History of the Superstar

The journey from Sports shoe to fashion icon


The 1970s

Initially conceived as a pure sports shoe the Adidas Superstar was handed out to basketball players as a successor to the Adidas Supergrip. In 1970 it was then introduced to the general public. Initially only available to the best college players and professional players the Superstar in the Mid-seventies was indispensable in the NBA. The majority of the professionals were wearing it on their feet, amongst others Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, George Irvine, Rick Berry and many, many more.
The Superstar was only introduced into Europe, more precisely into Germany, in 1972.
Up until the early 90s it was produced in France. The rare “Made in France” models are very popular with collectors nowadays, as they had not been mass produced yet.

The 1980s

Probably in 1974/75 a Superstar modified for the American market appeared – the Superstar 80s. This was extremely popular in the Hip-Hop and B-Boy scene. Very likely it was also during that time that it got its nick name Shell Toe. Its rise was unstoppable once Run MC honoured the Superstar with the song “My Adidas”. From then on the Superstar was not seen only on the feet of Hip-Hop fans and Break-dancers. The Superstar was also indispensable in the Californian Skater and Streat wear scene. The “Shell Toe” was established in the US.
In 1987 Adidas introduced a Run DMC collection onto the market. This was the birth hour of the Ultrastar – a modified Superstar with elasticated straps in the shoe which facilitated wearing it without laces.
The craze also reached Japan at the beginning of the 80s and the established fan base spent a great amount of time and money on their passion for a collection of the Superstar. Even used Superstars reached high prices.
At the end of the 80s the craze arrived on the European continent too, in the United Kingdom. The trendsetter “the duffer of St George” now sold the legendary Superstar in London.

The 1990s

The Superstar 2 saw the light of day at the beginning of the 90s. With its additional padding the Superstar spread like wildfire, kept going by its presence in the music scene and with trendsetters. The Superstar could be seen in almost every shop window of the fashion stores in the big cities. The lifestyle market was definitely conquered now. The Superstar had become a fashion icon.
In the mid-nineties Adidas promoted the Superstar with Skater professionals like Kareem Campbell, Keith Hufnagel and Carlos Kenner. Never- ending variations of the Superstar mushroomed. Thanks to new colour combinations and new materials like suede or patent leather the fan base did not get bored.
With playful details like shiny eyelets or shoelace decorations the new millennium approached.
The Superstar became more and more individual. There were almost no boundaries to creativity.

The 2000s

It wasn’t any less wild at the beginning of the 2000s. In 2001 the line Adidas Originals was introduced in order to create a differentiation to the Adidas performance sector. In Berlin the first Adidas Original Flagship store opened. This was celebrated with the introduction of the limited Adidas Superstar Crystal.
In 2002 the Run DMC legend Jam Master Jay passed away. Adidas honoured him with the JMJ Ultrastar. The profits from its sale went to the Jam Master Jay Foundation.
The first Superstar collaboration hit the market in 2003. Nigos Label A Bathing Ape created four types of Superstar together with Adidas which were called Super Ape Star. The collaboration entailed a Superstar with beige suede, one with a camouflage print and one with white leather – these Colourways were each limited to 500 pairs. However, the highlight of this collaboration was the Super Ape Star Staff – a black Superstar of which only 100 pairs were produced. These were not freely available for sale, but split between Adidas and Bape. Each company received 50 pairs.
Two years later the Superstar celebrated its 35th birthday. Therefore Adidas came up with the 35th Anniversary Pack which entailed in total 25 different models, including seven Superstars which were created by so called Consortium-partners. These were strictly limited and only available to buy from selected retailers. Apart from this Consortium series there were 7 models each in an Expression-, Music-, City-, and Anniversary series.
In 2006 there was another new modified shoe, the Superstar Skate by Mark Gonzales. A Superstar that was ideal for skaters thanks to its padding and double seams in the shell toe area.

The 2010s

The 2010s saw countless models, for example the Lite, the Colour Block and the Clear. This was followed by a lot of collaborations with amongst others Neighborhood, Mastermind, Clot, Nigo or Atmos. New features were introduced all the time that turned the Superstar into an attraction. For example the Superstar x Atmos was produced with a glow-in-the-dark effect. In the Superstar Luxury the shelltoes were covered in leather. In the 3-way Consortium model the tongues could be changed. Superstars with upper materials made of 3M were produced which reflected the light. The newest creation from the house of Adidas is the Superstar Xeno which changes colour depending on the angle of light.
2015 the Superstar celebrated its 45th birthday. Adidas therefore charged six of the initial Consortium partners with creating another Superstar. The limited 10th anniversary Consortium Pack was on sale at the beginning of 2015.
New models like the Slip-on, the Vulc Advanced, the Primeknit or the Boost were available now for the Superstar fans. It has become difficult now to decide which of the many new Superstars to get.
The story continues …