The origins of the fabled Buenos Aires Adidas Store

Located in a nondescript Buenos Aires suburb lies a sneaker spot frozen in time. This Buenos Aires Adidas Store owned by Carlos Ruiz, is a treasure cove for enthusiasts of the Adidas brand, specifically for those who are drawn to everything vintage. As on arrival, you will be met with shelves stacked high with old blue boxes. Stuff from the ’78 World Cup and before. The store exists now as more of an archive than a functioning retailer. There is no order to the stock, some of which hasn’t been moved for years. Spending an afternoon in the store is like a treasure hunt, and you will do well to discover it all in that time.

The man behind the store – Carlos Ruiz

Carlos Ruiz’s story is marred by tragedy. A local legend who is by all accounts an unpredictable individual. One Ruiz tale alludes to a big budget movie director who wanted to use the store as a location. As soon as he got his checkbook out, Ruiz threw him out. For him, the store isn’t about money, it isn’t about profit; Ruiz is as much a curator as he is a shopkeeper, interested only in what he calls “noble product”.

If you delve behind Ruiz’s eccentric facade you will unearth a harrowing tale. Two youths had shot and robbed Ruiz in the shop. It took him two years to walk again. Widowed and returning to work, he discovered the licence had changed hands, meaning all stockists needed to reapply for an account. Ruiz chose not to reapply. With no new stock coming in the store has since been frozen in time. A gallery of an era that has since been forgotten by many.

Inspiration for the Adidas Spezials product line

The 1970’s rarities that were sourced from the store via an exploration by Adidas expert Gary Aspen, alongside various invited ‘sneakerheads’ including The Stone Roses front man Ian Brown and fellow collectors and Adidas collaborators Mike Chetcuti and Robert Brooks, became the basis for the premium Adidas Spezial collection – 12 pieces of clothing and four pairs of shoes. Each took inspiration from the vintage products found in Carlos Ruiz’s store but are not straight reissues or retros.

Aspen challenged himself to extract some of the history from his trip to Argentina to create an Adidas aesthetic without relying on the signature three stripes. His designs rely more on small details which speak to the brands lineage. As opposed to heavy branding to incubate nostalgia.

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