Has anyone else been trying — for freaking months — to get their hands on a pair of adidas Sambas?! I even signed up for and received a back-in-stock alert, but by the time I went to purchase (I swear, just mere minutes after receiving the email) the Sambas were all sold out again.
Unless, of course, you wear men’s sizes 8 and up — those sizes are more often stocked. This means, yes, my son does now own a pair of Sambas. Made me a bit of a hero, actually. I bought him a pair several months ago, and he’s just now realizing that they’re the cool shoe at school.
Gahhhhh Sambas are wasted on him.
The adidas Samba Classic, OG, Vegan & Velosamba: What’s the Difference?
For those of you who didn’t live through the ’90s, it was then that Sambas became popular as indoor soccer shoes (they’d gone through several inceptions since their 1949 debut) as well as adopted by skaters. This meant that we wore them with everything from our Umbros (haha), to baggy, low-rise Levi’s, and, occasionally, with a slip dress (layered over a t-shirt, naturally).
adidas has now brought those ’90s styles back (specifically the ‘classic’ and OG), along with a few fresh tweaks.
Personally, the vegan Sambas are the sneaker I’m stalking. But the OG Samba is the classic leather version, the Samba Classic is the old soccer shoe, and the Velosamba has a connection point in the sole for clicking into bike pedals. adidas claims you can still easily walk around in Velosambas, but it doesn’t sound ideal.
OG Samba | Vegan Samba | Velosamba Vegan | Samba Classic
10 Cute Low-Top Sneaker Alternatives to adidas Sambas
In any case, I’ve given up — at least for now — on Sambas. I’m still going to keep an eye on inventory, waiting for my size…but in the meantime, I’m going to try a Samba-like shoe, as a way of freshening up my typical t-shirt-and-jeans this spring.
While I’ve been a longtime lover of adidas Superstars — I’ve worn them with literally everything, everywhere — the lower profile silhouette of the Samba (or a Samba-like shoe) will be a fresh twist.
Do Sambas, or Samba-like shoes have the staying power of my beloved Superstars? Time will tell, but I do have a good feeling about this new direction. And frankly, watching Amy rock hers over and over and over has me green with envy. (I’ll bet she’s a men’s size 8.)
Puma Super Liga OG Retro | Nike SB Pogo | adidas Nora | adidas Gazelle | adidas Busenitz Vulc II | adidas Gazelle Bold | Harlow Leather Sneaker | Catiba Pro Low | Gola Badminton | Vans Authentic
The adidas Samba Look-Alikes I’d Actually Love To Wear
I ended up going with the adidas Gazelle Bold in black. These have a similar vibe to the Sambas, but with a bit of a platform (and a really comfy, cushy insole). Even with the platform, the shoe still reads very low-profile…but still solves my short-girl problems when I’m wearing them with full-length jeans. I thought these would be useful shoes, even after I eventually score my own pair of Sambas. Forever an optimist! 😉
1. Puma Super Liga OG Retro
These Pumas are easily the closest Samba lookalikes I’ve found: low profile, gum sole, and Samba-like detailing. Annoyingly, only men’s sizes.
2. Nike SB Pogo
The SB Pogo is Nike’s version of the Samba. These come in both men’s and women’s sizes, as well as white or black.
3. adidas Nora
Technically a skateboarding shoe, these adidas Noras come in some cool colorways, but the ones that look the most like Sambas are…you guessed it…almost always sold out.
4. adidas Gazelle
The adidas Gazelles come in a zillion colors and are constantly popping in/out of stock. These have a very similar profile to the Sambas when on.
5. adidas Busenitz Vulc II
Stock is still looking pretty good on the Busenitz Vulcs, and they’re very similar to Adidas Gazelles (and Sambas).
6. adidas Gazelle Bold
These are the shoes I just got! Despite the chunky sole, the Gazelle Bold is giving low-profile, Samba-like vibes, and are different enough to still be useful once I score my Sambas.
7. Harlow Leather Sneaker
Reformation’s sustainably made Harlow Leather sneaker is understated cool, even without the Samba hook. Such a cool shoe.
8. Catiba Pro Low
Cariumas are some of the most sustainably made shoes on the planet, and, thanks to a cork footbed, incredibly comfortable, too. Love the gum sole on this vintage style.
9. Gola Badminton
Gola’s badminton shoes have some very Samba-like details. They also come in several bright color options, too.
10. Vans Authentic
These Vans made the list because they have that Samba-like low profile, as well as a similar vibe, if not an exact lookalike. Perfect for someone who always wants something a little different.