NEW BLOOD

The retro sneakers that Adidas hopes will be the next Stan Smiths

Obsession
Fashion
Obsession
Fashion

Adidas is on a roll. It has been grabbing a growing share of the important US market, and amazingly, even had the best-selling sneaker in the US last year, bumping Nike from the top spot for the first time in more than a decade.

A big reason is people’s insatiable demand for retro sneakers. Styles such as the Stan Smith and especially the Superstar—the sneaker that topped the sales list in 2016—have been selling in enormous quantities, thanks in part to a coordinated marketing effort by Adidas. But their popularity can’t last forever, which is why, according to Bloomberg, Adidas “plans to pump up other throwbacks” from its decades-deep vault to capitalize on the retro trend before it wanes.

The shoes have the simple, classic appeal—and relatively low price, at about $70 to $80—that has made the Superstar and Stan Smith popular. While it would be difficult for any of them to match the Superstar’s recent success, they could help Adidas keep sales afloat as its dominant retro styles cool off.

Here are some of the old-school sneakers Adidas is hoping shoppers will buy up next:

Samba

Adidas Samba
Adidas’ oldest style in continuous production. (Adidas)

The Samba debuted in 1950, making it Adidas’ oldest style in continuous production. It was originally introduced to allow soccer players to train on icy surfaces without slipping, thanks to the grippy gum sole, but has ultimately become a big seller because of its style, especially in Europe. Adidas will even release a premium, made-in-Germany reproduction of the original version on May 5. It doesn’t get much more retro than that.

Gazelle

Adidas Gazelle
Big in the ’90s. (Adidas)

Another soccer shoe—the sport is a key part of Adidas’ heritage, after all—the Gazelle first appeared in 1968. It became a hit in the 1990s, when it was adopted by a variety of music and style tribes, including Britpop, and comes in a silhouette faithful to the original or an updated version with a slightly different profile. Either should appeal to shoppers looking for a pair of casual, sport-inspired sneakers, which is what’s driving the market at the moment.

Campus

The Campus is a classic silhouette that was originally introduced in the 1970s as a lowtop basketball sneaker called the Tournament. In the 1980s, Adidas sneakers were particularly popular in the growing world of hip-hop, and the shoe, by then renamed the Campus, became a staple. The Beastie Boys wore them frequently, and included a pair on the cover of their 1992 album, Check Your Head.

Iniki

Adidas Iniki Runner
Not actually retro. (Adidas)

The Iniki Runner wasn’t among the styles Bloomberg says the brand plans to push, but the shoe is one Adidas certainly has high hopes for. It isn’t really a true retro style. It’s actually a new silhouette made in the style of a 1970s running shoe, and incorporates Adidas’ comfortable Boost midsoles. Those ingredients combined set it up to be a hit, though its biggest drawback may be price. The sneaker runs a bit more expensive at $120.

Still, if Adidas can build up some momentum behind the Iniki and these other styles, it should be in a good position to keep the sales coming throughout 2017.

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