Sneakers - August 2, 2022

Why Is the adidas Samba so Popular?

Elhadji Mare

Elhadji is a Content Manager and Writer @ StockX

Want to know why and how the adidas Samba has become so popular? We dive into the soccer sneaker's history and current position within pop culture.

Want to know why and how the adidas Samba has become so popular? We dive into the soccer sneaker's history and current position within pop culture.

Hidden NY just posted the Sambas, they’re gonna keep going off,” 

This was the surprisingly declarative statement from one of my StockX colleagues as we were discussing the state of sneakers a few weeks back. When he said this to me, I instantly said “Sambas?!” not really understanding the logic of the sneaker’s popularity. My previous understanding of the Samba was that it was just a lowkey, inexpensive shoe made popular by UK hooligan culture and indoor soccer leagues. Never did I expect to learn about the momentous wave of adoration the sneaker has garnered over the past two years. Which brings us to the current day.

The adidas Samba is now one of the top trending sneakers out. Thanks to a slew of collaborations with notable fashion brands like Wales Bonner and Kith, it’s now being sported by some of today’s most fashionable celebs. The spike in popularity is more than just pure happenstance. To uncover why the adidas Samba is so popular, we’re diving into the history of the sneaker, understanding the data behind the Samba silhouette, and looking closer at the “why” behind their key collaborations. 

Image by adidas

The History of the adidas Samba

The adidas Samba wasn’t always an indoor soccer sneaker. In fact, the sneaker started out as a solution to ice-covered pitches in the UK, as the limited selection of options were neither fully functional nor well-made. Back in the 1940s, adidas founder and designer Adi Dassler, made the very first Samba specifically to provide traction on icy soccer fields. Over the years, the shoe went through a series of modifications to its shape and design, to adapt to other sports and iterations of soccer. 5-A-Side courts were beginning to pop up across Europe in the 1970s and with its use of turf grounds, the Samba would be the sneaker of choice thanks to its traction-heavy outsole. In the 1990s, skateboarders discovered the shoe’s unbeatable traction and would wear them to assist with landing their various tricks. The Samba has worn many hats within its over 80-year span and has now, somewhat surprisingly, entered a new playing field: the runway.

Why? The Two Cs: Celebs & Collaborations 

A pop culture favorite over the past two years, the adidas Samba has been seen on the feet of fashion-front liners like A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, and Bella Hadid. And the Samba has become a blank canvas for many of adidas’s key collaborators like Jonah Hill, Jason Dill, and most prominently, Wales Bonner. Grace Wales Bonner, founder of the eponymous brand, first worked with the Samba back in 2020 and featured it in their London Fashion Week show that same year. Since then, six other iterations of the Samba from Wales Bonner have dropped and are currently the most popular Sambas on StockX, out-performing the OG Samba colorway and other versions. Outside of Wales Bonner, brands like Kith, Pleasures, and Oyster Holdings have all dipped their toes into the Samba pool, bringing fresh perspectives and new looks to the traditional silhouette. With the abundance of collaborations and celebrity sneaker sightings, the adidas Samba has reached a new level of popularity and interest amongst consumers worldwide.

The Data Doesn’t Lie

Based on data from Google Trends, demand for the adidas Samba is at an all-time high. Currently, in the United States, search volume for the adidas Samba has peaked at 100% for 2022 thus far, a first for the country and the highest it’s ever been since 2004. Outside of the United States, interest in the Samba has also increased worldwide, with three of the top ten countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Croatia leading the pack in terms of search volume. 

Search term data showing the spike in searches for “adidas samba” in the United States

One could say that collaborations and celebrity appeal have helped elevate the Samba to its current position within sneaker culture. But another key point may be its price tag. At retail, the Samba sells for anywhere between $90-100, and can be found for even lower prices on StockX. This price point puts the Samba in an attainable sweet spot for anyone looking for an everyday sneaker, putting it in the same vein as the Nike Air Force 1 or Blazer. It’s a true perfect storm for the adidas Samba to be spiking the way it is in search terms.

Final Words

Maybe you were like me, confused at how a utilitarian shoe like the Samba could be considered the preeminent shoe of current culture. But looking closely at the sneaker’s lineage and influence, the adidas Samba is a 80+-year-old sneaker that can still step with the best of them.  


Shop the adidas Samba on StockX where they’re always available and authentic.