The Rise Of The Legendary Adidas Superstar Trainer To Cultural Icon

You can’t be a fan of sneaker culture and not admire the glory of the Adidas superstar. From the basketball court to mainstream culture, and into sneakerheads collection worldwide, these beloved and influential sneakers are not just for NBA players.

A Brief History Of Adidas

The Adidas brand came into being in August 1949 and was the brainchild of its founder and namesake, Adolf (Adi) Dassler.

Adi was born on November 3, 1900, and studied to become a cobbler after becoming known as quite the inventor. He would scour the countryside looking for old and used items to make everyday use of them.

However, his passion for shoes, particularly athletic shoes, drove Adi to form the Gebrüder Dassler, Sportschuhfabrik, Herzogenaurach (“Dassler Brothers Sports Shoe Factory, Herzogenaurach”) on July 1, 1924. From there, Adi made leather football boots and athletic spikes for players and athletes.

He actually gave a free pair of spikes to Jesse Owens before the start of the infamous Berlin Olympic Games in 1936.

He was joined in the business by his elder brother, Rudi, who gave up his career as a policeman to join the family business. Here, the small factory manufacturing low numbers of athletic footwear started and turned into the vast, multi-national entity it is nowadays.

Its turnover for 2021 was reported to be 22 billion Euros which is quite a difference from the early days of The Adidas Shoe Factory.

The Trefoil was the original logo of Adidas and can still be found on the tongue of the Superstar
The Trefoil was the original logo of Adidas and can still be found on the tongue of the Superstar

Rivalry In The Family

Whilst the exact cause of the argument between Adi and Rudi is open to speculation, the fact that the two brothers fell out is undeniable, leading to one of the most compelling stories ever told in the business world.

With years of knowledge behind him, Rudi started to manufacture his own sports shoe range and named his company Puma. The fact that these two are still rivals to this day gives you some idea of the overwhelming ability of the Dassler boys in athletic footwear, clothing and business acumen.

Products And Icons

Whilst Adidas is undoubtedly the leader in football boots worldwide, with the Copa Mondial being the best seller since it was released in 1970 to the Predator boots invented by the Australian footballer Craig Johnson, it has other attributes that make it stand out as a leading brand. Not least it’s cool sneakers (or trainers as we call them in the UK).

Streetwear has been and will continue to be the big money maker for most sportswear brands, including Nike, Puma, Reebok, and New Balance, with actors, rock stars, hip-hop stars and royalty all trying the newest and latest styles.

Whilst we could spend hours on the multitude of classic and stylish Adidas trainers out there, including the Stan Smith, the Gazelle, Forest Hills, Rod Lavers, and of course, the Samba, It is only fitting that we focus on the iconic Adidas Superstar.

The world's most popular football boots
The world’s most popular football boots

The History Of The Legend

Before we start, some amongst us may have another name for this outstanding item of footwear as for some time back in the 80s; it was also named “the shell toe” because of its design. The front of the sneaker is, in fact, shaped like a shell and was thus renamed by some.

That said, it is known worldwide as the Adidas Superstar and never before has a name been so apt for a training shoe.

First manufactured in 1969 and marketed as the ultimate low-top basketball shoe, it was to rival the other classic all-American sneaker, Converse’s Chuck Taylor. It became instantly popular once the legend Karim Abdul-Jabaar signed an endorsement deal and decided to use it as his training shoe of choice. At one point in the 70s, it was estimated that over 75% of all NBA stars wore the Adidas Originals Superstar.

Design And Features

The design of the Adidas Superstar sneaker is instantly recognizable, as it has been around for decades. It features a rubber shell toe, lace-up style, and three stripes on both sides of the leather upper of the sneaker.

The sole is made from a thicker rubber material to provide more cushioning and support. The upper portion of the Superstar sneaker is made from a combination of leather and synthetic materials that makes it comfortable to wear yet durable enough to last many years with proper care.

That said, it is how this icon looks when worn with anything from jeans, trousers and shorts that makes it stand apart from almost every other sneaker in the world. It crosses lines between running footwear and the casual shoe that no-one even knew was possible.

