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Hey, we’re all for not messing with the classics. Especially when we’re talking about a sneaker as classic—and successful—as the Stan Smith. For half a century, adidas Originals’ best-selling shoe has remained fundamentally the same: the minimalist shape, the box-fresh white-and-green colour, the three rows of barely-there perforations. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
Right, but counterpoint: there’s actually nothing wrong with making what ain’t broke better. The 8-track worked just fine too, but will you be trading in your smart speaker for one anytime soon? We’d be nowhere without progress, and so, for the 50th anniversary of the Stan Smith, adidas decided it was time for a change. The Three Stripes have overhauled the shoe from the inside, committing to producing it with 100 percent eco-conscious materials as part of their ongoing effort to completely ditch virgin plastic use by 2024. Dubbed Stan Smith, Forever, it’s the most sustainable era of the kick yet. We’d call that an improvement.
To toast this ethical new age of Stan Smiths, adidas is dropping three iterations of the sneaker—all featuring white uppers made of PRIMEGREEN, a recycled performance fabric that contains no virgin plastic, and white recycled rubber outsoles. The first includes a men’s release that stays the truest to the Stan Smiths of yore: crispy and clean with a bit of green. The women’s version, meanwhile, leans decidedly heavier into the environmentalist vibes, boasting markered-on flowers and planet Earth-inspired graphics.
The second iteration sticks with the Earth theme, featuring embossed graphics of our orbicular sphere, gold eyelets, and green heel tabs.
Completing the trifecta is another take on the classic Stan Smith template, this time embroidered in Mother Nature-approved designs. Each pair in the collection comes packaged in the classic adidas Originals blue box, which has already been revamped with over 90 percent recycled paper.
It’s a necessary step forward for adidas and sustainable fashion as a whole. Still, the best thing about these innovative new Stan Smiths? It’s how much they manage to retain their Stan Smith-iness. Though the silhouette is now being employed as “an experimental canvas in adidas’ journey to help End Plastic Waste,” as a press release states, the shoe’s decades-old aesthetic has stayed largely intact: the shape, the colours, those tiny little holes. Basically everything that made it a classic in the first place. The Stan Smith’s timeless, look-good-with-everything design is still there; it’s just been updated with sensible, cause-harm-to-nothing materials. After all, adidas wants to save the oceans, not reinvent the wheel here. Some things are just un-mess-with-able.
The three latest iterations of the Stan Smith silhouette are available at adidas.com/stansmith.