Adidas Rivalry vs. Forum [Which Classic Still Rocks?]

Written By Sunny

The Adidas Rivalry and Forum have reigned supreme in the sneaker world for decades, each leaving their mark on style, culture, and performance.

But with such legendary status, choosing between them can be a battle in itself.

Fear not, sneakerheads!adidas-rivalry-vs-forum

This guide is your courtside commentator, breaking down the technical specs, cultural cred, and everything in between to help you make a slam-dunk decision.

Because in the game of footwear, choosing the right one is everything.

So, lace up – the ultimate sneaker showdown is about to begin!

An Overview of the Adidas Rivalry and the Forum Lineup

Adidas Rivalry

Born in 1986, the Rivalry was a more streamlined and affordable successor to the Superstar, Campus, and Forum. It rocked the court with its full-grain leather overlays, vamp perforations, grippy outsoles, and comfy EVA midsoles.


The Rivalry comes in low, high, and mid-top silhouettes, catering to various styles and preferences.

The high top is the OG favorite, while the low top offers a sleeker look.

And the mid-top is a modern take, balancing classic elements with a less bulky fit.

The Rivalry became a cultural icon of the 80s, made famous by NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.


Today, the Rivalry remains a popular choice for casual wear, with a wide range of colorways and limited-edition collaborations.

Adidas Forum

Originally introduced in 1984 as a high-performance basketball shoe, the Forum transitioned into a lifestyle icon. Its chunky build, X-ankle strap, and padded collar offer both style and comfort.

It’s another basketball shoe from the 80s that gained popularity on and off the court, becoming a favorite among hip-hop artists and sneakerheads.

This basketball sneaker comes in platform soles, bold colorways, and collabs with fashion powerhouses like Prada to keep the Forum fresh and relevant.


Despite its chunky looks, the Forum is surprisingly comfortable.

The padded ankle collar and EVA midsole provide ample support, making it an excellent choice for everyday wear.

Feature Comparison Between Rivalry and Forum

Both shoes belong to the basketball sneakers category, but they differ in aspects such as upper material, price, style, and overall design.

Understanding these features allows you to make well-informed decisions that match your playing style, overall look, and comfort preferences.

FeatureAdidas RivalryAdidas Forum
Year of Release19861984
Upper MaterialSuede leather or Nubuck full-grain leatherTextile and suede full-grain leather
MidsoleEVA foamEVA foam with Adiprene forefoot cushioning
ClosureLace-upLace-up with ankle strap
LiningTextile or TerrySynthetic or Textile
StyleEdgy, streetwise, retroClassic, stylish, versatile
PriceMore expensiveLess expensive
Best forEveryday wear, Laidback lookEveryday wear, Smart Casual looks

Analyzing the data presented in the table reveals that both the Rivalry and Forum series offer high-quality B-ball sneakers. Nevertheless, a more in-depth scrutiny of specific components unveils one is superior.

For a comprehensive comparison and to ascertain the standout shoe, go to the following section.

Major Differences Between Adidas Rivalry and Adidas Forum

Understanding the distinct characteristics that distinguish Rivalry from Forum is crucial for those seeking optimal athletic performance or comfort in their footwear.

Critical factors include performance, cushioning technology, shoe design, and overall fit, all contributing to your comprehensive footwear experience.

The following highlights the differences between Adidas Rivalry and Adidas Forum:

Design and Aesthetics

The Rivalry sneaker stands out with its chunky, low-cut design reminiscent of 80s basketball shoes.

Initially, it came in white and blue.

But it now comes in a rainbow of colors, from flashy hues to monochrome tones. adidas-rivalry-colors

Constructed primarily from leather and suede, it boasts both durability and a premium look.

The Rivalry’s defining feature is the X-frame ankle support system. These are two crisscrossing straps offering stability and a unique visual flair.

But it’s not just about looks.

A thick rubber midsole provides cushioning, while the herringbone outsole ensures grippy performance on the court.

Let’s not forget about the branding.

Classic Adidas branding, with the Trefoil logo on the tongue and heel and ‘Rivalry’ lettering on the side panel and insole, completes the package.

So, there you have it – the Rivalry, bringing back the 80s hoop dreams in style.

Now, let’s shift to the Forum.

Compared to its rival, the Forum shines with a sleeker silhouette and a slightly higher ankle collar for better support.

It has a timeless charm.

