When you imagine Russian street style, you probably picture a tracksuit with three stripes. In other words, you picture Adidas.
But why is Adidas so popular in Russia? Why are the iconic three-striped tracksuit and shoes what we envision when we think of Russian style?
The answer has to do with Russian history, but that doesn’t mean tracksuits are stuck in the past. In fact, Adidas tracksuits are back on trend. So not only will we tell you why Adidas is so popular in Russia, but we’ll also explain how to rock a tracksuit and Adidas sneakers today.
Why Adidas Is So Popular in Russia
Adidas is popular in Russia for several reasons, but the biggest is likely because Adidas provided the tracksuits for the 1980 Soviet Olympic team. Every Russian citizen turned on their TV to watch the games and saw their heroes donning the iconic three stripes down their legs.
Of course, the 1980 Olympic games weren’t the first time Russians encountered the brand. In 1979 Adidas provided a brand licensing agreement that allowed manufacturers in Moscow and other Russian cities to make athletic shoes.
And, in the early ’90s, after the iron curtain fell, the desire for western brands like Adidas was massive. Western capitalism held promise and hope for a better future, creating an insatiable hunger for products from companies like Adidas.
Finally, recent collaborations with major Russian fashion designers and nostalgia for the 1990s keep Adidas popular in Russia today.
So, if you’ve ever asked yourself, “why is Adidas so popular in Russia?” You’re in the right place. Below we discuss these reasons in detail. Then we’ll give you a few styling tricks that will help you master the ever-trendy Adidas ensemble.
Adidas officially launched as a brand in 1949, but its founder, Adolf “Adi” Dassler, wasn’t new to the world of athletic gear. His family began manufacturing shoes in Germany directly after World War I. Under the brand name Dassler, he and his brother created the shoes that American Track and Field champion Jesse Owens wore in the 1936 summer Olympics.
After 1936 the brand grew in popularity, but the brothers couldn’t agree on things. So, eventually, the pair split. Adolf went on to form Adidas while his brother created Puma, and the Dassler brand became a thing of the past.
Since those early years, Adidas has grown substantially. They’re the largest sports gear manufacturer in Europe and second only to Nike worldwide. The company has a net worth of over 25 billion dollars and continues to be a staple in both the sports and fashion worlds.
Russians and Adidas: From 1979 to Now
Adidas has been in Europe for a long time, but until 1979, they didn’t touch the USSR. That was when manufacturers obtained a brand license to make Adidas shoes. USSR manufacturers only made one type: blue trainers with three white stripes and a brownish sole.
Despite their USSR production, the shoes were still incredibly hard to obtain behind the iron curtain. Their lack of availability made the shoes very desirable and quickly became a status symbol. In the 1980’s many Soviets wore them when out and about, even at nicer restaurants and to the theater.
Blue Adidas trainers were one coveted piece of Western capitalism. The iconic Adidas tracksuit was another. So in 1980, when the soviet Olympic team graced the stage in their three-stripe suits, the citizens of the USSR went wild.
The tracksuits didn’t even bear the Adidas logo. The Soviet government wouldn’t allow the brand to market itself. But citizens still knew it was Adidas, and smuggled tracksuits became very popular.
In the early 90s, when the Soviet Union fell, and Russia became independent, Adidas quickly became one of many Western brands available to the masses, and its popularity only increased. Now, it seemed everyone wanted the iconic tracksuit and three-striped athletic shoes. The brand was now linked to the hope and aspirations of capitalism.
The tracksuit and sneakers became so iconic in early 90s Russia that today’s Russians are nostalgic about it. In other words, the quintessential Adidas tracksuit has come back into fashion.
In 2018, designer Gosha Rubchinsky made headlines by collaborating with Adidas on a new line for the world cup, which he marketed to post-soviet youth.
His 90’s throwback style is a hit, not just amongst athletes but also amongst the ever-growing rave scene. Today’s twenty-somethings are bringing back eye-catching leisure wear with the iconic three stripes and keeping the Adidas brand very much alive in Russia.
How To Style Adidas Trainers
Adidas trainers aren’t just popular in Russia. They’re trending worldwide, and there are endless ways to style them. It all depends on the look you’re trying to create.
Here are a few ways we especially like.
Pair Brights and Whites
Classic white Adidas SuperStars with their bold black stripes are perfect alongside bright tops. We’re talking about neon pink, lime green, and tangerine shirts and blouses. Keep the fabrics flowy and light for a fun, casual springtime look. Or, grab a bold, gem-toned jacket to weather colder days.
Paired with classic blue jeans, this is a look that screams fresh and fun. You can cuff the jeans and throw in high-top socks for extra style points. Or, leave the denim long. Whatever makes you more comfortable.
Try A Monochrome Look
Using varying tones of a single color creates a seamless, chic look. Whether you use shades of tan and beige or want something brighter, like a combination of bold blues, a monochromatic look is very fashion-forward.
Adidas shoes come in almost every color, many of which forgo the contrasting stripes for a monochromatic design. Pair them with a matching tracksuit in the same hue for a comfy, street-friendly look. Or try a pair of all-white sneakers with light pants and a cream-colored top.
The key here is to mix textures and pick items in the same shade with differing tints. This keeps the outfit from getting too boring when working with neutrals and from looking too outlandish in the case of bolder colors.
If you want to channel your inner 90’s Russian youth, pair your Adidas shoes with the classic tracksuit. Classic, black Adidas with white stripes and an all-black tracksuit creates an edgy look perfect for knocking out your weekend to-do list.
The trick is to add pops of white to mimic the stripes on the shoes. You can wear a white shirt, high white socks, or even a white scrunchy in your ponytail. A black and white baseball cap always works well too. Whatever you use, make sure the white doesn’t show too much. You want it to catch the eye, not take over the outfit.
How To Wear Adidas Track Suits
Tracksuits are making a huge comeback, not just in Russia but everywhere. Gray hues are particularly fashionable right now, but getting bold with colors isn’t against the rules.
The only must when it comes to tracksuits is picking a set that reflects your style while keeping you comfortable.
Here are a few ways we like to wear ours.
Add a Bomber Jacket
Adding a sleek leather bomber jacket is a great way to add contrasting texture and color to your tracksuit. A black bomber over a black tracksuit shows a ton of attitude while retaining a clean look.
Try scrunching up the bomber’s sleeves so you can see the three stripes of the tracksuit sticking out beneath, and consider adding a chunky pair of military-style boots. Paired with a few edgy accessories of choice, this is a look you can rock day or night.
Go With Nostalgic Brights
The late ’80s and early ’90s brought fun, bright colors to the forefront. Rocking them today is a great way to throw back to the innocence of the pre-internet era.
Look for colors like powder blue or lavender. You could opt for stripes in these hues on a black or white tracksuit. Or, for a bolder look, grab an entire tracksuit in a bright color. Pair your look with matching shoes and a white tee shirt underneath.
Oversized everything is very in right now. Just like in the 80s, when Russians were salivating for Adidas tracksuits, oversized pants, jewelry, and jackets can help you create an on-trend look.
So, look for a tracksuit that features slouchy pants, or pair your suit with an oversized jacket.
Any color works with this look, from gray to scarlet. Just pick a color that suits your features best and rock it.
Why Is Adidas So Popular In Russia? Closing Thoughts
Adidas was and is popular in Russia for several reasons. It caught Russia’s attention in the 1980s Olympics with red tracksuits and continues to enthrall Russian youth who are into throwback, 90’s fashion.
Of course, Adidas is more than just popular in Russia. Tracksuits and trainers are in style worldwide. Wearing them is nearly effortless, and with our styling advice, you can rock this look from day to night.