Adidas Superstar

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Adidas Superstar
Inception1969; 55 years ago (1969)

The Superstar is a style of low-top athletic shoe which has been manufactured by the German multinational company Adidas since 1969. Originally released as a low-top version of the Pro Model basketball shoe,[1] the design is nicknamed the "shell toe", "shell shoe", and "shell top" due to its rubber shell toe cap.


In the early 1960s, Adidas sought to expand into the American basketball market, which at the time was dominated by Converse. The company introduced the Superstar in 1969 as the first low-top basketball shoe to feature an all-leather upper, marketed as providing better support than Converse's canvas. With its rubber toe protection and non-marking sole, the shoe caught the attention of NCAA and NBA players, notably Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and George Gervin. By 1973, the Superstar was reportedly worn by more than 75% of all NBA players.[2][3]

Pair of Adidas Superstar, with a black color and 3 white stripes
Superstar 35th Anniversary Music Series #15 Run DMC

As it was replaced by newer designs for basketball, the Superstar found a new market as casual footwear, propelled largely by the hip-hop and skateboarding scenes.[2] Hip hop group Run-DMC wore regular street clothes on stage instead of traditional pop-standard costuming. The trio continued to wear Superstars on their US concert tour, which in turn increased sales. Responding to an anti-sneaker rap song by Jerrald Deas called "Felon Sneakers", the trio released a song of their own called "My Adidas" in 1986.[4] The song paid tribute to the Superstar shoe and attempted to flip the stereotype of the 'b-boy'. Adidas eventually signed an advertising deal with Run-D.M.C., which was the first endorsement deal between hip-hop artists and a major corporation. The brand subsequently released a Run-D.M.C. clothing line.[4]

The Superstar (known officially as the "Superstar II", as the production shape differs from the original) has been made in many colors and designs, including themes such as NBA teams and major US cities. In 2015, Adidas sold over 15 million pairs of the style, making it the brand's top-selling sneaker of the year.[3][5]

35th Anniversary Series[edit]

In 2005, Adidas collaborated with pop icons from the world of music, fashion, and the arts to create the Adidas 35th Anniversary collection, which included 35 different models from five different series.[2]


  1. ^ "adidas Superstar". Sneakerfiles. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  2. ^ a b c Mukhametzyanova, Marianna (December 9, 2019). "The History of the Iconic adidas Superstar Sneaker". Hypebae. Retrieved 2023-03-21.
  3. ^ a b Chua, Paolo (January 6, 2020). "5 Things You Didn't Know About the Adidas Superstar". Esquire.
  4. ^ a b "Run-D.M.C." Britanica Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  5. ^ Jones, Riley (March 3, 2016). "adidas Sold More Than 15 Million Pairs of Superstars Last Year". Complex. Retrieved 2023-03-25.

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