Retro sneakers are all the rage the past few years, from performance oriented kicks to casual wear for the modern office. For years, the Adidas Stan Smith has long been my go-to option. Nice leather uppers, enough cushioning to last the day, and seemingly infinite outfit combinations provided by the dead-simple design.
Has the Stan Smith been dethroned from my sneaker kingdom by a challenger from the same creator? Yes, and at a lower price.
Available in cream (shown above), white (very top), and plenty more colorways.
The Adidas Continental 80 broke onto the scene about a year-or-so ago and has only increased in popularity. Retro aesthetics and better-than-expected leather quality make this a stand out and the new king of casual footwear in my closet. Shown here in both bright white and off-white, the monotone colors with just a dash of color from a piece of fabric trim swooping down the side panel give the shoe a bold look.
Surprisingly nice quality leather at this price point. Double side stripe = nice bit of retro punch.
Multiple layers of leather in a cut-and-stitch approach provide visual depth, something that is often lacking in more modern casual sneakers. Interestingly, each pair differed in regards to thickness of cut and touch, and my assumption is that it will vary by color across the board. The off-white pair had a much smoother, softer touch; while the bright white pair had more texture and was of a thicker cut. At first, I leaned toward the off-white pair because of the buttery-smooth appearance. But after trying them with a few outfits, the bright white pair won out.
These possess a classic look and are made with quality materials that felt a bit more substantial than what you’d expect at this price. Off-white may not work with every color of chino, but a bright white certainly does. A French-terry lining coddles the foot, and there is enough cushioning for your average daily use. It isn’t as energetic or comfortable as the Cole Haan Grand Pro I recently reviewed, but if you’re walking a brief distance to the office, around the town for errands, or hitting a pub, you won’t be upset with these on your feet.
Don’t worry, you’ll get two of the same color.
There are a few branding details, but thankfully they’re kept to a minimum. The Adidas “trefoil” logo appears on the heel and tongue, and an Adidas wordmark is nicely placed on the lateral side down the lacing setup. Branding done right. Pricing varies wildly depending upon where and when you purchase. Full retail price is $80. I found the off-white pair for $56 direct from Adidas during a 4th of July 30% off sale. As for the bright white pair? Forty bucks at Pac-Sun during a 50% off sale for the same occasion. Thirteen-year-old me rejoiced at the idea of a purchase at Pac-Sun; current me forgot it existed. Thank you, Google.
Currently, both are full price at their respective retailers, but Amazon has them for a cool twenty bucks off, and codes are always flying around. Even so, I’d buy these at full price, which, coincidentally, is the same as the Stan Smith. They’re that good.
Long live the new king.
About the Author: Jason P. is a Dappered devotee, having curated the majority of his wardrobe through the site. He is an enthusiast of wool sweaters, chino pants, and affordable automatic watches. In his free time, you can find him at his boxing gym or antiquing with his wife.