Arguably the shoe of 2022 and 2023, the adidas Samba has seen huge success from every level of the market. General releases of the OG Samba have been selling out at below £100 and striking designer collaborations that launched trends all of their own (looking at you, silver Wales Bonner Sambas) are also like gold dust at retail. 

With all this exposure and now moving into what is likely to be the third year of the Samba, you might be asking yourself — are Sambas still cool? 

The obvious answer is that it’s entirely down to the individual. If you were an early adopter of the return of the sporty shoe that was a star of the TikTok For You Page throughout early 2022, then you might find yourself beginning to look elsewhere for the next sneaker that is going to be the focus of your outfits moving forward. For those who are only just coming to see the Samba for the icon that it is, however, fear not. The ship has far from sailed on the low-key, retro sneaker that found itself on the feet of some of fashion’s most looked to influencers like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner. 

The biggest showcase of this is the fact that brands are still lining up to put their own spin on the Samba. Only this month Wales Bonner released four all-new pony hair options to build on the success of their ongoing collaborations with adidas, bringing us a new bold follow up to the ‘silver surfers’ of summer ‘23 in form of an fully leopard print upper that is sure to be across everyone’s social media feeds well into the new year. 

Along with Wales Bonner, LA based Sporty and Rich are also a returning collaborator with legions of dedicated fans, releasing another duo of vintage-feel sneakers that are decidedly more subtle than anything animal print. Sporty and Rich keep the OG Samba’s white upper, gum sole and suede contrasts on the toe, with vibrant contrasting colours adorning the iconic three stripes and heel tab — these Sambas look straight out of the coolest archival Pinterest moodboard you could find. 

It’s not just ongoing collaborations that are keeping the Samba train well and truly going — minimal designer extraordinaire Justin Saunders and his brand JJJJound are releasing two collaborative pairs in spring 2024, and they’re as inconspicuous as you’d expect from the brand that has the most low-key collaborations going. Jjjjound has, in recent years, released subtly different colourways of the New Balance 990, Reebok Club-C and Asics Gel-Kayano 14 — with each pair sitting firmly in the ‘if you know you know’ category of sneaker collabs, featuring the most minimal of branding that if you’re not clued up on the specific colourways, you could easily mistake them for general release pairs. Not that that stops the collaborative sneakers selling out within minutes and becoming hugely sought-after on the secondary market. 

For Jjjjounds take on the Samba the playbook remains much the same. A black pair that follows very much in the footprints of adidas’ OG black/white pairs, with contrasting suede T-shaped panel, white three stripes and a gum sole — only the ‘Jjjjound’ seen on the heel tab to signify them as a joint release. A detail even more subtle than Sporty and Rich’s approach. 

The second pair pushes the sneaker into different territory. A heavy brushed, tan suede upper that gives a fuzzy appearance and tonal contrasting details make for a sneaker that is sure to be another popular release from arguably the tastemaker.

Emerging luxury brands, too, are still looking to the Samba to put themselves on the map. 

This September LABRUM, a London based brand that draws influence from the founders West African heritage, debuted a pair of Sambas during their London Fashion Week catwalk show. 

Talking about the show, the brand was quoted as saying that the collection consists of ‘silhouettes [that are] drawn from the ‘70s migration’, so it’s unsurprising to see a retro style so associated with that era being showcased alongside the clothing. 

LABRUMs Samba features subtly contrasting shades of brown and deep red, accented by a stark black toe box, sides and laces. The bold white three stripes proudly sitting in contrast to the overall subdued upper making it unmistakable what sneaker the brand is partnering with. 

So, the Samba is still getting hefty co-signs from some of the best in the game, but more than being a trend, adidas have been making the Samba for almost 75 years (read more about the sneakers world cup origins here). It’s a sneaker that is the definition of timeless, and as is the case with anything personal style related, if you think it’s cool, then it is. We all have particular styles that we’re drawn to whether it’s down to the brands that are collaborating on a pair of sneakers, or the history of that style of shoe, so if you’re only just looking at the adidas Samba and thinking it’s cool, then don’t let the ebbs and flows of a trend cycle stop you from getting a pair into your rotation.