The lads who've travelled miles to queue for 48 hours... for a pair of trainers

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-Credit: (Image: LancsLive)

As the sun bathed Lancashire in warmth last weekend, the idea of spending an entire evening outdoors might not have seemed too far-fetched. However, fast forward a few days and 48 hours of relentless rain has made this a considerably less appealing prospect.

Especially when 'outdoors' refers to a stretch of Market Street in Darwen. Yet, surprisingly, there were a few brave individuals settling in for the long haul this afternoon.

What could possess these grown men to do this? The answer - not for the first time - is trainers.

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"There's a guy from Holland and there was a guy from Peru," one told LancsLive today (May 23). "They come from absolutely all over the world. It's massive."

These shoe enthusiasts are after a very specific pair. An exclusive limited edition trainer.

The £100 Blackburn (DECADE) trainers, part of the Spezial range designed by Darwen-born Gary Aspden, are going on sale at the exhibition in the designer's hometown from tomorrow morning (May 24).

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Collectors queue for a set of limited edition Adidas trainers designed by Gary Aspden (centre) -Credit:LancsLive

With only 100 pairs available, fans of the iconic brand have set up camp on Market Street to ensure they're first through the door. Equipped with tents, sleeping bags and food, they began arriving in the town centre from 5am this morning.

Some had journeyed from as far away as Peru to be first in line.

Other local enthusiasts of the fashion label include fans from Manchester, Halifax, Great Harwood, and naturally, Darwen itself. Jack, an avid collector with approximately 100 pairs of Adidas trainers, travelled from Halifax to secure the Blackburn (DECADE) edition, which will complete his set of four distinct designs.

"It's the only pair I need to complete the collection," he shared. "I won't be selling them. Never. It's a way of life; it's a casual way of life. I collect all Adidas."

He further remarked: "I've brought a nice tent, sleeping bag, my T-shirt that got delivered from another lad that bought it me. It's mainly the Spezials for me; because they only do about three or four releases a year. It's the Spezials, innit."

Jack, 23, explained that of the 100 pairs he owns, only some are "wearers" the others are "starers".

Gary, hailing from London, arrived in Lancashire at around 3pm. He mentioned that those waiting in line have been comparing shoe sizes, and he felt assured he'd snag a pair of Size 10s for himself.

"The limited editions go up in price so much," he stated. "I bought a pair of Noel Gallagher trainers for £85 and sold them for £3,000."

For many queuing up, however, flipping their finds for profit is considered taboo.

Adie from Great Harwood was among the first to join the queue, sharing his enthusiasm: "It's an obsession for many of us; and with there only being 100 pairs being released it's pretty rare. We imagine they'll come in a range of sizes from 7 to 11 so the more towards the front of the queue you are, the more likely you are to get a pair that'll fit."

Ben and Tom Robinson, hailing from Darwen, expressed their dedication, saying they would have travelled "anywhere" to secure a pair of these sought-after sneakers.

The Blackburn (DECADE) trainers, launched to celebrate a decade since Gary Aspden introduced his Spezial collection, feature a distinctive red leather swing tag and a Nightsafe-branded sock liner. All proceeds from the sales of the X Nightsafe edition trainer will benefit Nightsafe, a charity supporting young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, offering them accommodation and day centres equipped with information, advice, and guidance.

Reflecting on the 2019 release when 200 pairs of limited edition Blackburn SPEZIAL trainers were snapped up by eager Adidas aficionados in Blackburn, Jack commented on the improved conditions in Darwen, noting the solid canopy over the shop row next to the Spezial exhibition as a "much better location". He reminisced about the previous launch: "In 2019 there was no cover whatsoever," Jack recalled.

"It was shocking. We were all wet through."

An exhibition, backed by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, is set to run daily from 12pm to 8pm, starting on Friday, May 17 and ending on Sunday, May 26. The event will take place at Fourteen, located at 14 Market Street in Darwen.