Adidas Tokyos

With six kids in our family, austerity was the norm when I was growing up. We seldom had to do without, but when it came to “things”, we seldom had “the best”… the “top of the line”. There was one notable exception for me, though.

In addition to playing football, I ran track. I was a sprinter, and a pretty good one… always the fastest kid at school. My sophomore season in high school brought a letter in varsity track, and a few records. I was looking forward to a successful junior and senior seasons, but really wanted a new pair of track spikes. In the winter of 1973, I approached my Dad, and used the old “I outgrew my old shoes” angle.

At that time there were no stores like Foot Locker that specialized in running gear or running shoes. There was no Eastbay to buy discounted shoes online. There were no mega sporting good stores like Dicks, Cabelas, or Sports Authority. You had your local sporting good store… ours was Jerry’s Sporting Goods, which still is in business today. That is where we shopped for my new track shoes.

At that time, there were really only two companies that made track spikes for serious athletes… Adidas or Puma. Nike was in its infancy, and Onitsuka (Tigers) was on life support. Still with only a few companies there were many choices, and many price levels.

There on the shelf, the top shelf (both literally and figuratively) , was THE track shoe. Adidas Tokyo.

In 1964, Adidas introduced the lightest track spike ever made, the Tokyo 64, which weighed just 135 grams (4.76 ounces). It debuted in the ’64 Tokyo Olympic Games, and by 1973 had made its way into the consumer market. It was a blue shoe, made of “genuine kangaroo leather”.


They were beautiful, and surely out of reach.

My dad and I spent some time trying on various shoes, all of which were good, and would have been great track spikes for a 16 year-old high school sprinter.

Finally, Dad asked about the Tokyo’s. I wasn’t about to, only to be embarrassed and shot down by my dad when he found out the price.

Yes, they had some in stock, and yes, they had some in my size, 9. The price… I remember it still today… $35. That was a LOT of money in those days and for Dad, and for our family. Calculating inflation, that shoe would cost nearly $180 today.

They were great… and felt great on. Soft, light, beautiful… FAST.

My father bought them for me… really without much hesitation.

I wore those shoes for every race (races only!) from my junior year in high school until I stopped competing in track my junior year in college. They were still in pretty much pristine condition.

I share this story on father’s day just to illustrate the type of support I had from my Mom (see The Mother of all Positive Thinkers) and Dad while growing up. It is an example of the sacrifices they made to support their six children. They were always there – physically, mentally, emotionally, for us.

Jeff Floyd –

7 thoughts on “Adidas Tokyos

  1. Jerrys Sporting Goods is located in what city. I loved story behind the tokyo spikes. My fathet did the same for me but complained bad. He said IF YOUR NOT GPING TO WIN STAY HOME AND WORK.

  2. When a good friend of mine quit the track team in 1968 he gave me his Toks. I loved those shoes. I carried them during warmups and only wore them for competition – pole vaulting.

  3. Wow, have almost the same story. I had tokoyo ‘s in 73’. Poway high school. They were expensive but my mom got them for me. I loved those needle point sprinters. 100 yd. , 440 relay, hurdles. Great memories.

  4. I had a pair of Tokyo 64s in 1972-73. You’re right that addidas and Puma was the only game in town for runners back then. I bought one of the first pair of Tigers sold in America; the “World10 Tens”. Now, they REALLY were made from kangaroo (for about a year before it was outlawed due to endangered species). The W10s were the lightest shoe ever made at 4 oz each. Soon Onitsuka sold rights to Reebok and the running craze began. Of course, Bowerman had joined the fray with his Waffle Trainers and a small mom n pop named Nike. Then Saucony, Brooks, New Balance et al.

  5. Jeff: I am bit older than you, graduating high school in 1969. I ran the mile and the 880 both my junior and senior years and always in Tokyos on a cinder track. I always bought them a size or so too small and raced without socks. As you know, they made you feel as if you were running on air. They were so light you did not even know you had shoes on. I knew I had finally arrived when our coach bought my Tokyos as part of his budget, which he only did for the best runners on the team. I remember seeing my heroes Jim Ryun and Marty Liquori run in Tokyos, which just made them that much cooler. Thanks for bringing back some good memories. henry Green

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