Basketball's First Premium Sneaker: The adidas Forum


The adidas Forum has a long history dating all the way back to the early 1980s. While the shoe has regained its popularity today, thanks, in part to the resurgence of vintage basketball shoes, it had to come a long way to get to where it is. 

The design of the shoe began in 1983 with French designer Jacques Chassaing who had worked on previous adidas models such as the ZX running line. Chassaing would set on a mission to create the best possible basketball shoe and in order to do so, he had to go directly to the source.



Speaking to players and coaches alike, Chassaing would ask what main features they were looking for in a top of the line basketball shoe. Ultimately, the French designer would realize his main focus would have to be on the heel of the shoe. Inspired by the way physiotherapists would use elastic bands to provide support for the heel, the Criss-Cross Ankle system would be created and applied to the Forum to allow for more stability in the heel. Not only was this new and innovative technology, but the criss-cross design and the addition of a removable ankle strap on the shoe would add a touch of flair not previously seen in other shoes, only adding to their appeal.


The adidas Forum would be released in 1984, one whole year before Nike launched their Nike Dunk campaigns. At the time, the adidas Forum was the most expensive basketball shoe to have ever been released; retailing at a price of $100 (270$ in modern day prices if you take into account inflation). The price tag only made the shoe more popular as it was exactly what it set out to be, a well designed premium basketball shoe. Michael Jordan even wore them during the Olympic USA Basketball trials in 1984 before Jordans had ever existed.



Promoted as the successor to the already popular adidas Top 10, the Forum quickly became adidas' main basketball shoe. As the model maintained its relevance, adidas would release the low and mid top versions of the shoe as well. While the shoe's appeal grew quickly, its popularity subsided over the years.

While many collabs went unnoticed over the years, the adidas Forum would be relaunched as an adidas Original in 2020 and would once again see the success it deserved. With the help of retro, OG styles making a resurgence and co-signs from big stars, the Forum would continue to rise, making it's mark on new generations of sneakerheads. 



Stars such as Bad Bunny and Beyoncé's Ivy Park line would jump on board with adidas to collaborate on a Forum collection which would leave a large effect on the shoe. With the shoe now becoming a mainstay of the adidas collection, its comeback story brought interest in not only its collaborative pairs, but also its OG colorways and aesthetics. As the adidas Forum’s resurgence reigned on, the shoe would be used for all types of collaborations. With previously mentioned celebrity collabs such as Bad Bunny’s 3 pack of Forums, Ivy Park’s brand collaboration Forum, and even a collab with the all-time classic film Home Alone.



With its refreshing vintage look and its ability to be altered for all types of collaborations, the adidas Forum looks set to stay this time around. With collaborations selling out & new and old colorways hitting shelves, the Forum is looking like it's back to it's glory days.