The History Of The Adidas Samba AKA The It Girl Shoe

Brb, buying a new pair.

Image via Instagram, @ssayoud

Who knew a soccer shoe would become a fashion staple?

Worn by A-listers like Bella Hadid, Jennifer Lawrence and Austin Butler, the timeless Adidas Sambas have really stood the test of time, with a history that goes back as far as the 1950s.

The 74-year-old Sambas were first designed in 1949 by the founder of Adidas, Adi Dassler. The all-black shoe, with the classic three white stripes, was created with a gum sole that would enable soccer players to withstand rigid and icy surfaces when playing.


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Basically when Gen Zs re-branded sambas as the ‘soccer dad shoes’, they weren’t making it up!

The shoes were officially released in 1950, and they used a clever marketing strategy to boost sales. They named the shoe the Samba, which is a popular Brazilian music and dance genre – and released it right before the FIFA World Cup in Brazil!

In the 1970s, the Adidas three stripe became the hallmark of football fanatics. In the mid-70s, Liverpool FC’s Anny Road Crew were the first group of football fans to deviate from the British, ‘boot-boy’ look, popularising the ‘Football Casuals’ look.

This is when the Adidas Sambas began to cross over into other athletic activities and became the stars of high street fashion. Essentially our Liverpool supporting dads are the real trendsetters here!


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In the 90s, the shoe became a popular choice for skateboarders. A huge buzz was created around Sambas when the likes of Oasis brought attention to the shoe, leading them to become a symbolic object in pop culture.

A pair of burgundy sambas were worn by the infamous Ewan McGregor in the film Trainspotting in 1966. (We need to see Obi-Wan Kenobi in a pair!)

As the decades rolled over, the Sambas remodelled and modified themselves, slowly becoming more like the style of shoe we know and love today.


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There was a huge nosedive in the popularity of the shoe in the mid to late 2000s, as they became known as a classic shoe for dads.

However, 2023 has signalled a return of the 90s, where our dads are our fashion idols – and Sambas are a fashion necessity.

If you head over to eBay Ireland you’ll find plenty of pre-loved pairs available to buy – so you can be sustainable and Samba sporting too!

Models and celebrities around the world are making absolutely sure that we know the Sambas are back and they are here to stay!


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These Adidas classics with their lengthy history, are possibly the most iconic shoes to walk the earth.

So get your Samba shoes on and let’s dance!

Words by Shauna Whyte