Kiddie fashion is back, y’all. With the pandemic putting a damper on the fashion world, designers and consumers alike have indulged themselves in the weirdest of designs to cope. Next up: animal-themed shoes? Chinese artist Zhang Quan and his brand Melting Sadness have partnered with Adidas to reimagine the sportswear label’s classic Superstar and Pro Model silhouettes.
While the new sneakers kind of look like they belong in the kid’s section, we promise they’re for adults. They actually fit right in with Adidas’ latest whimsical drops, including a Miles Morales "Spider-Man" sneaker and Baby Yoda Superstars. This collab also lines up with the 50th anniversary of the Superstar sneaker, which debuted in late 1969 and has been a staple of sneaker culture ever since.
Funky features — The collection consists of three Superstars and a pair of Pro Models, all equally ridiculous and paying tribute to certain animals.
Sure to create buzz — The first of the batch comes in the colorway “Yellow / Core Black / Super Orange.” Featuring an all-yellow design with black Three Stripes on the sides, this Superstar is as playful as one might imagine the world of the bumblebee to be. An embroidered bee sits on the heel while a flower patch and matching flower print decorate the tongue. Maybe it’s the flower print or maybe it’s the color scheme, but this pair seems reminiscent of Tyler the Creator’s “Golf le Fleur” sneakers. Either way, they’re a fun take on an insect-inspired shoe. A fuzzy heel tab and a small rubber spike at the rear complete this buzzy look. Watch where you’re going with those things!
Then there's the second pair, which is definitely the coolest, switches up the classic Superstar silhouette the most. In colorway “Linen Brown / Energy Orange / Pure Orange / Black,” this sneaker’s laces are hidden underneath a bright orange blob on the tongue, which is attached via unseen velcro. This feature makes it a sneaker like no other, and its neon orange color sure makes them a statement. On the backside of the shoe, there’s an embroidered dog dressed as a hotdog. Furry orange lining, retro Superstar branding, and an ombre sole seal the deal on this literal weiner-dog-themed pair.
Melting Sadness rounds out its low top models with its Superstar 80s TR Classic, with a design dedicated to a fuzzy little duckling. Its upper comprises tones of green, yellow, and blue, adding wing details on the smooth suede base (kind of messed up, don’t you think?). A baby duck is embroidered on the heel, while large yellow stripes, made out of the same material as the orange blob, cross over the shoe’s laces. Rounding it out is a baby blue fuzzy inside and yellow felt petals on the top of the tongue. This variation of the Superstar might be our least favorite of the collaboration, mainly because this one is too childlike to rock as an adult.
Go Pro or go home — Last but not least comes the Pro Model, which tips its hat to... giraffes. The high top shoe consists of a muted brown suede patterned like giraffe spots, with — you guessed it — an embroidered giraffe on the heel. Fuzzy, oversized giraffe eyes and ears sit on a furry tongue while burnt orange Three Stripes decorate the side of the sneaker.
Overall, the orange blob Superstars seem to be the best — and most grown-up — of the collection. Their unique shape can still be easily styled with street style classics, while the other sneakers might be harder to mix into casual outfits. This collection reminds us of early 2014 fashion, though, do we have to regress into all-themed apparel? Sure, we had a few hits, but we're not sure we could see these selling at Hot Topic or PacSun. Silly Bandz, however, would make a great accessory to these.
How to buy — If you’re really crazy about these freaky shoes, you better be ready to pay for international shipping or hire a proxy, for a fee. The dog and duck Superstars are available now in China for $180, while the bee and giraffe sneakers can be bought in Japan for $160. There’s been no word on a global release, though, considering the shoes’ select market, it looks like you’ll be paying those customs fees… if you want them that badly.