Adidas Superstar 82: A Near-Perfect Retro
Price: $140 [Check Bodega for Sales]
The Adidas Superstar 82 does everything you could possibly want a retro to do, it’s nearly perfect in design.
The build quality is not great for a sneaker at this price point, and they are not very comfortable.
|Materials||Leather / Rubber|
|Weight||498 g / 1 lb 1.6 oz|
|Construction||Cemented and Stitched Cap Toe|
|Country of Origin||Indonesia|
A few weeks ago, 100wears took a look at the Adidas Stan Smith 80s. I loved them. It was everything that a retro should be – nothing was left untouched. However, one thing I came across when I was doing the research was that the team which made that sneaker said that that was just the start. In fact, on their next project, they wanted to make something even better.
Instead of just focusing on a time period, they were going to pick a specific year and make a sneaker specific to that exact run.
The year? 1982. The sneaker? The Superstar.
I’m going to be honest with you now – in high school, I wore nothing but Superstars. White with black stripes, white with blue strips, white with green stripes. I remember them vividly. For years I turned my nose up at the recent versions as they just were not as good.
Opening up this par was a nostalgia hit.
I’m going to try and be honest here (and there are complaints) but I am definitely looking at this pair with rose colored glasses. In light of that, are these the shoes to start your Superstar journey? Let’s find out.
We don’t typically cover the unboxing at 100wears, but I just need to include it here. Adidas really went all-out with the Superstar 82 and it starts with the unboxing. Unlike the Stan Smith, which game in a regular old Adidas Originals Box, the Superstar 82 comes in a remade early 1980’s style box.
They even mimicked the old size stickers (which don’t comply with current import law) with a tag about how these are remastered. Adidas doesn’t advertise this box online, so it’s a real treat when you first see it.
As you open the box, you’ll find paper made up of old Adidas advertisements. At first I thought this was a knock-off of the Lost and Found Jordan 1s, but I looked at the build dates and these were made first. Even if they were not released first.
When it comes to the upper of the Adidas Superstar 82, the first thing you’ll notice is that everything has been updated to be more like the originals. The shape, the materials, the design – nothing is the same as it is on a regular shell toe.
The majority of the upper is made with a cream-colored white leather. As of right now, you can’t get an Adidas Superstar 82 in pure white leather, though I’m sure that is coming soon. Accenting that white leather are black panels.
The attention to detail is truly impressive. For example, on the original 1980’s cuts, there was a slight divot in the heel tab to help center it in production, something recreated here. The tongue is that same plastic-covered felt you got back then. Even the rubber shell toe is completely remade with the older pattern.
Adidas even found ways to try and get close as possible when legal regulations wouldn’t let them. Where the original 1982 model said “Made in France” on the tongue, these have “Perfected in France” instead.
Inside, the back of the sneaker is lined in leather, and the front is entirely unlined.
The upper isn’t all good, though. There wasn’t the same care put into building these as there was in designing them. Stitching can be a bit wonky, with loose threads in several places out of the box. There is also extra glue everywhere. Pretty much every panel has it.
Mid- and Outsole
When building the Adidas Superstar 82, Adidas again went all out. They created entirely new tooling for the cup sole, even though the differences are incredibly minor. Nobody but the owner will see it.
Compared to a standard model, it is sightly taller in the heel and slightly shorter near the ball of the foot. The good news is that, unlike its counterpart in the Stan Smith 80s, this is still thick. Should be plenty durable.
Underneath, that classic herringbone pattern should provide plenty of grip. Though, I’m not sure anyone has played basketball in Superstars since Regan was president.
It might just be the nostalgia hitting, but I love this sneaker. From the unboxing experience, to the details Adidas put in, the Superstar 82 does everything you could possibly ask of it. I do wish that Adidas had put a bit better quality control in making these – they are a premium line – but that could just be this particular pair.
As for styling them, the key is to dress casual. You can’t dress them up like minimalist white sneakers, but they are too formal for joggers. I think a pair of jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt is perfect.
