How The Adidas Samba Became Fashion’s Favourite Shoe (Again)

Our love of trainers has boomed over the past decade and sportswear brands are really riding the wave. From New Balance’s glow-up to the rise of sustainable names like Veja and high-end designers featuring them in their collections, the trusty trainer has morphed from everyday essential to fashion fixture. One style in particular has gained a lot of attention in recent months and it’s not exactly new. 

We’re talking about the Adidas Samba, the must-have trainer of the moment. Showing its wide-reaching appeal, the Samba is stocked at a whole host of retailers — from Adidas (of course) to ASOS, Farfetch to Net-A-Porter — and it’s selling out rapidly. According to Captain Creps, a website dedicated to tracking trainer news, Google searches for the shoe have risen by nearly 50% since the beginning of March, with 980,000 people googling it on 15th May alone. Clearly, we’re all sold on the Samba — but did you know its design journey is far from fashion-focused?

Created in 1949 for playing football on hard, icy ground and reimagined in 1972 as the version we know now, function is the Samba’s first priority. A ‘three-zone profile’ outsole gives it grip in all directions, the soft ankle and heel padding protects the back of the foot and the low leather front is built for ball-handling, cementing Adidas’ sports-first design. So how has the trainer transformed from football necessity into fashion’s favourite footwear? Josh Herbert, the founder of Captain Creps, gave us some context. 

“In a sea of high-tech, futuristic designs, it’s the simple, old-school Samba that is dancing its way into consumers’ hearts,” he shared. Just as the simplicity of Stan Smiths or the plainness of Vejas captured our attention, the Samba takes a step back from the XL chunky styles sitting in our wardrobes. The sleek silhouette complements the bold, clashing colours that give the shoes their instant appeal, although getting your hands on a colourful pair will take some serious skill.

Citing social media — the TikTok hashtag #adidassamba has over 268 million views — and celeb fans such as Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, Kate Moss and Bella Hadid as reasons why the trainer might be trending, Herbert also homes in on its affordability. Coming in at just under £100 on average, you may not buy these shoes on a whim but they’re much more attainable than the luxury labels often spotted on these famous faces. And let’s not forget the clutch of designer collabs with the likes of Gucci, Grace Wales Bonner, Beyoncé’s Ivy Park, Khaite and Craig Green, consistently reinventing the style and keeping it on everyone’s lips. 

Bravo, then, to Adidas for keeping the Samba trending for over 70 years. Our search to find non-sold-out colourways continues but if you want them all — and you want them now — you may have more luck getting your hands on the Gazelle, a similar-looking sister style that’s actually in stock (for now).

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