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The Online Blade Runner Fan Club    
Written By: Gary Willoughby
Edited By: Richard Gunn

GW: Since the day of the film’s release, many fans have researched and discussed every aspect of Blade Runner. The wonderful costumes have been of particular interest, especially since the recent Bonhams auction brought several key pieces to light after years of obscurity. Fans John Maguire and Terry Doktor have been interested in the Blade Runner wardrobe for some time and each has done their share of research.

John recently watched the film again and spotted a part of Deckard’s wardrobe that has been all but overlooked. He noticed Deckard’s shoes, and they looked familiar. Below is not so much a proper article but a series of emails exchanged over a period of several weeks, which offers a commentary about the identity of Deckard’s shoes.

JM: Last night, after 'researching' the film again, I confirmed the brand of Deckard's shoes. Of course, after 45 minutes of searching for scenes with his shoes, the absolute clinching confirmation was the final shot of the movie, Deckard picking up the origami unicorn! The trademark three rows of perforations are clear in that shot, indicating the Adidas brand. The costumers must have blacked out any Adidas logos. They appear to be either the black Stan Smith (a tennis shoe) or the Official, which was a shoe used in the 1980’s by NBA referees.

JM: After viewing the film several more times the shoes can be seen in the following shots:

  1. Side view when Deckard moves from the piano to the Esper Unit
  2. Tread view when Zhora whacks him in the face and is thrust backward (very blurry)
  3. Tread view when he shoots Pris (very blurry)
  4. Tread view when he is climbing the bookcase at Sebastian’s Apartment (very small)
  5. Close-up rear view (but dark) when Deckard loses his footing climbing the exterior of the Bradbury Building
  6. Distant rear view when Deckard is nearing the top of the exterior of the Bradbury Building
  7. Tread view when he is being raised by Roy Batty on the roof (very small)
  8. Entire shoe can be seen after he is dropped on the roof by Roy (wet)
  9. The closest shot occurs when he picks up the foil origami unicorn before entering the elevator

DVD grabs from the movie showing Deckard's shoes
Deckard about to lose his footing... Nearing the top... Batty saves Deckard... ...the tread quite distinctive
Deckard about to lose his footing...
Nearing the top... Batty saves Deckard... ...the tread quite distinctive

More DVD grabs
Deckard on the roof... ...squirming Deckard picks up the unicorn
Deckard on the roof...
...squirming Deckard picks up the unicorn

TD: You're right...Charles Knode used ADIDAS referee-Official-Stan Smith sneakers...laces were changed and all logos taken off...I don't think the ones available now are exactly the same...different leather...and now made in Asia...but look around and you may find something fairly close....

JM: It’s definitely either the Stan Smith black or the Official. I think I will have to look closer at the DVD…

TD: I don't know for sure...but I do think it was the Referee shoe. If you check the may be able to make the shoe out...but the two shoes are almost identical. Check out the end of the film...when Deckard picks up the unicorn origami...there is a good shot there...I think they also used brown laces...

JM: Adidas will be contacting me regarding the product catalogs from '80 and '81 or some photos of the relevant shoes from that era. I just looked at the film and the Adidas site again, and I think Doktor was correct; unless they used both types in the film for different shots. I am nearly sure that the shoe in (at least) the rooftop scene with Roy is the "Official" and not the Stan Smith.

I have to look at the film again because I just noticed that there are a few significant differences between the Stan Smith and the Official: the Official has shiny “boot” leather, a longer squarer tongue which sticks up a bit and 8 eyelet pairs, while the Stan Smith has regular full-grain leather, a shorter "normal" tongue and 7 eyelet pairs. There are also subtle differences in some of the stitching and shape of the shoe. The Official just looks more like a "shoe" to me; a bit more sophisticated from a costume design standpoint. The SS looks more like an athletic "sneaker". Hence, my need to re-view the film.

Adidas Rep: Unfortunately, I've put about as much time as I can into this. Film Promotions is on hold for the next few months, as I've been asked to concentrate on our two new technology launches as well as our World Cup campaign. I've forwarded this e-mail to someone in Footwear Marketing, but I can't guarantee he has the time to answer all these questions. I handle all Film Promotions duties for the entire company, but I've been told work on other priority projects until summer at the soonest. The only question I do know the answer to, is that we can't make or sell a different version of the Official. The one on our website is it - once those sell out, they are gone. If Footwear Marketing gets back to me, I'll forward the answers on to you. Otherwise, good luck.

TD: I think the movie shoes were made in Germany...(Adidas had their production there in the 1980's) most of their production is offshore...usually China...they MAY still manufacture product in'd have to contact Adidas about that. You usually have to special order them. They are a really good design...never go out of style...maybe one of the reasons Knode selected them for the movie; as he told me when I interviewed him in London, "Thank GOD for Adidas...”

