The adidas Samba is a classic. adidas are known for creating some of the most iconic shoes of all time, and these Samba’s are most definitely up there amongst some of the best. The Samba holds the title for adidas’ second biggest selling shoe of all time, as well as the longest running model in production. Having recently received a re-issue, we thought it fitting that we take a brief look at the history of the adidas Samba.
The adidas Samba was created in the late 1940s, right after the Dassler brother split following a dispute. While Rudolph formed the Puma brand, Adolf was hard at working creating one of adidas’ future classics, with the Samba releasing for the first time in 1950. The very first version of the Samba was a football boot with out the screw-in studs, designed to assist footballers that were training in icy conditions with ground that had become frozen. A spiked-version even helped Germany win the 1954 World Cup.
The silhouette then moved from the cold outdoors to the indoors, where indoor football players fell in love with the Samba. It’s worth noting that the Samba is still used by many to play football, especially indoors. This differs from most other adidas designs that were originally made for sport, but have moved into streetwear and are no longer used for their original purpose.
The Samba quickly expanded from the sports fields and entered the lifestyle sphere. With its low profile and white-on-black contrast, the Samba was cool enough to wear off the pitch. At first, only footballers knew this, but it didn't take long for everyone else to find out. The shoe appealed to so many people with so many different tastes. The Samba became a staple among the punk rock and skater crowds in the 1980s, with the Emo communities making it their own in the 2000s.
The success of the Samba model caused adidas to make variations of the popular football-turned-fashion sneaker. There is the Samba JP, which features a tapered toe, a Samba 85 featuring a tan colourway, and a Samba Super with a large toe cap and tongue. The Samba OG is produced by the Originals division of adidas, while the Samba Classic differs with a bigger football tongue and no Originals blue label. adidas always knew what they were doing with changes to the Samba though. They knew it was a special shoe and didn't want to change too much out of fear our ruining a classic.
The silhouette also saw a massive rise in global popularity thanks to key celebrity endorsements or co-signs. Everyone was loving its comfort and minimalist design. The Samba was iconically worn by the late and great Bob Marley and Freddy Mercury, as well as a long list of other celebrities, whether it be on film or just in the streets. Owen Wilson was seen wearing the Samba in You Me & Dupree, Ashton Kutcher in That 70s Show, as well as Shia LaBeouf in Transformers. Celebrities like Rihanna, Jonah Hill, Justin Timberlake, Samuel L. Jackson and even Kanye have also given the Samba their stamp of approval over the years.
The adidas Samba is a great example of a sneaker that was made to do one thing, but became so much more. While it excelled as a shoe for indoor football, its comfortable fit and minimalist design meant it was soon worn off the pitch. And from there it just snowballed. adidas have sold a staggering 35 million plus pairs of Samba’s in the 67 years of production. It is a definite classic and a must for anyone missing it in their collection.