The adidas Stan Smith is about as simple and basic as a sneaker can get. The low-top tennis shoe has existed for decades, and spawned many imitators during that time (Common Projects released a nod to the Stan Smith), as well as other products like a line of adidas Stan Smith wristwatches. Even Elton John has his own Stan Smith.
If you're a designer at adidas, such a basic silhouette and what the brand calls an "icon of minimalism," is a blank canvas practically begging to be tinkered with, especially as the shoe was first introduced half a century ago. Lately we've seen drastic flips on the sneaker, like Primeknit and Boost variations. But with the aim of digging a little deeper, we got our Stan Smith expert Tommy to help us with compiling a list of the strangest and most unusual Stan Smith models to date.
adidas Stan Smith Millennium
"This is a lightweight, adidas Running version of the classic Stan Smith, featuring the same three perforated "stripes," but in addition to the adidas EQT logo instead of the adidas Trefoil. In addition, the outsole is much thicker and the tongue is padded, similar to the adidas Stan Smith II. It comes in a white and navy blue color scheme, however the classic white and green version also exists, but is more rare."
adidas Stan Smith Vintage "Smith vs. Nastase"
"The Stan Smith Vintage "Smith vs. Nastase” from 2005 was made to honor the two tennis players Stan Smith and Ilie Nastase and their notorious tennis rivalry. In 1972, Smith won against Nastase in the final of the Wimbledon Championships, which is one of the four Grand Slam tournaments in tennis. On the tongue logos, a different portrait of Stan Smith appears than the one that is normally seen. Additionally, portraits of the two tennis stars are featured on each shoe, while the text on the tongue logo does not read ”Endorsed by Stan Smith” as is custom, but instead ”Chosen by Stan Smith.”
adidas Stan Smith II "Kermit the Frog"
"This is a collectible version of the adidas Stan Smith II, adorned with a large illustration of Kermit the Frog from Sesame Street on the upper. The words “Kermit the Frog” are also printed on each shoes. Finally, a portrait of Kermit has replaced the visage of Stan Smith on the shoe's tongue."
adidas Stan Smith 80s Mid "Star Wars Imperial Guard"
"Made in collaboration with the Star Wars film franchise this all-red mid-top version comes in an Imperial Guard colorway. It was released as part of the '80s collection, and boasts a mixture of red patent leather and nubuck, complete with an Imperial Guard badge on the tongue, in place of Stan."
D-MOP x ACU x adidas Stan Smith 80s
"This collaboration with ACU and D-Mop is a true piece of art. A beautiful pattern featuring flowers and birds is painted in blue on the leather upper. This Stan Smith from 2009 is part of the '80s collection, and does not feature the shoe's typical branding. Instead, Chinese characters are placed below the usual Stan Smith heel insignia."
adidas Stan Smith "American Dad"
"Which Stan Smith is most famous today? The American tennis player and his eponymously named shoe? Maybe. Or the main character of Seth MacFarlane's adult animated series American Dad? You decide. This Stan Smith from 2014 combines two of the most famous Stans: the shoe and the show. Fittingly, the tongue logo includes a sketched logo of Stan Smith the CIA agent in place of the famous tennis player. Moreover, the sole insert shows the same Stan dressed in tennis attire, backed by the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag."
BAIT x adidas Stan Smith Vulc Hemp ”Happy 420”
"This Stan Smith made in collaboration with US retailer BAIT is a skate-ready version with vulcanized detailing, and hidden stash pocket in the tongue. The upper is crafted from natural hemp, which has been heat-pressed with a 420-friendly pattern. Hairy suede appears on the heels, while the heel tabs and tongue labels are branded with pharmacy prescription labels. Released on April 20, 2016 BAIT held a lottery to fairly release the kicks."
adidas Stan Smith ”Cork”
"The Stan Smith ”Cork” is an exclusive version of the classic adidas Stan Smith. Instead of the ordinary design, this shoe features cork-wrapped midsoles, perfect for wine aficionados. Otherwise, the shoe remains faithful to the look of the original Stan Smith. It was a lackluster idea that didn't really come off well."
424 x Mr Completely x adidas Stan Smith ”Crepe Sole”
"This Stan Smith is a 2016 collaboration between adidas, Los Angeles retailer FourTwoFour, and Mr Completely. The ordinary low-top tennis soles have been replaced by high hand-wrapped Malaysian rubber crepe soles. In addition, these shoes have embossed custom-burned 424 (right shoe) and MRC (left shoe) logos on the heel. These super limited Stan Smith were available in only ten pairs per colorway."
adidas Stan Smith ”Bold”
"The Stan Smith ”Bold” has platform outsoles, increasing to about two times the normal height. Otherwise, this Stan Smith is basically the same as the classic Stan Smith. It is mainly designed for women."
adidas Stan Smith "Up-Wedge"
"Surely one of the most obscure Stan Smith drops ever is the "Up-Wedge" version. Essentially a high-heeled take on the original silhouette, this model appeared not long ago in 2014 and was manufactured in Vietnam. A very minor detail, given the fact that this shoe is so eye-catching, is that the Stan Smith branding under the adidas Trefoil heel logo is written in capital letters."
adidas Stan Smith "Velcro" Pack
"This novelty Stan Smith pack comes with a velcro heel patch, in addition to a set of different Trefoil options so you can mix and match. Red, green, yellow and classic white patches were included with each pair, as well as an extra set of laces, for ultimate customization."
BBC x adidas Stan Smith
"Perhaps not as obscure as some on this list, but certainly of note, Pharrell and adidas decorated the Stan Smith with the iconic diamonds and dollar sign print, rendered in pony hair. Paying homage to the OG streetwear label's earlier footwear offerings in collaboration with Reebok, the shoe dropped in two colorways, complete with the BBC moon man on the tongue in place of Stan Smith."
adidas Stan Smith "Slim"
"The 2007 Stan Smith Slim was made in Indonesia. As the name suggest, it's a more slimmed down version of the adidas Stan Smith. The toeboxes of this model is more acutely shaped and the tongue is bare of any branding, which somewhat accentuates the silhouette itself."
Raf Simons x adidas Stan Smith
"We're guessing you've seen Raf Simons' minimalist take on the Stan Smith silhouette, featuring the now-famous perforated "R" detailing. But this is another version that may have flown under your radar. Featuring two forefoot straps and racing stripes down the middle, this particular version definitely hasn't received the same shine as others from the Raf Simons x adidas collaboration like the Ozweego or Trail Response."
Now check out our recap of the best adidas sneakers of 2017 (so far).