History of the Adidas EQT Trainer

Written by Marc | 03/05/2017

Adidas Originals


Brand Focus


Last year Adidas reintroduced one of their past favourites, the EQT (short for equipment) trainer. The Adidas EQT was a popular brand in the 90s with a deep and interesting history differing greatly from the previous Adidas Dragon (the history of which you can read here).

The Adidas brand was founded by Adolf Dassler in 1949. Dassler passed away in 1978 and roughly ten years later Adidas was on the brink of collapsing. In 1991 it had a full reset, looking to the past for inspiration to survive in the future. It was a bold move, keeping everything which is essential and nothing that was not. It went against all forms of market research and trends to redesign a product to meet only the needs of the athletes – practicality rather than fashion.

This product redesign introduced the Adidas logo we know today, the three stripes inspired by their trainers’ look. This was the start of the EQT line. Peter Moore who was the creative director of the Original Adidas EQT stated, ‘You don’t have a piece of equipment to have fun with, you have it to do something with.’

Moore’s team created the shoes from scratch. They followed in their founder’s footsteps as Dassler worked by the fact that every design had a clear purpose to meet the certain needs of a certain athlete. For example, German footballer Uwe Seeler had an injured Achilles. Dassler made him a special pair of boots and Seeler inspired his side to victory wearing them.

The philosophy of EQT was to strip the object down to the essentials whilst making it greater than the sum of its parts. They experimented with new materials for each purpose. Cushion elements were used for shock absorption, and they used Torsion technology which allowed the foot’s front and back to move independently. The shoe featured the signature three Adidas stripes and was emphasised with a midfoot support system where a trio of flexible, lightweight strips encompass the foot and secure it.

The original colours of the Adidas EQT were green, white and black. They had an asymmetrical construction designed to improve support, protection and performance. The EQT struck a chord with the public and overnight went from converted to collected, particularly in East Berlin.

The people of East and West Berlin had been separated by the Berlin wall for nearly four decades until – through the sheer grit and determination of the people – it came crashing down. As there were fewer financial opportunities in the East, it led to people buying expensive clothes in order to appear above their real socioeconomic standing. For them, having expensive clothes was an escape from the reality of the oppressive communist regime they suffered under.

Although the EQT was released after the fall of the Berlin wall and Germany was united, the mindset of those in the Eastern region remained the same. The EQTs became the must-have item and they quickly developed into currency within German street culture, maintaining this reputation to this very day.

As the trends and tastes have changed since the 90s, Adidas decided it was time to get back to the essentials by reintroducing the EQT range. The new Adidas EQT both honours and defies the original. They switched to the complete opposite side of the colour wheel, switching from the green of old to a bold new red, designed to stand out from the crowd.

The legacy of quality from the original remains, with only premium materials used to put them together with caring and purposeful construction. Through all this, its core message remains the same – the best of Adidas in its newest form, remaining a statement to the world. Keeping everything which is essential, nothing which is not.

Written by Alex Ferguson

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