adidas Superstar 1 “Underworld”

  • DESIGNED BY: Underworld
  • MADE ON: --/04

The adidas Underworld is one of seven models in the 35th Anniversary Superstar Collection’s “Music Series” that was released in 2005. Its production was limited to 5,000 pairs worldwide. This Superstar 1 was designed in collaboration with the British electronic group Underworld and the design collective Tomato, of which Underworld were members. Underworld lead singer Karl Hyde has always been a hardcore adidas fan. He is often seen rocking a pair of Superstars both on and off stage and he was said to be deeply honored at the chance to create the Underworld Superstar. Drawing on inspiration from elements of their Japanese stage productions they came up with the idea, as Hyde said, “of trainers that were innocuous under most conditions but shouted when the lights hit them.” And shout they do.

In typical lighting environments the shoes appear as a sort of tan, or very light gold color, across the entire upper, save for the chocolate, or “carob” colored stripes down the back of the heels. These stripes have the subtle branding of “Underworld” and “Tomato” running lengthwise down them. The tongue is not as padded as a typical Superstar 2 but it is also much softer and more flexible than a Superstar 1 or 80′s tongue. The bottom outsole of the shoe is a very attractive, translucent amber color that allows you to see through to the pattern inside it. The insole repeats the heel stripe’s carob color and includes random text and lettering that were also inspired by the aforementioned Japanese tour.

If you look very closely, you can also see similar text appearing on the upper of the shoe. This otherwise routine-looking shoe is absolutely transformed when it is hit by strong direct light and the tan color instantly becomes the luminous silver that is the hallmark of 3M Scotchlite. In this reflective mode, the text that could barely be seen before is distinctly readable around the entire upper of the shoe, save for the stripes and the heel cap. The shoe shipped with three sets of laces in tan, carob, and white, the latter two branded with the “Underworld Tomato” text. Lace jewels were also included with the shoes.

The Underworld Superstar is generally considered one of the more desirable models of the mid-size production run shoes in the 35th Anniversary series. Among the Music Series, the Underworld, the Missy Elliott, and the Run DMC shoes seem to be the most difficult to locate. It is a very unique design and its genius lies in how it is understated and flamboyant at the same time, exactly as the designers intended. It’s very much like wearing two shoes in one – one for the park and one for the rave.

written by Michael Sterling

photography by errol