For pure sneakerheads, there are certain vintage Adidas shoes that are almost essential to have in a collection. These are pairs of iconic shoes that provide the foundation for a sneaker rotation and simply have to be acquired.
As Adidas was founded all the way back in 1949, that means seven decades worth of sneakers.
Some of those early releases have stood the test of time and are still in demand now so try to find a pair of the originals if you can.
In this guide, we will look at seven awesome Adidas vintage shoes that you will love. From the Gazelles to the Superstars and Sambas, there are plenty of vintage Adidas shoes to choose from.
1. Adidas Gazelle
Few Adidas ranges are as iconic as the Gazelles so you might want to start here.
First released in 1966, the Gazelle range appeared straight after the Summer Olympics in Rome and has remained in fashion ever since.
Initially, Gazelles were released to be worn for soccer with many soccer fans then going on to wear them as streetwear, particularly in the UK during the Eighties though they are widely used in indoor arenas such as handball.
Most of the material is suede for a lightweight and supple shoe though you can expect some textile uppers too.
The Adidas Gazelle may not be one of the oldest ranges of trainers and they remain iconic due to their persistent links with soccer.
This is perhaps why you can find them in as many colors as you can on soccer shirts, even if they started out just in blue and red.
Blue was typically for indoor wearing which was later adopted for microcell technology with a ripple sole which was great for a cushioned landing.
The red variation used a non-slip and transparent tread which was ideal for being worn outdoors.
If you do go for a vintage pair then they should certainly be in either red or blue though later pairs had a hexagonal pattern on the microcell outsole.
As time has moved on, so have the shoes with more colors and designs being made available. That could be great news if you want to color-coordinate your shoes with your shirts.
2. Adidas Stan Smith
Of course, the Stan Smith is designed to be smartly worn in the midst of a tennis court yet you can see them about town too.
Some shoes just have that timeless appeal and these have been iconic since 1973.
If you cannot find a vintage pair then the re-issued pairs are a more sustainable option now they come with a recycled Primegreen upper.
For a more traditional look, try to find a pair with green trim to match the grass of a tennis court.
For some added definition, the Stan Smith Lux should come in Off White, Crystal White, and Core Black. Each of them should feature the Stan Smith head portrait and signature to confirm the endorsement.
3. Adidas Samba
Like the Gazelles, a pair of Adidas Samba shoes is intrinsically linked to soccer, the indoor soccer field to be exact.
A vintage pair should come mainly made from soft suede with a leather upper, though it is their versatility that remains a standout feature. These can be paired with joggers, leggings, or simply jeans for a truly vintage look.
The classic Sambas should come in more traditional colors including Royal Blue, Collegiate Green, and Chalky Brown.
Those three stripes should also be serrated which is a good reason why the Sambas truly stand out.
More recently, you can expect more customization as some Sambas can be made for a favorite soccer team or simply with an individual wearer’s name.
Further designs include Samba OH, Samba Mexico, and Samba Argentina shoes which all have slight variations.
4. Adidas Superstar
Bold and formidable, the Adidas Superstar is a little more chunky than many shoes so you can rely on them. That design comes directly from the basketball courts, specifically from the Seventies.
If you want a definable pair, then opt for that white and black iteration that has barely changed since the shoes were first launched.
However, the following decade saw the shoes adopted by hip-hop acts like Run DMC and the shoes became hugely popular for streetwear.
The sneakers were almost instantly popular on the basketball court and pretty much wiped away the competition in the Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars.
A lot of that was down to the toe’s rubber shell for added protection, which a lot of basketball stars liked, including Kareem Abdul-Habbar who was soon sponsored by Adidas.
Quickly, the Superstars transcended basketball to become iconic sneakers and artifacts of culture themselves.
Their timing was also impressive as they rose in popularity with hip-hop and even though they have left the NBA, they still remain iconic on the streets.
5. Adidas Campus
Streetwear can go in and out of fashion yet the Adidas Campus remains one of the most popular ranges of all time.
Classic shoes since the Eighties, the Campus is both casual yet sporty, while remaining comfortable, and effortless.
It is arguably a rite of passage for students to fixate on a pair and they have remained versatile wearing and seen at universities across the world.
These come with a pastel upper or soft suede and you can find them in many colors and designs.
6. Adidas Forum
For a range of sneakers to fill up your rotation, opt for Forums. Not just one pair either as you will need a low top, mid top, and high top if you want to remain consistent in your collection.
The original range was said to be inspired by hardwood yet has gone through some tweaks since then.
While a vintage pair should have fixed straps, the revamped range has them as removable and with a narrower toe cut.
Whether you opt for a vintage pair or a more retro-inspired one, that fit should still be comfortable.
Deciding on a low, mid, or high top pair may be the harder decision, though either of them should go with joggers, shorts, or jeans.
Then there are the colors, you can get a crisp and clean look if it is totally white, though you can mix them up too.
Various designs vary in the tone of colors, patterns, and even materials if you want to add dimensions to your personal aesthetic.
7. Adidas Originals Tobacco
Though made from high-imitation suede (also known as faux suede), the Tobacco range is more iconic for its rather fixed range of colors.
Typical variations include brown, wheat, and dark yellow, these are shoes to blend in but still stand out.
The Tobacco was originally released in 1972 and vintage pairs can be tricky to find. Thankfully, Adidas re-reissued the range more recently so you may be able to find a pair from 2016.
These are decidedly elegant shoes that are renowned for their durability and protection. Even then, they are featherweight and can go well with several casual outfits with great elegance.
They also remain comfortable thanks to a super-plush leather confine with a slim profile and a reassuringly sturdy rubber sole.
In order to keep up the appeal of their lines of shoes, brands like Adidas are keen to keep and then revisit their ranges.
While it may remain difficult to find a truly original pair of vintage trainers, especially unworn, you can go retro.
That should mean the same range of trainers but offered in more colors, extensive patterns, and different materials.
One thing to look out for is sustainability as recycled materials are increasingly offered for peace of mind and to consider the environment.
To gain a foothold in the vintage extent of your collection, try to find the shoes in the range’s first colors. That should mean red and blue for Gazelles and classic brown for Tobaccos.
Pairs of Adidas Forum shoes are available in low, mid, and high tops yet finding them just in white can be quite a challenge.
Then there are the iconic Adidas Superstars which should purely be worn in white and black if you want to recognize the contribution of Run DMC.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Telltale Signs That Adidas Shoes Are Actually Vintage?
The original Trefoil logo is one of the classic indications that a pair of Adidas shoes is truly vintage.
The tags have also changed during the decades, in the early to mid-Eighties you can expect a light, polyester material. In later years, the tags improved in quality and used a shiny and thicker silver material.
What Is The Difference Between Adidas And Adidas Original?
While Adidas is the overall brand, Adidas Original is a known subdivision of the Adidas brand. Adidas Original is more limited and dedicated to heritage, lifestyle, and fashion products.
When you consider Adidas’ collaborations with cultural figures, celebrities, and fashion designers, you will mainly find the ranges in Adidas Originals.
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