Soaring in popularity at the start of 2023, the adidas Samba and Gazelle models have taken the footwear scene by storm. Worn by many influencers and celebrities, these two in-demand silhouettes take on very similar designs with only very small differences setting them apart. Here, we take a look at both styles, their long-standing history and key distinctions.

Released in 1949, the adidas Samba sneaker was originally designed for indoor football training. Often featuring a T-shaped overlay on its toe, trademark branding and a durable gum sole, the Samba also famously showcases a mixture of suede and leather materials.

Unveiled almost two decades later in 1966, the Gazelle also had sporty beginnings. Inspired by existing adidas training shoes, the model went on to infiltrate hip-hop and skate culture in the ‘90s. With many similarities between the two silhouettes, questions are now being asked as to what separates the Gazelle and the Samba.

One of the main variations is the sole units, with the Samba almost always offering a gum sole and the Gazelle a standard foam formation. The heel tabs of the two also differ, with the Samba featuring a ribbed, cut-out section and the Gazelle boasting a smooth leather overlay. Lastly, the texture of the treads underfoot feature different designs — the Samba having a turning point from its football training roots and the Gazelle crafted with a hexagonal finish.

While there are differences between both shoes, the Samba and Gazelle silhouettes have had an equal effect on the landscape of footwear. With new collaborations and colourways expected to release in 2023, both styles deserve a place in the sneaker hall of fame.