Adidas Superstar Vs Stan Smith: The Ultimate Comparison

Have you ever wondered which wins in the adidas Superstar vs. Stan Smith battle?

Despite coming from the same adidas iconic brand, both are low-top sneakers with a few distinctive features and some similarities.

So, which one should you go for?

Knowing about their qualities, such as sizing, type of leather and general design, is key to making your verdict.

We advise you hunt through the following to decide which option is best for you:

  • Design.
  • Tongue.
  • Materials.
  • Midsole.
  • Boost technology.
  • Insoles.
  • Sizing.
  • Versatility. 
  • Waterproofing.
  • Color.

But first, before delving into their similarities and differences, let’s recap on these shoes’ history for a better understanding.


About the Adidas Superstar

The adidas Superstar made its debut in the world of sports as a basketball shoe. In 1969, adidas released this model as a low-top version of the Pro model, a basketball shoe that was popular decades prior.

The Superstar became popular among basketball stars, such as Kareem Abdul, and was nicknamed “shell tops.” It came with rubber shell toes to protect the toes from impacting the hardwood basketball courts.

Through technological advances, adidas soon revolutionized the shoe with protective qualities that would later influence the rise of sneaker culture. By the mid-‘80s, the adidas Superstar found its way to the streets, becoming a signature fashion of many influencers and artists. 


About the Stan Smith

Closeup of white sneakers against a white wall

The adidas Stan Smith debuted in the 1970s as a streamlined, sturdy and performance-focused tennis sneaker.

A couple of decades before, the company marketed this shoe under Robert Haillete’s name, a French tennis star.

When Haillete retired in 1971, Adidas looked for another poster boy, landing on Stanley Roger Smith.

In 1971 and 1972, Smith rocked the tennis world and was considered the best player of his decade, making the shoe even more popular.

In 1978, adidas officially rebranded the shoe as Stan Smith, with Stanley Roger Smith’s portrait, signature and name as a backer for the shoe.

Since then, adidas has re-imagined the Stan Smith in a rainbow of colors and a range of designs. With the flashy collars and simple and sleek design, the Stan Smith shoe sustained immense success both on and off the court.

In 2012, adidas discontinued its market supply.  However, it re-released the Stan Smith in 2014, this time including modern readjustments, such as the Boost technology. There was an immediate impact, as adidas sold 8 million pairs in 2015 alone. By 2016, the company had sold over 40 million pairs of Stan Smiths globally.


Adidas Superstar Vs. Stan Smith: The Differences

So, we now know that both sneakers started as sports shoes. This, combined with their popularity over the years, automatically confirms their durability and safety.

But how else do they differ? And what factors should you focus on when making a buying decision?

Join us as we walk through these main factors…


There isn’t much between the two in terms of design.

Both are low-top sneakers with almost the same appearance. However, a few things distinguish them.

To start, the Stan Smith doesn’t have the iconic three stripes that often come with adidas shoes. Instead, the shoe features three rows of punched perforations. 

The good news is these holes act as ventilation on the shoe, minimizing the Stan Smith’s branding.

Conversely, the adidas Superstar is the epitome of an adidas sneaker with the three stripes. Between the three lines are two rows of punched lines that act as ventilators. So far, this is the most important distinction between the Superstar and the Stan Smith.

The Tongue

In 1988, adidas included Stan Smith’s portrait on the shoe’s tongue, with his mustache standing out the most.

Conversely, the Superstar has the adidas logo embroidered on its tongue. 


At first, adidas released all the Superstar and Stan Smith models in pure leather. Fortunately, for added comfort, the company now makes some Stan Smith models with synthetic leather.

Both shoes have their upper fabrics sewn with visible seams—a stitching detail that forms part of adidas’ branding.  


Both Stan Smith and Adidas Superstar come in rubber midsoles for flexibility, reliability and durability

Engraved on the midsole are the adidas logo and name. However, some of the latest Superstar releases don’t include these, so be sure to check on that when shopping. 

Additionally, Stan Smith shoes come with midsoles that extend to the bottom. This way, the shoes promise extensive cushioning, protection and durability.

