Adidas’ new Forum Exhibit sneakers give the vintage design a modern look

The retro basketball shoe now features a removable strap and updated color schemes.

As Adidas continues to push its Forum model into the mainstream market, more iterations of the retro sneaker are seemingly arriving by the day — a strategy reminiscent of Nike’s endless Dunk rollout. The German brand has presented three new versions of the Forum, each drawing on the shoe’s basketball roots. According to Adidas, the collection represents an open invitation for self-expression and challenging the status quo.

To celebrate the redefined style of the Forum, the sneakers’ campaign features indie artists Slowthai and Beabadoobee who embrace the “Open Forum” spirit, as Adidas calls it. Inspired by the free-spirited ‘80s — the decade that first saw the Forum come to life — “Open Forum” energy encourages others to express themselves (through a mass-marketed sneaker).

An ‘80s classic, updated for today — With individuality in mind, Adidas has updated the Forum’s classic design with a removable strap and luxe white leather uppers — part of which uses recycled materials in line with the brand’s sustainability efforts. The revamped model, dubbed the Forum Exhibit, comes in a low-top adaptation with hits of red and navy, as well as a taller mid iteration which sports black and pastel blue accents for a contemporary look.


To nod to the basketball heritage of the sneaker, an original version of the Forum Low joins the two modern Exhibit models. Splashes of red, yellow, and navy decorate the shoe’s white upper, presenting an ‘80s-esque look.

Designs don’t matter, advertising does — Adidas’ latest Forum offerings have already joined the brand’s mountain of retro designs online, allowing consumers to take their pick of the indie sneaker. But with Adidas pushing the Forum harder than any of its other designs — even amassing the influence of Bad Bunny, Beyoncé, and Jeremy Scott — the silhouette could start selling out soon.

Bad Bunny’s sold-out Forum Low design. Adidas

A new group of consumers, namely Gen Z, holds the fate of the Forum in their hands (or rather, their feet). The young generation, which has proved it starts and ends trends in record time, is Adidas’ most desirable marketing demographic thanks to its members’ constant online influence and more importantly, disposable income.

The brand’s campaign marketing with indie stars like Slowthai and Beabadoobee — both of which are popular amongst Gen Z — shows just how much Adidas is catering to the younger generation. Additional Forum seedings to indie influencers like Devon Lee Carlson, Salem Mitchell, Kevin Abstract, and Steve Lacy have only saturated the market more.


Should the young generation give Adidas’ model a chance, the Forum could easily rise in popularity: But if Zoomers don’t want Adidas’ Forum — despite the careful marketing, celebrity endorsements, and indie seedings — the sneaker won’t be able to make the triumphant return Adidas has planned.