Searching for The Adidas Dragon

The Adidas Dragon is one of the iconic sneakers in the brand’s lineup.

VIntage adidas are one of the building blocks of the sneaker game. With such an ingrained place in modern culture, classics like Sambas, Shell Toes, or Gazelles continue to enliven the menswear scene with their heritage-fueled designs.

The adidas Dragon, however, has been a little more elusive over the years, appearing only at select times to showcase its iconic silhouette. And although a rare find, it’s still a top shelf sneaker with established street cred that is all about staying close to its roots.

Owning a pair of Dragons is like a gateway into a golden era of sneaker design.

With re-issues being somewhat of a necessity in today’s marketplace, adidas continues to go deep into their archives to rediscover designs that didn’t quite become big time commercial mainstays. The Dragon, a prime example, offers all the attributes of a dope vintage sneaker, but for some reason, has stayed in the limited edition realm.

As with a majority of the classic low profile trainers, it hit the scene in the early 70’s, and first as a nylon running shoe. It took a few years, but eventually evolved into the iconic silhouette with t-overlay that is still part of the present day design. And with the distinct gold ‘Dragon’ branding on the quarter panel, owning a pair has been a gateway into an even more golden era of vintage kicks.

The Adidas Dragon’s profile? Lightweight, slim, and packed with flavor.

The Adidas Dragon’s profile? Lightweight, slim, and packed with flavor.

As adidas stays creative in the sneaker re-issue landscape, a new generation of Dragons continue to build on the brand’s legacy. From a brief glance, these shoes don’t stand out and can be mistaken for a variety of other trainers, but once up close, the subtle details show themselves.

Materials and color combinations have varied throughout the years, as canvas, suede, and leather have all at some point found their way into the design. The Dragons are slimmer and a little less bulky than The Sambas or Gazelles, thus making them a solid go-to and lightweight option for a casual getup. And with the iconic ripsaw gum outsole and trefoil logo on the tongue, they simply hold it down.

These are sneakers that align with sub-cultures and help define mantras.

Like the adidas Munchen, Rom, or anything from the famed SPEZIAL line, it’s agreed that one-offs with three stripes typically hold serious clout. From sports to music to art, exclusive vintage kicks help align with subcultures that define matras.

They are also about expression and a quest for individuality. Of course, one can just go to Foot Locker and cop a pair of Sambas, and the heritage is still present, but there’s nothing like the zen-like patience of waiting for the next batch of Dragons to drop.

It may stay in the box for a while and then just in a minimal rotation once put to use. Tastefully paired with some Reigning Champ joggers and an iced matcha. Or they can be some street soldiers and put to heavy use, but since they are a little more on the exclusive side, it may be best to reserve the urban trekking for The Gazelles.