6 Best Classic Adidas Trainers in 2024

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6 Best Classic Adidas Trainers in 2024
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When it comes to classics, it is undeniable that Adidas flashes into mind as they offer multiple timeless kicks that are never too ancient to be stylish and functional. With that being said, scouring the internet for the most exceptional Adidas classics is an exhausting task. So, we decided to own up to this task to make your shopping free from trouble.

We scrutinised Adidas classic trainers by wearing them in our daily and casual outings. From long-term to quick wear, we observed them from every possible angle. We even brought them into our lab for more fact-finding. After the long process, we weighed up all their features and determined which were the best. Check them out here in this article!

How we test trainers

To provide you with 100% no-BS reviews, we vet Adidas classic trainers for all kinds of events and activities, from casual to a bit more formal. We also include what to look for when browsing for workout shoes online.

Our selection process includes:

  • Purchasing Adidas classic trainers using our own funds. We specifically do this to avoid brand loyalty and bias.
  • Writing in-depth reviews about shoes that we’ve thoroughly tested ourselves. We use the shoes for real-world tests doing a variety of tasks to determine the actual performance, fit, and comfort of the shoes. We put in around 20 hours of wear tests indoors and outdoors before giving our final assessments.
  • Subjecting the shoes to comprehensive lab tests. We cut the trainers open and we log every measurement and element that we find about the shoes.

Best Adidas classic trainers overall

What makes it the best?

No other sneaker can rival the Adidas Stan Smith. Boasting an era-defining silhouette that debuted in 1965, this sneaker indisputably reigns as the supreme among all Adidas classics. Drawing from the outcomes of our comprehensive lab testing, Stan Smith's reputation is solidified by its enduring durability and unparalleled versatility.

The Stan Smith is a universally recognised name, which greatly contributes to its effortless styling. We discovered that its versatility has cemented its status as a fashion essential, seamlessly transitioning from streetwear to casual wear to sporty attire. Over the course of its six-decade history, this classic Adidas sneaker has amassed a collection of over 400 colorways.

In our lab, we further assessed the trainers by scratching them with a power drill. We fitted a metallic wire brush to the drill and deliberately scuffed the upper. However, Stan Smith took the beatings like a real pro as only a minimal amount of residue resulted from all the abrasions. 

We also took the trainers to the court and on the road. After hundreds of hours of playing and walking, the leather showed no signs of wear and tear. We also noticed that the upper is very easy to keep clean. In the lab, we replicated the scenario by applying coloured chalk to the toebox. With just water and wet wipes, the chalk was easily removed, keeping the leather looking pristine.

As a word of caution, however, we do not recommend Stan Smith to people who are seeking immediate comfort. During our testing we found them to take some time to break in. 

Pros

  • Classic silhouette
  • Numerous colorways and collaborations
  • Easy to style
  • Durable
  • Weatherproof

Cons

  • Runs large
  • Lack of support
  • Takes some time to wear in
Full review of Adidas Stan Smith

Best football inspired Adidas classic trainers

Adidas Samba
90
Great!

What makes it the best?

No other Adidas classic sneaker even comes close to the Adidas Samba as the best football-inspired kick. We found that this sneaker has reached the pinnacle of versatility with its active casual aesthetic. What ultimately set the seal on this sneaker as the greatest is its well-built structure and deluxe support.

We pushed the limits of the Adidas Samba’s endurance through consistent everyday wear and lab-conducted durability tests. Its upper and heel counter resisted the abrasive effects of our Dremel tool, so we rated both parts 4/5 in durability. On the other hand, we appreciated the strong grip performance of Samba that got us out of wet and slippery settings with utmost safety. We measured the hardness of the outsole to be 76.9 HC, which we found to not only be 8.5% softer than other trainers’ outsole but also have a powerful traction hold onto smooth surfaces.

Although this sneaker is easily bendable at only 13.7N force and is even more flexible than the average by 29%, we faced zero wobbling. This stems from the low-profile stance of the sneaker. The snag we hit is the limited air circulation in the upper. Scoring only 3/5 in breathability, the Adidas Samba is something we don’t suggest wearing in summer. 

Pros

  • Clean and minimalist style
  • Unbelievably affordable
  • Real leather and suede
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Long-lasting construction
  • Lighter than average
  • Highly flexible build
  • Good grip for casual use

Cons

  • Poor breathability
  • Tongue slides to the side
  • Not for all-day wear
Full review of Adidas Samba

Best training inspired Adidas classic trainers

Adidas Gazelle
94
Superb!

What makes it the best?

