adidas Jeans – By Neil Selvey

DISCLAIMER! The pictures in the article have been sourced from a variety of places. I’ve tried to credit the owner of the shoes where I know, but apologies if I have not.


Todays article is about a shoe which features in many peoples top ten lists, either owned or wanted that is. In fact I can’t think of many people who don’t adore this shoe. Like the Gazelle, it’s a relatively simple design, the beauty lies in its shape and colours. The Jeans were designed by Adidas Austria and first released in 1976. The shoes were made of suede in a jeans blue colour hence their name. The design of the upper had already been used by Adidas Austria on a number of shoes including the Rio, Azzurro and Rasant III, all of which had been released the previous year. While these models featured a fairly flat sole, the Jeans were raised on a cushioned midsole more akin to a runner, in fact the sole appears to have been lifted off the 1974 version of the SL 72 jogging shoe.

1 – Azzurro and Rio, which served as an inspiration for the upper of the Jeans.

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2 – Jeans used the same sole unit as the SL 72 and 76 models.

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3 – The original 1976 version of the Jeans, take from an Austrian catalogue. The stripes and heel tab were made of velour.

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4 – Variants in colour exist, this UK catalogue shoes a slightly darker version.

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5 – Often referred to as Jeans Mark II, a new sole was added to the model in 1979 in the UK. The trefoil patterned sole was also used on other models at the time such as the Rom and Vienna, although the heel stabiliser is a new concept. The shoe also has a toe bump for the first time.

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6 – Cord were also released at the same time and were basically a brown variation of Jeans, inspired by cord trousers of course.

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7 – This version from an Austrian catalogue in 1983 sits in between the MK I and II styles. I believe that the MK II version was released in the UK while this version continued to be the choice in continental Europe.

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8 – Many peoples ultimate grail? The Jeans Red from a UK 86 catalogue. No further explanation needed!

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9 – Jeans 2 1987 style with the Adidas logo in an oblong word plate as was the style of the time. Picture taken from the Spezial exhibition.

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10 – The cerise coloured Jeans 2 from the same year. Sometimes an opinion divider, but I would not turn down a pair.

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11 – Jeans 3 made in Yugoslavia. Adidas sadly closed its factory in Klagenfurt Austria in 1990, bringing to a close 22 years of manufacturing and seeing production of Jeans move to Eastern Europe. The 90s production Jeans coming in a darker suede, with ghilly lacing at the top.

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12 – Production of Jeans continues with models made in Croatia (1994), Slovenia (1994) and Poland (1995-96). With thanks to Matt Cooke for this Croatian pair.

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13 – First production of Jeans in Asia. These 1996 Chinese made model in blue with poppy red stripes.

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14 – A rare Chinese made sample in black from 1996, thought never to have been commercially released.

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15 – Another sample from early 2000s. Unreleased Oki Ni collab with a marble effect to the suede.

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16 – The first modern re-issue of Jeans from 2003 and Adidas have done a relatively good job with the quality and shape. Numerous colours have been released since.

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17 – A special mention to the 2007 Flavour of the World Jeans – inspired by wine and in a wine colour they even came with a cork insole.

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18 – These unusual Jeans were part of the Spezial exhibition. In red with teal stripes, according to the owner these may have made with the US market in mind. Another pair has yet to surface to my knowledge.

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19 – The only other variant of the Jeans were actually made in Australia by Pacific Dunlop under licence. The design was thrown on its head by replacing the suede upper with leather! From my collection a pair from 1977.

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20 – Also made in Australia circa 1980 with a trefoil sole and a lighter coloured leather upper.

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Neil Selvey runs a blog dedicated to vintage adidas & Puma, for more articles like this, check it out;

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