These basketball shoes appeal to diverse tastes with their vast array of colorways, ranging from classic black and white to vibrant neons. adidas-forum-colors

I must agree leather and suede reign supreme.

But the canvas and nylon add texture and versatility to Forum 84 Low and Forum Bold shoes.

For enhanced agility on the court, the Forum features a circular pivot point, and the ankle strap provides extra support.

The Trefoil logo on the tongue and heel further solidifies the Adidas branding, along with ‘Forum’ written on the side panel and insole.

Honestly, for me, Forum takes the win. Its versatility is superior.

Construction and Materials

When it comes to construction quality, both basketball shoes exhibit top-notch craftsmanship.

However, upon closer examination of various components like the sole, upper material, and tread pattern, notable distinctions between the two emerge.

Now, let’s assess which footwear has the superior construction quality.

Outsole Design

While both the Adidas Rivalry and Adidas Forum boast durable rubber outsoles, the Forum takes the crown for superior traction thanks to its herringbone design.

I must say, the Rivalry features a solid rubber outsole, which offers excellent durability.

But Honestly, it lacks grip on courts.

In contrast, the Forum’s herringbone pattern sticks to the basketball courts with enhanced grip and stability.

Ultimately, the Forum’s adaptability wins out, making it the clear winner in outsole performance.


Midsole Characteristics

Both the Rivalry and Forum utilize EVA foam midsoles, known for their excellent impact absorption and cushioning, making them comfortable for running and jumping.

However, the Forum takes it a step further by incorporating a TPU heel insert.

This thermoplastic polyurethane material adds extra firmness and stability to the heel area, providing better ankle support and control during quick movements and changes in direction.

So, if you prioritize agility and responsiveness on the court, this enhanced support makes the Forum a perfect choice.

Therefore, the winner in this midsole matchup is none other than the Adidas Forum.

Insole Comfort and Support

While the Rivalry and Forum boast comfy interiors, their cushioning offers different experiences.

The Rivalry’s padded EVA foam insole is like sinking into a plush sofa, pure softness cradling your every step.

It’s the perfect choice if you crave ultimate comfort.

But the Forum takes a different approach.

Its die-cut EVA insole is like a snug hug for your feet, pre-shaped to match every curve.

Sure, it might not be quite as pillowy as the Rivalry, but it prioritizes stability, keeping your foot firmly in place.

Ultimately, the choice between Rivalry and Forum insoles depends on your preference for comfort and performance.

If you prioritize maximum softness and plushness, Rivalry’s got your back. But for support and stability, get the Forum’s die-cut insole.

And, if you ever change your mind, both insoles are removable, so you can always swap them out for something better.

Upper Construction Comparison

At first glance, the Adidas Rivalry and Forum uppers might seem like twins.

But upon closer inspection, their personalities shine through.

Both are crafted from premium leather, offering a classic and durable aesthetic.

However, the Rivalry leans into a more rugged, basketball-inspired look with its thicker paneling and prominent ankle straps.

In contrast, the Forum adopts a slightly sleeker silhouette with aerodynamic panels and a lower ankle cut.

Material variations also differ.

While both offer smooth leather options, the Rivalry has textured leather variations, adding a touch of visual interest.

Meanwhile, the Forum embraces a wider range of materials, including suede and canvas, catering to a broader range of styles.

Another key difference lies in the ventilation.

The Rivalry prioritizes ankle support with fewer perforations. So, you can wear it in colder weather or intense activity.

The Forum, on the other hand, has more perforations, particularly on the toe box. This design enhances breathability for warmer days or casual wear.

Ultimately, the choice between Rivalry and Forum uppers boils down to personal preference.

The Rivalry is ideal if you crave a robust, basketball-esque silhouette. At the same time, for a sleeker, more versatile option with enhanced breathability, the Forum takes the court.

Weight Comparison

Weight-wise, Rivalry and Forum are neck-and-neck.

Both pack a punch with their leather uppers and rubber soles.

But here’s the thing: the Adidas Rivalry feels slightly lighter. That’s because the ankle strap and padding on the Forum add a bit of weight.

For example, my Rivalry Low 86 feels like a featherweight compared to my Forum Low 84 – 12.2 ounces against 13.6.

But honestly, that difference is barely noticeable.

So, what’s the verdict?

