37 users: 4.2 / 5
Style: Retro
Top: Low
Inspired from: Football
Collaboration: Gary Aspden

Verdict from 6.4 hours of research from the internet

6 reasons to buy

  • The Adidas Samba SPZL impress the majority of reviewers for its outstanding comfort.
  • Many purchasers like that this stylish sneaker goes well with a variety of outfits - whether to dress up or dress down.
  • A few purchasers appreciate that the outsole tread of the Adidas Originals Samba SPZL makes walking trouble-free.
  • It feels quite lightweight on foot, according to some reviewers.
  • Some pleased reviewers state that the Adidas Samba Spezial is great for casual use.
  • Several purchasers like the colors used in this shoe particularly the core black/solar lime colorway because of its one-of-a-kind flair.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some reviewers comment that the tongue of this Spezial edition of the iconic Samba silhouette feels stiff at first.
  • The price of this shoe is a bit high than regular Adidas shoes.
  • There are limited color options for this low-top shoe.

Bottom line

The Adidas Samba SPZL is the "Spezial" edition of the classic Samba silhouette and belongs in the Adidas Spezial series. Launched in 2016, It resembles the rubber outsole of the original Samba, which is just as impressive.

It is often perceived as a stylish pair of kicks that can quickly add oomph to any outfit. 

The Adidas Samba SPZL is available in men's sizing. Its low-top structure allows flexible ankle movement, while and a traditional lace closure gives a snug yet adjustable fit. The Three Stripes is as usual present on the sides not only as a form of branding but also as additional support to the shoe's overall structure.

The Adidas Originals Samba SPZL is a low-top shoe that retains the iconic classic silhouette’s retro vibe with an updated look to suit the modern consumers. Its leather upper completed with tonal laces, and contrasting Three Stripes and heel details add a premium touch to its vintage style. It looks great when worn with jeans, casual pants, and shorts.

The Adidas Samba SPZL follows the silhouette of the original Samba model. The SPZL in the name stands for "Spezial" as it is a part of the Adidas Spezial series.  Its upper consists of full grain leather with suede overlays on the middle from the eyelets down to the toe box. There is a remarkable toe cap similar to that on the Samba Super for added durability in the area. Also, the rubber outsole exhibits a pivot point to attain optimum traction since the original Samba is intended to be a soccer shoe.

  Adidas Samba vs Adidas Samba SPZL

One notable difference between the classic Adidas Samba model and its SPZL rendition is the toe area. Although both models feature a suede overlay on the toe, the classic Samba displays a T-toe pattern while the Adidas SPZL version of the Samba flaunts a suede reinforcement on the eyelets which extends down to the toe cap. Further, the Adidas SPZL Samba rendition has a rugged toe bumper which doubles as a mudguard, which is lacking in the regular Samba edition.

Another noteworthy feature of the Samba SPZL is the molded tongue with embossed Trefoil detailing. Such a unique feature cannot be found on the regular Samba model.

The Adidas Samba is one of the oldest shoe models from Adidas that is continuously in production since the 1950s. Some reports note that it is the second best-selling Adidas shoe of all time next to the Stan Smith.

The Samba's original design features a gum rubber outsole with suction details or pivot points to help soccer players train on icy and hard surfaces, a foldable tongue that displays the gold Trefoil logo, and the classic Three Stripes for additional support. Throughout the years, the Samba evolved to many variations including the Samba Millennium, the Samba 62, the Samba 85, the Samba JP, the Samba NUA, the Samba Super, and much more.

In 2014, Adidas launched the Adidas Spezial series (also known as the Adidas SPZL) as a tribute to the brand's history of innovation. It consists of several silhouettes taken from the Adidas archives updated to suit the modern-day consumers, such as the Adidas Topanga SPZL, Adidas Boston Super SPZL, Adidas Hand-burg SPZL, and Adidas Touring SPZL. Gary Aspden, a renowned brand specialist, consultant, and former long-time Adidas UK employee, is the man behind the Adidas SPZL line that designs and curates the shoes released under it.

Two years after the launch of the Adidas SPZL, the series included the Samba silhouette as part of the Adidas Spezial FW16 and known officially as the Adidas Samba SPZL. The SPZL in the name stands for Spezial. It took inspiration from the vintage Samba that was exclusively available in the UK back then. This version utilizes a full grain leather upper with suede overlays across the eyelets down to the toe cap. It also bears the molded tongue of the original Samba, as well as the rubber outsole with pivot points for greater traction on surfaces and the prominent rubber toe cap.

  Notable Releases of the Adidas Samba SPZL Sneakers

  Adidas Samba SPZL “Solar Lime”

The Adidas Samba SPZL Solar Lime took design inspiration from the old-school Adidas Samba that released exclusively in the UK in the late ‘70s. This colorway features a leather upper in an all-black color with contrasting neon green AKA solar lime side panel serrated Three Stripes reinforcements and heel tab. Putting balance to the vibrant lime detailing that highlights the black upper is a lightly cream-colored midsole and toe bumper.

This colorway of the Adidas Samba SPZL first dropped on November 3, 2016. Other retailers refer to this as the Adidas Samba SPZL “Black Lime” or Adidas Samba SPZL “Black Solar Lime.”

  Adidas Samba SPZL in Core Black/White/Gold Metallic colorway

Otherwise referred to as the Adidas Originals x Spezial Samba SPZL, this past-meets-present shoe also offers a black and white color scheme through its “Core Black/White/Gold Metallic" colorway. Released the same time as its “Solar Lime” counterpart on November 3, 2016, this colorway also features an all-black leather upper with suede overlays. But in this rendition, however, the serrated Three Stripes and heel overlays come in a contrasting white color instead of vibrant lime.

  • The Adidas Samba SPZL also features a die-cut EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning and a slightly padded footbed and collar for an added plush feel.
  • The tongue is embossed and bears the Adidas Originals and Trefoil branding.
  • The signature Three Stripes is presented on the side panels in a contrasting color as the upper. Alongside the Three Stripes on the outer side of the shoe is the Samba script branding. Another branding is visible on the heel.
  • Actor Ewan McGregor wore the Adidas Samba SPZL both off-duty and on-screen in his 1996 movie Trainspotting.

Size and fit

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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny McLoughlin is a researcher for RunRepeat covering football, sneakers and running. After graduating with a degree in computer science from The University of Strathclyde, Danny makes sure never to miss a game of his beloved Glasgow Rangers or the Scotland national football team. He has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.