Adidas Tobacco brown suede shoes from '70s -- anything like it?
May 24, 2015 4:23 PM   Subscribe

There has never been a better men's running-style casual shoe, IMO, than the Adidas Tobacco. They were briefly reissued but are no longer available. Is there anything similar on the market?

Recently I was reading Robert B. Parker's Promised Land, published in 1976. Spenser's description of his shoes caught my attention: “I drank my coffee and admired my Adidas Varsities, in rust-colored suede. Excellent for tennis, jogging and avoiding injury through flight.” It reminded me how attached I was in the same era to my brown suede Adidas Tobacco shoes, a sort of work-casual variant of running shoe that I used to walk all over Paris, Manhattan, and wherever I found myself.

Turns out that only a few years ago Japan's Mita sneaker company reissued the model, including my beloved brown/gum. But they're no longer available anywhere, though a few have sold via eBay.

Assuming that I haven't overlooked a viable source, are there any shoe models out there that are anywhere comparable? Brown suede, running-shoe style, no garish logos? I've been settling for vaguely similar Dunhams or New Balance in recent years but it's like the lightning bug vs. the lightning.
posted by Creosote to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if they have suede varieties, but I have several pairs of work-casual brown sneaker-style shoes. My favorites for comfort are probably Campers, though they're maybe not quite as stylish as the Adidas. Then I'd say Pikolinos. And finally, I have some Skechers that might fit the bill, but they're a distinct step down in quality (though also a step down in price). None of these are truly running shoes, so if you plan to run in them, they might not work. But they have that general look to them.
posted by primethyme at 4:29 PM on May 24, 2015

Wouldn't be running in them, but walking long distances on occasion--5 to 10 miles or 8–10 km at a time say. So would need ability to lace fairly tightly as one would with a performance walking shoe. A couple of the Campers and Pikolinos look promising if I stretch my budget a bit.
posted by Creosote at 4:55 PM on May 24, 2015

I dropped in to (second) sketchers. That's pretty much directly in their wheel house. Especially the "looks business casual, walks long distances" part.

Beyond that a nice pair of Adidas samba's in brown with gum sole are really very close....
posted by chasles at 5:57 PM on May 24, 2015

Undefeated has these. They might have other styles, too, I didn't really poke around.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:57 PM on May 24, 2015

Puma sometimes makes suede varieties that I have gotten tons of use out of. Google brings up many options.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:47 PM on May 24, 2015

Seconding Puma Suedes. I've owned several pairs in various colors - They're my go-to "sneakers that don't look overly-athletic and go with almost any outfit" choice.
posted by jalexei at 7:04 PM on May 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

The first thing that came to mind when I looked at your link were Vans, something like these.
posted by jferg at 9:51 PM on May 24, 2015

Thanks for all the suggestions—one of those options should work. It's going to come down to how far I decide I can depart from a business-casual look.
posted by Creosote at 6:58 AM on May 25, 2015

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