New Adidas Superstars: Has the King of Affordable Gym Footwear Died?

adidas superstar II reviewed

Skinny Yoked has always touted the many benefits of the Adidas Superstar shoe from the Classics collection as the perfect all-around shoe for the gym. They are stylish, understated, classic, durable as hell, moderately flat soled with just a slight heel bias incline, easy for walking in the rain, and most importantly, affordable.

One of the Cheapest Bodybuilding Shoe Options

To summarize, Skinny Yoked loves the Superstars, so much so that the editor has been wearing same model for the last 5 years in varying colors. You can see them in the pictures for our inner chest development post and we mention them as a great option in our how to choose workout clothes guide as well.

However, Adidas has decided to change things, and not for the better. SY is dedicated to providing only quality actionable advice to its readers, and since we’ve recommended these shoes in the past, we feel obliged into what’s going on with the latest iteration.

New Re-design = The Good Bits

Adidas recently updated their Superstar shoes. Anytime you mess with such a staple, such a resounding success, you’re playing a dangerous game because so many people have already developed a deep love for your product. Imagine Porsche stopped making cars that looked like beetles! The world would implode as millions of die hard Porsche enthusiasts revolted..

Well, Adidas played it safe with their Superstar redesign. They kept all the iconic bits, the durable toe cap, the clean three stripe branding, and black on black color options. The new Superstar Foundation series as they’re known, stylistically speaking, looked good. Conservative was the right choice. Good job Adidas.

New Redesign Pt. II: The Not So Good Bits

While the casual observer might not notice a difference between the current model Superstars and the last model, an enthusiast would, and we will list them for you here.

1. Black Tongue Logo Instead of White (on black) or Gold on White

The old version had a white adidas logo stamped on the tongue. The new version has a gloss black logo on the tongue. Personally, we thought the white logo just “popped” a little more, especially from the front view, but the gloss black was kind of gangster, so whatever.

It’s also worth noting that the white versions of the shoe got a gold logo on the tongue.. it looks absolutely awesome! Also, the black women’s Superstars also go the gold tongue treatment. Why not bring it to the black men’s Superstars? We likey.. a lot..

2. Updated Sizing: Congrats on your “Bigger” Feet

What was a 11 in the last model is now a 12. Guessing they upped everything by a number.. not sure why. Wore old version to the store, tried same size, clearly much smaller, upped a size and they fit perfectly and when held up to the old version were the same size. Maybe they did this to make guys feel better? “Oh, my feet grew, they’re enormous.. I’m enormous..”  

3. New Toe Cap Design?

Not positive about this one, but the new toe caps seem to be thinner, or the little hash marks are just not as textured? The toe caps definitely look a little different, however if there is a change it is quite subtle and not something we can complain about. As long as the toe caps remain rubber and textured we’re happy.

4.  New (Slightly Excessive?) Branding

Subtle Superstar branding has been stamped onto the side of the shoe. This is pretty cool, as they decided not to color the stamp with ink. IF they had then everyone would notice a very brash “Superstar” text on the side of the shoe. Instead they simply impressed upon the shoe the name, probably because a lot of people weren’t aware what “those classic Adidas” were actually called.

Logical branding move, we have no complaints, although the last version without text could be argued to be a little “cleaner” without the branding.

5. Thinner Laces, Same Tongue Holder Though= Problems Begin

The old version had thicker laces. The new Superstars have thinner laces, probably because the product designer thought it looked better, and we admit, it does.. chunky laces are falling out of favor. However, if you change your lace width you should then also change the width of the little tongue-place holder in the middle of the tongue.

adidas superstar quality

This piece helps keep the tongue centered when the wearer is walking about and should reflect the width of the lace being thread through it.

The new superstars seem to have shrunk the lace width but kept the tongue holder large, which means it doesn’t stay centered and the tongue slides off to the side of the shoe quite easily.. making for a sub-optimal fit and a very sub-optimal look. It seems perhaps the designers and engineers should work together a little more closely..

6. Different Ink/Paint on the Inside Sole of the Shoe, Wears Off Quick & Inconsistently

They either changed the chemical composition of the paint used to stamp their logo on the inside of the sole or they are just using less, or both. Naturally the logo on the inside of the shoe isn’t really important, it looks nice and makes you feel “fresh” when you slip them on for the first couple weeks, but it eventually fades off.

superstar II review

You’ll be lucky to get a weeks worth of wear before the paint may wear off on the new iteration of the Superstars. You can see in the picture below, a pair of shoes bought, naturally, at the same time, with the left’s ink almost unreadable and the rights perfectly fine.

Again, this is purely aesthetic, it doesn’t hurt performance, but it does make you scratch your head and wonder why your right shoe still looks new inside and your left doesn’t.. were these made in different factories? Did the painter just have a “thing” for right feet?

