Grading adidas’ Music Collabs Over The Last Decade

grading-adidas-music-collabs-last-decade-KD

On the heels of Pharrell’s massive Superstar “Supercolor” Collection releasing soon, we grade out adidas’ sneaker collabs with music artists over the last decade.

Roc-a-Fella Records x adidas Superstar 35th Anniversary Music Series #18

Release Year: 2005
Grade: B+

Oh, you thought the Roc was all Reeboks? Nah. Here we have an entry from 2005s 35th anniversary of the adidas Superstar, done up by those Roc Nation boys. That black heel panel and logo gives the otherwise relatively unchanged Superstar a really nice, classic look. These are clean.

Missy Elliott x adidas Superstar 35th Anniversary Music Series #21

Release Year: 2005
Grade: C-

Look, if purple and orange are your jam, we’re sure you’ll love these Missy Elliott-designed Superstars. Us? Not so much.

Ian Brown x adidas Superstar 35th Anniversary Music Series #16

Release Year: 2005
Grade: B

These Superstars, designed by Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown for the silo’s 35th anniversary, are really nice. At first pass, one might overlook them. But what we really like on these is the aged black sole. We’re not always a fan of that vintage look, especially on a black sole. But, matched with the red suede material on the upper, it’s a nice pairing.

Run D.M.C. x adidas Superstar 35th Anniversary Music Series #15

Release Year: 2005
Grade: B+

One of the first opportunities for the masses to grab a pair of Run D.M.C.-branded pair of adidas came in 2005, along with the rest of the music series for the silhouette’s 35th anniversary. How can you go wrong here? Much was unchanged from the iconic original, and that’s the way we like it.

Red Hot Chili Peppers x adidas Superstar 35th Anniversary Music Series #17

Release Year: 2005
Grade: B-

This Red Hot Chili Peppers collab is another really nice one, for those of us who love a good black/red shoe. We appreciate the use of the subtle, pin-striped design on the upper, and you can’t go wrong with that black midsole and clear outsole. That’s a good look.

Underworld x adidas Superstar 35th Anniversary Music Series #19

Release Year: 2005
Grade: B+

Probably our favorite sneaker from 200’s Music Series Superstar Collection were these bangers put together by English electronic group, Underworld. What appears to just be a generally awesome off-white/gumsole adidas Superstar, is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In fact, the whole upper is made of 3M inscribed with song lyrics. These are pretty amazing.

Bad Boy x adidas Superstar 35th Anniversary Music Series #20

Release Year: 2005
Grade: B

We found this 35th anniversary Music Series Superstar interesting because, just looking it over, you wouldn’t assume it was designed by Diddy and Bad Boy Records (outside their logo of course). Nothing about this screams flashy or brash. These are just a relatively well-designed pair of Superstars. We’ll take that any day.

House of Pain x adidas Campus 80s

Release Year: 2009
Grade: B

When you think about House of Pain, no doubt “Jump Around” starts playing in your head. What you might not think about is this fresh “St. Patrick’s Day” collaboration they threw down on with adidas and the good people over at Concepts. We love the green suede and gold details. But the limited number (just 1,500) meant that we missed out on these gems.

Missy Elliott x adidas Fly Hoops Mid

Release Year: 2010
Grade: C-

Missy Elliott did some crazy stuff with adidas back in the day. But most of her designs either didn’t make it out of the sample stages, or weren’t really fit for anyone not hopping up on stage to start rapping. These Fly Hoops Mids were alright though. Look, they’re nothing special, but those black and gold joints aren’t bad.

Snoop Dogg x adidas Originals Freemont Mid

Release Year: 2011
Grade: C-

Snoop Doggy Lion, or whatever you call him nowadays, has slapped his name on so many products that a lot of people forget he actually had sneakers with adidas as well. And though these aren’t awful, you’re not going to remember his foray into footwear with these 2011 clunkers.

Run D.M.C. x adidas Superstar 80s "My adidas"

Release Year: 2011
Grade: A

These “My adidas” Superstar 80s might not be the exact sneakers that Run D.M.C. made so popular back in the day, but we actually like them better. We know: blasphemy. Blaspheming aside, these are our favorite Run D.M.C. x adidas model by a country mile. It ain’t even close.

