Adidas Samba soccer cleats

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The Adidas Samba is one of the most influential sneakers of all time. Its reputation for being the longest-running shoe still in production speaks much of the cleat’s enduring charm that has stood the test of time.

History of the Adidas Samba soccer cleat

Before indoor soccer shoes entered the mainstream soccer market, there was the Samba. This Adidas indoor soccer shoe was considered the first notable cleat in its genre to have marched the soccer pitch. Today, it has reached a worldwide success, being one of the brand’s leaders in sales and innovations. Then again, its rise to the top is quite a story.

Here are a few highlights of its 65-year history.

  • During Adidas early years as a company, Adi Dassler developed the first Samba to answer to the need for training cleats that worked well on frozen fields. The shoe debuted in 1950 and became the first cleat to sport a gum rubber outsole. This innovative new sole provided traction on icy grounds where players trained during the winter season.
  • Following its release, the Samba grew to be one dominant indoor silhouette. Its innovative gum rubber outsole became the basis for developing indoor soccer shoes or futsal shoes, that are most widely popular today. The cleat went on to become the prototype of the Adidas skate line and recently has even penetrated the golfing and snowboarding world.
  • Up until the 1990s, the Samba was one of the few indoor shoes available on the market. It was not until a few years later when other companies entered the genre and produced their line of indoor cleats. These then paved the way for the modern selections of Nike indoor shoes, and Puma indoor shoes.
  • Since its early beginnings in the 1950s, the Adidas Samba has sold more than 35 million pairs to athletes and sports shoe lovers who were smitten by their classic style. The cleat’s unstoppable popularity enabled it to go beyond the soccer courts and make its way to popular culture as well as other genres.
  • With its major appearances on television as well as the silver screen, there really is no stopping the Samba from skyrocketing into fame. Among its recent movie appearances was in the 2009 film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, worn by Shia Labeouf’s character, Sam Witwicky. Taylor Lautner’s character, Cam also wore a pair of black Sambas in the 2015 film, Tracers.

The anatomy of the Adidas Samba soccer shoe

By now, there is no argument about the worldwide success of the Adidas Samba. Even to this day, this low top cleat remains to be among the brand’s best-sellers. That is actually quite an impressive record, considering how it has managed to maintain its classic signature look, even through various versions.

Even with its many altered incarnations, the Samba never seemed to veer that far away from its original classic silhouette. There is always that old school touch of the cleat’s original look. Here are three basic elements of the iconic Samba.

The Sole

The Adidas Samba was the first soccer cleat ever to wear a gum rubber outsole. The sole unit provided the needed traction on hard, icy turf. At least, that was what the cleat was initially designed for back in the 1950s. Players had a hard time training on winter grounds wearing their studs; hence, the necessity for the Sambas.

Nowadays, these classic low tops have crossed the soccer market barrier and are dominating the sneaker world.  Then again, most of its modern versions still utilize the three-profile gum rubber outsole, which is one of the line’s signature feature.

The Tongue

The soccer cleat utilizes the standard lacing system with a non-folding, mid-length synthetic tongue underneath its laces. One unique feature of its tongue is the visible Adidas tagline “Die Weltmarke mit den dri Streifen,” which translates as “The brand with the three stripes.” That pretty much says everything.

Some of the newer Samba models, like those from the Adidas Samba Classic line, sport an extended tongue. This alteration serves to enhance ball control and touch.

The Stripes

As much as the three stripes shout the Adidas name loud and proud, the original stripes were in fact born from function and practicality instead of mere aesthetics. These bands that run across the lateral and medial sides of the cleat served to bind the shoe together. They also helped provide structure to it.

The Adidas three stripes are a staple feature of all Sambas, regardless of its version. With the many variations of the Adidas logo, the Sambas have retained the classic form, identical to the one used in the first model.

The evolution of the Adidas Samba soccer shoes

The 1950 Samba highlighted a gum rubber outsole and a full-grain kangaroo leather upper with a reinforced suede trim. It also featured a synthetic tongue around the midfoot. Meanwhile, its lateral sides showed off the iconic three stripes that not only add aesthetic value but primarily function to support the cleat’s structure.

Through the decades, this fashionable indoor soccer cleat underwent a few tweaks here and there to keep up with the changing times. Nevertheless, it did not fail to keep its classic vibe in all its different models. Among the Sambas most memorable versions include the following:

Adidas Samba 85

In comparison to the other versions, the Samba 85 employed a distinct combination of colors. This Adidas Samba soccer cleat wears a brown leather upper accented with white Adidas stripes. The unique use of color is most noticeable on the sole of the shoe, which on other models are usually plain white or tan. This change of color runs from the side of the shoe through the bottom.

