From the New York streets to everybody’s feet, this Superstar collab will have you hollering “my adidas”
Long before Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Bad Bunny or professional video gamers like Ninja, celebrity sneaker endorsement deals were by and large reserved for athletes.
On paper, this made a lot of sense. The biggest names in sports were the perfect pitchmen for footwear designed for the hardwood, the blacktop, the tennis court or the track.
But back in the early 1980s, German sneaker giant adidas decided to tap into a different market, one that was emerging as an enormous trendsetter around the globe: hip-hop culture.
The adidas Superstar, a low-top basketball shoe with a full leather upper that first hit shelves in 1969 (or 1970, depending on who you ask), had made its way into the growing breaking scene in New York City. B-boy style heavily featured what colloquially became known as the “Shelltoe,” but in those days before the internet, breaking and hip-hop were still only neighborhood-famous.
But all that changed with a trio of hip-hop heads from Hollis, Queens. Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell arrived on the scene as Run-DMC with their first single, “It’s Like That/Sucker MCs” in late 1983, and their self-titled debut album dropped in March of 1984.
With it, they brought a new era of hip-hop to the masses via TVs across America, and style as well. Run, DMC and Jam Master Jay all rocked adidas sweatsuits, Kangol hats and Superstars without laces. The latter trend was inspired directly by b-boys, according to Run:
“It was a very street thing to wear, extremely rough. They couldn’t wear shoelaces in jail and we took it as a fashion statement.”
The Brand with the Three Stripes took notice just as much as America did, and in 1986 adidas inked Run-DMC to a groundbreaking endorsement deal, the first in rap history.
The deal came on the heels (sorry) of the group’s third album, Raising Hell, featuring the now-iconic track “My Adidas.” At a show at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Run told the crowd to hold their adidas sneakers in the air. The brand sensed a partnership opportunity, and history was made.
Run-DMC got just as much out of the endorsement as adidas did, according to DMC.
“Our relationship with adidas legitimized us, because it was a whole other world, that was very well respected, that was very household, families,” he told Stop The Breaks.
“So people said if rap is so bad, how come adidas is messing with these rappers right here? So it gave us some legitimacy, for sure. And it took us from the streets to mainstream white America.”
Whether you rock fat laces or no laces, there’s no denying the immense cultural impact the adidas Superstar has had on the fashion world. From humble beginnings on the basketball court, it’s now a rotation staple and an unmistakable silhouette that’s been released in every color imaginable; in collaboration with everyone from Pharrell Williams to BAPE and high-fashion house Prada; in leather and Primeknit and with Boost midsoles.
After 50 years as a fashion staple, the Three Stripes are paying tribute to the group that catapulted the iconic sneaker design into the mainstream consciousness with the Run-DMC x adidas Superstar.
It’s the shoe we all know and love — white leather upper, black stripes, that rubber shell-toe — with some subtle branding additions. The “Superstar” wordmark running parallel to the top stripe is sandwiched between bars of red, similar to the hip-hop group’s logo, while the trefoil on the tongue is replaced by Run-DMC branding, which also appears on the insoles. A red heel counter adds an extra pop of color.
UPDATE 10/27: The Run-DMC x adidas Superstar will now launch on 11/14.
Honor the hip-hop pioneers from Hollis, Queens when the Run-DMC x adidas Superstar releases in Men’s sizing at FinishLine.com.