We don’t blame you if you don’t recall the Le Coq Sportif Flash from its original appearance in 1990. The late 1980s and early 1990s were a strange time for the French brand in terms of popularity on these shores and when we posted these samples on Instagram and Facebook — some people loved them and some people hated them. That’s what we like about shoes — their capability to instigate some strong opinions. Did we mess with the Flash back when it was first released? Nope. We’ll be Franc with you – we were too busy being dazzled by air bubbles, Gel inserts and pump up shoes. It was a golden age for a generation and technology was moving fast. Still, we’re always intrigued by Le Coq Sportif running shoes because our shoe connoisseur friends in Paris and Amsterdam seemed to have a lot of time for them, with some stories to tell about them and we dug up some strange made in France pairs in the scattering of vintage spots a trip on the Eurostar used to lead us to at a time when we were thoroughly bored with the hype.
Now the hype is even more feverish, we’re looking for alternatives again, so it’s interesting to see that Le Coq Sportif has made something of a comeback on our own shores with their fine mid 1980s Eclat silhouette that pre-dates Maradona wearing the logo on his chest for that “Hand of God” move in ’86, the Le Coq Sportif appearance on the Biz’s ‘Goin Off’ alongside the Air Safari or that strange licensing deal the brand had with Kool and the Gang. The Flash is a slightly tougher sell, because it’s out of a different era, just prior to the brand getting all tech with Dynactif, when the Flash look was upgraded into the R850 II and other fancier creations. Then, in 1995, adidas and Le Coq Sportif officially ended a 29 year long relationship (as we understand, they’d been selling off regional trademark rights since 1990). As a result, releases like this and all that followed in the 1990s, are shrouded in a certain mystery. We like that shiny nylon, shape and use of colour on this impending release of the OG colourways — it brings something a little different to the table, but we can understand the opinions it instigates.
One thing we don’t understand is anyone including LCS in sentences alongside the cash-in brands of our childhoods — it’s a brand that had serious legitimacy before the licensees got wild with what they’d optioned. It’s good to see that the brand’s current approach to their archives is significantly more respectful, telling some tales that haven’t been told before in a world where we’re bored with hearing about the same old shoes time and time again. These make a return to select stores soon..