Big Sean x adidas Pro Model II "Detroit Player"

Release Year: 2012
Grade: A-

Big Sean and adidas got their collaborative relationship off on a good foot in 2012, with this fire all-red Pro Model II. Production numbers have varied since release, but adidas’s Jon Wexler recently tweeted that only 300 were ever made, with only 90 actually hitting retail. Crazy.

Snoop Lion x adidas Originals Pro Shell "Snooperstar"

Release Year: 2012
Grade: B+

Back in his Snoop Lion days (is he still Snoop Lion?), Snoop Dogg teamed up with adidas to give us this clean pair of Pro Shell “Snooperstars.” Awesome name aside, we really like this collab for a few reasons. While the Rasta colors are a little played out, they’re used well here, and the silhouette is awesome too.

Run D.M.C. x Keith Haring x adidas Superstar 80s "Christmas in Hollis"

Release Year: 2013
Grade: B+

Does it get more NY than this? Pairing Run D.M.C. and Keith Haring on this blacked-out little bit of Christmas flyness was a fantastic idea. This pair of black Superstar 80s, from 2013, is awesome. We’re particularly fond of the interior lining here. It adds a nice bit of modernization to an old-school silo.

A$AP Rocky x Jeremy Scott x adidas Originals JS Wings 2.0 "Black Flag"

Release Year: 2013
Grade: B-

This 2013 collabo between the Three Stripes and A$AP Rocky was a surprise for a number of reasons. For one, we’re almost disappointed that the end-product was as muted as it was. Using that murdered-out canvas on Jeremy Scott’s Wings 2.0 silo was a nice choice. But it was unexpected because, as one of the most fashion-conscious rappers in the game, we honestly expected something a little more bold and eye-catching. That said, it was a nice first effort and the adidas x JS x A$AP partnership is one we’re excited about moving forward.

Big Sean x adidas Pro Model II “All-Black”

Release Year: 2013
Grade: B+

Sean’s follow up to the all-red joints came the next year in the form of these clean all-black snakeskin Pro Model IIs. Sometimes, a little subtlety is all you need.

Run D.M.C. x adidas Superstar 80s "Injection"

Release Year: 2013
Grade: B+

While you could argue that slapping the Run D.M.C. logo on a Superstar 80s is getting a bit old, when they’re this fresh, we’re never going to argue. And we love that 2013’s “Injection” model could be worn with no laces (not pictured here of course). These are awesome.

2 Chainz x adidas Top Ten Hi “2 Good to be T.R.U.”

Release Year: 2014
Grade: B

A bit of an unexpected collaboration came last year from the minds at adidas and none other than the artist formerly known as “Titty Boi,” 2 Chainz. We love the Top Ten Hi, and feel like that model for the collab was a great choice. We’re also feeling the modest use of reptile print and gold hardware. Frankly, we were surprised to see such restraint.

Big Sean x adidas Metro Attitude "Floral"

Release Year: 2014
Grade: C

Look, sometimes you’ve gotta mix it up. And, on their third go around, that’s exactly what Big Sean and adidas did last year with these crazy Metro Attitudes. Our homies over at Nice Kicks called them “Less City, More Pretty.” and we’re inclined to agree. Props for choosing an unexpected silo. But honestly, we’re not feeling the floral pattern here too much.

Pharrell x adidas Stan Smith "Polka Dots"

Release Year: 2014
Grade: C

Look, we love Pharrell. Let’s just say that up front. But, when he and adidas dropped this “Polka Dot” Stan Smith pack, all we could muster was ‘meh.’ While they’re not bad, per se, they just belie the design talent behind the collab itself.

Pusha T x adidas Originals EQT Guidance ’93

Release Year: 2014
Grade: A+

Never, in all of our days admiring sneakers, did we ever see something like this coming. A billion dollar sneaker company like adidas endorsing what is essentially a cocaine-themed sneaker? Crazy. And of course, they sold out with the quickness! We’ve always admired King Push’s sneaker game, and now he’s shown he’s a chef in the design lab as well. Can’t wait to see more from this partnership.

Pharrell x adidas Stan Smith "Tennis Pack"

Release Year: 2014
Grade: D+

While we’re kind of feeling the off-white pair, this “Tennis Pack” of adidas Stan Smiths was another let down. This one had us wondering why they needed Pharrell’s name attached to them at all.