Due to its retro elegance and indisputable functionality, we designated the Adidas Gazelle as the leading training-inspired sneaker from the Adidas classic selection. It highlights a union of sporty and classy styles that closes the gap between athletic looks and casual ones! Also, this sneaker is as fierce as its name, Gazelle, when it comes to durability!

We confirmed through our intense wear and tear evaluation that this training-oriented sneaker is formidable. We didn’t face any issues with the Adidas Gazelle, durability-wise, as it didn’t obtain any impairment. The fantastic thing about this is it only came in at a modest price of £100. It boasts a 31.9% price advantage over the average cost of trainers.

With respect to the in-shoe experience, we also appreciated the comfort we felt immediately the moment we stepped on this pair. However, we noticed that the Adidas Gazelle is more suitable for moderate casual wear. You may want to consider better-cushioned options for all-day support.

Pros

  • Timeless elegant look
  • Excellent value for money
  • Real suede
  • More than 20 colorways
  • Promising durability
  • Flexible design
  • Supportive foothold

Cons

  • Poor breathability
  • Tongue is rough and squeaks
  • Not for all-day wear
Full review of Adidas Gazelle

Best basketball inspired Adidas basketball trainers

Adidas Superstar
93
Great!

What makes it the best?

The premier basketball-inspired choice from the Adidas classic trainers is the Adidas Superstar. Fused with this sneaker’s rich basketball heritage is a fantastic style and an unexcelled on-foot feel. And with an affordable price of £90, the Adidas Superstar isn’t only 23.3% more discounted than most trainers but also a terrific classic choice.

We verified that the incredible pleasure that the Adidas Superstar offered during our intensive wear tests is due to its arch-supportive midsole and spacious toe area. Due to this, we are able to sport the sneaker all day without even a slight hint of twinging and soreness.

We also loved the sturdiness of the Adidas Superstar that didn’t let us down even in the face of constant wear. We found the quality of the leather outstanding, however, we also discovered that it started out rigid. Therefore, if you want something that doesn’t need a break-in period, we recommend exploring other Adidas classic options.

Pros

  • 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
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Needs breaking in
  • Average breathability at best
  • Not for rainy days
Full review of Adidas Superstar

Best handball inspired Adidas classic trainers

Adidas Spezial
93
Great!

What makes it the best?

Adidas Spezial may only be handball-inspired but its over-the-top comfort, excellent robustness, and firm lockdown made us feel otherwise. This is the main reason why among the Adidas classics, Adidas Spezial is, well, the most special handball-influenced kick.

We tested for the stiffness of the Adidas Spezial using our digital force gauge, and the result revealed a lack thereof. The sneaker exhibited minimal resistance to bending with only 5.8N of force, implying it’s 72.6% more flexible than average. Wearing this kick for extended hours is as comfy as it is from the beginning because of how easy it is to move our feet with the pair. 

Our worries about the extreme flexibility is an insecure fit. All our concerns were put to rest by the heel counter, which we gauged to have a rigidness of 3/5. This provided us with a secure lockdown without any sense of constriction. The sneaker also underwent our durability test where we exposed its toebox and heel padding, to our Dremel. These parts showcased toughness, scoring 4/5 in durability. The outsole only gained a 0.5 mm deep mark, which is 54.5% less than the markings in other kicks. 

When it comes to fit, we found that wide-footers are at a disadvantage. The widest section of the toebox is close to the average at 97.9 mm but on the foot, it felt tight. Check the fit personally first before adding it to your shoe collection.

Pros

  • Premium materials
  • Easy to slip on
  • Great all-rounder
  • Extremely flexible and comfy
  • Pleasantly lightweight
  • Solid lockdown
  • Good for gym days
  • Signature old-school look
  • Easy on the wallet
  • Dozens of colorways

Cons

  • Slim profile
  • Not ideal or wide feet
  • Dirt and dust magnet
Full review of Adidas Spezial

Most comfortable classic Adidas trainers

Adidas Campus 00S
97
Superb!

What makes it the best?

The Adidas Campus 00S effortlessly channels the timeless look of the Campus 80s, evoking a sense of nostalgia with its classic design. Its monochromatic colour scheme and bold branding trace back to the retro vibe, pairing seamlessly with a variety of outfits. Adding to its charm is the unmatched comfort delivered by its exceptionally padded yet breathable upper and supportive base.

Visually, the Campus 00S is reminiscent of classic trainers from decades past with its chunky tongue and exaggerated sole. However, the midsole remains grounded and delivers a high level of ground feedback, giving us a higher sense of control over our movements. Our calliper confirms only 24.6/14.5 mm of cushioning separating our feet from the ground.

