Nylon is a material that is rarely used in modern Adidas shoes - it has largely been replaced with 'mesh' - but it is quite commonly found in heritage Adidas running shoes. Nylon is a polymer (plastic) that was originally designed as a synthetic replacement for silk. Nylon is lightweight, strong, waterproof, elastic and cheap. Therefore, it was an ideal material to use in running shoes, before more modern (breathable) synthetic materials replaced it. Previous alternatives to Nylon included: polyester, laminates and canvas.
The two most popular Adidas running shoes - still in production - that have a nylon/suede upper are the: Adidas Dragon and Adidas SL-72. Both of these running shoes were released in 1970's. Whenever Adidas used nylon in a running shoe, it was always combined with suede overlays: the suede overlays were placed in strategic positions to improve the durability of the shoe and maintain a strong structure. Adidas did not always opt to use nylon with suede: a handful of generic Adidas shoes used textile, polyester, and canvas instead of nylon. However, sometimes Adidas shoes, that have a nylon upper, are marketed as having a textile upper; these terms are sometimes interchangeable and can confuse the consumer.