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adidas Rivalry Lo 86 returns in original form

February 28, 2023 10:39 AM
adidas Rivalry Lo 86 returns in original form

For the first time since the late 1980s, the adidas Rivalry Lo returns to the market in its original 1986 design.

Back then, it was Jacques Chassaing who designed the low-cut basketball shoe for NBA rookie Patrick Ewing. Ewing had matured into a highly-touted player in the four years prior at Georgetown University, where he won the 1984 American college championship with the Hoyas.

Winning the Olympic gold medal in the same year with the American national basketball team, in which he played together with Michael Jordan and Chris Mullin, among others, as well as the individual award as "National College Player of the Year" in 1985 both also contributed to the fact that the 2.13m tall centre became so interesting for sporting goods manufacturers that adidas finally signed him after his graduation from college in 1985.

Patrick Ewing adidas

In the NBA Draft Lottery, also held for the first time in 1985, the "Hoya Destroya", as Ewing was also called in his college days, was the "Number 1 Draft Pick", i.e. the player selected first by a team. Ewing ended up with one of the most popular NBA franchises of all, the New York Knicks, which turned out to be an absolute stroke of luck for adidas. Now, in one of North America's biggest markets, they had their own top athlete, an upcoming superstar who would make a splash with the Knickerbockers, New York's favourite kid.

The adidas Ewing collection

In 1986, adidas launched the Ewing collection, consisting of the usual basketball apparel and two different sneaker models. One shoe in different colours would be common for a player of his calibre, but two, and one of them as a high and flat version, were rather unusual. This underlined the importance Patrick Ewing had for the brand. With him as a drawing card, they wanted to stand up to Nike with its super talent Michael Jordan.

adidas Ewing Kollektion

The adidas Conductor was the performance shoe in which Patrick Ewing played the majority of his NBA games during his contract years with adidas. The Conductor was a premium basketball high-top that had a higher retail price of $75 than the second model, due to the high-quality adidas technology built into it: The adidas Rivalry!

adidas Rivalry
retaw via Pinterest

Wanting to make the Ewing shoe line available to as many basketball and Knicks fans as possible, adidas developed the Rivalry, a lower-priced shoe with a retail price of $55 in the flat version. It looked quite similar to the Conductor, but it didn't have as much expensive technology that the high performers in the professional leagues around the world needed.

We present: the adidas Rivalry Lo 86

When it was introduced in 1986, the Rivalry was launched in three colorways: White/Royal/Orange, White/Natural and White/Red Pinstripe. The latter two colorways also accompanied the launch of the retro version in December 2022.

In addition, a Shadow Red/Cream White Rivalry Lo 86 is now available in WMNS sizes, as well as a Crew Green/Hazy Yellow and a Wild Brown/Hazy Yellow colorway, in which the three stripes and the mustache on the toebox are made of corduroy. On the white leather upper, the material provides a strong contrast.

The Rivalry initially became a top seller in New York. The reason for this was the blue and orange colour scheme, as these were also the colours of the New York Knicks, the team where Patrick Ewing destroyed every opponent and was named "Rookie of the Year" in his first NBA season.

The adidas Rivalry quickly evolved from a cheaper version of the Conductors to a product where looks and style were not just a by-product, but the main reason to buy the shoe.

Rivalry Adidas grau
adidas Rivalry low 86

adidas Rivalry: a special sneaker returns in its original form

The adidas Rivalry hit the zeitgeist with full force. It was a huge success for the global brand. From then on, it was seen everywhere on the courts, the streets and in the clubs of New York - whether hip hop, punk, hardcore, metal or skateboarding - the adidas Rivalry was at home everywhere.

It shaped the subcultures of an era and is now finally back on the market in its original form - the adidas Rivalry Lo 86.

Rivalry Adidas
adidas basketball rivales low 86