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#TBT: CHANGE IS A TEAMSPORT - Life of a Adidas Superstar

May 7, 2020 14:59

The word iconic is thrown around too much nowadays. But what is a true icon? An icon can be a person, a building, a place, or, yes, even a sneaker. It represents a concept ora movement with great cultural significance. Only a few sneakers in history have reached this status, but I think we can all agree that when it comes to the Adidas Superstar, it is a true cultural icon. What makes the Superstar so special is that it is a sneaker for ​every generation that you can wear with a look that recognizes the past while continuing the legacy of the generations that have worn it before.

Celebrating all generations - That’s what the Superstar is all about. Without previous generations doing it first, the way wouldn’t be paved for us. And without younger generations, there wouldn’t be any change and no progression. The true magic happens when these generations come together, sometimes they clash and sometimes they intertwine. To celebrate all previous generations, who have honed the sneaker to what it is today we will delve into the history of the shoe and follow its journey to today.


The shoe's history dates back to the 1960s when it broke into the basketball shoe industry. Before the Superstars, basketballers had only been wearing canvas designs like Converse and Pro-Keds Royals, but the Superstars revolutionized the design of basketball shoes with a leather shell sole, giving the shoe more stability and grip on the court. The shoe was also 30% lighter than other shoes and was specifically designed to provide as much support as possible to protect the ankles. After the Boston Celtics won the NBA championships in 1969 while wearing the Superstars the shoe was launched to the forefront of basketball footwear.

Hip Hop and Superstars

Superstars were made famous by basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who became the superstar behind the shoe and was the face of Adidas basketball. After being avery popular basketball shoe, the Superstars achieved massive popularity as a lifestyle sneaker thanks to the budding Hip Hop community who wore them religiously. In the mid-1980s, Run DMC was the biggest Hip Hop act in the world and unlike Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, they dressed like people from the block. Their fans emulated their style, wearing the three-striped tracksuits and the Adidas Superstars, which landed Run DMC a multi-million deal with Adidas. Run DMC even credits the Adidas collaboration for legitimizing Hip Hop as an influential genre that is here to stay.

Superstars and Streetwear

Aside from being a Hip Hop staple sneaker, the Superstars signature shell toe was a no-brainer for skateboarding since it withstood the constant scraping of the grip tape. The explosion of hip hop and skateboarding culture coincided almost perfectly with the beginning days of modern-day streetwear culture and this is how the Superstar stays relevant even in younger generations. Nigo, founder of A Bathing Ape used the Superstar silhouette as a canvas in 2003 for a camo printed and yellow soled Super Ape Star, which caused big hype and is a very sought after shoe to this day. There has been an array of all possible types of colourways and many collaborations have followed since, but the classic is still the best selling. It is currently still one of the most popular shoes to date and is celebrating its official 50th Anniversary this year.

Since the 1960s, Superstars have been worn by many generations, making it a timeless silhouette. It’s about generations coming together, like a big Superstar family that consists of artists, athletes, and anyone really. Whether you are young or old, anyone can wear and pay homage to the past, and all the people who have worn it over the last 50 years. ​In the end it is not just a question of what you are wearing or who is wearing it. Rather, it's a question about the lasting memories you'll make in it with loved ones and the rich narrative of its past that bring the icon to life. ​This longevity and versatility are what make the Superstar a true legacy and a true icon.

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Photographer: Nicola Rehbein & Jen Krause

Styling: featuring Adidas // Neslihan Degerli / Avec Nous Berlin

Model: Phenix & Nadja & Jona & Vinh & Dirk & Vienna & Marcus Vinicius de Queiroz

H&M: Kristin Roes

Videographer: Roberto Brundo