Both Rivalry and Forum offer a substantial, supportive feel without being overly heavy, making them solid choices for those seeking durable and comfortable sneakers.

Performance and Comfort

The Adidas Rivalry and Forum offer high-performance features for basketball, but they excel in slightly different areas.

The Rivalry has a robust sole with excellent support and traction.

It is ideal for aggressive movements and cutting on the court. Its comfort focuses on all-day wearability, with a cushioned interior and breathable materials.

The Forum, on the other hand, shines in its sole construction.

It provides superb stability and grip for quick direction changes and powerful jumps. Its comfort prioritizes versatility, adapting well to other activities beyond the court thanks to its supportive design and shock absorption.

Ultimately, the ideal choice depends on your specific needs.

If you crave maximum support and grip for intense gameplay, the Rivalry might be your match.

But whenever I need to be versatile and comfortable for both on-court dominance and off-court activities, the Adidas Forum is my first pick.

Style and Versatility

When it comes to basketball silhouettes, the Adidas Rivalry and Forum both hold court but with distinct aesthetic vibes and versatility levels.

Rivalry reigns supreme when going for a casual look.

Its chunky build and classic hoop details align perfectly with streetwear style.

Think baggy tees, hoodies, and ripped jeans – a laid-back, effortless look that’s amplified by celebrity endorsements and influencer collaborations.

But don’t underestimate its adaptability.

The Rivalry can venture beyond casual thanks to its timeless charm, transitioning smoothly to smart casual with chinos and a bomber jacket. 


However, Adidas Forum plays a different game.

It’s an innovator, embracing fashion-forward looks and boasting deep cultural roots.

These sneakers effortlessly elevate your outfit beyond streetwear, whether you’re rocking a sleek monochrome jumpsuit or channeling vintage vibes with flares and graphic tees.

Its versatility lies in its ability to complement diverse styles.

Picture it with a sharply tailored suit for a modern twist on formal, or dress down with a flowy maxi dress for unexpected cool.


In short, Rivalry delivers effortless, confident casual, while Forum offers fashion-forward adaptability.

Choose Rivalry for laid-back swagger and Forum for modern versatility.

Brand Collaborations

Regarding brand partnerships, both the Adidas Rivalry and Forum sneakers bring their own distinct flavor to the table.

The Rivalry, a classic basketball silhouette, has leaned towards high-fashion partnerships.

With Gucci, this lineup has created the Adidas x Gucci Gazelle.

A wealthy fusion of sportswear and luxury showcased the Rivalry’s ability to elevate its streetwise roots in June 2022.


Further solidifying its fashion credentials, the Rivalry partnered with French powerhouse Jacquemus in May 2022, creating a top-tier collection that captured the essence of innovative style.

Meanwhile, the Forum, another iconic basketball shoe, has carved its path through street cred and pop culture collaborations.

Its most recent partnership with Bad Bunny, the ‘Blue Tint’ Forum Low, sent shockwaves through the sneaker community with its bold colorway and the rapper’s signature flair.


The Forum’s association with Jeremy Scott, a king of outlandish design, further cements its streetwise persona.

This collab gave us the Jeremy Scott x Adidas Forum Motorsport Wings 4.0 ‘Bold Blue.’

It is a testament to pushing boundaries and embracing the unexpected.

Partnerships with brands like Palace Skateboards and Human Made add to the Forum’s collaborations.

Overall, the Rivalry and Forum each conquer the world of brand collaborations in their own way.

The Rivalry’s taste for high-fashion alliances elevates it to a realm of luxury.

At the same time, the Forum’s versatility allows it to blend seamlessly with music, pop culture, and streetwear.

So, do you crave the lavish touch of Gucci and Jacquemus? Or do you enjoy the genre-bending swagger of Bad Bunny and Palace Skateboards?

Regardless of your choice, the Rivalry and Forum guarantees a stylish look.

Popularity and Influence on Pop Culture

When it comes to iconic basketball sneakers, Adidas boasts two heavy hitters:

The Rivalry and the Forum.

Both shoes have cemented their place in sneaker history.

In the digital world, the Forum reigns supreme. Its hashtag boasts over 1.2 million posts on Instagram, compared to the Rivalry’s 300K.

This online popularity translates to discussions.

The Forum threads get so much hype for limited-edition releases and collaborations, while Rivalry tends to be more nostalgic, reminiscing about its 80s peak.

In the sneakerhead arena, opinions are divided.

