in Barcelona, 1979, when he began to imagine creating a range of footwear himself to challenge the technical and luxury qualities of those on the market beforehand. Subsequently, he did exactly that.
After a few years of trying and failing to encourage big sportswear brands to take his idea seriously, after all this was quite an unusual ambition of a professional sportsman at the time. Eventually he combined with his close friend, Italian designer Emilio Lazzarini, and using his knowledge he set out to create a technical shoe which managed to balance functionality with elegance. Initially the range was filled with “luxury” indoor football shoes, but they quickly became used as a fashion shoe due to their attractive appearance.
Below: the man himself attends a launch for Cruyff Classic’s latest line.
Johan is remembered for his time playing for FC Barcelona’s and Holland’s star-studded football teams; he is still widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. Cruyff Classics is now a brand with a huge reputation in its own right, their success a measure of his status.
Having been worn on the football pitches in the 80’s by iconic Dutch players such as Van Basten and Vanenberg, then later on in the 90’s, Bergkamp. This era helped to expand the name in fashion beyond his homeland of Holland and further into Europe. Ultimately, this paved the way for silhouettes like the Recopa to enjoy a long and successful future, still standing as one of the brand’s most successful designs.
Known as one of the most stylish and skilful footballers of his generation, he is also recognized as one of the original advocates of “total football” whereby extremely technical players were free to roam free of positional restrictions and effectively play in numerous positions. This was a famous pioneering tactic during Cruyff’s playing days and became associated with the Holland national team, along with his two former clubs, Barcelona and Ajax.
The legacy of this exciting style of football lived on with Johan Cruyff to give him the reputation that he has today. Total football was always seen as stylish within the game, and the Dutchman was seen as a figurehead of this movement, winning the prestigious Ballon D’or award 3 times. In comparison, Cruyff has earned a similar high pedigree as a brand name through a holistic belief in his abilities.
The Dutch Olympic team in 1988 for Seoul were kitted out in Cruyff tracksuits which may go down as the brand’s defining moment. Since then they have stretched beyond creating simply sporting footwear, to becoming a clothing and lifestyle brand.
Below: a few of the most popular current shoes by Cruyff
Recopa- intricately designed and flawless attention to detail, this pair come in a host of colours and the leather heel and tongue trim is the distinctive characteristic.
-Santi- forgetting the functional and sporting purposes for which their shoes were first made. The Santi exemplifies Cruyff in the modern era, as a purely luxury fashion shoe, capable of sending any outfit up a notch.
Each design is given a name which means something to the man himself a few of them are past Dutch footballers, a further selection have connotations with football- i.e. the Recopa which is a South American cup football tournament.
These are the factors which have shaped the image of the brand up until today, but their future reputation will expand further into fashion with their shoes which are a popular accompaniment to jeans. Expect the brand to remain at the top end of the footwear market in years to come.