adidas / September 2023

We Gave the World a Gazelle: A Sneaker Icon with a Timeless History

From its humble beginnings in 1966 to its status as a fashion staple today, the adidas Originals Gazelle shoe has stood the test of time as one of the most beloved training and leisure silhouettes ever created. With its timeless design and versatile appeal, the Gazelle shoe has captured the hearts of communities worldwide - from athletes to sneakerheads alike.

Humble Beginnings:

The Gazelle made its debut in two versions: the red variant, featuring a transparent herringbone sole designed specifically for indoor sports, and the blue version, boasting a microcellular rubber outsole targeted as a training shoe. Both models shared a common high-quality suede upper, lending an elevated appeal to their athletic functionality.

However, the Gazelle's history goes back even further. Its predecessor, the "Olympiade" model from the early 1960s, laid the foundation for the Gazelle's success. The oldest known Gazelle, a red 1965 prototype, showcased the shoe's early design elements and set the stage for what was to come.


From Prototype to Prop:

As the Gazelle gained popularity, it became the go-to training shoe and a prop in countless 1960s-70s apparel photo shoots. Its presence was essential in the team kits of professional athletes during that era. The Gazelle shoe's versatility also led to its use as a base for prototype experimentation. Samples featuring zip fasteners and turning circle sole inlays demonstrated the shoe's adaptability and willingness to push boundaries.


Over the years, the Gazelle shoe underwent several evolutions, with updates to the sole profile, tongue, and heel support. One of the most significant advancements came in 1971 with the introduction of the "hexagon" outsole, revolutionizing the shoe's traction and performance and surpassing the technical development of other 70s shoes.


Gazelle Goes Global:

The Gazelle's popularity spread worldwide, resulting in unique versions for specific markets and communities. In France, it was known as the "Chamois" (blue) and "Rubis" (red) until the early 1980s. In Japan, the shoe was rebranded as the "adidas 300" during the 1980s. Various adaptations catered to different markets, showcasing the Gazelle's global appeal.

The Comeback Kicks:

While the Gazelle shoe experienced a temporary hiatus from most markets, it made a triumphant return in the mid-1980s. The relaunch brought forth a range of new colorways, catering to fashion-conscious consumers seeking a casual yet trendy sneaker option. An intriguing variation from this era was the "Gazelle Super," manufactured in Yugoslavia, featuring a distinctive logo inlay and a unique heel tab design.



Community Icons:

In the 1990s, the Gazelle reached new heights of popularity as a lifestyle sneaker, embraced by the likes of rock stars and supermodels. The range expanded to include baby versions, sandals named "Beach-Gazelle," and even models made from recycled materials, reflecting the growing consciousness toward sustainable fashion.

Originals Made:

The launch of Originals in 2001 paved the way for an old school Gazelle comeback after its longest production break. The Gazelle Vintage, inspired by the 1960s aesthetic, marked the revival. Subsequent iterations, such as the Gazelle 2 and Gazelle Skateboarding, catered to specific subcultures and collaborations with renowned designers and artists have continued to showcase the shoe's adaptability and relevance.



History Continues:

The adidas Originals Gazelle shoe remains an iconic sneaker silhouette, cherished for its timeless design, comfort, and versatility. As we look ahead, we eagerly anticipate the next chapter in the Gazelle's storied history, confident that it will continue to capture the hearts and soles of the Originals community for generations to come.

adidas / September 2023