- Iconic style
- Great for all-day use
- Generously padded and comfy
- Nice and flexible
- Sufficient arch support
- Very durable toebox
- Accommodating toebox
- Lots of colorway options
- Needs breaking in
- Average breathability at best
- Not for rainy days
Who should buy
The shell-toed Adidas Superstar is definitely for sneaker fans who are:
- Into classic designs that never go out of style.
- Looking for an on-the-go sneaker that can be paired with a wide assortment of styles.
- On a hunt for cosy footwear suitable for all-day use.
- Searching for fashionable yet affordable sneakers that don't break the bank.
Who should NOT buy
The shoe feels quite stiff when it’s fresh out of the box and needs a few wears before it breaks in.
For a shoe that’s comfy right away, consider the other classic from Adidas; the Gazelle.
To test the breathability of the Superstar, we pumped the shoe full of smoke. Typically leather shoes don’t perform very well but the Superstar somewhat surpasses expectations with a steady stream of smoke coming out of the tongue. This isn’t incredible and earns the shoe a run-of-the-mill score of 3 out of 5 for breathability.
Compare that to the extremely airy Puma RS-X which earned a perfect breathability score.
As we can see from inspecting a backlit cross-section of the Superstar’s upper, the only areas light can shine through are the small holes along the side of the shoe and a little bit through the tongue. Without these, the shoe would be a real toaster.
We gave the Superstar the creme brulee treatment, burning and scratching the different parts of the upper to test whether the materials were genuine.
The main leather portion of the shoe proved to be real leather which only got scorched. The Colored overlay at the heel, however, is clearly synthetic and just melted under the heat.
To test the durability of the Superstar’s fortified toebox, we fired up our Dremel to 5K RPM and applied it to the shoe with 3.2N of force. Beyond casting aside strangely dark flecks of dust (considering it’s a white shoe), our tool seems to have little effect on the toebox.
Inspecting the aftermath of the four-second test, it seems our Dremel was only able to smooth out the lattice pattern that lines the rubber toebox. This tank-like performance earns the Superstar a perfect 5 out of 5 for toebox durability.
Heel padding durability
Turning our attention to the heel collar, we unleashed our Dremel on the Superstar again where it proved to be much more effective. The tool’s grinding element immediately rips into the lining material and starts sending bits of padding flying hither and yon.
While the Dremel did inflict substantial damage on the heel counter, some padding did manage to survive which leads us to give the Superstar a heel padding durability score of 2 out of 5.
We pressed our durometer against the Superstar’s outsole and got an average reading of 85 HC. This level of hardness usually denotes a good mix of durability and grip.
This time spinning at 10K RPM, we set our Dremel against the Superstar’s outsole for a total of twenty seconds.
Afterward, we assessed the damage with our tire tread gauge and found that we had lopped off 1.19 mm of rubber, essentially smoothing out the existing tread pattern. This falls in line with our current lab average which leads us to predict that it will take 400 to 500 miles of use before the shoe’s traction is compromised.
We measured the outsole to be right around average at 5 mm thick. While some might argue that we should measure the whole rubber piece as the outsole, we contend that once we wear through to the cutout portions at the heel, the shoe is surely cooked.
Tipping the scale at 14.2 oz, the Superstar falls right within the average range for sneakers we’ve tested in the lab so far.
|Superstar||14.14 oz (401g)|
|Average||14.46 oz (410g)|
Using our caliper, we measured the Superstar’s stack to be 26.8 mm at the heel. While shorter than our current lab average it still provides a solid level of cushioning and protection from the ground below.
This is thanks in great part to the gaps found in the heel of the outsole which allows it to compress under our weight similar to how a foam midsole would.
The Superstar’s forefoot stack is much shorter than our current lab average at only 13.6 mm thick.
This provides us with a good sense of the ground below, thus lending the shoe its natural and well-planted underfoot sensation, while still effectively dampening the impacts of our stride.
The difference in our stack measurements leaves the Superstar with a rather steep heel drop of 13.6 mm. This is ideal for those who prefer the feeling of an elevated heel when walking. Those who prefer a less drastic offset should consider the also iconic Adidas Samba.
Despite falling a little shy of our current lab average at 4.4 mm thick, the Superstar’s insole provides us with a nicely padded platform within the shoe.
Lateral stability test
The Superstar feels incredibly well-planted as we shift our weight from side to side. This grounded sensation isn’t surprising for such a low-profile shoe and contributes to how natural the shoe feels on the foot.
We were met with an average level of resistance when bending and twisting the Superstar in our hands, leading us to give it a score of 3 out of 5 on our subjective scale. This presents a healthy mix of support and comfort as the shoe is able to conform with the movements of our foot while still maintaining a relatively level landing platform.
Heel counter stiffness
The heel counter has a lot of structure to it which makes it extremely resistant to our manual manipulation. It barely budged as we bent and squeezed at it, earning it a score of 5 out of 5. This factors greatly into the shoe’s stability as it mitigates any excessive lateral rolling during our stride.
Midsole width in the forefoot
We measured the Superstar’s midsole to be 101.2 mm wide at the forefoot which is narrower than our current lab average. This doesn’t present any stability issues thanks to the shoe’s low stack, but rather serves to make the shoe feel light and nimble underfoot.
Midsole width in the heel
The midsole is similarly narrow-than-average at the heel, measuring only 71.8 mm wide. This is quite scant, especially for those used to wearing shoes with more robust platforms like the New Balance 574.
We found that 13.8N of force is required to bend the shoe 90 degrees in our stiffness test. This is a pretty flexible result which is right on par with our current lab average and means that the shoe is able to conform with the natural flexion of our foot with ease.
However, we must say that the shoe actually feels quite stiff when fresh out of the box, with a few uses needed before we could fully savor its forgiving pliability.
Grip / Traction
The zig-zag tread pattern on the Superstar’s outsole gave us no problems with traction during our test walks. Even wet surfaces were no cause for concern, though we don’t recommend wearing this shoe in the rain as it will damage the genuine leather.
Size and fit
Toebox width at the widest part
We measured the Superstar’s toebox to be 98.2 mm wide at its widest point. While this is just shy of our current lab average, the shoe should still accommodate most foot shapes comfortably apart from those that are very broad.
Toebox width at the big toe
The Superstar’s toebox doesn’t taper as much as the average sneaker, narrowing to 79.9 mm in the area around the big toe. This lends the shoe a much more natural silhouette that gives us plenty of room to splay out as we go about our day.
Tongue: gusset type
The Superstar’s tongue is non-gusseted, though we didn’t experience any slippage thanks to how wide and generously padded it is.
At 8.8 mm thick according to our caliper measurements, the Superstar’s tongue is slightly more padded than our current lab average. This not only provides good comfort across our instep but helps in achieving a snug lockdown without any hint of lace bite.
The Superstar’s insole is fully removable, so those in need of custom orthotics for added arch support can use them with this shoe.
With no reflective elements whatsoever, this Superstar doesn’t twinkle at night.