Creative Soccer Culture

In Review: adidas SPZL DECADE Book

As part of the brand’s 10 year anniversary celebrations and to coincide with the DECADE event, adidas Spezial produced a commemorative book, looking back on all the footwear releases since 2014, and we’ve gone cover to cover to give you an insight into it.

The adidas SPZL DECADE book was revealed as a compendium piece to the brand's recent DECADE exhibition event. Created as a collector’s item, it showcases the full adidas SPZL footwear archive alongside detailed product descriptions, photography and quotes from SPZL's friends and family including Liam Gallagher, Vicky McClure, Ashley Walters, Noel Gallagher, Stephen Graham and more. Released in limited quantities at the week-long exhibition in Darwen, Lancashire, it went on to have a limited release through very select retailers, lending it almost as exclusive a feel as that of the footwear and apparel over the years. As it’s not the easiest thing to get hold of, having pored over the book for the last week, here I share my thoughts on it.

From the get-go, this hard back book is beautifully presented, capturing the essence of the brand, built up over the last 10 years through countless collections and the specific direction in which the ship has been steered by curator and creator, Gary Aspen, and his team.

Coming in at 13” x 10” and weighing an impressive 2.187kg, the SPZL DECADE book is certainly worth reaching for in the event that some nefarious ne’er-do-well should enter your home uninvited. But using it to clobber said burglar over the head is a secondary benefit to its primary purpose, that being as a luxurious coffee table piece, a task it is more than up to.

Decade 4 Min

Upon opening the book and having a cursory flick through the visual treat that is the 260 glossy pages, that lovely smell that only comes with a new book wafts in your face with every page turn. It acts as much as a part of the initial enjoyment as the layout itself does, the smell instantly triggering a feeling of “premium” in the mind. (Three of the five senses more than satisfied, and while I’m sure some ASMR specialists would have a great time flicking through, I must draw the line at licking the pages).

Decade 5 Min

And so on to the actual content of the book. It opens up with an in-depth interview with Aspden, who, over the first 10 pages, dives deep into the history of the brand, from its origins and the almost accidental creation of the now iconic Mod Trefoil, to the culture of Spezial and what the future holds. It’s a comprehensive look back at the journey of SPZL from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, and despite the presence of other insights and comments from other contributors throughout the book, this is by far the most engaging section of writing, both in terms of content and depth. But let’s be honest, a book like this doesn’t sit around waiting to be read from cover to cover, and only the most die-hard collectors and fans will be doing that; no, it’s there to be flicked through and to be admired for what it is, and that’s a comprehensive look back at the brand’s footwear archive.

Decade 6 Min

Over 100 pairs of shoes are profiled in a square shot, positioned toe to the ground, showing off the upper and outsole. Each is then accompanied by a short write up, detailing the process and reasoning of it being selected to get the SPZL treatment. All shoes are grouped in the book in the collections in which they originally dropped, offering easy navigation.

If you’re wanting to be critical, it feels something of a shame that the book only focusses on the footwear, although to have included the apparel would have been a mammoth task, as Aspden was quick to point out: “This book is a complete volume around Spezial footwear up to Summer ’24. This book could’ve been twice the size (which would’ve needed twice the budget!) and included all the apparel and accessories as well. We touch on the apparel with the portraits, but just doing the footwear has been a monumental task.” Maybe a follow-up in the future? We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Decade 1 Min

In conclusion, this book exists as an artefact to cement the collectibility of what Aspden and co. have built, chronicling the journey through the presentation of the product itself. It’s been lovingly assembled, and that’s apparent through the premium presentation and the luxury feel it boasts. Like the Spezial brand itself, this is one that will appeal mostly to those in the know, and while “outsiders” may well cast appreciative eyes at it, flicking through the pages, it has clearly been designed with the most ardent of fans and collectors in mind. And for them it will be the pinnacle of the last ten years, the cherry on top of the cake, and what a cake it is.

The adidas SPZL DECADE book has sold out, with all proceeds going to Nightsafe.

About the Author
Dan Jones

The veteran of the team. It's not the years, it's the mileage. Some of his greatest achievements include playing (and scoring) at Anfield, Goodison and Camp Nou, and he'll happily talk you through all three (in great detail) over a nice cuppa. Specialises in boots and kits and will happily talk you through them (in great detail) over a nice cuppa – although you might need something stronger...

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