adidas Superstar 80s “BITD”

  • MADE ON: 04/13
  • ART.NO: Q21804
  • FACTORY: APE 779001

“Back in the day” certainly means something different to everyone who says it, and the same goes for these shoes, as they likely won’t appeal to all.

That may seem like an entirely unfair way to begin an article on a sweet nubuck Superstar, but let’s be honest; everyone from your old Uncle Tony (who caught the Blockhead reference?) to your youngest nephew Norman – age twelve and a half – is saying that overused (and maybe abused) phrase by now. Back in the day. It’s synonymous with ‘retro’ or ‘throwback’, the only difference being that at least people know what it’s supposed to mean (as for retro, how many times have we heard that used to describe something that is actually vintage?).

The problem with the phrase is that it’s entirely contextual to who’s saying it. Which makes it timeless. And there lies the irony, as it’s genuinely supposed to mean ‘back in the adidas Superstar 80s heyday, day’. Or at least that’s my personal understanding of the context in which adidas is attempting to use it. So of course, as Consortium always does, it will reach out to audiences both young and old, appealing to their individual perceptions of what ‘back in the day’ is supposed to mean. And I guarantee this will not be the same thing.

But all that aside, I’m merely wondering if these are actually supposed to reflect on Superstars of the past. Because as far as I know there was no nubuck Superstar in the 1980s. adidas was known, however, for being (one of if not) the first brand to apply animal skin textures to their footwear, so the Consortium team has thrown this on for some reptilian nostalgia. I also understand that the spray paint patterning on the sockliner (and matching tissue paper) is supposed to reference the early days of graffiti in the streets of New York City, but honestly, so far both of these points are weak connections to the OG Supe in my opinion.

What I do feel is a solid linkage is the laceless look they arrive in, totally bare, full-on Run DMC style. And what’s more, they come built-in with inner elastic straps to hold the tongue down and in place when you rock ‘em with no laces. While Run and crew certainly didn’t ‘cheat’ like this, it’s grand to see adidas equipping the modern-day man with a little extra leverage to look the look. For most, this may seem like a new feature, but it’s actually been present on Superstars before (take the Run DMC pair from the 35th Anniversary Series, or even Ultrastars of the past) as well as non-shell-toe’d models such as the adidas Fleetwood.

Don’t like that bummin’, floppy, laceless look? Fair enough, in that case adidas has provided a pair of ‘extra’ laces, fat and color-coordinated to the side stripes for your use slash amusement. Together, those aspects – the laces and the elastic bands – mixed with the nubuck upper and the iconic Consortium tongue tag rivet are what really mixes up the bag for me and makes this shoe a success. Ditch the snakeskin and I’d be after a pair myself, and I don’t even typically rock a rubber toe.

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol