Designed 50 years ago and still in production today. The 1960s MaTes Carmel Classic trainers are an absolute classic.
But it isn’t a widely-known classic, which only adds to its appeal if everyone you know is stuck in an Adidas groove.
Small sportswear makers still exist and thrive today, with those vintage styles and the craftsmanship being key selling points. Everything from MaTes is still handmade, using techniques that go back as far as the 1940s.
In fact, the story started in Spain in the mid-1940s when, Francesc Mates, a shoemaker’s apprentice, experimented with some scraps that were left around the workshop. Those primitive designs took off and the label started officially selling shoes in 1947.
This was an era before the dominance of the big sportswear labels, with labels like MaTes producing sports shoes for big-name athletes of the day and gaining quite a reputation from doing so.
But over time, the likes of Adidas, Puma and later Nike muscled in with sponsorship deals and big budgets. But that didn’t stop MaTes, which has continued to produce the shoes and significantly, produce shoes based on those vintage styles.
Of course, they are likely to be favoured as leisurewear rather than shoes for the serious athlete in the 21st century, but that’s not a concern for me. I love the MaTes range, and with the handcrafting still being key, you know the quality is there too. And for not much more than some recent Adidas reissues.
The design that catches my eye is the one pictured here, the Carmel Classic. Originally a track shoe from the late 1960s, it is still being made now and looking as good as any retro trainer on the shelves, if not better.
It’s a fairly straightforward style, with a suede upper, gum sole and details in a contrasting colour. Talking of colours, there are plenty to choose from, as you can see from the selection I have picked out here.
Yes, you can go and buy a pair of recent Adidas Bern for £89 from your choice of retailer or you can get a handmade pair of the Carmel Classic for €109 and stand out from the crowd. I know what I’d do.
Via His Knibs