Guide To: The Vintage Adidas Sweatshirt


HF Lanzer

Vintage Adidas advert

Good things come in threes, and they certainly do as far as the iconic triumvirate of adidas stripes is concerned! These three lines, in one form or another, have adorned every piece from the trusted stable of adidas since the company’s inception in 1949, and today, we retro lovers are raising our vintage caps to Adi Dassler and his legendary sporting company with the three stripes.

As with every brand, the original trio of stripes has undergone adaptations and refinements along the way, including the introduction of the trefoil three-leaf design in 1971 and the cunningly truncated and angled version of three bars to reveal a mountainside in the 90s to reflect athletic challenge. This style of adidas branding is what we are looking for in a vintage sweatshirt, and it mirrors the popularity of the brand among leisure wearers, not just the athletic elite.


Vintage Adidas Olympics advert

Streetwear Vintage adidas

In a competitive market, adidas has certainly kept its head above water through the eras, and technology-enabled sports performance wear has quickly earned its credentials as a must-have number both in the sports arena and out on the street. And for vintage seekers, the good news is, that a huge number of items were produced through the 90s and 00s and of course these dated bangers all now sail happily together under the flag of the good ship Vintage, thus providing us and you with an awesome armada of cream sweatshirts, 00s tracksuits or 90s tees you can now track down, already worn, and awaiting further discovery.

You can just check out our adidas collection here as inspo, should you be doubting our word!

How to Identify Vintage adidas

There are many ways to identify if an adidas piece is in fact vintage or just masquerading as such. The best indicator is to start with a closer inspection of the neck label, if it is still on the garment. Adidas has used many, many, many neck labels throughout the 70+ years it’s been in business, but we are really only considering the year 2000 and before as vintage. Take a look here at what most of the relevant labels look like, so you can cross-reference any items you are researching:

 Vintage Adidas labels

How a Vintage adidas Sweatshirt Fits

Luckily, all vintage clothes have that beautiful oversized boxy fit about them. The older the piece, the more it has most likely been worn and washed repeatedly, and so it may well fit differently to its freshly labelled straight out of the factory counterpart, but it will generally fit as nice and oversized.

We’ve found that retro adidas sweatshirts and hoodies generally fit bigger than the label indicates, so just bear that in mind and always check ALL the information provided on the item’s product page to check the garm you are buying really is the size you are looking for! We always recommend comparing the dimensions given with a fav top of your own to give yourself the best outcome and avoid size disappointment on opening your order.

There’s not much difference among the key retro jumper brands, such as Nike, Umbro or Reebok, when it comes to the basic sweatshirt, other than the company logo design on the front, back or sleeves, though we are concentrating here on those specific adidas vintage nuggets. When it comes to choosing an adidas companion, there are then an amazing assortment of ways in which to style it, including for starters:

  • Going oversized to thin and repping your treasure with a pair of thinner bottoms to show   

 Vintage Adidas sweatshirt

  • Wearing a collared shirt underneath in a contrasting colour and coupling this top vibe with a retro pair of jeans

 Vintage Adidas sweatshirt with collar

  • Looking for a really rare and funky adidas 90s sweat, and wearing it in a relatively plain outfit, making sure all eyes are drawn compellingly to the star of the show


Vintage Adidas sweatshirt  

  • Striking out with a super oversized look by pairing your three striped sweater with a pleated skirt, bicycle shorts or short shorts

 Vintage Adidas sweatshirt

How to Gauge the Worth of a Vintage adidas Sweatshirt

Adidas has made some unbelievable items over the years, some of which are very rare and valuable. If you happen to find any Olympic adidas (see link to some below), then you’re in luck, my friend!

Vintage adidas gems can also command a premium, depending on where the piece of clothing was manufactured. Take a look at this list which shows how the place of manufacture affects the cost of an adidas choice:

  • Austria – ££
  • South Italy – ££
  • Bulgaria – ££
  • France – ££

Again, as we said with the 90s Nike Sweatshirt blog, for a casual buyer, the general guide is, that the cooler the garm looks, the more expensive it will most likely be. The reason behind this, is that these vintage sweatshirts are by default no longer being manufactured, which is why some rare exemplars can cost an arm and a leg. Based on this theory, we’re now ready to put our fave puzzle to you, in the form of a lil round or two of what we call ‘Vintage Value’!

Take a look at these vintage adidas sweatshirts that have been sold on our site, but don’t look at the price (below the image). Then have a guess at what you think the worth of each one is:

Vintage Adidas Sweatshirt
Vintage adidas gems can also command a premium, depending on where the piece of clothing was manufactured. Take a look at this list which shows how the place of manufacture affects the cost of an adidas choice:  Austria – ££ South Italy – ££ Bulgaria – ££ France – ££
Vintage Adidas Sweatshirt
Vintage Adidas Sweatshirt
Vintage Adidas Sweatshirt


How many did ya get right? Full house? Pair? Zilch!!

Some of the Coolest adidas Collabs

As you may be aware, the adidas brand is well known for collabs, so we’re gonna indulge ourselves now by throwing a curve ball and running through a few of our top ones:

  • Olympic adidas collaborations are the standout stars for us, and this collection contains some of the (what we consider) coolest sweatshirts any brand has ever made:

 Vintage Adidas Sweatshirt OlympicsVintage Adidas Sweatshirt Olympics

  • DMC, the American hip-hop group, proves another top result where adidas apparel is concerned, and just take a look at the sweat they made:

 Vintage Adidas Sweatshirt Run DMC

  • Not so much a collab, but take a look at this unreal 80s Cyclone USA cycling sweatshirt:

Vintage Adidas Sweatshirt Cyclone 

  • NBA star, Patrick Ewing, made a sweatshirt with adidas is 1985:

Vintage Adidas Sweatshirt Patrick Ewing 

And the list goes on and on and on ... our point being, that if you see a piece that adidas has created within a collab, chances are it’s worth a lot more than a regular adidas item. 


Well, the stars were aligned when Dassler created the name which would last for decades – awesome adidas athletic wear, still designed for performance, is now also a mainstay of vintage fashionwear. A retro adidas piece not only looks super cool, but is also instantly recognisable, thanks to its iconic branding: three stripes and you’re in, we say!

We really hope you now feel fully equipped to identify and style the ultimate authentic vintage sweatshirt made by adidas, decide what best to accompany it with, and are ready to step forth confidently, able to deftly rep this iconic style for yourself.

We’d love to see what style you develop as far as vintage adidas apparel is concerned, so please share your ideas and photos on our Insta and we can all enjoy the diversity of looks you have achieved with this timeless superstar, confidently worn by sports stars and vintage fashion fans alike!


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