The Forum’s chunky, retro silhouette and adaptability to various styles win over streetwear enthusiasts. Its premium leather construction and historical significance resonate with purists.

But the Rivalry holds its own with its timeless T-toe design and undeniable swagger.

Its association with hip-hop icons and streetball legends keeps it relevant for those seeking a more edgy aesthetic.


Regarding celebrity endorsements, the Forum shines again.

Fashion icons like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid have rocked the Forum, aligning it with the modern crowd.


The Rivalry, however, glories a more rebellious roster.

Rappers like A$AP Rocky and Tyler, the Creator favor its rebellious spirit.

As you can see, the Rivalry and Forum’s cultural impact is undeniable, but their paths to fame are different.

The Forum, with its fashion-forward and celebrity collaborations.

Meanwhile, the Rivalry thrives on its streetwise legacy and underground appeal, remaining a favorite amongst sneakerheads and hip-hop heads.

Price Comparison

The Rivalry comes with a price tag of around 110-140$.

I must admit, it ain’t cheap.

But for that price, you get a pure, complete sneaker swagger. This B-ball footwear has sturdy canvas, classic lines, and a build that could survive anything.

Then there’s the Adidas Forum.

This kicks sneaks in at a slightly lower 90-130$ range, making it easier on the wallet, especially for us budget-conscious enthusiasts.

However, factors like limited-edition collabs and premium materials can push the price closer to the Rivalry’s territory.

Nevertheless, the Forum generally presents an attractive value proposition. Compared to other Adidas lines like the NMD or Yeezy, it delivers a similar retro vibe at a significantly lower cost.

Don’t get fooled by the price tag, though. This shoe packs a punch with its own retro coolness.

It has treaded some of the Rivalry’s toughness for a smoother, more versatile vibe.

Plus, you still get that Adidas quality, ensuring your hard-earned cash goes the distance.

So, I’d pick the Adidas Forum as the winner due to its slightly lower entry point, versatile retro vibe, and attractive value for money.

Pros & Cons of Adidas Rivalry and Forum

By assessing the advantages and disadvantages of these two sneakers, you can make an informed decision based on your specific preferences for style and comfort. It will ensure that the chosen option aligns perfectly with your requirements.

Let’s delve into the strengths and weaknesses of Forum and Rivalry.

Adidas Rivalry

  • »Appropriate for both regular wear and athletic activities.
  • »Provides better comfort and support.
  • »Features durable, high-quality construction.
  • »Flexible and stylish design.
  • »Offers exclusive adiClub membership benefits.
  • »Less breathable.
  • »Some might not like the synthetic leather upper.

Adidas Forum

  • »Follows ethical and viable production practices.
  • »Comfy fit for all-day wear.
  • »Utilizes premium materials for enhanced durability.
  • »Stylish design that captures attention.
  • »Better ankle flexibility.
  • »Breathable upper.
  • »Grants exclusive rewards and perks through adiClub membership.
  • »Limited availability in terms of sizes and colors.
  • »The leather upper may crease easily.


Declaring a sole victor between the Rivalry and Forum is a tough call.

Both sneakers boast iconic lineage, undeniable comfort, and a versatile blend of court-ready performance and street-worthy swagger.

Ultimately, the champion depends on your personal preferences.

If classic b-ball aesthetics and some peace of nostalgia hold your heart, Rivalry is the better choice. But for those seeking a slightly sleeker silhouette with a hint of modern edge, the Forum takes the crown.

No matter which one you choose, remember that you’re joining a legacy.

These sneakers have been around a long time, worn by legends, and they’re ready to take on whatever you throw at them.


Should you size up or down in Adidas Forum?

Generally, you can stick with your true size for Adidas Forums. While the fit can be snug around the midfoot, especially in leather models, the ankle strap and soft materials usually allow for a comfortable experience without needing to size up or down.

Who wore Adidas Forum?

Many big-name celebrities throughout history have worn the Adidas Forum. NBA stars like Michael Jordan and Bernard King wore them on the court. Today, you’ll see them on supermodels like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, fashion influencers, and everyday folks who appreciate their classic good looks and comfort.

Which one is better for casual wear, the Rivalry or the Forum?

Both are popular for casual wear, but the choice depends on personal style preferences. The Rivalry’s bold design might appeal to those seeking a statement look, while the Forum offers a classic, versatile option.

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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