adidas zx paid lead
CNN  — 

It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when work shoes were work shoes, sports shoes were sports shoes and leisure shoes were leisure shoes. Those lines were never crossed. In fact, if you were to, say, wear comfortable running shoes to the office, your boss would probably have sent you home.

You have to keep that in mind when you consider just how much the adidas ZX changed the game — not just running and other sports, but how we played, worked and lived our everyday lives. The ZX moved us forward in more ways than one.

Introduced in 1984, the ZX was engineered for ultimate comfort, maximizing stability while cutting down on unnecessary weight to ensure every step would be as swift and injury-free as possible. The Torsion bar added arch support and also minimized on any feelings of being weighed down by splitting the shock-absorbing midsole. What’s more, it showcased the adidas flair for style, with an instantly classic silhouette that helped define the look of the modern athletic shoe.

It was a hit with athletes, of course, but it wasn’t long before people took notice off the track. Trendsetters who appreciated both the shoe’s sleek look and its all-day support and comfort adopted it a couple years later, and soon the ZX was a mainstay in clubs across Europe and North America. The Torsion bar and high-performance design weren’t just good for boosting athletes to amazing performances — they were also great for keeping DJs and partygoers on their feet until the break of day.

adidas ZX

Before long, the ZX became a beloved footwear icon. Nowadays, that smart, cool boss of yours isn’t going to send you home for wearing a pair of ZXs to that client meeting — she’s probably rocking a pair herself.

Though every iteration of the ZX incorporated the latest in tech and embraced new aesthetic sensibilities, the latest evolution harks back to the ’80s. The white, red and blue design is reminiscent of the bright and bold color schemes of the era’s styles, but the ZX gives wearers the benefit of 21st-century innovations like the Boost midsole, which cushions every footfall and then uses that force for impressive energy return to put a literal spring in every step.

Whether you’re looking for something to get you through a day of work, something to impress at a social gathering or, yes, something to give you the edge on your run, for over 40 years the adidas ZX has shown that you can’t win a race by standing still — and that to improve your life, you have to keep moving forward.