All Day I Dream About Soccer…
While games of “guess the acronym” infused a little humor, the name adidas (lowercase “a”) actually came from the brand’s creator, Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler. And dazzle them he did, with his functional yet ultra-cool kickers with the triple stripes. Embraced by athlete and average Joe alike, adidas has found a tight fit on the feet of Olympians, rappers, teenagers and even moms.
Founded in 1920, adidas revolutionized the lackluster athletic performance shoe market, making an auspicious debut at the 1926 Amsterdam Olympics. The shoes blazed a trail on soccer teams, boxers, runners and tennis pros—it seemed that the best accessory for a gold medal was a pair of adidas on the feet.
While a mainstay on athletes since those roaring days, it was not until the late 60's that adidas walked into the home of average Americans. Mass market distribution in the United States would see adidas challenging the traditional Chuck Taylor Converse All Star as the preferred basketball shoe. Unlike the All Star’s canvas body, adidas’ aptly-named ‘Superstar’ model featured a white leather body with grooved rubber toe for additional protection.
The stripes had been a feature since 1943, but the trefoil, ‘flower’ logo was introduced in 1972, soon becoming synonymous with the new leisure look. Teenagers snatched up the stylish athletic wear, turning it into the universal casual shoe. Other manufacturers caught on and copied the telltale three stripes for their own 'adidas look.' But there was no competition: true to America’s obsession with originals, adidas remained on top (well, bottom actually, but you know what we mean).
Beyond althletic shoes, adidas created a line of sportswear for both males and females. Their most popular apparel item, the track-suit, has maintained cult status throughout the years. The two-piece jacket and jog pant combo—in fashion colors and three-stripe trim—has evolved little through the decades, aside from the preference for fabric style (nylon, satin, velour).
In the midst of the sneaker-crazed 80's, rappers Run-DMC paid homage to the label in the 1986 hit “My Adidas.” Fans of the ‘Superstar’ shoe, the group became the first rap group to be sponsored by an athletic label, and were instrumental in exposing suburban teens to the flash of adidas. With its laces missing and tongue pulled out, the ‘Superstar’ model became the ultimate street look in athletic shoes until Nike and Reebok stole the show in the late eighties.
A decade later, adidas reclaimed its place upon the pedestal when the Beastie Boys kicked the ‘old school’ revival into gear. Pop icons and street kids sought out vintage styles as a response to the technical and neon wizardry of modern sneakers. This return to the old prompted adidas to re-release old models such as the ‘Superstar’ shell toes for a whole new generation to flaunt.
Now, more than eighty years later, adidas wear is as mean and fashionable as ever. With the goal of becoming “the best sports brand in the world,” adidas isn't going anywhere. A mainstay as well as cultural icon, adidas will be kicking it for ages to come.
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