Adidas Gazelle Leather History
The Gazelle Leather comes from Adidas’ vast archive of classic shoes. This particular version descends from a silhouette that has influenced, in terms of style, much of the models that would come out later.
Adidas Gazelle shoes debuted in 1966 and were built on a track shoe last. However, Adidas also sent these kicks for testing by handball and football players, which suggested that these had a more general athletic purpose. Gazelles were the very first Adidas shoes to be made from suede (to be specific, from kangaroo velour) which gave the sneakers a lighter and more supple feel. They originally came in two colors, and each had different outsoles for varying traction on different surfaces.
The blue colorway (called the Gazelle Blau) with white stripes featured micro grip soles which cushioned landings and gave a firmer grip on indoor surfaces. The red colorway (called Gazelle Rot) had transparent non-slip soles taken from the Adidas Olympiade shoes and these were made of gum rubber. The red shoes were designed for outdoor use.
Adidas Gazelles turned out to be one of the brand’s most popular models, so the company kept updating the shoes for better performance, and they experimented with different outsoles. Two years after their launch, Adidas removed the shoes’ heel tabs and added microcell soles into the mix. In 1971, they used the same soles for both silhouettes.
In 1972, they introduced new tread microcell soles shaped like a hexagon for both colorways. Seven years later, as part of the Special Concept system where favorites get upgrades, Gazelle Specials were launched. These had transparent soles patterned after the Adidas Trefoil and a redesigned forefoot. This model would be reissued again in 2011 as Gazelle Indoors.
More than a decade after the shoes’ first release, Gazelles have retained the public’s interest and even grown in popularity owing to the hip-hop boom in the UK and most parts of Europe. The classics became a cult hit and were recognized as “street.” Back then, color variations were unheard of in Europe and the release in 1985 of a new colorway, a green one named the Gazelle Grun, made the sneakers even more sought-after.
Because classics never die but just get back in the cycle to shine again when it’s their time, the silhouette was revived by Adidas in 1991, due to the public’s renewed interest in old sneaker favorites. The 1991 version featured a bulkier shape compared to the original. This 90’s Gazelle model would be the basis for future retro releases. Although the shoes still had the same texture as the vintage model, they also used more advanced materials and technology.
Fast forward 10 years later, Adidas launched their Originals line which included a collection of modern reimaginings of classic designs that came out from the 40s to the 80s such as the Gazelle and several other popular iconic models.
In 2012, a Premium Gazelle OG Leather Pack was released by Adidas as part of the Originals line. It had crisp uni-colored leather uppers and rubber outsoles. The Leather Pack released in navy and white versions.
2013 saw two colorways of the Gazelle Leather from the Originals line being dropped. One burgundy and one black, both with white stripes. Several more Gazelle Leather colorways were released since then including a triple white version in 2015 followed by a triple black colorway in 2016.
In May of 2017, triple white and black colors were again released as part of Adidas’ 2017 Summer collection. This time, the shoes were dressed up in premium smooth and full-grain leather for an elegant finish.