The substantial 23.0 mm tongue padding vs. the 8.8 mm average pampered our feet with a gentle embrace. Despite its predominantly genuine leather construction, the Campus 00S offers impressive ventilation, thanks to strategically placed ventilation holes. Serving their purpose, they ensure ample airflow, earning the shoe an impressive 4/5 breathability rating in the lab.

However, while the Campus 00S excels in style and ventilation, the midsole lacks cushioning for extended wear. Our durometer reveals it’s 20.1% firmer than average, which may not be ideal for those seeking a plush ride.

Pros

  • Extremely padded tongue and collar
  • Astounding comfort
  • Awesome for daily and casual wear
  • Spot-on fit
  • Soft leather upper
  • Worth the price
  • Old-school vibes
  • Stylish for casual fits
  • Comes with two extra sets of laces

Cons

  • Slightly heavier than usual
  • Its midsole’s a tad firm
  • Difficult to clean and maintain
Full review of Adidas Campus 00S

If you look up the word “classic” in the dictionary, it spits out the following generic definition: “judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.”

But if the dictionary was sneaker-specific, the definition would simply say “Adidas”, because nothing else needs to be said.

Adidas Stan Smith

Putting the ‘class’ into ‘classic’

Since its inception nearly 100 years ago, Adidas has built a reputation that almost precedes itself. Quality products with three easy-to-recognise stripes that follow clean lines make for timeless designs. A loyal fanbase. And competitors that based their entire business around them (oh hey there Nike, looking at you!).

All in all, there’s no question Adidas puts the ‘class’ in ‘classic’ with their sneaker range, and their modern offerings are no different. So strap right in because this article is going down the Adidas rabbit hole, one where we look to find the best Adidas classic trainers on the market and discover the what, why, and how along the way.

Competitors pick up what Adidas puts down

You’ll notice on RunRepeat that we’ve researched and written literally hundreds of guides based on the thousands of shoes we’ve tested, but we’ve only done one guide with the “classic” trainers theme - and that’s this one! Because when it comes to classic trainers, nobody does it quite like Adidas, and their competitors agree… not that they’d ever publicly admit to it.

But if you look closely you’ll often see many of the serious brands that rock styles rather similar to the Adidas offerings. And if imitation is the sincerest sign of flattery, Adidas designers and fans alike should be well and truly delighted.

Adidas is the second-biggest global sportswear group behind Nike [1] and with that power and recognition comes some significant expectations in society. But it seems Adidas is repeatedly up to the challenge, as they aim to please not only sports enthusiasts but the greater sneaker market at large, casual trainers included. 

For this reason Adidas have chosen to not only cooperate with some of the best athletes in the world, but also some of the most popular pop icons. Collaborations with US rapper Kanye West and musician Pharrell Williams are testament to this. Each has exceptional influence on mainstream culture with millions of followers on social media lapping up their style.

A Kanye West collab for the ages

Until recently Kanye West's partnership with Adidas had been considered revolutionary. Beyond his status as a rap icon, Kanye is a renowned fashion icon particularly amongst American youth. His Yeezy line, in collaboration with Adidas, focuses on performance elements with avant-garde design. The result is a range of trainers that not only perform exceptionally but also command attention on the streets. With millions of social media followers eagerly embracing his style, Kanye West had redefined what it means to wear Adidas trainers - until Adidas prematurely ended the commercial relationship in 2022 after ‘Ye made some controversial comments online.

Adidas got lucky with Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams is another non-sportsman who has left an incredible mark on Adidas. His collaboration has given rise to the popular "Pharrell x Adidas" collections, which prominently displays his distinctive style under the quality Adidas umbrella.

Pharrell's influence extends far beyond music; he's a style icon in his own right, and not just because of his trademark hat - Pharell’s collaboration with Adidas has introduced a new dimension to the brand's sneaker offerings. Whether they become classics of the future or just of the now is yet to be seen.

