What makes the Adidas Stan Smith so iconic?

Adidas Stan SmithPhoto: Adidas

The Adidas Stan Smith is one of the best known sneakers of all time, and after more than 50 years of existence, it remains Adidas’ best selling model. The seemingly simple design has become a quintessential sneaker that is perfect for almost every occasion.

The Adidas Stan Smith features a leather upper, with indentations in the shape of 3 stripes on the side, to provide some breathability. Adidas’ Trefoil branding can be spotted on the heel, tongue, and midsole, and the tongue also features a self-portrait of Stan Smith himself. Usually the shoe comes in white, with colored accents on the back tab, and on the tongue, however in the shoes 56 year history, it has been released in almost ever color imaginable.

Firstly, what makes the Adidas Stan Smith so iconic is the fact it has become the quintessential tennis shoe. It was the first of its kind, with Adidas proudly branding the sneaker as the first leather tennis shoe, and since its creation, many brands have sought to capture the same look. It is perfect for smart causal wear and as a result, many designer brands such as Gucci and Givenchy have copied the silhouette. Its not just the designer brands that have copied its design though, as budget shoe manufacturers like Skechers have also made blatant rip-offs of its design, forcing Adidas to take them to court back in 2015. The Stan Smith has created hundreds of look-alike’s from company’s that all want to have the same success, and for that, the Stan Smith is truly iconic.

It is also important to not gloss over the man behind the shoe, Stan Smith, as his accolades are a big part in why the shoe started to receive so much attention. The sneaker was originally called the Adidas Haillet, but in 1973, the brand with the three stripes decided to rebrand the shoe after Stan Smith, who had won Wimbledon just the year before. This is one of his two grand slam titles, as he also won the U.S open in 1971, leading him to be placed 35th by Tennis magazine in their list of the 40 greatest players of the Tennis (the magazine which started in 1965, not the sport) era. He was not only a star on the court, but also off it as well, mentoring Mark Mathabane, a budding young tennis player from South Africa, at the time of the apartheid.

Lastly, the Adidas Stan Smith is iconic because of its importance to sneaker culture, and pop culture as a whole. The shoe has been loved for some time now, and respected figures in the community haven’t been hesitant to support it. Stan Smith himself has admitted that out of all his accomplishments, it was only when Jay-Z name dropped the Adidas Stan Smith on a song, that he finally earned the respect of his grand kids. It’s not just Jay-Z though, A$AP Rocky, Young Thug, and even french rapper, Booba, has name-dropped Stan Smith, showing that the love for the shoe and the guy behind it, is worldwide.