Adidas Superstar vs Stan Smith – Are They so Different?

If you’re looking for a new pair of sneakers, then Adidas is a fantastic place to start. For decades, this famous brand has gifted us with exceptional shoes suitable for almost any occasion. Today, we’re reviewing two icons in our Adidas Superstar vs Stan Smith comparison.

This is what we’ll be comparing in our guide:

  • Design.
  • Materials.
  • Sizing.
  • Comfort.
  • Versatility.


About Adidas Stan Smith

The Adidas Stan Smith debuted back in 1971. It’s a tribute to the champion Stan Smith who won the 1971 US Open and 1972 Wimbledon.



What started as an innovative tennis shoe, soon became an all-time best-seller for Adidas. It has endured several generations, thanks to its simplicity and versatility.

At the time of its launch, it was a game-changing design, made up of premium white leather with contrasting green details and perforation stripes. It was proof that pretentious branding wasn’t a guarantee for success.

However, the turning point for the Stan Smiths was when it became a fashion statement worn by celebrities. Most famously, Kanye West and supermodel Gisele Bündchen.

It’s an incredibly easy shoe to style. The buttery, white leather combined with kelly-green stripes and tongue make it a versatile fashion accessory.

Watch this video for a visual of Stan Smith shoes.


On Adidas Superstar

The Adidas Superstar was first introduced in 1969. Initially, it was a low-top version of the Pro Model, a basketball shoe.



However, due to its appearance, it was nicknamed the “shell-toe” or “clamshell.” It inevitably became a significant influence in the sneaker culture.

When it debuted, it was the first low-top basketball shoe to include an all-leather upper, non-marking outsole and rubber toe protection. It eventually caught the attention of some of the biggest stars in the NCAA and NBA. The most notable, however, was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The Adidas Superstar soon ventured off the courts and onto the uprising hip hop scene, opening the door to the public’s consciousness.


One of the most important parts of its history was when the revolutionary rap group Run-D.M.C., wore them on stage.

The rappers were notorious for refusing to conform to the standards of the time. They would dress on stage in their “street” clothes, including the Adidas Superstar sneakers.

By paying tribute to the shoe, Adidas received a lot of free promotion, increasing sales of the Superstar. This, however, also gave them a rather tough reputation, which eventually led to the anti-sneaker song, Felon Sneakers by Jerrald Deas.

Not soon after, Run-D.M.C. hit back with a rap titled My Adidas—a part tribute to the Superstar sneaker. This landed them an advertising deal with Adidas—the first of its kind between a big corporation and hip-hop artists.

The Superstar’s popularity continued to grow and influence pop culture through the 1980s and 1990s.

Watch this video for more of the Superstar’s history.


Adidas Superstar vs Stan Smith

1. Design

In terms of looks, one could argue that the Stan Smith and Superstar are pretty similar. However, they’re from different eras and do have their distinctions.

The Stan Smith shoe is quite simple when compared to the Superstar. A unique trait is that it doesn’t include the trademark three stripes that most Adidas’ shoes do. Instead, it has perforations where the lines should be.

Another distinguishable feature is the portrait of Stan Smith on the tongue. The original design is still simple, including only two colors. However, later versions come in other hues, with numerous variations of yellow, black and blue.

At the back, it has a snug suede heel cup with the Adidas logo and Stan Smith name.

For the Superstar, you have the leather upper adorning the three famous stripes and Adidas logo on the tongue. At the front, there’s the rubber toe cap, which, on most color options, will always remain white.

Unlike Stan Smiths, the Superstar is available in a range of colors and textures. You can find anything from burgundy to camo and scale-like black. Adidas directs it toward the fashion scene as opposed to the basketball court.


2. Materials

Both options were originally all-leather sneakers, offering high-quality and longevity. Sadly, the Stan Smith is now mostly synthetic, with some alternatives still consisting of a mix of leather and synthetic.

Both do still include sewn seams and rubber outsoles, providing some traction on different surfaces.

Newer versions of Stan Smith and Superstar include Adidas Boost technology. This is an innovative invention that somewhat revolutionized the modern running shoe. It consists of thermoplastic polyurethane particles that expand to create closed cells sitting around tiny air pockets.

