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    Let’s dive straight into the intriguing history of the Gazelle. It all starts back in the 60s with a black American runner from Clarksville, Tennessee named Wilma Rudolph. Rudolph’s impressively light-footed pace won her the gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome for the 200 meters. With it she earned the nickname ‘The Black Gazelle’, and rumours say that the adidas Gazelle was named in her honour. Now, this was never officially confirmed but it’s a pretty cool story and one which highlights the Gazelle’s origins on the sports’ track as running shoes. The shoe’s original launch back in the 60s came in two parts. One version was released in red and the other in blue. These colour differences were used to demonstrate each version’s unique purpose. The blue one was made for training sessions, with the kangaroo suede on the upper and micro-grip sole certainly proving itself to be great for working out. The red one, on the other hand, was more geared towards performance in sport. Adidas tested both versions on professional handball players and on the German national football team. So here you can see more clearly the origins of the adidas Gazelle. This model was always intended to be used as performance training shoes. But almost immediately after their launch, they made the crossover as lifestyle shoes and by the mid-seventies everyone wanted to buy a pair. By this point they were more of a fashionable footwear item than trainers for sport. The eighties saw these sneakers break through in the UK and the rest of Europe. They were especially popular on the British dance, music and art scene, and among football fans. And with growing popularity came cool new colors. Materials were upgraded and the shoe came out in children’s junior sizes for boys and girls. With these new infant and toddler models, even a baby could be seen wearing the popular running shoe. Soon, people realised the Gazelle was great to skate in too, and so the classic was quickly adopted by kids on the skateboarding scene. In the early 90s, the sneaker was also incorporated into the important EQT line. Britpop bands such as Oasis started wearing the model. With all this visibility, sale of the Gazelle just kept increasing, no matter the price. With the new century, adidas launched the retro Gazelle Vintage in honour of the original shoes from the 60s. Four decades since its launch, the youth were still captivated by the Gazelle's style. But why is that? It must be down to the design...

    Comparing the Gazelle of the 60s to today’s adidas Gazelle OG, you wouldn’t notice much difference, it’s still mostly the same classic design. Even the foam micro-grip outsole, which still works for indoor use, is basically the same. You notice the white stripes, the panel at the Achilles and the material as well. Back in the 1960s, the Gazelle was the first adidas shoe to have a suede upper. This was perfect for the fit and freedom of movement of the athlete. Still today, the model is primarily sold with a suede upper, although it has also been released with modern knit technology known as Primeknit. Mesh and leather uppers were brought out in the early 21st century. Different fabrics were decorated with a host of different prints. The Floral, with its multicoloured flower print, proved particularly popular with ladies. As for colour in general, this all started in the 70s with the red and blue versions, which was already quite revolutionary. Back then it was unusual to launch new shoes using bright colours, let alone a choice of different colours. But this is exactly what adidas did. You could say the red had offspring decades later in the Maroon and Burgundy, and the blue was followed up with the similar tones of the Bluebird. Adidas went heavy on emphasising the colour differences of the originals to distinguish the models in terms of their separate functions, trainer versus performance footwear. As time passed, the adidas Gazelle turned out to be loved the most as everyday fashion. In the 1980s, it was marketed more as a leisure and training shoe, with additions of colours such as green and lime. Other greenish shades that were added to the colour pallet were the Teal in turquoise, and an olive green version. As popularity grew by the late 80s and early 90s, and the model got some minor material and aesthetic updates, the range of colours expanded too. In the beginning of the 1990s, black was marketed heavily in the classic black and white adidas colourway. From this point on, choice grew exponentially. The shoe saw its classic colours being pushed to the max, leading to the completely white Gazelle, the All White, as well as the All Black. And, the shoe came out in grey too, with the All Grey and the Cork Grey. Bright summer colours were also introduced. We saw the pastel collection of light blue and mint, and the Rose Gold which with its mostly pink upper was similar in tone to the Blush and the Peach, though it has Gazelle printed in gold alongside the three stripes on the side. Models with a slightly more tough summer vibe could be the beige and cream, or nude and khaki. These are shades that gave the Gazelle a nice tan, all leaned towards brown. Maybe the ultimate summer colour is yellow, which looks really flashy and sunny on the trainer. And if you don’t find a colourway of your preference, the adidas mi Gazelle enables you to custom design your own pair for a relatively cheap price. 

