A review for the Adidas Rivalry Low was long overdue and since we got a pair this week we could not miss the chance. This is one of the most recognizable silhouettes from the German brand along with the Superstar, Stan Smith, Samba and the Top Ten just to name a few. It is among the many basketball shoes from the 80’s that turned into a fashion sneaker over the decades and get absorbed into the street culture. 

A brief history of Adidas Rivalry Sneaker

The adidas Rivalry low made its debut along the hi top version in 1986, being designed by Jacques Chassaing, the same who created the Forum just two years earlier.  The Rivalry arrived in the same year when the Air Jordan 1 was released. It was Adidas‘s brand response to Nike, the Rivalry being endorsed by Patrick Ewing at the time. For this reason ,one of the first colorways released featured the New York Knicks colors. 

First Impressions 

The pair we got were the off white, black and orange ones released in 2023, a pair that keeps not only the original design but also some of the retro colors. At a first look they feel very solid, reminding me of the Nike Air Force 1, it is clearly a pair that will last. As the AF1 they carry some weight, with size 9.5 weighing just over 17oz. Adidas kept using prime leather on these and they look as good as ever.

Adidas Rivalry white black orange3

How They Fit 

The Adidas Forum low fit is true to size, yet a bit more snug than the Air Force 1. They have a roomy toe box but those with wide feet will still benefit from going a half size up. They are a bit stiff at the beginning which is to be expected given the materials used. Therefore some break in is needed for most but these will get better and better with time as they’ll shape to your feet. For a retro shoe they are quite comfortable and they provide decent support if you wear them all day. 

Adidas Rivalry Low Review

Adidas Rivalry white black orange2


The upper of the adidas Rivalry low is traditionally made of leather and suede and the pair we got was no different. This makes it a very durable shoe and it is very comfortable once you settle in. The air flow is pretty good given the perforations in the toe box and on the sides. It is still a shoe that you want to wear in the fall or spring, however. The heel collar and tongue padding along with the EVA insert provide a nice, comfortable feeling as you put them on.

Are Adidas Rivalry low comfortable?

Despite not featuring any modern technologies the Adidas Rivalry low is very comfortable for a retro sneaker. It is the type of shoe that shapes to your feet after a period of breaking them in and they become even more comfortable with time. They also provide good stability due to the rubber cupsole that wraps around the EVA midsole. 

Adidas Rivalry white black orange1

Adidas Rivalry white black orange4

Sole Unit 

The sole unit of the Adidas Rivalry low features a classic setup that we’ve seen at many classics, including the Forum. Adidas uses a solid rubber cupsole enforced by a row of stitching that encapsulates a standard EVA foam midsole that is visible from the inner side of the shoe. This makes it so that even if the EVA foam will change its shape in time to accommodate your feet in various pressure points, the feet will still not slide on one side or another due to the rubber cupsole. For this review I took them in the gym for some weight lifting and they provided great stability. I can see how skateboarders can appreciate the features of this shoe given this aspect, along with the grippy outsole they provide. 

Are Adidas Rivalry Low good for walking?

The adidas Rivalry low are primarily lifestyle sneakers nowadays and they lack any modern technology that would make them favorites for long walks. However they are good for running errands, short walks and all around activities.

Bottom Line 

Decades after their release the Adidas Rivalry Low remains one of the most appreciated retros on the market today. Even if their price went up recently you can often find them on sale so they still offer a great value for the money spent. We got this pair we used for the review for $65 on eBay. They are very stylish , comfortable and they will last forever. They are great for those looking for a “beater” shoe given how versatile they are. They are also easy to clean and maintain in general.