Adidas Superstar

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Adidas Superstar
Inception1969; 52 years ago (1969)

The Superstar is a low-top athletic shoe manufactured by German multinational company Adidas since 1969. The shoe was originally released as a low-top version of the Pro Model basketball shoe.[1] Nicknamed the "clamtoe", "shelltoe", "shell shoes", "shell tops", and "sea shells" (along with Adicolours) the iconic design is known as one of the major influences in the sneaker culture.


When the shoe was introduced, it was the first low-top basketball shoe to feature an all-leather upper and the now famous rubber shelltoe. With its rubber toe protection and non-marking sole, the shoe caught the attention of some of the best players from the NCAA and NBA, most notably Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Within the first few years of its introduction, the Superstar was being worn by over 75% of all NBA players; proof of its revolutionary technology which remains today.[2] Over the course of the next few years, it would advance from the court to the streets and, consequently, further into the public's consciousness.

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

In 1983, from Hollis, Queens, came Run-D.M.C., a rap group that refused to conform to pop standards by deciding that they would dress on stage the way they dressed on the streets. The trio was most notable for wearing the Superstars without any laces and pushing the tongue of the shoe out. "Adidas itself only found out about this love story when the band held up the 3-Stripes shoes during a concert in front of 40.000 fans – one of these concertgoers was an adidas employee" [3] The Superstar received a lot of promotion from the rap group as they went out on tours across the US, which increased sales of the Superstar shoe. 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'. Many years later, Adidas eventually signed an advertising deal with the group. The deal made between Run-D.M.C. and Adidas was the first endorsement deal between hip-hop artists and a major corporation, and a Run-D.M.C. endorsed line of clothing from Adidas was subsequently released.[4]

The Superstar shoe has become part of popular youth fashion culture and are now worn regularly as casual footwear, rather than for sports. The Superstars, like the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, easily made the transition from the basketball court to street as it was sported by hip-hop aficionados. In the early 1980s, 'b-boys' wore the shoes with extra thick laces called "fat laces", usually matching the color of the laces with the color of the three stripes on their shoe.

The Superstars (now known officially as the "Superstar II" as the current production shape differs from the original) are now being sold in Adidas Originals stores, with brand new colorways and designs as a fashion shoe with themes such as NBA teams and major US cities.

35th Anniversary Series[edit]

In 2005, Adidas celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Superstar by collaborating with icons from the world of music, fashion and arts to create the Adidas 35th Anniversary collection.[5]

The collection included 35 different models from 5 different series.[6]


  1. ^ "adidas Superstar". Sneakerfiles. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  2. ^ "adidas kicks off Superstar Celebration". adidas press room. 2004-11-03. Archived from the original on 2008-12-07. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-08. Retrieved 2016-09-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b "Run-D.M.C." Britanica Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  5. ^ "3 stripes, 5 series, 35 models". adidas press room. 2005-02-03. Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
  6. ^ "Ultimate Guide to the adidas Superstar". Archived from the original on 22 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015.

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