Boost Technology

The latest releases of both Stan Smith and Superstar shoes feature adidas’ Boost technology.

In this advancement, the midsole includes closely packed thermoplastic polyurethane cells that expand and enlarge to create air pockets. As such, the Boost technology creates a much higher energy return and minimizes loss of power when making strides.


Both Superstars and Stan Smiths come with comfortable insoles of a variety of shades.

Originally, the Stan Smith featured insoles with a blue logo and the manufacturer’s name at the heel. However, most modern releases miss this quality.

Nevertheless, regular Superstar shoes come with quite thin sock liners while still promising generous cushioning.

On the other hand, the Stan Smith comes with a fuzzy terry sock liner that absorbs sweat and eliminates odor.  


Traditionally, both the Stan Smith and the Superstar ran large, making it a must to size down when buying.

After a series of readjustments, modern Superstar models became snugger, meaning you’ll need to size up. Also, the adidas Superstar is tighter due to the toe cap.

For the Stan Smith, the shoe continues to run large. When purchasing, make sure to size down as much as possible.

For sizing, check out this complete guide on how adidas shoes fit.


Adidas’ Superstar and Stan Smith come with highly flexible outsoles and insoles. 

With this in mind, both models can be used for a variety of situations. Whether you’re playing tennis or just roaming the streets, these shoes are comfortable for everyday use.

Note: We still recommend you go for dedicated tennis shoes, especially if you have wide feet.

Also, you’re limited in terms of color with the Stan Smith, so you’re better off with a colored variant of the Superstar to kick a ball around or to avoid every-day grime.


The original adidas Stan Smith models aren’t waterproof due to the full-grain leather tops.

But, in 2017, adidas released some Stan Smith models with GORE-TEX inner lining, making them waterproof. Look for the GORE-TEX label to confirm this.

Unfortunately, the original adidas Superstar also isn’t waterproof. However, some recent releases, such as the adidas Men’s Golf Superstar, are seam-sealed for optimum water resistance.


The adidas Stan Smith comes in a sleek all-white top with a contrasting green trefoil logo tab at the heel. The original tennis shoe also comes all-white with navy or black trim.

Conversely, the original Adidas Superstar comes in a white leather top and outsoles, with three black side stripes and a black heel logo

However, adidas launched the miAdidas in 2000—a platform that allowed users to customize their pairs for preferred colorways. For example, you could order any of the adidas sneakers with your name and image embroidered on the tongue. 

Adidas discontinued the platform in 2019, aiming at creating a user-intuitive app that perfectly substitutes miAdidas.  


Adidas Superstar Vs. Stan Smith Frequently Asked Questions 

Are Adidas Stan Smith Good for Walking?

Adidas Stan Smiths are good for walking, but only as a casual daily use shoe. If you’re going on a long walk over difficult terrain, go for a dedicated walking shoe. Stan Smiths, while being comfortable, don’t offer as much arch and ankle support as a hiking boot does.

Do Stan Smiths Break In?

Stan Smiths have extremely solid heels, offering little flex, and so don’t break-in. Although they’re still comfortable shoes, if you find the Stan Smiths a bit hard to start with, they’ll stay that way. There’s still plenty of wiggle room to prevent blisters, calluses and toe pain, though.

Are Sam Smith Shoes Worth It?

In our view, Stan Smith shoes are worth it. These iconic shoes feature a classic design that makes them ideal for a wide range of uses. With the correct size, Stan Smiths are comfortable with excellent ventilation for pleasure. And since the durable top withstands scratch, the shoe is worth every dime.

Closeup of white adidas on green grass



 There’s no doubting that the adidas Superstar vs. Stan Smith battle is a close one. Both are low-top, made of leather and with adidas’ signature features.

The best thing to do in deciding is to marry each shoe’s style against your intention for them. Both pairs are ideal for daily casual use while suiting some sports. Even so, consider a dedicated tennis or basketball shoe for optimal stability and performance rather than these all-round options.

No matter your choice, these adidas options will provide comfort and years of durable use, as long as you look after them!


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