The Impact of adidas Basketball Shoes on Culture

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When Adolf Dassler founded the sportswear giant adidas in 1949 I doubt he would have imagined how the brand would transcend sports and fully entrench itself into people’s lifestyles. You can’t talk history of sports and not mention adidas so it is unsurprising that the history of basketball is closely interwoven with the brand.

The first ballers in the NBA might have stepped onto the court in Converse Chuck Taylors but it was adidas that first set the association alight in the 60’s and 70’s. In fact years before that adidas released the first basketball shoe which was called the Trainingsstiefel. This multi-purpose shoe was released in 1949 and was produced for the US Army. It was mainly used for basketball as it was equipped with a soft, cushioning sole, a resistant toe cap and and an ankle pad. In 1955 the shoe got even more development. In cooperation with the German Basketball Association the shoe received an unlined beige upper and canvas became the material of choice.

But it was 20 years later when things got super interesting – the now famous Superstar appeared. The trademark rubber shell attached to the ramp made the shoe irresistible to basketball players and street aficionados so it was not surprising when the Superstar became the most-worn basketball shoe in the NBA in the 70’s. The shoe was worn by legends such as “Pistole” Pete Maravich, Jerry West (who was the third player in history to notch 25,000 points) and Kareem-Abdul Jabbar who won most of his championships in the shoes. Kareem eventually became the first basketball athlete to have his own signature line setting a blueprint that other greats such as Lebron James, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have followed.

However, it was only until the early 80’s that the Superstars (or Shelltoes, as they became known) truly blew up. The reason? 6 letters … Run-DMC. The crew single-handedly made them an off-court sensation setting a lifestyle trend that many other brands would follow.

When the Queens natives rapped about the sneakers on Raising Hell’s My Adidas, the whole world started paying attention. “Now that adidas I possess for one man is rare/Myself, homeboy, got fifty pair.” What made the shelltoes popular then is probably the same reason they’re still a hit now – their simple, low-top design and cheeky attributes make it a multi-functional sneaker. You can rock them anywhere.

Fast forward 30 years, adidas is once again switching things up and aiming to dominate the low top basketball sneaker market with the new EQT bask adv. The shoe takes a page out of the 90’s models of the basketball EQT 93 series. This new model takes the very throwback chunky midsole and combines it with a contemporary upper, something that is prevalent in most of adidas’ silhouettes these days. The designers knew what they were doing here. This new release is definitely marked for all the cool kids and basketball boffins that demand a comfortable sneaker that matches their lifestyles.

adidas snatched A$AP Ferg to be the global face of the EQT bask adv, a move that makes all the sense to world. This shoe is made for go-getting kids that strive to navigate and finesse their urban jungle in an effortless manner.

Over the past decades, adidas has hit the market with various low top basketball shoes. The Crazy Lights (2012), Gil Zeros (2006) and Gil II Zero (2007) come to mind. These shoes were released to mixed results and they never really caught fire in the lifestyle space.

So it will be interesting to see where the the EQT Bask Adv lands. Our bet is that it will be a buzzer beater.

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