The Adidas Superstar, turning 50 this year

Photo: Skolanlar

The Adidas Superstar is one of the most famous sneakers in the world, and this year it is turning 50. Released back in 1970, they were originally made as a basketball sneaker, before being converted into a lifestyle model some 15 years later.

When they first released, a lot of basketball shoes were canvas, and had very little grip on the court. This meant they were not very supportive and would tear easily, so Adidas had the idea of making a basketball shoe completely out of leather. They then put herringbone traction on the sole, and a shell on the toe area to give the foot some extra protection. Not only was the shoe a great performer for the time but thanks to its shell toe and three stripes, soon it became a cultural phenomenon too.

It is common knowledge that Adidas is a German brand, however in the late 20th century, they set their sights on the american market. At first they saw success through basketball and players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were wearing their shoes, however they got their big break in the early eighties with a rap group called Run-DMC. At this time, Adidas superstars were starting to become popular in the neighborhoods of big US city’s, such as New York, and whilst Nike was still focusing primarily on the running market, Adidas started to become cool. It became fashionable to wear full Adidas tracksuits with matching Adidas Superstars, so naturally, that was what Run-DMC decided to wear when they started their rap careers. Not only did this popularize the model even more, but in 1855, Run DMC not only made a song called “My Adidas,” they also signed an endorsement deal with the company.

From there the silhouette took off, never to look back, gaining a level of respect very few sneakers have been able to achieve. Adidas then made their Adidas Originals line and would continue to release the Superstar, with celebrity’s like Jay-Z and P Diddy picking up a pair for themselves.

This year the shoe turns 50, and although it is older than most sneaker heads, it is still adored by the sneaker community. To celebrate the big anniversary, Adidas have lined up some special editions of the shoe, including a 20/50 colorway with Size?. This model commemorates the shoe turning 50 with the classic white leather upper of the original, however also Size? sneaker stores 20th anniversary, hence the discreet orange panel on the inside of the shoe.

The main Superstar release of this year though, will be 2 Run-DMC editions, expected to drop this summer. Reportedly releasing in a black and a white colorway, the shoes will feature Run-DMC branding on the tongues of the shoe, as well as on the sides and the insoles. This is no the first time the rap group have been given their own Superstar however, with Adidas creating a pair for them in 2005 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the shoe.

So whether you love the superstar for its looks or its history, you can get the shoe now from your local sneaker retailer for a standard price of $100.