adidas Bamba


The adidas Bamba, often seen as the poor relation to the Samba, was released in the mid ’70s, followed closely by the Mamba.

This was once a shoe that was overlooked due to it being constructed of poorer quality leather. However, this wasn’t truly the case, as the leather on the Bamba was treated to be water repellent for longevity on wet pitches. Other models available at the same time were certainly more desirable, especially the adidas V.I.P and Ringo, but in the cash-strapped early 80s you were very happy if you could wangle some Bamba out of your parents.

Originally seen mostly in playgrounds across the land, and in the UK certainly, the Bamba and its siblings were one of the most popular training shoes worn on the youth of the day. With its hard wearing ability as a football training shoe, it was perfectly suited to the everyday hardship a youngster could throw at it, and it was also a common sight on the cold, concrete football terraces of the day, with older lads splitting the hems of their jeans to cover the laces.

On its initial release, the Bamba shared the sole construction of the Zürich model and was available with white stripes, and then red stripes. The Bamba went through a variety of subtle design changes and settled on the design we see here as the most recognisable. With the distinctive white toe bumper and sole unit that were ‘borrowed’ from the Samba, the suede toe box was better protected than the earlier models, although to find a pristine original example would be a small miracle today.

A renaissance has arisen in recent years for the Bamba with a small flurry of re-releases over the last five years or so, which included an adidas Consortium edition, using premium leather for the uppers, an OG colourway to match our example here, and a couple of mainstream nubuck versions from a certain high street retailer.

written by Mike Stopforth

photography by errol

shoes contributed by Fritze

  • Dqqq

    Great write-up!