Adidas re-introduces classic sneaker on ‘Thrift & Ride’

Influencers put the shoe on Gen Z’s radar through a connected, physical-digital experience.

Generation Z is making the fashion rules these days, and brands are eager to get their stamp of approval. 

Adidas reintroduced its premium basketball sneaker, The Forum, which debuted in 1984, to Gen Zers with a hybrid physical-digital experience, “Thrift & Ride.” Created by digital agency Grow, the event gave fans the chance to follow their favorite influencers on an immersive thrift shopping tour throughout New York City.

In June, fashion influencers @wuzg00d, Maria (@looseunicorns), Chelsea (@chelseaasoflate) and Emma (@emmarogue), along with editors from InStyleElite Daily and Glamour, hopped on board a custom,1984 vintage city bus to travel to three Brooklyn thrift stores: Awoke, Chickee’s and Indigo Style. The tour ended at the Adidas Originals flagship New York store. 

At each stop, the influencers tried on different looks to style with their Forums, including a “going out” look, a casual weekday outfit and a streetwear look.

Fans followed the adventure on the influencers’ and Adidas’ social media channels. The influencers made the experience interactive, asking their followers to comment and vote in polls along the way. People could also enter to win an influencer-styled look.

The content also served as inspiration at Adidas Originals on Spring Street and through Creators Club, Adidas’ membership program. Consumers could walk in and scan a QR code to see the outfits. Select looks will also feature on a Forum Collections page on

The experience targeted the Gen Z woman who is “into classic sneakers” but isn’t familiar with the Forum’s “rich history,” Nicole Lelacheur, Grow’s senior copywriter, told Campaign US.

“We’re meeting her where she's already shopping, which is not always the Urban Outfitters anymore,” Lelacheur said. “She's going into Goodwill, Savers and local thrift stores. We wanted to educate on the history in a way that speaks to the now and merged a real life activation with a digital component.”

Grow wanted to emulate a “fun and happy” vibe, reminiscent of times before COVID-19, Karen Staughton, strategy director at Grow, added. 

“That is how Gen Z females shop,” she said. “You go out with your friends, try on clothes and  recommend clothes to each other. We wanted to enable something that felt natural and comforting.”

It was also crucial for the experience to be hybrid, because it would have “lost the magic” if it was only on social media.

“We could have done something purely digital, but we've all been purely digital for a year and a half,” she said. “We needed to bring people out into the world to make this effective.”

Adidas and Grow hope the experience puts the Forum at the top of Gen Zers’ wishlist in an authentic way.

“We want people to say ‘What is this Forum thing?’” Lelacheur said. “They see all of these amazing fashion stylists in their favorite thrift shops with these shoes on their feet. That's how word of mouth starts to bubble up trends organically.”


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