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The History of RUN DMC & adidas

run dmc talking into the microphone

Today, it is common for rappers, and musicians of all kinds, to collaborate with sneaker brands. Some of the most coveted styles in the shoe world, are endorsed by influencers outside of sports. You can make the argument that this all started with adidas & Run-D.M.C.

RUN DMC & the adidas Superstar

RUN DMC is one of the most important musical groups of all time. They changed music and helped to elevate hip hop to mainstream success. The rap trio was from Queens, New York City. Their hometown was a major part of their fashion. RUN DMC was able to successfully take a specific street style and bring it to the mainstream.

The group wore black Lee jeans, Cazal glasses, and gold rope chains. It was a look that was cultivated by east coast hustlers, specifically in New York City. RUN DMC topped of the look with the adidas Superstar on their feet.

The most interesting thing about the RUN DMC and adidas partnership is how organic it was. It feels like we are constantly being marketed to on social media today. Celebrities and influencers are consistently sharing their favorite brands and products with their followers. It is hard to decipher if a celebrity loves a product or if they are just pushing it for financial gain. The love RUN DMC had for adidas was authentic and started out with no promises of money.

run dmc and the adidas superstar

My Adidas

The RUN DMC crew grew up wearing adidas. It was their favorite brand. They did not sign an endorsement deal, and then all the sudden fall in love with the three stripes. The group wore the adidas Superstar religiously and genuinely.

“My Adidas” was released on May 29, 1986. The song was created by RUN DMC as a love letter to adidas. The track was a part of the group’s Raising Hell LP. It shined a light on the company to a wide audience and gave the German company urban credibility. My Adidas would lead to a partnership with adidas that resulted in footwear and apparel.

The iconic hip hop trio wore the adidas Superstar with the laces removed. This was a touch that people everywhere started to emulate. It gave new life to the adidas Superstar, which was originally produced as a basketball sneaker in 1970. RUN DMC helped to take them from athletic gear to streetwear. The leather upper, with the prominent 3 Stripes on the side, and the iconic rubber shell toe, all make the Superstar one of the most uniquely designed sneakers of all time.

run dmc in red clothes

Lasting Impact

RUN DMC are considered icons in the world of hip hop and music. Their connection to the adidas Superstar has allowed them to also leave their mark on the fashion industry. The idea of utilizing talent, outside of sports, to promote a brand, is commonplace today. But you can easily make the case that RUN DMC & adidas paved the way for the sponsorships and partnerships we see today.

run dmc in black and white

More About RUN DMC

  • 1981 - RUN-DMC is founded by Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell
  • 1983 - Run DMC hit the scene with their debut 12-inch single for “It’s Like That,” with “Sucker MCs” as the B-side.
  • 1984 - Run DMC was the first Rap group to have an album certified Gold with their self-titled album in 1984.
  • 1984 - Run DMC was the first Rap act to appear on MTV, with the video for “Rock Box.”
  • 1985 - “King of Rock” is released and certified Gold. By early 1997 it has been certified Platinum.
  • 2009 - Run DMC was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 24th annual dinner.

More About adidas:

The adidas brand has a long history and connection with sport. Its relationship with athletes and the field of play has always been in congruence with its sneaker culture prominence. adidas is known worldwide as The Three Stripes Brand. The German sportswear company was founded in 1949 by Adolf “Adi” Dassler. It started out rooted in track and football. It has become a global player in the sneaker industry over the past 70 years.

You can find adidas products at Shoe Palace.


- Adam C. Better

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