JM: That sounds reasonable since Adidas was founded in Germany. The Official is made in Vietnam now. I have attached a scan of the pamphlet that comes with the current Official. It chronicles the history of Adidas shoes over the decades. It is obviously not an accurate representation of time, but it does show the Official as an "80's" shoe and it indeed has the gold logo on the side. This means that the costume crew obviously had to remove or obscure the logos. They may have even scuffed the surface of the entire shoe and then re-polished in order to “age” and reduce the shine of the "boot" leather, which is standard on the Official.

The Adidas Pamphlet
The Adidas Pamphlet

JM: Regarding my further inspection of the film after reading one of Doktor's emails (saying that he thinks that it was the Official), I am 90% sure that he is correct. However, there is no definitive proof when looking at the film or stills, unless Doktor saw the original shoes or Knode confirmed it. There are subtleties of the shape of the shoe, especially the toe, the "long" appearance of the eyelet row and certain stitching lines, which convince me that it is the Official, and not the Stan Smith. I guess if I had an actual film cel or good DVD screen capture of the film, it might be easier to count the number of eyelets in the roof scene with Roy and Deckard...

As for Doktor's assertion that they were brown laces, I cannot be sure from looking at the DVD. Although, in that final shot picking up the unicorn, the lighting does make the laces look somewhat brown. The laces are definitely round and not flat though.

TD: The Adidas I remember were like the referee style in black leather made in France or Germany I think, not Asia. The leather was soft and of a much higher quality. The shoes were not stiff. The shoes were size 10 ½ I believe and customized for the film, and the logos were removed with nail polish remover on the tongue and heel. Brown laces replaced the black ones to better match the costume of Deckard.

JM: Yes, acetone is usually the treatment used by costumers to remove color from leather. The leather used in the current Official is called “boot” leather and I think can be characterized as a stiffer leather than the usual sneaker leather. However, I had heard that Ford's shoe size is around a 12. They also look rather large in the roof scene with Roy. Unless Adidas' sizing has drastically changed in the past 20 years, a size 10 ½ seems small. Is there any way someone can find out what Harrison Ford's shoe size actually was?

Tonight I will send some interesting photos that the Adidas PR rep sent me a few weeks ago. They are curious because, in the photos, both the Official and the Stan Smith have one fewer eyelet pairs than the current shoe (that can be ordered from the site) does; 7 for the Official (normally 8) and 6 for the Stan Smith (normally 7). So more questions arise…

Sent in by Adidas PR Rep
Adidas 'Official' Shoe The 'Official' Catalog Info The 'Stan Smith' Shoe The 'Stan Smith' Catalog Info
The 'Official' Shoe The 'Official' Shoe
Catalog Info
The 'Stan Smith' Shoe The 'Stan Smith' Shoe
Catalog Info

TD: I'm fairly certain the size was marked 10 ½ US ...inside of the top of the tongue for the Adidas used in the film worn by Ford. He is around 6 feet tall... shirt size was around 15 ½ - 34 on the fit him...Shoes have black rubber soles from what I can remember...I believe the other shoes in the film were customized as well...but hard to tell...that's just what Charles Knode told me when I interviewed him...

Available to Buy
Here are some images of the actual adidas 'Official' and 'Stan Smith' that are available for purchase. The current 'Official' has 8 eyelet pairs as well as a logo on the tongue, unlike the images sent by the adidas rep. Similarly, the current 'Stan Smith' has 7 eyelet pairs, also unlike the images sent by the adidas rep.
Adidas 'Official' Shoe Adidas 'Stan Smith' Shoe Adidas 'Stan Smith' Shoe Adidas 'Stan Smith' Shoe
Adidas 'Official' Shoe.
Adidas 'Stan Smith' Shoe Adidas 'Stan Smith' Shoe Adidas 'Stan Smith' Shoe

In conclusion, while some questions remain, most of the available evidence allows the following reasonable deductions to be made about the “Deckard” shoe:

  • Most probably the Adidas Official.
  • All logos removed with nail polish remover (acetone).
  • Probably aged/worn a bit and then re-polished black.
  • Laces changed from standard flat black to round dark brown.

From the Adidas website:

Men’s Official

The standard referee shoe of the 1980’s, this special edition was created exclusively for basketball officials. Made of military boot leather, the refs could polish their shoes to a high shine before each game. Leather upper. Made in Vietnam.

GW: There you go fans, pretty close without actually having the actual Deckard shoes in hand to compare them to the Adidas shoes made today. I think a nice bit of research by John and Terry.

I did try to actually buy some 'Officals' from various stores (and even Adidas) without luck and after making several phone calls, I found a source that has a supply; a company called "Stripe 3" (800) 345-7951. The style number for the 'Official' shoe is 672-824 and costs $69.99.

Gary Willoughby

Related Articles and Links
The Costumes of Blade Runner The Charles Knode Collection Lost and Found Main Menu Adidas On-line Store

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