    We mentioned some minor updates made to the adidas Gazelle in the late eighties and early nineties. These updates didn’t stop there. There were changes to the fabric and padded sections at the heel, eventually leading to the launch of a separate new model, the Gazelle 2. The II is basically an upgraded version of the classic which didn’t lead to any major aesthetic changes. In other submodels, differences could be spotted much easier. The adidas Gazelle Gum Sole, for example, had brown gum material replacing the original foam sole. Then there’s the Platform, which was given a raised outsole, and the Velcro, where the laces were replaced by velcro straps. To give the shoe a more vintage vibe, adidas added an extra logo next to the laces. The model was called Gazelle Super and made it look a lot like other 80s adidas sneakers. A collection that came a few years after that to give the German company a new lease of life was EQT. In 2019, the bulky adidas EQT Gazelle was celebrated with a special pair that’s very different from the original version. This was a very interesting shoe, because it looked like a high-end model. The shoe was designed by famous fashion designers and was sold among other special limited edition models at the adidas Consortium Gazelle. So, no discount brand. But on the subject of fashion designers, the Gazelle had some impressive collabs with top names in the world of fashion. In 2016 there was a collab with the Chicago-based streetwear fashion label, Saint Alfred. This resulted in a smooth, off-white suede shoe. Another memorable collaboration was one with Danish fashion brand Wood Wood. The black and off-white Gazelle x Wood Wood looked really smooth as well. A major tech-based collab was carried out when the sneaker was equipped with Gore-Tex technology, making the shoe waterproof. This GTX collab resulted in a city pack, existing of shoes that replaced the ‘Gazelle’ label with the names of cities such as Amsterdam, London, Milan and Moscow. With this pack, Gazelle referenced major cities all across the globe, which is quite fitting for a shoe loved the world over. 

    Gazelle OG

    As if the traditional Gazelle models didn’t seem sixties enough already, adidas brought out a version, the adidas Gazelle OG, that really hammers the old school look. Now, this version actually has its origins in 1968, the year it was launched as an indoor football shoe. Diving into the details of the shoe will show exactly how original this model was, and what makes it the incredible vintage sneaker it is now. The remarkable thing about the adidas Originals Gazelle OG is that you immediately notice something unique about it. The trainer has a pointed shape and is a lot slimmer than other Gazelle models. The midsole is also quite narrow, which impacts the fit of the shoe, giving it a lighter feel on the foot. Additionally, the toe box is slightly smaller, the tongue is not as long, and the laces reach further. All that makes the Gazelle OG pretty sleek on the whole. Branding is quite smoothly done as well. On the heel panel, there’s only the Trefoil logo, no ‘adidas’ copy as you might expect, and the name isn’t printed alongside the three stripes. Instead, the shoe is given a horizontal stamp marginally apart from the three stripes. A little detail that makes the shoe look like it’s come straight out of the 60s is the serrated three-stripe and the panel which the laces are pulled through. Combine that with smooth suede and there you have a classic vintage sneaker. It is also available with a leather upper, that looks especially nice in fully black or white. One of the most classic colours available is probably the navy blue. If for some men and women those colours might not be bold enough, don’t worry, the OG also comes in vibrant purple, green and orange. In both men’s or women’s sizes. Not many submodels were made for the adidas Gazelle. The Original was so well put together that there was no need. And this trainer has been alive and well since 1968, as it clearly deserves. In general, the Gazelle OG is pretty light thanks to its slimline design. This makes the shoe appear less chunky than other models and, above all, gives it that incredible retro. For that reason the OG label fits perfectly.

    Rank the Adidas Gazelle

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