The Adidas Superstar Steps to the Tee

Adidas Golf celebrates 50 years of the iconic Superstar shoe

My Adidas touch the sand of a foreign land
With mic in hand, I cold took command
My Adidas and me close as can be
We make a mean team, my Adidas and me
We get around together, we down forever
And we won’t be mad when caught in bad weather
My Adidas… my Adidas…

– Run-D.M.C, My Adidas, 1986

The Rise of the Superstar

The Adidas Superstar is one of the most iconic silhouettes in the sneaker game. Believe it or not, the shoe first dropped in 1970, well before sneaker culture and sneakerheads were things.

As with many legendary kicks, the Superstar got its start on the basketball court. In the early ‘70s, disco music was dominating the clubs, and Converse’s All-Star was the de facto choice of hoopsters. There was one problem, though. Players were blowing out knees and ankles when making hard cuts to the basket in the All-Star’s flimsy canvas construction.

Enter the Adidas Superstar. The Superstar’s leather upper and shell toe design provided more support, and within a few years, it flipped the market on the All-Star. Adidas even inked its first basketball player endorsement deal with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1976 that saw the Hall of Famer shooting his patented skyhooks in the Superstar.

By the end of the decade, the Superstar was surpassed on the court by other more advanced shoes. But, like all legendary sneaker silhouettes, the Superstar didn’t die. Instead, it became a lifestyle shoe and rose from the ashes in 1986 thanks to another powerful endorsement deal.

The Run-DMC Vibe

In the mid-80s, hip-hop was moving from the block to the top of the charts and Run-D.M.C. was blazing the trail as one of the most influential groups of the era. Beyond their hard-driving beats and smooth rhymes, the trio from Hollis, Queens influenced the fashion scene by making Kangol caps, gold rope chains, Adidas tracksuits, and unlaced shell-toe Superstars a certified vibe.

Reverend Run, D.M.C. and Jam Master Jay were so hyped on the brand, they dropped the “My Adidas” track in 1986. In an interview with Sole Collector, D.M.C. said, “So, we actually did the record ‘Adidas’ because we loved Adidas. Even before we had the record deal, we wore Adidas in the hood. You would save your allowance to get Adidas, you know what I’m saying. You would just take a job anywhere just to save up enough money to get some fresh, new Adidas.”

Although the song had a deeper meaning than just repping Shell Toes and Three Stripes, the group caused sales of the Superstar to jump off the charts. The somewhat befuddled suits at Adidas soon tracked the increase to Run-D.M.C. and swiftly signed the group to a $1.6 million deal. A first of its kind, the deal set the tone for future sneaker/hip-hop deals.

An Icon Walks the Fairways

Over the years, the Superstar has found a home almost everywhere—except the golf course. Adidas Golf is changing that for the shoe’s 50th anniversary with a golf-specific version of the icon. Staying true to its heritage, the limited-edition Superstar Golf includes the classic attributes that make the shoe memorable: the trademark rubber shell toe, distinct 3-Stripes in the midfoot, and prominent “Superstar” name in gold foil lettering.

While maintaining these key features, Adidas strategically placed six cleats and secondary lugs on the outsole to provide traction and stability. Also, the full-grain leather upper is waterproof, which means D.M.C.’s line about not being mad when getting caught in bad weather still rings true on the course today.

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