Ultimate checklist: 10 reasons why a sneaker becomes a classic

  1. Timeless design: Classic trainers have a design that stands the test of time. Their simplicity and elegance cannot be underrated as it is this that makes them as appealing today as when they were first introduced.
  2. Historical significance: Many classic trainers have historical relevance. They might have been worn by iconic athletes, associated with significant moments, or played a role in subcultures or movements.
  3. Iconic branding: The brand behind the sneaker plays a crucial role. The three stripes of Adidas is a globally recognised piece of branding, despite being so simple.
  4. Versatility: A classic sneaker is versatile, suitable for a wide range of styles and occasions. From sportswear to streetwear, it’s your loyal footwear that never goes wrong.
  5. Long-term popularity: Classic trainers maintain a consistent level of popularity over the years. They become staples in wardrobes and enjoy a dedicated fan base.
  6. Limited iterations: Some classic trainers gain even more prestige when released in limited editions or collaborations with influential figures or brands.
  7. Influence on fashion: Classic trainers often influence fashion trends and inspire other brands to create similar designs.
  8. Quality: Quality materials and workmanship are fundamental to a sneaker's durability. A well-made sneaker can withstand the test of time.
  9. Cultural impact: Trainers that become classics often have a cultural impact beyond the realm of footwear. They become symbols of certain eras or movements.
  10. Collectibility: Classic trainers are often sought after by collectors, driving demand and maintaining their status as must-have items.

Adidas Stan Smith Grass Court

The iconic Stan Smith collection

The Adidas Stan Smith trainers, introduced in 1965, bear the namesake of American tennis player Stan Smith. These tennis shoes feature a minimal design without any prominent three stripe branding, thus setting them apart from the typical Adidas footwear. Instead, they sport three rows of neatly perforated ventilation holes on each side of the leather upper.

Remarkably, the shoe's design and structure have remained largely unchanged since their inception. However, over the years, numerous new versions and colour variations have graced the market, ensuring the enduring appeal of the Adidas Stan Smith trainers.

If classic minimalism was a sport, this pair of shoes would be the undefeated champion.

Adidas Stan Smith Heel Details

Adidas Originals for the discerning collector

Nothing screams heritage athletic sportswear like the Adidas Originals line. Adidas Originals specialises in sports fashion that pays respect to the fashion trends of the 1940s through the 1990s. The brand exudes a distinctive, nostalgic aura reminiscent of the old-school era and is easily identified by the famous Trefoil logo, which looks like a plant with three intertwined leaves.

Why every model isn’t a classic

  • If impossible is nothing, then classic is everything. But not everything is a classic.”

By now you realise that this article has drooled over everything Adidas so far, but it's important to acknowledge that not every model that comes off the Adidas sneaker production line is worthy of classic status. Classic trainers are the result of a unique alchemy of factors, and not all designs stand the test of time.

1. Constant evolution: Some say it’s science, others will say it’s art - either way it’s fair to say that sneaker design is an ever-evolving specialty. For every classic design that remains etched into the annals of sneaker hall of fame, there are countless iterations that fade into obscurity. Nothing wrong with that, of course. It means Adidas is pushing the boundaries.

2. Societal trends: The sneaker market is dynamic, one which is heavily influenced by trends, cultural shifts, and consumer preferences. Models that align with the prevailing tastes of their time have a better chance of becoming classics if their fans wear them for many years, while other designs will go as quickly as they came.

3. Limited releases: Limited-edition release trainers often generate hype and get people talking about the brand. While this can be a clever marketing ploy only a very successful few will achieve cult status, the rest forced to go by the wayside and never to be seen again.

All day I dream about suave, stylish trainers

There is a common urban myth perpetuated during chatter about trainers, and that is that the name ‘Adidas’ is in fact an acronym for ‘All day I dream about sports’. Clever as that may be it is, however, false. Nonetheless, I’m convinced that if Adidas was to dream about something, I imagine it would probably be sports. Or maybe trainers. Or maybe style. Or maybe suave. Or maybe a combination of any of the above, because they certainly nail each.

3 classic Adidas sporting moments

While our main focus throughout this article has been the classic appeal of Adidas trainers, we should recognise that these iconic shoes often find their roots in legendary sporting moments.

  1. In 1968 American long jumper Bob Beamon set a world record famously wearing white Adidas shoes with the three stripes as prominent as could be. He jumped so far that he nearly landed outside the end of the sand pit, and it was this world-record jump that was named by Sports Illustrated magazine as one of the greatest sports moments in sports [2].
  2. For sneakerheads Stan Smith is likely most famous for the Adidas trainers that bear his name, but for tennis fans he is recognised for being a former world number one player and two-time major singles champion, having won both the 1971 US Open and 1972 Wimbledon Championships). He was known for his cool, calm and collected nature on the court and it is with little surprise that Adidas identified him as being a suitable ambassador for some classic sneaker offerings.
  3. The high jump technique known as the "Fosbury Flop" revolutionised the track and field event. American athlete Dick Fosbury played a pivotal role in popularising and refining this technique, and when he won a gold medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics he brought the Fosbury Flop into the global spotlight, all the while famously sporting a pair of Adidas shoes in classic white and black. In the years that followed, the Fosbury Flop emerged as the most popular high jump technique, which it maintains to this day.

