Despite what Kanye West might think—adidas did not start when Yeezy signed on with the legendary sneaker company.
There is no doubting however that West and his Yeezy line of clothing & sneakers has brought plenty of attention to adidas recently.
However, adidas’s relationship with popular culture got extremely strong in the 1980s—long before any Yeezy collaborations.
The sneaker that really helped to cement adidas as a fashion staple was the “Superstar” model. Its popularity was assisted by Run-DMC and their use of the sneaker as a “lifestyle” shoe. The legendary hip hop group started wearing the Superstar around 1983.
When the Superstar was originally introduced in 1969 it was meant for use as a basketball sneaker. It was the first low top basketball sneaker to feature a leather upper and have a rubber shelltoe—the toe became a signature aspect of the sneaker. To many sneaker enthusiathists, the Superstar is known simply as the “Shelltoe.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar endorsed the Superstar and his greatness as a basketball player helped to bring the sneaker relevancy and credibility within the sports world. Jabbar is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the NBA and he scored a lot of his points in the Superstar.
In 1986 Run-DMC released “My adidas.” The song was a love letter to the Superstar and it showed just how strong the shoe’s appeal had become with the youth of that era. Run-DMC wore the sneaker without laces and pushed the tongues out—kids everywhere started wearing their adidas sneakers the exact same way.
The strong relationship that adidas established with DMC and the music world continues today with its partnerships with artists like Pharrell…
and of course Kanye West.
The Superstar’s place in our culture is as strong as ever and that has a lot to do with adidas’s collaborations in the past…
You can purchase the Superstar and more adidas’s styles at shoepalace.com.