To know Adidas is to understand what the Superstar is to sneaker lovers all over the globe. Whether you remember the original launch of the legendary sneaker 50 years ago or became a fan after seeing your favorite artist, celebrity, or fashion icon sport them over the span of 5 decades, we should celebrate the lineage and accomplishments of the Adidas Superstar. Here is a little insight on why this shoe remains in the hearts of sneakerheads worldwide.
Initial designs were seen as early as 1965, the Adidas Superstar born initially as the Supergrip was allegedly the brand’s first attempt into basketball footwear. At that time, Converse dominated the sport from amateur ranks to the pros. While Converse All-Star was the preferred hoop shoe, there was not much innovation from the competition. Quick movements on the basketball court led to players routinely injuring knees and ankles. A consultant with the brand noticed the opportunity to infuse a little innovation into a basketball sneaker and worked with a team of designers to create a shoe with more performance features than the current sneakers on the market. The result, a leather upper to provide a firmer hold than the canvas of the Converse All-Star. The addition of a distinctive shell on the toe of the shoe and the signature Adidas three stripes on the side made the Superstars high visible. Still, most salesmen had a difficult time convincing hoopers to make the switch from canvas to leather.
The Come Up
In the ’60s and ’70s, athletes were not recipients of the large endorsement deals we see today. Most athletes wore product they liked or what they had always worn applying the common mentality “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The team at Adidas had an uphill battle when it came to changing the minds of players and consumers. Ultimately the on-court success of the sneaker could be traced back to the manager of the San Diego Rockets who bought in on sneaker innovation. As manager of the NBA’s San Diego Rockets, Jim McMahon experienced several of his players succumbing to injuries he felt were directly related to the sneakers players chose to wear.
McMahon was able to convince most of his players to give the new Adidas Superstar a chance. Although the San Diego Rockets were one of the worst teams in the league, the team traveled from city to city and took the court each night sporting the clean three stripe look and more times than not, catching the attention of fans and fellow players. Within the first five years of its launch, the Adidas Superstar had forced Converse to pay players to continue to wear the All-Star, as Adidas had taken over 80% of NBA locker rooms, and were sported by more than half of the 1969 NBA Champion Boston Celtics.
With its early success on the court, the Superstar was on its way to legendary status. To help continue the early success, the brand’s $25,000 endorsement deal with NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabaar established Adidas not only as a dominant player in the sneaker game but THE dominant player in the sneaker game.
Similar to innovation that launched the Superstar to new heights in the mid-’60s and early ’70s, the ’80s would see an influx of sneakers hitting the market with more modern technology eventually overshadowing the Superstar’s usefulness as a performance basketball sneaker. With the new decade bringing more competition to the Superstar, a shift in strategy from Adidas and a much-needed assist from the hip-hop world, catapulted the Superstar into the iconic lifestyle sneaker we know today.
Run-DMC was a hip-hop group from Hollis, Queens, New York that consisted of Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell who were all known for rocking the three stripe brand. This legendary group achieved several notable first in hip-hop including becoming the first hip-hop group to sign to a major product endorsement deal. It’s safe to say that in the mid-1980s, Run-DMC was the most popular hip-hop group on the planet. The group’s flashy style was an everyday look on the streets of Hollis, Queens, yet they rocked the look as a form of rebellion against perception. The look of Lee jeans, Kangol hats, gold chains, and sneakers with no laces was fashionable amongst thugs and drug dealers, and Run-DMC wanted it known that just because you dress a certain way doesn’t mean you are a certain way. It wasn’t until Adidas rep Angelo Anastasio witnessed Run-DMC’s performance at a sold-out Madison Square Garden where the group had over 40,000 people holding up an Adidas sneaker; the brand was able to identify the growth in sales. The official endorsement deal was secured shortly after that moment.
In 2011 during an interview with MTV, DMC shared this nugget regarding their smash hit ‘My Adidas’ “It was a song about our sneakers, but it was bigger than just talking about how many pairs of sneakers we had… It came from the place where people would look at the b-boys, the b-girls and go, ‘Oh those are the people that cause all the problems in here.’ And, ‘Those young people are nothing but troublemakers and those young people don’t know nothing.’ So they was [sic] judging the book by its cover, without seeing what was inside of it.” As pioneers on and off the stage, Run-DMC opened the door for many collaborations with artists and celebrities we’ve seen over the past 30 years, including Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Alexander Wang, the Beastie Boys, and Beyoncè to name a few. This early connection with hip-hop culture has continued to carry the brand’s global popularity.
There have been several colorways and collaborations to celebrate 50 years of the Superstar. Continuing the trend of popular streetwear looks for the golf course, TRENDYGOLF USA is excited to share a special-edition release of the Superstar retrofitted for the golf course. The Superstar Golf features a 6-spike outsole and is currently available in the classic white/black colorway. Shop this special-edition release while inventory lasts!