Sunday, 29 January 2017

Trainers on film: Highlander

I re watched the original Highlander recently and was reminded that it's both beautiful and cheesy in equal measure. Had the execs spent as much time and money on the script as they did on the production design it would be a masterpiece. Nonetheless it was a sleeper hit whose appeal grew with the home video market of the late 80s.

One of the things I enjoy about 80s movies is the costumes. Partly because my memories of the decade are hazy and movies tend to fill in the blanks, but also I love retro-clones and am always mining for material. Hence I was interested in Russell Nash's trainers, which are featured rather heavily and stand out a mile.

Just to get as much product placement as you can into a shot, you see him crush a Coke can with his lovely sneakers.

After a bit of googling I think Diadora Borg Elites are a good contender for the shoes. The distinctive forward-facing Y-band is a giveaway. Subsequently I found this post on Reddit which seems to agree.

From the website END.:

The signature silhouette of coveted Swedish tennis pro, Bjorn Borg, the Diadora Borg Elite was an instant cult-classic upon its launch back in 1978. Renowned for being as popular on-court as it was off throughout the 1980’s...
This website also has a detailed entry. It seems there was a 'gold' variant of the shoe made from kangaroo leather (and possibly this is the one in the shots on white above), but the movie stills imply that actor Christoper Lambert wore a grey-stripe version.

There's no real reference to the grey-stripe Borg Elites being massively expensive. So what does that say about Lambert's character Nash? That he's fashionable, but deliberately un-ostentatious to keep his profile low. Perhaps with kangaroo skin shoes the Kurgan would have sniffed him out quicker?

On a side note, The Prop Gallery has an entry for Lambert's trench coat, which it lists as custom made. While Nash might have opted for this more subtle form of bespoke tailoring, there may have been a practical reason to avoid an off-the-shelf garment. The coat needed to give the actor great freedom of movement and look good under wind turbines, and no commercial jacket was found to do this.

There can be only one.


  1. "Look good under wind turbines". That pretty much sums up the 80s right there. :)

  2. Awesome soundtrack though, despite the inherent cheesiness! ^^

    1. Agreed! And cruelly forgotten these days.

    2. Yep! You cannot help when you pick up a sword but belt out:

      ♫ Here we are! Born to be kings!...♫ ^^

  3. J'ai regardé le film hier , un peu de nostalgie ,et J'ai remarqué les chaussures que j'aime bien , merci pour votre blog , effectivement c'est des diadora borg

  4. Diadora Borg elites in silver are available in retro stores in kangaroo skin or cheaper leather but high quality on Amazon.