The adidas Samba is Everywhere, Here’s Why

Wales Bonner x adidas Samba

If you told us a decade ago that the adidas Samba was destined to be one of the most popular shoes on the market, we wouldn’t believe you. It was originally released in 1949, and for the past ten years was considered a shoe for the everyday person – minimal, sleek and easy to acquire. The Samba has just been there, sitting silently on shelves. Yet, here we are in 2023, and the desire for the soccer-geared silhouette has never been greater, especially among the Gen-Z audience. The sneaker’s appeal has grown so much that GRs sell quicker than some collaborations.

How and why is the adidas Samba everywhere?

While the Samba had moments as part of the skate scene in the 90s, and UK football hooligan culture in the 70s and 80s, its recent ascent is one for the history books, but its newfound global sneaker stardom didn’t happen overnight. A gargantuan resurgence has been a slow burn over the past three years, cooked up by perfect collaborations, major celebrity sightings and social media virality.

Wales Bonner x adidas Samba

It’s an open secret that collaborations define a sneaker’s social capital in 2023, and in the adidas Samba’s case, allowed the silhouette to move up the ladder. In 2020 the fruitful partnership between UK-based designer Grace Wales Bonner and adidas began, elevating the Samba with crocheted detailing. Bonner’s take resonated with the fashion community, and they subsequently sold out, eventually landing on resale platforms like GOAT (with four-figure markups). Once Team Trefoil got a whiff of the success, IRAK, Kith and Palace were the follow-ups.

By the end of 2021, the Samba was picking up steam, and it wasn’t long before Instagram moodboards, and the fashionable fringes of TikTok caught on. The OG Wales Bonner x adidas Sambas were the main culprits featured on pages like @hidden.ny. This only bolstered their hype, and those who couldn't cop for RRP, or acquire at insane resale prices opted for the next best thing – GRs! The OG adidas Samba colourways reached must-have status among niche parts of the fashionsphere shortly after. Becoming the uniform of tote-bag-donning, workwear-wearing fashionistas.

Over on TikTok, with its recommendation culture a main source of content, creators added the shoes into their ‘underrated shoes you need’ type videos. If you remember this time circa 2021, you know what we mean. #adidassamba now has over 147 million views on the platform.

What a celebrity wears can bolster trend cycles, turning ultra-niche internet moments into viral crazes that stick around for years to come. Bella Hadid, Emma Chamberlin, Frank Ocean, Jonah Hill and A$AP Rocky have all been snapped rocking the OG Samba colourways. And, it’s no secret that the mass market is heavily influenced by what stars and influencers are wearing. The SEO machine was going crazy, searches like ‘what shoes does Bella Hadid wear’ were trending. If people didn’t know what the Samba was yet, they did now.

Celebrity style and social media influence has made a big impact on the Samba’s popularity, but all-in-all it’s just a good shoe. It’s at an accessible price point, and although OG colourways sell out with the quickness, there’s almost always restocks

Do you want to learn more about the adidas Samba? Find a sizing guide here and learn all the variations here.

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