Size and fit

The 1980s basketball-inspired Adidas Campus shoes are low-cut unisex sneakers available in men’s and women’s sizes. It has a suede upper that offers a smooth and durable finish for any casual activity. The traditional lace-up closure helps keep the foot secure, while the low-cut profile keeps the ankle free.

Adidas Campus Style

It’s been said that one will never go out of style clad with a classic sneaker profile, which is why the return of the classic Adidas Campus colorways on the shelves is good news for those on the lookout for a trendy yet ageless pair of dependable sneakers.

The old-school Adidas Campus came back in three monochromatic colorways and wrapped in premium materials. These reinterpretations are among the timeless and stylish must-haves by Adidas that go practically well with a lot of wardrobes, from street style ensemble to casual business outfits. The unicolor iterations in classy suede finishes blend charmingly well with shorts, slim or lose cuts of pants and various lengths of skirts.

This trendsetting 1980s sneaker has a sporty appeal which is still suited for riding, gliding, and performing various tricks on a skateboard, for pedaling around inner cities or simply strutting along the streets and urban complexes.

  Men’s styles of Adidas Campus

The 1980s court style Adidas Originals Campus remains a much sought-after mainstream sneaker design that’s seasonally updated with fresh and hip colorways. The Three-Stripes brand continues to give this street ambassador an elegant appearance using deep shades for the top such as Trace Blue and Noble Ink that fuse handsomely with tapered grey joggers or ashen track pants which narrows at the hem.

Neutral-colored Adidas Campus men’s shoes in blue, grey, and core black are also available. These earth-toned squad can be mixed and matched with jeans, tobacco pants, black sweatpants for a relaxed aesthetic. Or it can be played with printed tees and long unbuttoned shirt, dark-colored puffer jacket, cable sweater, cardigans, or military jackets. 

The retro colored iterations of the Adidas Campus which come in Energy Ink/ Signal Green and Core Black/ EQT Yellow, both nestling on Chalk White sole, are formerly exclusive in Japan. But these vintage styles are now offered globally which instantly put a retro flavor to a pair of navy jeans and varsity jacket; ripped black denim, white tee and light-colored, long-sleeve shirt. Even the Adidas Campus ‘Collegiate Burgundy’ offers the same retro vibe when tied up with dark, tapered casual pants, plain Henley tee, and maroon field jacket or ruby gilets.

  Adidas Campus shoes for women

There are fewer iterations of the Adidas Campus which are fabricated for the women versus those for the men. However, these feminine suede kicks which are spruced up with pastel hues lift any wardrobe with its refined styles.

One of the Adidas Campus W’s is swaddled with soft-toned grey suede matched to a gum sole which appears classy with dark shaded jeans and lavender puffer jacket. This Adidas Campus women’s design in grey looks even plush with navy pin-rolled jeans and blazer or deep blue dress that’s accentuated by a scarlet colored scarf.

Another variation from the catalog of Adidas Campus sneakers for women is in pink pigskin suede, particularly in Tactile Rose shade that looks fab with ripped, rolled-up skinny jeans along with a lemony shirt or crew-neck sweater. Adidas Campus ‘Ray Red’ is an awesome match to grey wool dress pants, white shirt, and ash toned hoodie. For a stylish casual allure, pair up this red sneaker with brown chinos and a navy denim jacket.

The ever universal Adidas Campus black iteration that comes with a gum sole gives a vintage glow to your all-black ensemble or with a pair of ripped denim, a biker jacket, and pastel-shaded inner shirt or tank top.

Aside from suede, there’s an Adidas Campus shoe for women that’s clad in grey faux snakeskin leather from heel to toe. Even the 3-Stripes labeling is covered with grey leather. This premium remake of the celebrated court style goes with a white tailored-fitting ensemble to achieve that crisp look; black leggings, light grey shearling coat and a feminine tee for that smart-chic vibe; or with cropped pants and a pink tank top for that sporty flair.

Notable Features

Aptly named Adidas Campus, this old-school court figure which became more popular when it hit the streets with its savvy upper appeal, is highly recognizable for its classic suede covering. It features a one-piece Nubuck pigskin cover that runs up to the tongue, which is a versatile and robust kind of hide that offers a very supple tactile feel.

The suede upper of the Adidas Campus and reinforced toe elements allow this shoe to hold up against immediate wear unlike other organic counterparts, which makes this ideal for skateboarding. Not only is it durable, but breathable as well.

Naturally, the pigskin leather appears to be scored than other types of animal leathers, which is why its grains are sanded off to transform into finest suede. Its use of premium material brings a hint of sophistication to this ageless sneaker which makes it one of the much-sought rebirths of the heritage b-ball sneaker by Adidas.