It’s not about the sport

While many of the iconic shoes we see today are thanks to sports such as tennis and track and field, we all know that competitive sports is not for everyone, all the time.  So if setting world records or winning grand slams aren’t quite on your list of things to do in the upcoming months then fear not, because while Adidas is definitely a sports company at heart it is very much a street and urban design brand in the modern era.

Recycling the past prepares us for today

Modern day society demands modern day corporate awareness, and Adidas have responded to the challenge by making many of today's products out of recycled materials. Accomplishing such a manufacturing challenge represents just one of their solutions to help end plastic waste.

Using recycled materials such as ocean plastics does less harm to the environment, and for the eco-conscious consumer who likes to bike to work or walk to the store Adidas’s commitment to reduce their environmental impact will be well received. This means you can enjoy wearing some Adidas icons without worrying too much about your environmental impact. Now you can be proud of what you stand for, and what you stand in.

Did you know? 96% of all the polyester Adidas uses in their products is now recycled [3].

The future of Adidas classic trainers

"The future's looking good" – a sentiment echoed by those who have witnessed the enduring legacy of Adidas Classic Trainers. These timeless designs have transcended eras and fashion trends, cementing their place in the hearts of sneaker enthusiasts around the world. But what about the path that lies ahead?

No time to rest

If classic trainers are truly timeless designs, there may be an argument that Adidas doesn't need to innovate anything; that they could rest on their laurels and continue to offer the same iconic silhouettes. After all, the allure of classics lies in their ability to remain relevant without drastic change. However, the world of fashion and trainers is ever-evolving, and Adidas recognises the importance of adaptation.

What the crystal ball says

In the coming years, we can expect to see an interesting mix of tradition and innovation from Adidas. Classic designs will persist but will be complimented by subtle enhancements, modern materials, and sustainable production practises.

Influencing the future

Furthermore, you can expect to see the brand's collaborations with contemporary artists, designers, and athletes continue to push the boundaries of creativity. These partnerships will breathe new life into classic models, giving rise to limited-edition releases that captivate collectors and enthusiasts.

The classic sneaker has to be found by future generations, and Adidas will certainly reach out to the people who have major influence over their target audience. 

Classic style, future tech

As technology advances, we may also see innovations in comfort, performance, and customization options within classic sneaker lines. Adidas has a legacy of pioneering athletic footwear technology, and this legacy will likely intersect with their classic offerings, providing wearers with the best of both worlds. 

Who calls a classic a classic

Finally, a reminder that it’s not the Adidas marketing department who coins a pair of trainers a “classic”. Such a title comes from the general public, that being the people that buy them, the people that wear them, the people that love them.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and classics are on the feet of the wearer.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Are Stan Smith trainers for tennis or casual wear?

Although the Adidas Stan Smith collaboration started out specifically for tennis shoes, these days they are considered a pair of classic trainers suitable for street wear. The technology in tennis shoes has moved on. While the Stan Smith’s are simply so nice, the design won’t just “move on”... and nor should it.

Is Adidas making shoes from ocean plastic?

Adidas has announced that, since 2015, it has created more than 30 million pairs of shoes with Parley Ocean Plastic. The company is aiming to help end plastic waste by developing products that either use recycled materials, are made to be remade, or are made with nature. It’s one way Adidas is moving towards being a more sustainable, eco-friendly company.

References

  1. Statista: Sales of the biggest athletic apparel, accessories and footwear companies worldwide in 2022 (https://www.statista.com/statistics/900271/leading-sportswear-and-performance-wear-companies-by-sales-worldwide/)
  2. Sports Illustrated: 76 Great Moments in Sports - Bob Beamon shatters record (https://www.si.com/more-sports/2011/05/02/02-176-great-moments-in-sports#gid=ci0255ca1ff00124a5&pid=bob-beamon-shatters-record)
  3. Adidas: Change Materials - Recycles (https://www.adidas.com/us/sustainability/change-materials/recycled)
Author
Sheena
Sheena
Sheena is a wordsmith turned sneaker addict. Her sneaker fixation intensified as her passion for writing grew. A hands-on mom of two sweet yet spunky kids (plus three dogs and two cats), she finds solitude in leafing through shoe catalogues to find the next "it" sneaker. Scrutinising hugely popular and underrated kicks is her favourite pastime.