Of course, you can take them to the colosseum, gravel, dirt road, or street. Personally, for these black and white, white with black stripes? They’re the ones I like to wear when I rock the mic.
Fit & Comfort
The Adidas Superstar 82 is built on Adidas’ new retro last. That means it likely doesn’t fit like any other Adidas sneaker you own. Where most of their leather sneakers, including the normal shell toes, are sausage shaped, this last is anatomical.
In other words, the ball of the foot is wider and the heel is more narrow. For most people, this should provide more of a 1 to 1 fit. However, there will be a few people who simply don’t fit this last at all. If this is your first purchase of Adidas’ new retro line, be sure to buy from some place you can either try it on or return it.
The sneaker also runs slightly smaller overall. You’ll probably want to go with your typical Adidas leather sneaker size, but if you’re in between sizes I’d definitely go with the larger of the two.
For a list of sizing for all shoes reviewed on this site, click here.
Adidas went out of their way to make the Superstar 82 as close as possible to the 1980’s release. In other words, these feel like shoes from 40 years ago. Though, considering they came out nearly 60 years ago, maybe that’s a good thing?
Cushioning isn’t the best – with only a small bit of encased foam – and neither is flexibility. There are worse feeling sneakers out there, but if you’re really planning on putting in the miles, these are probably not the ones to pick.
On the plus side, the feel like a quality product on your feet.
Materials & Construction
One of the major differences between the Adidas Superstar 82 and its normal counterpart is the materials. And this is a big one. Pretty much everything on the sneaker has been upgraded compared to what you get on a normal Superstar.
The white leather is really nice. The only major difference between this and the more expensive minimalist white sneakers like Koio or Common Projects is the inconsistency in thickness. Is this going to have better materials than something from Helm at the same price point? No, but it’s still a significant upgrade.
Unfortunately, the black panels are a faux-leather on this pair. That isn’t ideal, but is to be expected from Adidas.
As mentioned above, the lining is real leather, and surprisingly nice. I’ve had worse lining leather on multi-hundred-dollar dress shoes. Behind that lining leather is a bit of padding around the collar.
Underfoot, a faux-suede layer covers an open cell insole. That unit is set on top of a wedge of foam. Adidas doesn’t ever say what type of foam they use, though it feels like a PU.
Holding that foam wedge in place is a rubber cup sole – mated to a rubber toe cap. While not the thickest outsole Adidas has ever put on a Superstar, it should be plenty durable.
The Adidas Superstar 82 uses a cemented and cup-sole stitched construction. What that means is the upper is made and then glued to the cup sole. The upper edge of the cup sole is then sewn through the upper.
This style of construction is an older sneaker style, and has been used for more than half a century. Its benefits are the durability – even if the glue flails, the stitching will keep everything together. On the other hand, it isn’t as flexible as more modern sneakers, and costs more to make.
The Adidas Superstar 82 is priced at $140, or a $40 premium over the standard Superstar. However, in reality, the gap is going to be larger. Where the regular superstar can be found at outlets or during one of Adidas’ inevitable 30% off sales, the Superstar 82 is excluded from all promotions. Or, at least it is for now.
Are the Adidas Superstar 82 Worth It?
For years, we’ve all been angry at Nike for dangling close-but-not-quite-there retros. Even when they outright say they are going to remaster something they don’t quite do it well. Maybe they use faux-aging, maybe they use a modern shape, maybe they don’t give you an OG colorway. No matter what, it isn’t what you really want.
Adidas is not playing those games with their current retros. The Superstar 82, and the Stan Smith before it, are exactly what we’ve been asking for. Completely reworking the shape and panels, high quality materials – even details like the box. You literally can’t ask for more.
I get it, $140 isn’t cheap. Especially when you can get something that looks extremely similar for half that. Though, in this case, the extra money is worth it. It’s art as much as it’s a quality sneaker. Well, other than the glue.
Taking these out of the closet feels special.