Run D.M.C. x adidas Ultrastar 80s

Release Year: 2014
Grade: D

While we’ve been fans of almost everything adidas has done under Run D.M.C.’s brand name, this is the exception. Honestly, it’s a nice shoe. We’re just not feeling the colorways.

Pharrell x adidas Stan Smith "Icons Pack"

Release Year: 2014
Grade: B

Our favorite Pharrell x adidas release to-date was the recent trio of Stan Smiths, dubbed the “Icons Pack.” While the layman might overlook them, a closer inspection reveals some really nice details here. We’re especially fond of the blue pair and the clean Three Stripes/I Am Other design on the heel tab.

Snoop Dogg x adidas Originals Snoop Seely

Release Year: 2014
Grade: B+

Now this is a good collab. While a lot of people might write this one off as basic or unmemorable, we’re feeling the classic simplicity here. Plenty of blue canvas with crispy gold, all on a nice vulc sole, this one just screams west coast. And extra credit for the excellent use of blue paisley on the lining. That’s a nice touch. Can’t believe these are still so widely available.

Rita Ora x adidas Originals "#UNSTOPPABLE Pack"

Release Year: 2014
Grade: B-

Rita Ora’s first collab with the Three Stripes started off on the conservative side with the #Unstoppable Pack. Pairing black, diamond-patterned snakeskin with clear soles and some vibrant yellow trim, was a subtle yet classic way to kick off their partnership. While we might not rock any of these personally, the Flux 2.0s are pretty solid.

Rita Ora x adidas Originals "Colorblock Pack"

Release Year: 2014
Grade: C+

With all the Rita Ora x adidas releases lately, you’d be forgiven if a few slipped by without making a blip on the radar. And this Colorblock Pack is exactly what we’re talking about. Look, they’re not bad. But with so much dope footwear being dropped lately, who is going to remember these even 6 months from now?

Rita Ora x adidas Originals "Roses Pack"

Release Year: 2014
Grade: A-

By far and away, the “Roses Pack” is our favorite Rita Ora x adidas release. This quartet of kicks, including the Superstar 80s, ZX 500 2.0, Tech Super and Extaball silos, actually have us wishing we had smaller feet. Particularly those Superstar 80s though.

Rita Ora x adidas Originals "Pastel Pack"

Release Year: 2014
Grade: B

Alright, so we know the Rita Ora “Pastel Pack” isn’t intended for us. But, no lie, those pink Bankshots and blue Tech Supers are both kinda hot. It’s still a pass on the Honey 2.0. But the rest of the pack is pretty clean. Perfect spring/Easter-time kicks.

Rita Ora x adidas Originals "Spray Pack"

Release Year: 2014
Grade: B

Consisting of the adidas Tech Super, Honey 2.0 and Bankshot 2.0 silhouettes, the Rita Ora-designed “Spray Pack” is pretty smooth. While we’d pass hard on those Honeys, and the Bankshots are alright, those Tech Supers are dope. And, we know we’re just grading the kicks here…but the apparel that came in the “Spray Pack” was excellent too.

Pharrell x adidas Superstar "Bolivian Beads"

Release Year: 2015
Grade: B-

While these “Bolivian Beads” Superstars might not be something we were clamoring to add to our stash, we’re giving these kicks a solid grade for effort. See, when we complained that many of the Pharrell x adidas releases have, thus far, been underwhelming, this is the type of design we expected to see more of. Unfortunately for those interested, this was an NYC-exclusive release…mad limited. Cue the sad trombone.

Rita Ora x adidas Originals "O Ray Pack"

Release Year: 2015
Grade: C+

Real talk: initially, we hated the adidas x Rita Ora “O Ray Pack.” But, the more we look at it, the more we see the wild print and colors working together. That said, they’re still not moving us enough to think about copping.

Rita Ora x adidas Originals "Super Pack"

Release Year: 2015
Grade: B

While we might not be rushing to cop anything from the adidas x Rita Ora “Super Pack,” we’re actually digging the pop/comic book art style. It’s a solid effort. We’re especially fond of the 3M covered Stan Smiths. Those bump this pack up a bit in our eyes.

adidas Yeezy 750 Boost

Release Year: 2015
Grade: A

Certainly one of the most anticipated sneaker releases in history, the adidas Yeezy 750 Boost had the whole world talking. Love it or hate it, Yeezy season is upon us. And while our initial reaction to the shoes was one of mild disappointment, we must admit, they’ve grown on us.

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