Since their iconic debut over 7 decades ago, adidas Originals has captured the hearts of sneaker fanatics, casual-wearers and fashion connoisseurs, providing us with timeless silhouettes that bridge the gap between performance and style. In this round-up, we’ll be taking you through the iconic history of each adidas Originals model. Featuring the Gazelle, Samba, Superstar, Stan Smith, Ozweego, NMD, Forum, Campus and Rivarly, read on to indulge in the legacy…
Kicking it off with the adidas Gazelle, this sneaker is the definition of timeless steeze. Originally introduced in the late 1960’s, the Gazelle debuted as an athletic training shoe, but gained popularity for its appealing simplicity. Expressing a soft suede upper adorned with three leather stripes, it’s practically impossible to dislike Gazelle’s. From skateparks to celebrity streetstyle, the model’s lightweight construction is a must-have for everyday styling.
Embodying the perfect canvas for collaborative creativity, the model has endured its fair share of iterations over the years, with even the most prestigious of fashion houses taking note. Yep, Gucci Gazelle’s are a real thing people! If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the Gazelle, then it’s never to underestimate simplicity.
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With a timeless low-top silhouette and signature 3-Stripes contrast branding, the adidas SAMBA has taken the world by storm. After viral success across social media platforms and celebrity street style, we’ve seen the shoe dominate the mass market. It seems that everyone and their nan has a pair, from supermodel Bella Hadid to the legendary Frank Ocean. But even before the trends and fads, the Samba has stayed regarded as one of adidas’ most iconic models.
Initially introduced in 1950 for the purpose of football, the shoe intended to aid players by improving traction on hard surfaces. Since then, the adidas Samba has dominated spaces far beyond football, with both streetwear junkies and casual wearers eager to flaunt the kicks.
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Another Original with a notable resurgence in recent years is none other than the adidas Superstar. Initially introduced to the public in 1970 as a basketball silhouette, the Superstar holds the title of the first of its kind to feature an all-leather upper. This distinctive design element gave the silhouette an edge within the basketball sneaker market; saturated with high-top models at the time.
The 80s marked a new era for the Superstar, as hip-hop culture adopted the shoe as one of its own. Today, the sneaker is recognised by a variety of subcultures as one of the greats, so it’s no wonder that it’s featured in some ice cold collaborations. BAPE and Prada are just two of the big names that the adidas Superstar has partnered with, and we don’t expect the success of the kicks to slow down anytime soon.
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The adidas Stan Smith is globally recognised as one of adidas’ most iconic trainers, leaving its mark through timeless style, versatility and functionality. Most recognisably boasting a pristine perforated leather base and green heel, the model rose to fame in the 70s after Wimbledon champion Stan Smith, literally, took the title. Previously named ‘adidas Haillet’, the kicks were seriously in need of a new label after tennis star Robert Haillet’s retirement.
With the new name in full-swing and popularity off-court booming, the silhouette found itself on the top shelf of classic adidas Originals, where it can still be found today. Partnering with global stars like Pharrell Williams, the shoe remains at integral part of the Trefoil’s heritage, and we can’t get enough.
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Next up, it’s the Ozweego. Just like the aforementioned adidas Originals family tree, the model at hand saw its initial sportswear purpose transform into a lifestyle grail. Originally entering the scene in 1996 as a lightweight running sneaker, the Ozweego was the first shoe of its time to receive adiPrene cushioning. Despite a positive response from athletes, adidas discontinued the range in 2000, with some recalling that it was ‘too ahead of its time’.
Time passed in the absence of the model, but the imprint it made on sneaker culture remained – so much so that it was revived in 2013 by designer Raf Simons. Since then, we’ve seen countless iterations over the years, with the same ‘96 tech prevailing with unparalleled comfort. It’s safe to say that the model has cemented its place in fashion culture, reminding us to never underestimate the underdog.
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The adidas NMD, “a cutting-edge evolution of the ‘80s running shoe, built for today” (in the words of the brand). Let’s take it back to December 2015, when the silhouette made a relatively low-key debut in the bustling city of New York. Crafted by adidas’ VP of Global Design, Nic Galway, the sneaker creation married the triumphs of Primeknit and BOOST technologies with design inspo from Three Stripes classics like the Boston Super, Rising Star, and Micropacer.
The result? A harmonious blend of the classic and the contemporary, the NMD emerged as a captivating oddity, standing out amidst the sea of popular kicks that had graced the past decade. Seamlessly weaving heritage with design-driven triumph, the silhouette acts as an ideal framework for innovation and progression reimagined by big names like Pharrell Williams and Moncler.
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For the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, adidas found themselves on the brink of a design revolution. The demand for a high-performance shoe echoed loud and clear, especially with the impending basketball tournament. Therefore, they embarked on a journey to create not just a shoe, but a legend, and what better way to pay homage than to name it after the very battleground of the basketball competition – The Forum in Inglewood, California. An ode to the spirit of competition and the pulsating energy of the Olympic stage, it stood as a testament to adidas’ commitment to pushing the boundaries of design.
Four decades after its groundbreaking debut, the adidas Forum stands as a timeless icon. Balancing on the tightrope between sportswear and high fashion, we’ve seen the silhouette endure hype collabs with big dogs like BAPE and Bad Bunny. Its enduring street cred is not just a testament to its basketball origins but the subcultures it’s been adopted by, from 90s skaters to contemporary fashionistas.
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If we’re talking about adidas Originals models that pass the test of time with flying colours, we have to talk about the Campus. Emerging onto the basketball court scene during the 1980s, the silhouette made its grand entrance at a moment when adidas was already making big waves in the realm of sports. Within the vibrant hip-hop subculture, the Campus discovered its haven, ascending to news heights through its association with bands like The Beastie Boys and Run-D.M.C.
In the present day, the Campus makes a triumphant return, exuding a freshness that surpasses expectations. Its sleek aesthetics boast supple suede uppers, the iconic adidas three-stripes, all anchored by a robust rubber sole unit. Nostalgic steez forever!
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Last but not least, we have the adidas Rivalry. The lineage of the Rivalry trainer traces its roots back to the classic 80s basketball kicks like the 1985 Decade and the Strider. Unveiled in the iconic blue, orange, and white hues of the New York Knickerbockers, the model swiftly became a sensation on the courts, the streets, and within the vibrant tapestry of 80s sneaker culture.
This robust basketball silhouette boasted reinforced leather overlays, supple leather uppers, strategically placed perforations for enhanced breathability, and a grippy outsole delivering extra traction on the hardwood. A fusion of style and performance, the Rivalry High emerged as a stalwart icon, leaving an indelible mark on the basketball scene and sneaker aficionados alike.
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