In 7th grade my parents bought me my first pair of name brand shoes. I knew shoes existed before that time but I was more concerned with comics and action figures to worry about the tiny bit of disposable income my family had to ask for sneakers. 7th grade changed that… I remember being made fun of for the sneakers my parents could afford at the time and I asked for a pair of name brand shoes. I asked for soccer shoes since that was the sport I played and when we headed off to Soccer Plus in Westeville we could afford some clearance green adidas Gazelles. I fell in love with the Gazelle and it’s green color way despite it being by default became a symbol of pride for me which I owned, like I chose it over Collegiate Navy or Black.
I saved money over the years and my parents shifted some money into shoes for me as well. I started 8th grade in Reebok Pumps a decision I would later regret, I started Sophmore year in Sport Blue Jordan VI and I had various pairs of Flights, Reebok Classics and Filas in between. The ones that stuck were New Balances that we got through the JCP catalogue and adidas gazelles and sambas. Sure I rocked the occasional Rod Laver or Stan Smith but when you’re on a budget white shoes just didn’t make as much sense.
Then somewhere in the 2000s I stopped believing in hype I started believing in comfortable runners. I wore Nike Air Max models, added in ASICS and built a sneaker collection I loved to wear with New Balances not numbered 574. Sure I kept adidas in my collection, I will always own a Rod Laver in white w/navy and some adilette slides. I even bought some higher profile shoes, while keepin away from teddy bears or oversized wings I picked up some ObyO David Beckham x James Bond shoes. For the most part adidas fell out of my portfolio.
Then came 2015… one could argue I just followed the band wagon although it didn’t feel that way to me. In an effort to find ways to get sneakers into my business casual workwear I stumbled across a casual Samba and bought all colors as they were being marked down. They became my go to work shoe.
Then I was introduced to a new shoe adidas was putting out being marketed as the “best running shoe ever”. It’s simple aesthetic and kitted heather coloring made it a no brainer for me to make a purchase, and at $180 was in the ball park of the New Balance shoes I had built a collection on. I bought the pink color way and never looked back, check out this article I wrote on these shoes.
So here I sit, 80% of the shoes I rotate daily are adidas, the other 20% are the New Balance I will always love. I would argue the why is simple. For me it has little to do with Kanye and Pharell , while they helped the cool factor they killed the availability of many of the shoes I wanted.
What happened is adidas started making amazing products that were aesthetically forward, technically sound and most of all wearable while never giving up on the classic models that just weren’t broken. Those Gazelles are just as practical today with navy chinos as they were in 7th grade at St. Paul’s Middle School.