When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

In the '80s, the 'Superstar' became more of a lifestyle shoe
In the '80s, the "Superstar" became more of a lifestyle shoe
Anna Dreher

MUNICH — It had to be this shoe. No other model could have achieved this revival. A sneaker invented 48 years ago and had since slipped into oblivion has now been resurrected. It's the Adidas "Superstar".

According to research conducted by the American market research institute NPD Group, the bestselling sneaker in the U.S., which is the second most important market for this product on the planet, was, for once, not produced by Nike but by Adidas. No other model has sold more often last year than the "Superstar."

Compared to the "Superstar," most retailers charge double the price for Nike's "Jordan XII," which came second in terms of units sold.

Adidas is profiting from a retro trend — Photo: Grumo

"Considering that a sneaker, that is not produced by Nike, is at the top of the bestseller list demonstrates the difficulties of the company on the U.S. wholesale trade market," says Matt Powell, sports equipment industry analyst with NPD.

This does not herald a change in market leadership. Nike remains the undisputed No. 1 leader at the top of the sports equipment food chain with an annual turnover of $32 billion (30 billion euros) while Adidas had a turnover of 19.3 billion euros last year — a record for the company. Nike still commands 60% of the market share while Adidas has captured 20% of it.

Adidas is profiting from a retro trend. The enthusiasm that was directed at the "Stan Smith" model in 2014, which used to be a tennis shoe, engulfed the "Superstar," a basketball sneaker with its distinctive rubber toe caps, a year later.

Basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wore the "Superstar" constantly — Photo: Adifansnet

Adidas released its innovative design in 1969, the year the Beatles released their last joined album. It was innovative because it was the first basketball sneaker that was not an ankle sneaker and it was made of leather and rubber — not fabric like most of the sneakers of the time. It became a regular feature in basketball with nearly three-quarters of all players wearing the "Superstar" within the first few years of its release. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the best professional basketball players in NBA's history, promoted the "Superstar" by wearing it constantly. "I thought wow, a leather shoe! That's something different," he says. "Every single time I wanted to wear sneakers afterwards, I found myself wearing my "Superstars." I never wore any other shoe again while playing sports."

In the "80s, the "Superstar" became more of a lifestyle shoe than a sports product. The New York hip-hop band Run-D.M.C. even dedicated a song to the white shoe that dons three jagged stripes: "My Adidas and me, close as can be, we make a mean team, my Adidas and me." Superstars wore "Superstars' making other people want to wear them, too.

The highly successful model was soon replaced by Nike models in the U.S. Adidas only managed to stage a comeback through business partnerships, such as one with music producer Pharrell Williams. And all of a sudden it become cool again to wear the same shoes your parents used to wear.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Future

Injecting Feminism Into Science Is A Good Thing — For Science

Feminists have generated a set of tools to make science less biased and more robust. Why don’t more scientists use it?

As objective as any man

Anto Magzan/ZUMA
Rachel E. Gross

-Essay-

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mystery played out across news headlines: Men, it seemed, were dying of infection at twice the rate of women. To explain this alarming disparity, researchers looked to innate biological differences between the sexes — for instance, protective levels of sex hormones, or distinct male-female immune responses. Some even went so far as to test the possibility of treating infected men with estrogen injections.

This focus on biological sex differences turned out to be woefully inadequate, as a group of Harvard-affiliated researchers pointed out earlier this year. By analyzing more than a year of sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data, they showed that the gender gap was more fully explained by social factors like mask-wearing and distancing behaviors (less common among men) and testing rates (higher among pregnant women and health workers, who were largely female).

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