  Adidas Campus vs. Adidas Gazelle

Both the Campus and Gazelle were initially built as performance shoes; wherein, the former for basketball, while the latter for track and soccer. Back in the day, these classics are particularly liked for their durable suede upper features and equally long-enduring rubber soles.

These silhouettes look almost the same as both come with jagged 3-Stripe overlays on the sides and heel patches that display the Adidas Trefoil icon. What makes the Gazelle different from the Campus is the presence of T-toe overlay at the tip of the shoe and a loftier shape of the tongue. Style-wise, these old-school kicks remain to look simple and stay on trend to this day.

Adidas Campus History

Adidas has a long archive of reliable and innovative performance shoes reinterpreted into street-ready sneakers under the Adidas Originals catalog. Some of the shoes under this rich collection are considered iconic profiles of the brand, immediately embraced by die-hard Adidas consumers from the time these kicks were dropped. However, the rest took quite a while behind the scene before earning their reputation on the center stage. One of those low-key models dressed in suede is the Adidas Campus.

  Icons that came before the Campus

This sneaker was initially overshadowed by other admirable profiles by Adidas starting with the most recognizable post-war indoor trainer called the Samba, which had the distinguishable Three-Stripe branding on the lateral sides similar to the Campus’.  The Samba which came out in 1950, remained a well-liked template for retro releases mainly due to its legacy as a soccer shoe.

A nearly identical silhouette to the Adidas Campus which lingered on the limelight since its debut in 1958 is the Adidas Gazelle. Just like the Samba, the Gazelle is a soccer shoe, but its entire upper is made of suede, specifically one with a velvety finish called kangaroo velour. It persisted to be a well-adored sneaker up to this day due to its overflowing charm.

Following the success of the Gazelle, which later became a multi-purpose sneaker, is the arrival of an all-suede ball shoe branded as the Adidas Tournament in the early 1970s. This low-cut court sneaker transitioned into a skateboard shoe in the 1980s and finally earned its spot on the stage with the name Adidas Campus.

  Rise to popularity

The Adidas Campus started to create waves in the sneaker world when it became a popular model in the hip-hop communities during the ‘80s and the ‘90s. Just as RUN DMC brought the Superstar to its celebrity status, the Brooklyn rappers The Beastie Boys took the Adidas Campus for an uphill ride to supreme popularity.

Two members of the group, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horowitz and Mike “Mike D” Diamond had their pairs of Adidas Campus sneakers immortalized on the cover of its 1992 album, “Check Your Head,” which raised the reputation of this classic kick into a much higher status.

The Beastie Boys’ continuing support for this model paved the way for retro releases of this style starting in the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, its vulcanized sole created an impact and gained traction among skateboarders during such era. The dominance of the Campus sneaker, as well as the shell-toed Superstar trainer,  made the Trefoil and Three-Stripe branding a central attribute in the hip-hop sneaker culture.

  Off-court appeal of the Adidas Campus sneakers

The Campus remains prevalent to this day through various reinterpretations of the original silhouette. One of the collaborative versions led to the birth of the Campus 80 House of Pain 2009, a product of the team up between hip-hop icon House of Pain and Adidas in commemoration of St. Patrick Day. Only about 1,500 pairs of this fairway and white suede limited version were produced during that time. 

Fast forward to 2016 the old-school basketball style kept its off-court appeal with the release of the no fuss, classic colorways such as black, navy, and grey. The soft suede upper of the Adidas Campus with a direct resemblance to the original cut gives this profile a strong vintage flavor that’s adored by Three Stripe's devotees, sneaker collectors, and fans.

Adidas Consortium further elevated the status of this model through team-ups with French high fashion streetwear label Colette and sported apparel retailer UNDFTD. Their link up led to the release of the Adidas X Colette x UNDFTD Campus garbed in sleek, all white leather which was unveiled in early 2017 with a gold callout on the lateral sides.

Nice to know


  • The reinforced toe cap provides additional support.
  • The zigzag pattern on the outsole, otherwise known as herringbone, is a tread style that delivers a dependable grip.
  • Its sockliner features a very cushy, durable, breathable and even sustainable Ortholite insole that provides antimicrobial properties.
  • Aside from the hip-hop legend The Beastie Boys, other prominent names like celebrity Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid, music artists Limp Bizkit and Korn were all seen clad with different shades of this timeless Adidas kicks.
  • Another refined version of the iconic B-ball profile is called the Campus Stitch and Turn that’s clothed with velvety suede, concealing the stitches on most parts of the upper.

Facts / Specs

Style: Classic, Sporty, Minimalist
Top: Low
Inspired from: Basketball
Collection: Adidas Originals, Adidas Campus
Closure: Laces
Material: Leather, Suede, Rubber Sole, Nubuck, EVA, OrthoLite
Season: Spring, Summer

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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.