Not a biggie, but I want consistency in my shoes, especially between a pair.

7. Toe Cap Separation: Complete Self Destruction

The above cosmetics aside, what really motivated the writing of this article was the complete separation of the toe cap section of the shoe from the leather body of the shoe within weeks of purchasing them.

You can see in the pictures below how the seem where the leather/synthetic is connected to the signature toe cap section has just separated. This is a huge problem. Previous Superstars were loved because, this author will be the first to say, they would last YEARS.

adidas toe cap quality

adidas quality problems

In fact, since returning the shoes in the photos above, I’ve begun wearing an old pair of Superstars that are over 2 years old, and while the sole is wearing away, the toe cap is STILL connected to the shoe body.

A Fluke or a Serious Problem?

Given the consistency in quality over the previous 4 pairs of Superstars this authors initial gut assessment was this must have been a super odd day where the stars aligned and one pair of poorly constructed shoes escaped the Adidas factory.

Unfortunately after returning the shoes to the Adidas store it was acknowledged that other people had been returning shoes lately as well. What became a minor irritation began to grow into a more uneasy feeling of being cheated.

Since this model is new, and probably only been in stores for a few months, there wasn’t much returned when doing a regular Google search for quality issues. Also, since the name remained the same, it will be hard sorting out complaints for this new model amongst all the glowing review of the tank-like models of years past.

The best place for fresh reviews of pretty much any new product however is Amazon. Sure enough, searching out our beloved Superstars we’re quick to see similar issues being reported by the most recent reviews.

superstar reviews

While the overall score of the product remains high, fairly so given how awesome the model has been over the years, you can scroll down and see the most recent reviews are trending to be quite negative with people pointing to the exact same quality issue with toe cap separation as experienced by this author.

adidassuperstarfoundationreview

The World Hasn’t Ended Yet

It would be a crime to hate on a person or company that provided excellent quality and service for 4 years straight and then just made a mistake. Sure, it’s quite frustrating to go spend your hard earned money on something that falls apart in a couple weeks, and if Adidas internal marketing team is worth their salt they’ll have picked up on this issue already, hell, maybe a redesign with better quality is already in the works (fingers crossed).

After noticing both shoes falling apart we returned our pair to the Adidas brand store at which they were purchased in Taipei City. The clerk said they would mail them to the local branch company to be evaluated. That was 1 week ago and 1 day. The local branch in Taiwan has yet to reply, which is odd, because if you know anything about Taiwan you’ll know it’s an absolutely tiny island where anything can be mailed/shipped in just a day or two.

This author also contacted the Adidas global support center. They were relatively prompt in their replies but used only generic templates, which is kind of frustrating and usually indicative of a company that’s outsourced its customer service. Regardless, they did reply and offered a refund if I mailed my shoes to their American headquarters. This doesn’t do me much good, as the shipping cost to mail the shoes from Taiwan to America would probably exceed the value of the shoes themselves.

The poor quality and illogical global customer service was a real turnoff. There are obviously very serious quality control issues at the Superstar plants, and given how popular this shoe is, I wouldn’t be surprised if Adidas issued a recall.. that or their reputation will suffer greatly.

All hopes now remain on the Taiwan branch office. Hopefully they process the defect in a constructive way and things are resolved. If not, it may be time to say goodbye to Adidas footwear altogether, although that would be, in all sincerity, a very tearful event.

Advice to Potential Adidas Shoppers

If you’re looking for a great pair of shoes, try shopping around for the LAST version of the Superstar. You’ll know it’s good quality if it has a white stamp on the tongue and has no text stamped on the side. Do buy those shoes, they’ll last you at least two years and make you look awesome the whole time.

Do NOT however buy the new version with the all black tongue and the “Superstar” text stamped on the side, they are utter crap. Below are pictures of both the old version (excellent!) and the new version (sh*t).

Old (Good) Version

old superstars

New (Bad) Version

new superstar

Holding on to Hope

Adidas, if you’re reading this, you’re a go-to brand for many athletes around the world. As your focus groups have probably indicated, quality is a top concern, probably equal to style. If you cut on quality, or just don’t maintain minimum expectations set by previously great products, you’re doing a disservice to your brand. We all really hope the Superstar can continue to live on as one of the all-time best choices for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts alike.

Adidas Superstar II Review
  • Handsome? - 100
  • Quality materials used? - 90
  • Build Quality? - 30
  • Good for use in the gym because of flat sole? - 90
  • Good for cardio? - 15
65

Summary

The old Adidas Superstar’s were the best shoes we’ve ever had. We loved them so much we bought the same model for 4 years straight. Unfortunately because of some quality issues like the toe cap separating with our new pair, we can’t say we have the same love for the Superstar 2’s. Adidas, bring back the quality of the last version!

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