We spent 9 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what sneaker fanatics think:

11 reasons to buy

  • According to several reviewers, the Adidas Rivalry High has been detailed with unbelievable precision—from the collar down to the toe cap—becoming a “near-perfect replica” of the 1986 original.
  • This retro model is affordably priced.
  • A good number of testers found its level of comfort to be very remarkable.
  • Almost nine out of ten commenters highly recommended the Rivalry High.
  • It generally runs true to size, as agreed by many.  
  • The shoe delivers good traction, a few users reported.  
  • Its vintage design has a “versatile killer style” that works with any outfit, quite a handful noted.
  • A few longtime customers were happy that Adidas have finally given this retro shoe the premium soft leather it deserves.
  • Several mentioned copping more pairs of the Rivalry High in the future.
  • A brand loyalist declared this Rivalry High reissue as his all-time favorite sneaker from Adidas.
  • At least one reviewer boldly expressed that this modern retro of the Rivalry High trumps over the other retros.

2 reasons not to buy

  • A few mentioned that they preferred the shoe to have a toe cap, or a shell toe.
  • A wearer of the previous Rivalry Highs was disappointed that this reissue didn’t appear in more colorways.

Bottom line

Adidas Originals reintroduces one of their greatly revered high tops, the Rivalry High. It’s so precisely detailed to replicate the original 1986 version that purists welcomed it without reluctance. Those who waited felt rewarded.

The Rivalry High is decked out in its full crisp and glory: built with first-rate full-grain supple leather upper sitting atop a lightweight, superbly comfortable EVA midsole. Moreover, this limited edition features two iconic colorways. Among which is Patrick Ewing’s historic New York Knicks-themed version. For $110, sneakerheads can cop this time capsule of a shoe.


Top: High
Inspired from: Basketball
Collection: Adidas Originals
Price: $110
Colorways: Blue
Special editions: 2 special editions
Small True to size Large
See more facts

The Adidas Rivalry High features a traditional lace-up closure, which has nine eyelets, providing the foot a customizable locked-in fit. Its slanted toe box adds a more snug fit. Furthermore, this high-top model is offered in men’s sizes ranging from 4 to 14.

This revamped high-top model gives everyone a powerful flash of nostalgia. Men can grace their feet and outfit with the 1980s hooper vibe, which this retro pair emits. Sweatpants, joggers, hoodies, sweaters, and the sort matches and accentuates the game-ready Rivalry High silhouette.

Aside from the Crystal White/Blue/Orange Knicks-themed colorway, the Rivalry High is also available in smooth black and white colorway. With this subtler option, men can sport a more casual outfit such as slim-fit or skinny jeans.

Besides the thicker sole with exposed stitching and the fresh-looking premium leather upper colored in vintage fashion, this high top also has some other set of striking features.

First is its protruding tongue, which bears a redesigned Adidas basketball logo that screams of the ’80s B-ball era. Second, the large Trefoil branding seen printed on the heel area. Lastly, the Three Stripes heritage branding on both sidewalls, accented with lines of small perforations.  

Adidas have dug into their archives—from the ’60s up to the ’90s—seeking for inspiration or silhouettes deserving of a major throwback. As a result, the Three Stripes once again struck gold and brought back one of their most significant high-top models, the Rivalry High. Then the Adidas Originals team worked together with famous sportswear designer Eric Emanuel to reissue the Rivalry shoe. All inspired to remind everyone of New York’s love for the sport.

It was a high-top basketball shoe which debuted in 1986 and was linked to NBA Superstar and Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks. Adidas gave Ewing his first signature shoe in 1986, the Ewing Rivalry, which was dressed in the New York Knicks colors—in white, blue, orange. The reissued Rivalry High is available in that historic vintage colorway, along with the subtle black and white version.

  • The slanted toe box area is perforated to add more breathability as well as old-school styling.


Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sneakerhead turned sneaker industry expert that believes a good outfit begins from the feet up. His aunt currently isn't speaking to him for wearing a pair of kicks at his cousin's wedding. He spends most of his time trying to keep on top of the latest releases, hitting up his contacts and doing what needs to be done to secure his next pickup. Danny has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.