50 Years of Gola Harrier Trainers
Gola's most famous and instantly recognisable trainer is turning 50 this year! Surely one of the worlds most enduring styles of trainer, the Gola Harrier celebrates it's half century with a limited edition range - the Harrier 50 collection - which sees Gola take the trainer back to it's original shape and design, available in classic, original 1960s and 70s colour ways.
Gola, one of Britain's oldest sportswear brands, was found in 1905 by perveyors of "all kinds of athletic goods", Joseph Leeson & Sons. Originally making football boots (where the name Gola was inspired), with a sidetrack in army boots during the war years, it wasn't until the sixties that Gola decided to move into trainers and training shoes. Up until the mid 1960s, all that was available as a training shoe were basic plimsole style shoes and tennis shoes. A need for a better running shoe was identified.
"In the latter half off the 1960s, we realised that we needed to react quicker to what the likes of Adidas and others were doing. At this time, training shoes barely existed, instead you only had old fashioned tennis shoe styles. People were still training in plimsoles, which were great to run around in as they had nice flexible soles."
- Richard Botterill, owner of Gola during the 1960s.
The Gola Harrier Trainer was born in 1968. With it's roots in a style by Gola shoe designer, Fred Dilley from 1967, called simply the 'Gola 367', this shoe had a leather upper and the iconic Gola 'Wingflash' logo in green. This shoe was designed as a multi-purpose training shoe, suitable for track, gym or the football pitch. It led the way in sports footwear straight from the start. Renamed and launched as the Harrier in 1968, it was a huge success, soon selling in excess of 6000 pairs a week.
The very first Harrier colour way was the white/red. This was quickly followed by royal blue/white, and now as Gola Harrier fans will know, there have been hundreds of different colours in this classic retro trainer in its 50 years of life. The Gola Harrier featured a durable gristle rubber sole, suede toe cap, rubber toe guard, padded insole and of course the signatory contrast Gola wingflash branding, but the modern Gola Harrier differs slightly in design to this original - and quite heavy - 1960s counterpart.
Into the 1970s, the trainer crossed over into mainstream fashion and became a must-have casual footwear style, as well as a sports shoe. The Gola Harrier found a home in the music scene over the decades, with bands from The Jam through to Duran Duran and Oasis all sporting Gola Harriers. In 1999, Gola relaunched the Harrier trainer as a retro classic in 40 different colour ways. The 50th anniversary of the Harrier has reached a new generation again, with Raff Law (son of Jude Law) and Anais Gallagher (daughter of Noel Gallagher) seen wearing Harrier 50 trainers recently.
As Gola say, there’s only one Harrier.
SHOP GOLA HARRIER 50 COLLECTION:
Psst... Look out for more Harrier 50 colours arriving for Autumn and Winter 2018!