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adidas Dragon is an unknown classic

June 2, 2021 4:30 PM
adidas Dragon is an unknown classic

When you - and we - think of the early classic adidas sneakers, the Samba, the Campus or maybe the Gazelle or Stan Smith immediately come to mind. But even though the adidas Dragon is often confused with the Samba, it has a history all its own.

Dating back to the 70s, the adidas Dragon combines hip-hop style and attitude. It is of course distinguished by the signature stripes that run down each side, with the Dragon combining aspects of the running track and the street. It is slim and uncharacteristically flat, sporty and lightweight.

adidas dragon history

The adidas Dragon in detail

The adidas Dragon was invented and introduced to the public in 1971, shortly before adidas' founder Adi Dassler's death. Originally, this sneaker was also developed for running on the tartan track in Germany, but was intended for the American market. It was one of the brand's first nylon running shoes, along with the Trimm-Master and the SL72. The original version of the sneaker did not have the iconic T-overlay on the toe. This was added later, in 1976, to have a rubber bumper on the toe. This rejuvenated the shoe to the Dragon silhouette and how we know it today.

As mentioned, it is rather an overlooked classic from the adidas repertoire. Perhaps that's because the retro Dragon is flatter and lighter than other shoes the brand is known for. Just look at the adidas Superstar, for example, which has a thicker, more cushioned sole and a heavy upper. But it is precisely because of its lightness and slim shape that this model rivalled the massive sports shoes.

adidas dragon
adidas dragon

There is no doubt that the adidas Dragon is comfortable, but it does not always score well in reviews. This is mainly because of the flat sole, but also because of the material of the shoe, on which the comfort is strongly dependent. The sneaker was available with a suede, smooth leather or canvas upper.

A comfortable insole, padded collar and moisture-wicking mesh lining ensured that the feet of its wearers remained supported and cool. The outsole also had advantages. The flexible rubber gave the shoe good traction.

adidas dragon adidas samba

Spread your wings

In the late 1970s, the Dragon's aesthetic was emulated in several of the brand's major global releases, including several versions of the Sao Paulo. Its striking blue colorway was adopted by a French version of the shoe called the Achille, and in 1982 adidas released a feminine version of the shoe called the Lady Dragon. Absolutely iconic, of course, is the classic three-stripe pattern that adidas has perpetuated on its silhouettes since the company was founded in 1949.

adidas dragon history

It took until the new millennium for the adidas Dragon to spread its wings and gain popularity. The shoe was adopted by reggae artists and representatives of the American rock'n'roll culture of the 1970s, who were attracted to the Dragon's classic shape. After all, it can clearly be called an icon of the 70s and many don't even know that it is the forerunner of the ZX series!

Samba, Samba!

Unfortunately, the adidas Dragon are (currently) no longer available for purchase. But you can visit our sneaker archive via the button and take a closer look at some of the colorways.

You'll probably remember the adidas Samba when you take a quick look at the model. We've picked out a few current colorways for you to shop. This silhouette also has an easy to get hip retro vibe.


adidas Samba Vegan

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Fun Fact

If you pay close attention, you will recognise the adidas Dragon in the music video. Can you see which of the One Direction boys is wearing the sneaker?