Adidas Samba Super

The Adidas Samba Super sports a more traditional look, with its black K-leather upper, white stripes and the Samba callout in gold print. However, one detail that sets it apart from other silhouettes is its larger toe cap and extra-long tongue. The unusually large tongue may seem odd at first, but most wearers have come to love that bit of extra that the shoe provides. This Adidas Samba soccer cleat is also available in grey and yellow colorways.

The Adidas Samba Super soccer trainer is the basis of the Adidas Predator soccer cleat, which is now one of the bestselling soccer cleat. The Samba Super has a DNA that is worth shouting about.

Adidas Samba JP

The Samba JP cleat slightly deviates from the original style of the Sambas. It shows off a sleeker and pointier toe while still retaining the tan-colored sole. The JPs have also turned away from the usual suede material that lines the front part of the upper. More recent remakes of the cleat incorporate all-new features, from snake-skin-looking uppers to full-synthetic models.

Adidas Originals Samba in Lemon-Yellow

The Adidas Originals Samba line launched their Lemon Yellow silhouette in the summer of 2011. The shoe ditched the signature leather upper of most Sambas and had an all-canvas upper instead. The white stripes then blended nicely with the bright hue of the upper. Although it was only available for a limited time, it was undoubtedly one unforgettable pair of sneakers.

Adidas Samba Primeknit

The Adidas Samba Primeknit variation of the Samba was the world’s first knitted soccer shoe. It utilized a single knitted layer for its upper. Since the layer as constructed from just one layer of yarn, the amount of material was significantly reduced resulting in one very lightweight cleat. The yarns used are treated with a high precision coating to guarantee water resistance even in the wettest condition.

Adidas Samba Golf Shoe

With the Samba’s popularity transcending the soccer courts, it wasn’t the biggest surprise when it made its way into the golfing scene. The golf version of the iconic cleat highlighted a similar design, shape, fit and comfort as its non-golf counterparts. The only difference was its sole, which was fitted with 6 Thintech cleats that allowed wearers to feel very close to the ground.

Adidas Samba Cleats

Aside from golf, the indoor trainer was also able to penetrate the snowboarding world. The cleats were engineered for practicality and endurance, and that is exactly what wearers get from them. They rose to be among the top-performing snowboarding cleats after doing so well on the field.

How the Adidas Samba soccer cleat outlasted everyone else

The Adidas Samba might be over 65 years old, but it sure is one cleat that has never gone out of style. With over 35 million sales worldwide, it is the second bestselling Adidas cleat, next to the Stan Smith. It is also the longest cleat in production to date. Here are a few attributes of the Samba that made it the success that it is today:

  • Timeless appeal. Trends come and go, and hypes often last for but a moment. However, the true classics are those that go beyond time, place and style. The Samba is genuinely one multi-generational silhouette that remained constant, even with the changing times. It’s one cleat that has never lost its allure despite the diversity of trends and tastes of shoe lovers over the years.
  • Unintentional style. The earliest Sambas initially emphasized on its gum rubber outsole that allowed players to train on difficult terrain. However, its low-profile design, matched with the white-on-black contrast on its leather upper, stood out among shoe lovers, who found it fancy enough to wear off the pitch. It wasn’t long until the rest of the world caught up, and the Samba walked through multiple genres. Even after 65 years, the shoe does not only survive but is thriving so well.

Frequently asked questions 

Sorting through the wide selection of Sambas is not the easiest task. Here are a few questions that might help players and shoe enthusiasts make their choice.

What kind of fit can I expect from an Adidas Samba shoes?

This is quite a tricky question. With the many different styles and variations of current Samba shoes, there is no way of generalizing their fit. The truth is, wearers can expect a different experience from cleats of different materials.

The leather Samba variations usually offer a more snug wrap around the foot compared to those made of suede or canvas. They also perform better on the pitch, offering a clean first touch on the ball. However, since natural leather stretches over time, it can affect the overall fit of the cleat.

How do I go about cleaning my Adidas Samba shoes?

If you have leather Sambas, you can dust any dirt or dust off using a soft cloth or a soft brush. Most stains can readily be removed with a damp cloth rubbed gently against the leather surface. Once cleaned and dried, you can wipe a coat of cream or polish made just for leather. After which, you can buff it with a piece of flannel cloth to bring back its shine.

Suedes can be a bit tougher to clean, especially since it can get damaged when too wet. For small stains or dirt, you can gently brush them away using an old, dry toothbrush. For more stubborn stains, you can try putting a bit of suede shampoo on a damp sponge and applying it on the stain.

Are Samba soccer shoes only available in indoor and street versions?

Though Adidas has designed the Sambas for indoor and street pitch use, the brand has recently released firm ground versions of the cleat. These include the Adidas Samba Primeknit Firm Ground and the Adidas Copa Mundial Samba Firm Ground.