New trends come and go, but this low profile trainer never really left. 

The sneaker market has something for everyone, with tech-focused styles dominating in recent years. However, a stripped-back classic has gained momentum between New Balance, Jordans, and Nike Air Max. From LA ‘it girls’ to the carpets of British boozers, the adidas Gazelle is back and better than ever, with Kendall Jenner just one of its many fans. 

With the style receiving a big PR push and the hashtag ‘#adidasgazelleindoor’ attracting over six million views on TikTok, Gazelle shoes attract attention from celebs and fashion-focused Gen-Zers alike. Thanks in part to a slew of playful alterations to the style and some high-profile collaborations, such as the Gucci Gazelle, the humble low-profile trainer has been thrust to the attention of style-savvy consumers. But just where did the Gazelle’s appreciation begin? 

An All-Rounder

The popular adidas silhouette was released in 1968, paving the way for sneaker manufacturers to incorporate bright colours into their palettes. Largely constructed from suede, or Kangaroo velour, as per its initial construction, the supple material allowed the shoe to be dyed in a wider range of colours than the leather commonly used at the time. 

Unlike the football-focused adidas Samba, the Gazelle’s sporting foundations are harder to trace. What people do know is that the training shoe’s technical ability made it the perfect sports sneaker for the time, being lightweight, durable and flexible. 

While the shoe’s sporting capabilities contributed to its early success, the adidas Gazelle is popular because of its subcultural presence which elevated it from sportswear to streetwear and beyond.

According to Complex, as hip-hop made its way across the Atlantic and into UK record stores, British listeners began incorporating the genre’s distinctive look into their wardrobes. However, one component, the adidas Superstar, was virtually impossible to get hold of in the UK due to basketball’s minimal appeal at the time. Later in the ’90s, a re-release would change this, allowing consumers to pair their baggy jeans with another iconic Three Stripes silhouette. Still, UK fans wore the Gazelle in the meantime, making it the go-to sneaker for European hip-hop heads in the ‘80s. 

Popular Culture And Beyond

Before bloke-core, there was Britpop, and before that, there was the terrace culture that inspired it. Straight-leg Stone Island denim, Sergio Tacchini track-tops, zipped all the way, layered with an iridescent CP Company jacket, and on foot – the adidas Gazelle. 

This was the uniform found in pubs and stadiums across Europe. Each subculture had a sound, and just like Punk had the Sex Pistols, Mods had The Jam, and the free party scene had imported techno and acid house from Chicago and Detroit, the ‘90s casuals had Britpop as their soundtrack. From Damon Albarn to Oasis and supermodel Kate Moss, the Gazelle was the easy-to-wear icon that dominated the guitar sounds of the era. 

Speaking to Complex, Gary Aspden, a brand consultant known for his work with adidas, acknowledges the impact Britpop made the Gazelle popular whilst pointing to the sneaker’s earlier appeal. “I love those images of Mick [Jagger] and Keith [Richards] from the Rolling Stones wearing Gazelles in the early ‘70s. Another image is Michael Jackson with his Afro and Gazelles in the Jackson 5 days.” 

Don’t Call It A Comeback

With adidas shoes a staple in the off-duty model look, the legendary Three Stripes silhouette has been the feature of two Harry Styles-approved collaborations with Italian luxury fashion giant Gucci, cementing the trainer’s place in fashion-forward wardrobes for years to come. Elegantly punctuating the Gazelle indoor’s timeless appeal with embossed ‘GG’ motifs, the adidas icon’s soft suede gently envelopes the toe box and lacing system, complemented by leather branding to the heel. Whether worn with t-shirts and hoodies or tailored outerwear, adidas Gazelle trainers are the perfect complement to your outfit ensembles.

Earlier this year, adidas fans were told to “look out for the Samba, look for the Gazelle, and ironically also the Spezial” by CEO Bjørn Gulden as part of the brand’s focus on heritage styles such as the Stan Smith and Superstar models. With new collabs on the way and fresh takes on the style, including the Gazelle Bold, this well-loved sneaker is here to stay.

From handball to hip-hop, the adidas Gazelle is popular because it has reached a universal appeal through its low profile and wearability. Weaving between sports and subculture, with a luxury Gucci collaboration adding to its fashionable appeal, the Gazelle is the Brad Pitt-approved retro trainer here to stay.