Why Has the Adidas Samba Been So Successful?

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The Adidas Samba has grown in popularity over the last three years as a result of numerous collaborative efforts with illustrious fashion brands and stamps of approval from fashion A-listers. Behind the success, however, is a long and rich history, as well as a rags-to-riches success story.

The History of the adidas Samba

It was initially developed in the UK as a shoe for better traction on icy soccer fields, but it was later modified to become an indoor soccer shoe. The original Adidas design, which was conceptualized in Germany in 1950 by the company’s founder Adi Dassler, uncannily resembled a pair of bowling shoes.

The Samba is both the longest-running model in production and the second-highest selling shoe in adidas history.

Over the course of its more than 80-year existence, the Samba has donned many hats. For instance, to accommodate different soccer variations over time and other sports, the shoe underwent a number of shape and design changes. The Samba was the shoe of choice for 5-A-Side courts because of their use of turf grounds in the 1970s, when 5-A-Side courts started to spring up all over Europe. Skateboarders began using the shoes in the 1990s to help them land their various tricks after realizing how much traction they had. It was the shoe to wear for indoor soccer and was lightweight. However, it soon became a go-to for dads and men with nine-to-five jobs who weren’t known for having sought-after style, making it uncool for girls and guys going through puberty. Push forward to 2023, the Samba sneakers is one of the most sought after sneakers by fashion It girls.

Kaia Gerber wearing the addidas samba. Arnold Jerocki

Celebs & Collaborations

Grace Wales Bonner single-handedly brought back the Samba design as we know it when she unveiled her unexpected debut adidas Originals collaboration in 2020 which included retro inspired pieces. An instant hit each Graces Wales Bonner x Adidas Samba went straight out of stock. They are currently available for up to $800 more than retail on resale websites like StockX if you missed out on buying them when they first went on sale.

Models wearing the Grace Wales Bonner x Adidas collection and Sambas.

The renowned British designer has since kept up her collaboration with the sportswear imprint to create a number of follow-up capsule collections, the most recent of which was unveiled at the Paris Fashion Week earlier this year as a part of her SS23 collection.

Another fan favorite is the Jonah Hills collaboration which examines facets of fashion and music from the nineties, when he was a child in Los Angeles, and his shoes reflect these influences. The “Jonah Hill Samba” features a vintage texture and coloring, reflecting elements of music and fashion. Hand-drawn details are placed on the side uppers, heel tops, and liner socks, and the heel color is the same as the upper. Three colors are available: green, red, and orange.

In addition to Wales Bonner, brands like Kith, Pleasures, and Oyster Holdings have worked with adidas, giving the conventional Samba silhouette new angles and aesthetics.


However, Wales Bonner’s collaboration has been the most popular gaining traction among Gen Z due to their trendsetting capabilities and ability to add quirkiness to TikTok aesthetics. The best thing is that these sneakers retail for under $200, which is cheap considering its been highly endorsed by celebrities and supermodels alike.

Rihanna wearing Adidas Sambas. BeautifulSignatureig/Shutterstock

They have become a street style essential among models like Emily Ratajkowski, Kaia Gerber, Kendall Jenner, and the Hadid sisters, as well as mega-influencers like Emma Chamberlain. Rihanna has also endorsed the Adidas original, wearing the sneakers with her Nensi Dojaka LBD last summer. The sneaker has even made a cameo as pieces of modern art during Art Basel.

Shop The Look

Gender Inclusive Samba OG Sneaker

Samba Sneaker (Women)

Wales Bonner Samba suede-trimmed leather sneakers

Samba OG suede-trimmed leather sneakers

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