The German word Spezial is translated to English as (wait for it) Special (surprise). The Marathon has special demands, between endurance, tactics, pacing, and noticeably equipment. The adidas line has included specialty footwear, meticulously designed and executed, but typically produced in fewer numbers. This was especially true in the US, and only a few dealers would carry a limited size run of shoes for the throws, jumps, walks, and…you guessed it, the marathon. Compared to the current age, this was designed and distributed very differently. To begin with, the conventional thinking was founded in the idea that you are in shape – you need something light as you would be taking nearly 50,000 steps in them, you needed a sturdy sole (see the 50k steps…) and a tough upper. The Maraton Spezial was all of these, and though I had a pair, I never ran more than 10k in the shoes, because while I was in shape, my appreciation for a little more cushion was especially true for the late mile breakdown of efficiency, energy, and tolerance. The split cowhide was durable, the midsole was only about a quarter inch thick, and the outersole resembled a bicycle innertube, though with a little bit of texture. They were nicely flexible, lightweight, and tough. That was enough, back in the day.
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