Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Superstar

For even a casual sneakertrainer addict, the image above will be enough to identify the shoe. How does the Nigo touch imprint on it's history?

For the uninitiated, the image up top is the shell toe of the Adidas Superstar, however it's one of the various editions above it's standard issue - it's the Superstar 80s Nigo.

But before we list/review our experience of the Superstar Nigo we need to put this shoe into context. The shoe has since the 1980s a history that's almost inseparable from hip-hop street fashion and in particular Run DMC who made it famous with their music and gaining an unlikely sponsorship from Adidas. Adidas even commissioned special editions of the shoe to commemorate the 25th year anniversary of the 1986 RunDMC release of "My Adidas" and also for Jam Master Jay's death and it's 35th edition - all of this is a tangent from the shoe's origins as a basketball shoe in the late 1960s.

Further history available from Wikipedia and LoveVintageAdidas

Currently, the Superstar is issued in various editions: the standard Superstar 2 and then Superstar 80s derivatives as well as other collaborations.

The Superstar 80s Nigo is derived from the Superstar 80s stream which in itself is a deviation from the standard issue shoe.

Superstar 80s DLX
The Superstar 80s differ from the standard Superstar 2 issue in a few ways: the 80s feature an unpadded tongue, reverting to a felt like material and a leather inner lining instead of the fabric-sweat-hugging of the regular Superstar 2. The "Superstar" lettering is also missing on the 80s edition.

Superstar 80s Nigo

The Nigo collaboration, the man previously of Bathing Bape fame, share the Superstar 80s features over the Superstar 2 but it has offer's an uptick in terms of materials.

The Nigo's have a full grain leather uppers - although it still feels 'plasticy' - according to the Adidas website (regular Superstar 2's have "coated leather") but the main Nigo functional design element is the internal elasticated sock that is supposed to remove the need for laces, harking back to the Run DMC hip-hop style (that in turn comes from the US prison system look - laces are removed from prison shoes to avoid its use as weapon). Furthermore, the 2 sets of laces supplied (black and white) are 140cm long 18mm wide "fat laces" compared to the regular 8mm wide laces but IMO look ridiculous.

The internal sock hugs the foot and runs from the 3rd lace eyelets to the top set of eyelets.

The sock is a little annoying for my tastes - you can't slip on the shoes as you need to adjust the sock once you put your shoes on. Also because of the additional stitching for the inner sock at the sole, they can rub against the arch of your foot. The inner sock also takes a little time to wear in. but I've simply taken a craft knife and cut out the inner sock. Note, however that this version of the Superstar is actually 'taller' than the other Superstar 80s; in which I mean the height of the leather upper, measured from the base of the upper (as it meets the outsole) to the lace eyelets is larger. A normal Superstar 80s shoe from my collection measures about 6cm from base of upper to the top lace eyelet - the Nigo Superstar measures another 1.5cm at about 7.5cm. The upshot of this means you have to pull the laces tighter to avoid your foot slipping around - obviously the extra space/height in the shoe accomodates the inner sock that was supposed to secure your feet in leui of laces!

The insole is removable but is flat and relatively narrow around the arch and provides no arch support - the Superstar 2 appears have a slightly more modern insole with arch support. This may not matter for most people but if you have wide feet you will find that your arch/instep (?) of your foot rubs against the inside of the shoe and leads to irritation.

80s Nigo flat insole compared to modern adidas insole with arch support

The shell toe and sole are an off (vintage) white but from a distance these look identical to the Superstar 2. The missing "superstar" lettering on the side and the "25" on the tongue are the only thing to give these away.

The Nigo's are only 2GBP more than the regular Superstars 2 but even with the annoying sock it may be worth it given the uptick in materials and the leather lining which is typically offered on the delux models and editions.

Superstar 80s Nigo

Superstar 80s in classic reverse black and white

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