So I finally tried the Adidas sneakers everyone is wearing
Are the iconic Stan Smiths worth buying?
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When it comes to classic kicks, few pairs are as revered as the Adidas Stan Smith. The leather shoe is practically Adidas’ mascot, seen virtually everywhere, and fit for just about anyone's style. But are the sneakers comfortable?
I'm a total sneakerhead, but I haven't worn Adidas shoes since my first pair of Ultra Boosts, the snug fitting sock-like running shoe, in 2016. Intrigued by the Stan Smith hype, I purchased a pair in navy. Right out of the box, I wore them everywhere, walking around my home, city, and nearby park to figure out if they’re made for comfort or just pure style.
What are Adidas Stan Smiths?
The minimalist Stan Smith sneaker is one of the most iconic silhouettes Adidas has in its catalog. Introduced in the year 1964 as Adidas’ first tennis shoe, it was also the first athletic footwear to be made entirely of leather. In the ‘60s, the shoe took the name of French tennis player Robert Haillet until his retirement, at which point American tennis player Stan Smith endorsed the shoe—and his name stuck. It’s been a ubiquitous footwear staple ever since, name-dropped in songs by Jay-Z and Raekwon and seen in movies and shows like The Big Sick and The Good Place. The sneaker is also a celebrity favorite, worn by the likes of Barack Obama, Meghan Markle, and Jennifer Garder.
There have been hundreds of versions of the Stan Smith, but the silhouette generally remains the same. In its basic form, the shoe is all-white leather, with white flat laces, and white eyelets. There’s visible stitching on the shoe’s sides, heel, and front of the outsole. The tongue reads “Adidas Stan Smith” above a line-drawn portrait of the tennis player and his signature. The back of the shoe also reads “Stan Smith” below an Adidas logo. Adidas’ classic trio of stripes are replaced by perforated holes, and the only pop of color—which can be green, navy, or black—appears on the tongue and heel foam-padding. It’s a remarkably simple shoe.
Stan Smiths are part of the Adidas Originals line and cost $85. Adidas has made efforts to manufacture the shoe sustainably, with the current version of the shoe is sustainably made, composed of an upper made of polyester and a sole constituted from rubber waste. They’re available in men’s, women’s, infant, and youth sizes.
What I like about Adidas Stan Smiths
The biggest reason why I, and so many others, are attracted to Stan Smiths is their versatility. The sneakers pair well with everything: an Oxford dress shirt and chinos, a T-shirt and jeans, a tank top and short shorts, and so on. The pure whiteness lends a trendy minimalist vibe to most outfits, and the shoes can easily be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion. You’d be hard-pressed to find something that doesn’t go well with Stan Smiths.
Instead of feeling boring and staid, the sneakers' plainness makes them stand out. Sure, the Adidas logo is on the foam padding and Stan Smith’s face is on the tongue, but neither are focal points. The colored accents on the sneaker don’t distract, either, and the three lines of perforated holes instead of Adidas’ usual three-stripe insignia is more subtle than what’s on many of the brand’s sneakers.
When I took my pristine pair of Stan Smiths out of the box, I put them on my feet to walk around my home for a few hours. The upper fit snug, but after roughly two hours of light activity, I was able to break them in. I wear men’s size 11.5 and found that they fit true to size, though I found them more comfortable with the laces loosened and tied without threading them through at the top-most eyelets.
I wore them with socks (bold in new shoes, I know) and noticed as I walked around the city that they got more comfortable with time. The plush tongue and padding near the back of the shoe’s ankle provided extra cushioning for my adventures. Stan Smiths are surprisingly chafe-free for short walks, even when brand-new. This is a relief since these are—polyester or not—leather-like, which can often be stiff and blister-causing. This is fortunately not the case with these sneakers.
What I don’t like about Adidas Stan Smiths
The simplicity of the sneakers is a pro but it’s also a con, in my opinion. The Stan Smith is a barebones shoe that offers no arch support or frills found elsewhere at Adidas. This may be a win for those who are purely looking for a basic shoe and aren't on their feet a lot, but I don’t find the Stan Smith to be a comfortable basic for everyday, all-day wear. I couldn’t stand to wear them after hitting 4,000 steps around the city—my arches were killing me.
The all-white leather is also a risk for those looking to maintain a smart look. The shoe’s soles, upper, laces, and eyelets are easily stained, and I accumulated dirt on mine in no time. Creases quickly became highly visible on my pair, which dampens the sharper appearance. This doesn’t bother me much, as I prefer my white shoes to look lived-in, but if you intend on dressing these up, make sure to watch your step.
Are Adidas Stan Smiths worth it?
The Adidas Stan Smith is one of the most basic casual sneakers on the market, period. The bright white leather and discreet colored accents offer a no-frills look that fits with almost any outfit in your closet. If you’re looking for a white leather sneaker that won’t break the bank, the timeless Stan Smith is a good choice.
But if you’re like me and need some arch support and something that offers functionality, the Adidas Stan Smith is not your shoe. These sneakers are made for short trips and casual outings, and while the shoe’s upper looks sleek, the easy creasing and staining means that if you bought it for its so-fresh-so-clean vibe, you’ll likely have to buy a replacement pair within a few months.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.