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    adidas Samba

    adidas Samba

    87 articles

    Adidas’ oldest shoe went from footballing success to street style icon.

    Samba

    The Samba was the first shoe ever to be produced by adidas, and, remarkably, it’s still being manufactured today, making it their oldest surviving model. But not only that, the adidas Samba has also achieved its own iconic status in fashion. No other football boot in history has achieved such a cultural leap, which is a testament to its impeccable, ageless design, its versatility and the global adoration it has received through the decades.

    The original concept of the Samba was to help footballers play in harsh, wintry conditions without the fear of slipping and falling on an icy surface. The plan was to launch this innovative new product at the World Cup of 1950, which was to take place in the Brazilian winter – not exactly the same freezing cold temperatures as those experienced by those playing in Europe. 

    So, instead of foregoing the golden opportunity to launch the product at the World Cup, adidas got inventive. They gave it the name ‘Samba’, the same as the Afro-Brazilian style of dance, to appeal to the culture of Brazil. Following this, people began wearing the boot in all weathers, be it wind, rain or sunshine. 

    Four years later, at the 1954 Swiss World Cup, the whole West German team wore adidas boots as they achieved a 3-2 victory over clear favourites Hungary in one of the most exciting football finals ever played. This cemented adidas’ reputation as a world-class football boot manufacturer.

    The adidas Samba gradually shifted away from the utilitarian kangaroo leather construction of the first tough boot to the lighter shape of the adidas sprinting shoe. They now use more conventional cow leather and even offer pleather as a vegan alternative. This new design sits atop a unique tan gum outsole over a cupsole, has been given a larger tongue that can be folded over, is rendered in a simple black and white colourway, and, for a final touch of style, has ‘Samba’ printed in gold on the side. It is this design that has been cherished both by footballers and casual wearers over the years.

    In 1970s Europe, its quick, reactive feel made the Samba perfect for 5-a-side futsal. This more casual, street-style inspired game was played in towns and cities all across the continent throughout that decade, giving the Samba a massive boost in popularity along the way. Later, in the 90s, like any classic pair of sneakers, the Samba drew on feelings of nostalgia to become the prime pick among the skater community of the time. 

    From innovative World Cup winning beginnings, to nimble 5-a-side games, to the alternative 90s skate scene, the adidas Samba has now become a sneaker for the modern era. All of this indicates that adidas has built a classic, and if there’s one thing the Samba will never be, it’s dated. That’s quite a stratospheric achievement for a pair of icy-weather football boots originally released all the way back in 1950.

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