Boost technology works to produce a much higher energy return than other materials such as gel pads or EVA foam. This means that you’ll lose less power during your stride.

Adidas found the sweet spot with the Stan Smith—incorporating a sole similar to the Pure Boost series. Here, you get a full-length Boost sole, which not only looks sleek, but it also makes the shoe feel much comfier.

Although Boost technology is terrific, the way that Adidas incorporates it in the Superstar just seems unnecessary. Critics feel that it takes away the simplicity of its appearance and just looks and feels a little awkward.

Instead of including a full sole, it only adds Boost to the center and a section by the heel. Some say that it creates a noticeable imbalance.

Adidas Superstar on truck


3. Stan Smith vs Superstar Sizing

Both sizes are a bit off. Traditionally, they both ran large, meaning that you’d have to size down. However, the newer versions of Superstar have changed.

It now runs more snug, suggesting you’d have to size up to get the right fit. Some speculate that the tighter fit is due to the rubber toe cap.

The Stan Smith continues to run large, so if you choose this shoe, make sure that you size down. We have an in-depth guide on how Adidas shoes fit and how to find the perfect size for you.


4. Comfortability

When it comes to comfort, both shoes perform well, providing you get the sizing correct. Both offer soft leather uppers that hug and support the feet just right. They have a little give, allowing the material to move with you.

The outsoles are comfy, as well, both are made from rubber with pimples or cups for traction. These are flexible and offer some shock-absorption.

However, as we said above, the Superstar runs narrower than previously, so if you have wide feet, you may want to reconsider. Make sure that you measure your feet before and follow Adidas’ recommendations.


5. Versatility

When searching for these two models, versatility is a common word. Because each takes on a minimalist style, they’re easy to pair with almost anything for any occasion. They’re great for everyday wear, whether you’re going for something casual or want to make more of an effort.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is Adidas Stan Smith Still in Style?

Stan Smith is a timeless design. It has survived decades of passing trends and is still going strong, even without drastic cosmetic changes. Yes, there have been a few variants of the original, but it’s the OG that consumers tend to prefer.

A significant contributor to its success is its simplicity. As we’ve said before, it’s minimalistic, and even quite plain, which makes it effortless to pair with any outfit. Its subtle design also allows it to find a spot in various trends.


Is Adidas Stan Smith Waterproof?

The original Stan Smith is water-resistant, meaning that you can’t walk through puddles without getting your feet wet. However, Adidas has released a version with Gore-Tex lining.

This technology makes the shoe completely waterproof without compromising its timeless, buttery appearance. It’s a fantastic option, adding value to the sneaker and giving users a broader season to wear them in.

Adidas Superstar vs Stan Smith


Can I Wear Adidas Superstars in the Rain?

Not only is the Adidas Superstar a fashionable shoe, but it’s also practical. The combination of leather and rubber for the upper creates a water-tight seal, enabling you to take a walk on a rainy day.

The rubber outsoles work well at protecting your feet from the wet ground, too. However, keep in mind that if your Superstar shoes are white, unsightly stains can be a common occurrence.

To avoid this, make sure that you clean them regularly, especially after wearing them in bad weather. Please read our guide on the best shoe cleaners.


Are Stan Smiths Discontinued?

In 2011, Adidas shocked the world when it stopped releasing its Stan Smith sneakers. This was a smart and bold business decision made by the company to pent-up consumer demand.

As the supply became scarce, the demand for the shoe rose. Then in 2014, Adidas reintroduced it, and it went flying off the shelves.

Adidas used the same marketing strategy for the Superstar shoe. This is one way the company has retained the momentum in popularity and sale of its most iconic sneakers.


Final Thoughts

Adidas Superstar vs Stan Smith—two classic shoes that are difficult to choose between. These models have both influenced pop culture, adorning the feet of some of the world’s biggest stars. Yet they’re affordable and timeless, and we wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still popular 10 years from now.

They share a notable amount of similarities, both in terms of materials, comfort and versatility.

We hope you found the answers you were looking for. Please share our comparison and leave a comment or question in the section below.


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