The Adidas Gazelle, supposedly named after Adidas-sponsored US sprinter Wilma Rudolph who earned the nickname "The Black Gazelle" at the 1960 Olympics, weren't originally known for their variety of colorways. At first, the Gazelle was a training shoe, and it only came in red or blue. The red edition was meant for handball, so the story goes, while the blue was designed for harder training sessions. What made them unique was the shoe's use of suede, a first for Adidas.
Suede isn't so groundbreaking now, but at the time it was a novel competitor to leather, which was stiffer, less supple, and required more aggressive breaking in. It was just a bonus that suede was easier to dye, which helped Adidas turn the Gazelle into a bonafide fashion shoe worn by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in the '70s, Kate Moss and Oasis in the '90s and an entire generation of Brits in-between.
Now, Gazelles have become the cornerstone of "Blokecore," a recent TikTok trend defined by soccer jerseys, baggy blue jeans and basic trainers — like Adidas Gazelles. The ensembles become a quasi uniform for American soccer and fashion fans. "Blokecore isn’t all about the clobber," Vice's Rhys Thomas writes, employing English slang for clothing and accessories. "On TikTok, you’ll also see videos of pints being sunk and slideshows of kebab shops and curry takeaways accompanied by music by bands like The Jam and The Stone Roses, or occasional bangers from The Streets, Orbital and Underworld. It’s a weird melding of working class, lad and more general British culture."
The surging trend has washed the Gazelle ashore. They've never gone away, of course, but they've also never been more popular, I'd argue. That's thanks to blokes on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, yes — like Harry Styles, who's a huge fan of the shoe — but also Italian fashion brand Gucci, which has been teasing its own collaborative collection with Adidas for months now.
It will finally release on July 28th, but only on Gucci's official webstore and through Adidas' clunky Confirmed App. It'll feature eight pairs of custom Gazelles, which will retail for a steep $850 each, a full $750, sometimes $775 more than you'll find standard Gazelles selling for.
Are they worth it? No, unless you really need the Gucci logo on the sometimes-gum outsole. The colorways are excellent, though, and pay homage to the shoe's roots. Most use suede for their uppers, while others employ silk, velvet or Demetra, a Gucci-designed animal-free fabric that tans like leather.
Gucci Gazelles will be easy to spot not only because there's a bold Gucci logo on them but also because they boast color combinations we've never seen before. Until now, I don't think we've ever seen a pink, green, black and gum pair; or a sky blue, yellow, red and gum version; or one covered in an all-over Gucci "G" print.
The loudest of the eight pairs set to release in July is probably the red, orange, yellow, pink, teal and white pair, but the best is the simplest: a dark green suede pair with a gum sole and a gold foil logo. This one comes closest to general release Gazelles, or Spezials (another handball shoe), which are often one color with contrasting stripes, heel and outsole. These, though, are usually only $100 — even less if you buy a slightly broken-in pair off GOAT or Grailed. If you want a limited-edition iteration but don't want to drop $850 for one of Gucci's grail-worthy Gazelles, go this route. It's the easiest way to find colorways most folks don't have.
And you'll want to stand out, because the humble Gazelle is finally getting its due. It's hereby the sneaker of Summer 2022.
Good Old Gazelles