If you consider yourself a sneakerhead, we’re almost certain that you know about the adidas Continental 80. Sure, it may not have the same storied history as the adidas Superstar, adidas Stan Smith, or even the adidas Gazelle, but in a short amount of time, the adidas Continental 80 has managed to become a fan favorite in adidas footwear.
Although the adidas Continental 80 was brought back less than two years ago (closer to 1.5 years), the old school/minimal aesthetic model has already earned the right to be labeled as a classic. How did this happen? Where did this model come from? It seems like it came out of nowhere and managed to make an impact right off the gate, right? Today we’re going to go over the history of the adidas Continental 80 and all you need to know about this unique silhouette.
The adidas Continental 80 made its “debut” back in June of 2018. The reason we put debut in parenthesis is because this model actually made its real initial debut way back in the late 1980s when it was simply known as the adidas Continental. When it first dropped, the adidas Continental was heavily influenced by older adidas tennis shoes with an emphasis on minimalism. The Three Stripes felt like “less is more” when it came to this model and were hoping that the simplicity and versatility of the shoe would be a selling point for their consumers. To their surprise, the adidas Continental did not make much of an impact in terms of sales or relevancy. Shortly after its debut, adidas opted to discontinue the model.
Fast-forward to June of 2018 and adidas decided it’d be a good time to bring back their 80’s silhouette and rebrand it as the adidas Continental 80. This time around the tennis shoe from the ’80s was met with rave reviews. Reason being: Timing. The adidas Continental 80 released around the same time as the adidas Yeezy Calabasas Powerphase. Although both models shared many similarities, the adidas Yeezy Calabasas Powerphase was actually a reimagined rendition of the OG adidas Power Phase, not the Continental 80. Being that the adidas Continental 80 looked very much like Kanye’s adidas Yeezy Calabasas Powerphase, many consumers navigated towards the former simply because it was the cheaper option while also being much more accessible.
What really makes the success of the adidas Continental 80 so impressive is the fact that it released around the same time that big, bulky dad-shoe type sneakers were all the rave. Brand’s weren’t really focused on releasing sleek, slim and smooth-looking kicks. The chunky dad shoe trend was in full effect and so was the “bigger is better” mentality. For the adidas Continental 80 to be able to find success during these times just goes to show what kind of an impact the shoe had when it came to placing the focus back on to minimalist sneakers. The adidas Continental 80 is the definition of a trendsetter. When all the sneakers were going right, the Continental 80 opted to go left.
The design of the adidas Continental 80 is the epitome of minimal and versatile footwear. A soft leather upper equipped with details such as the perforated hits on the toebox and side panels. Branding simply consisted of a two-tone stripe going across the side of the shoe underneath a classic Trofoil-branded window right below the lace panels. Inside you will find terry cloth lining while the base of the shoe came equipped with a double cupsole. That’s it. The shoe was so simple and clean that not only sneakerheads were impressed by it, but so was the common man since it was so easy to add to your daily wardrobe.
Over the past year and a half adidas has dropped an endless amount of adidas Continental 80 offerings. From bold neon-colors, to redesigned versions that equipped with velcro straps instead of laces, to new exotic materials used on the uppers, to even being part of collabs with brands such as AriZona Iced Tea! The adidas Continental 80 has been working overtime since it made its return. Although its initial debut (in the 1980s) did not go as planned, the adidas Continental 80 is making the most out of its second chance and we don’t see it slowing down any time soon.