Run DMC wrote as song about the iconic Adidas Superstars
Hip hop group Run DMC wrote as song about the iconic Adidas Superstars

Streetwear Icon

Whilst its design lends itself to an athletic shoe, its use in street fashion has really pushed this giant to the top of the heap in style. In the 1980s, the Superstar really began to gain popularity outside of sports circles due to its association with hip-hop music and street style. The distinct rubber shell toe featured in the original design remains iconic to this day and is seen as one of the most recognizable aspects of the shoe’s design.

The hip-hop band, Run-D.M.C catapulted them into the stratosphere as their shoe of choice. No laces, tongues out, clean and stomping to a beat is how their Superstars sneakers were worn, even writing the song, My Adidas in homage to the Superstars and soon after they became the trainer of choice worldwide.

Over time, the popularity of the Adidas Superstar shoe has only grown; it continues to be worn by celebrities like Pharrell and everyday people alike. It has become a symbol of identity and self-expression. A way for wearers to express their individual style while also connecting to something larger than themselves: a shared community based on style, attitude, and belonging.

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Superstar 1 And Superstar 2 Reissue

If you can lay your hands on an original pair of Adidas Superstars in the white-on-black wave, then go for it, as they will always be worth the investment and could set you back somewhere in the region of £1500 to £3000. Needless to say, they would have faded somewhat but still have that unrivalled beauty associated with this trainer.

If you do not have that sort of money, then no problem, as Adidas reissued the trainer, and it now has some upgrades missing from the original training shoe made back in 1969. The Superstar 2 has a silk lining for extra comfort, some of the ladies’ versions have a patterned inner sole, and the biggest difference has to be the softer shell toe for more comfort and durability.

Colourways Of The Superstar

As with any revered item of footwear, there is a multitude of colourways you can get in the newest releases, from the classic white with black stripe, red stripe or green stripe to limited edition ones with country flags and emblems which were released in time for The World Cup.

You can even buy a collaboration Lego version of them if you are a true fan. The low-top basketball shoe with an endless ability to adapt to every new wave of culture has to be considered a true icon.

Adidas has also taken into consideration the varied needs of its customers when creating this iconic shoe by offering an extensive range of widths from narrow to wide sizes.

This allows shoppers to select a pair that suits them best while providing them with peace of mind knowing they have made an informed decision based on their needs.

Ultimately, this ensures maximum satisfaction with each purchase, allowing wearers to enjoy every step taken in their beloved Adidas Superstar shoes without any worries about proper fitting or comfort levels.

Well worn pair of Adidas Superstars are still iconic
Well worn Adidas Superstars are still iconic

Nike Versus Adidas Debate

Nike and Adidas have become two of the most recognizable names in the world of sneakers and trainers. While both brands offer a wide range of footwear for athletes and non-athletes alike, they are associated with different sports. Nike is known for its basketball shoes but also holds a strong presence in football, athletics, and lifestyle streetwear.

Adidas has always been the most popular football boot manufacturer and was, until the founding days of Nike, the most popular sportswear brand worldwide. As we have said, Adidas had the majority share in almost all of the biggest professional sports until Nike signed their now infamous endorsement deal with the basketball legend Michael Jordan and Air Jordan was born.

The two have been neck and neck in cutting-edge design ever since, but it is definitely the streetwear side of both businesses that excite most people. It’s almost like a team to support, “are you team Adidas or team Nike?”

Adidas and Nike have undeniably redefined the sneaker game by creating shoes that perform well and look great. These two brands have given customers options that cater to both function and fashion without sacrificing quality or design, making them the go-to choice when deciding on what type of trainer to buy.


The Adidas Superstar sneaker is the standout brand’s signature shoe. that has been around since the late 1960s and exploded into Streetwear and hip hop culture in the 80’s. It is without doubt a timeless classic that is still popular today. The cost varies depending on the style and size chosen but generally ranges from around £65 to £130.

Different widths are available, which makes it easier for people of all sizes to find the perfect fit. Some special promotions may also be available from time to time, so it is worth keeping an eye out for them.

Furthermore, the Adidas Superstar trainers has a vegan-friendly version, as it does not use any animal-derived materials in its construction. Finally, many styles come with a warranty that covers manufacturing defects and can help ensure satisfaction with your purchase.