Adidas Gazelle Primeknit History
With a vast archive that has produced several masterpieces and dozens of cult classics, it’s no wonder that the Adidas brand has created yet another worthy silhouette which is bound to be a wardrobe staple. Adidas Originals’ Gazelle Primeknit shoes carry the essence of the original while maintaining a fresher and more contemporary style. But what is these shoes’ story? To better appreciate this new silhouette means a trip back to 1966, a half-century ago.
The Adidas Gazelle
The Adidas Gazelle silhouette was first released by Adidas in 1966, and it was the first model ever by the company to utilize suede. Adidas wanted to produce a lighter model, and this was made possible by using suede which, aside from weighing lighter, gave the shoes a more supple feel. Color would also be a consideration because dyed suede simply looked more vibrant and alive than colored leather.
The public was very receptive and Adidas Gazelles would later on become one of the company’s most popular shoes, with constant sales even decades after their release.
The first Gazelles came in two colorways: Gazelle Blau and Gazelle Rot. Each pair of shoes had the same design for their uppers, but they differed in terms of the soles. The Gazelle Blau (blue) had micro-grip soles which gave them a more cushioned landing and firmer grip on indoor surfaces. The Gazelle Rot (red) meanwhile, featured non-slip transparent soles made of gum rubber and were specifically designed for outdoor use.
Gary Aspden, the creative genius behind the Spezial collection, said that the launch of the Adidas Gazelle silhouette changed the direction of the brand’s training line, and he would be correct in this. The elements that make up the Gazelle such as the T-toe overlays, the shoes’ profile, and the brilliant-colored suede with the contrasting white stripes would lay the foundation for so many of the brand’s models that came out thereafter.
The original had undergone some changes along the way as Adi and his son, Horst, often updated shoes to better their performance. In 1968, Adidas removed the heel tabs of the silhouette, and the soles became of lined micro-cells. Three years later, in 1971, both Gazelle colorways shared the same soles. In 1972, Adidas updated the shoes’ outsoles yet again. While they still utilized microcell soles, these were also infused with hexagon tread patterns.
1979 saw the launch of the Adidas’ Special line which contained old favorites that were given performance upgrades. Since the Gazelle had become a cult classic by then having been a part of the hip-hop boom in Europe, the brand launched a version of the silhouette and called it the Gazelle Special. The new iteration featured transparent soles with a Trefoil tread pattern and a redesigned forefoot. These shoes would later be known as Gazelle Indoors upon their reissue in 2011.
In the early 90s, due to a revival of interest in classic shoes, Adidas brought the Gazelle back but with a few updates. The 90s version had a bulkier shape compared to the original but retained the same texture as the vintage version. This 1991 model would be the basis for future reissues and would be the forerunner of the Originals line.
Adidas’ Primeknit Gazelle
The year 2001 saw the debut of the Adidas Originals line which included all of their iconic models such as the Stan Smith, the Superstar, and of course, the Gazelle. Interest in classic shoes had not waned then and had only gotten stronger.
The Gazelle has since featured in various versions, including the Gazelle Leather and Gazelle Super. In early 2017, Adidas again launched a version based on the Gazelle via a collaboration with Sneaker Politics. The Sneaker Politics x Adidas Gazelle Primeknit Consortium kicks marked the first time a Gazelle model featured the Primeknit technology. The shoes had cream-colored Primeknit uppers with gold, green, and purple accents.
Following the success of the collab with Sneaker Politics, Adidas launched a Gazelle Primeknit line in April of that same year. The initial release came in three different tonal colorways: Blue, Scarlet Red, and Clean Onyx. The new version’s modern makeover still retained that vintage flare with their off-white soles and suede toe boxes. Two women’s exclusive colorways (Mint Green and Coral Orange) later dropped in the same month.