In this new series from ONE37pm, we list the definitive sneakers from each of the world’s leading sportswear brands.
For all its importance and cultural transcendence, Run DMC’s pivotal song “My Adidas” wasn’t the beginning of the German sportswear brand. First conceptualized by brothers Adolf “Adi” Dassler and Rudolf Dassler under the name Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik in 1924, the company was officially deemed Adidas in 1949, owned and operated solely by Adi Dassler after a fight severed the brothers’ working relationship. Rudolf Dassler, however, would go on to form the rivaling brand, PUMA.
Adidas began to thrive almost immediately, moving beyond creating industry best track spikes for Olympic hero Jesse Owens under its old moniker, to producing a groundbreaking indoor soccer shoe dubbed the Samba. They would quickly conquer another sport with the introduction of the Adidas Superstar in 1969, a performance basketball sneaker that impressed with its protective shell toe and formidable leather coat whose durability helped prevent ankle injuries. Two years later, Adidas proved their dominance with the iconic Stan Smith for the eponymous 6’4” American tennis champion.
By the time the ‘80s arrived, rich in cultural resonance thanks to the emergence of hip hop and graffiti, Adidas was near the height of its powers. A talented rap trio from Queens would nudge them over the top, showering Adidas with praise in adoration for the shell-toe sneaker they famously wore without laces.
Breaking ground aesthetically and moving past the technological boundaries of their time with its Equipment “EQT” series, Adidas was no longer the scrappy upstart but a powerhouse shifting culture. Here, we list the 20 definitive Adidas sneakers that every sneakerhead should own, with a bit of history of each pair.