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The Blog from Oi Polloi presents: by Nigel Lawson •

adidas have brought back the Samba. They go on sale fairly soon, but until then, here’s Nigel waxing lyrical about his original pair…

The Samba is an important trainer for adidas, as it’s the one they’ve been making the longest. The first ones came out in the early 50s. It’s a football boot, without the screw-in stud. Football was adidas’s biggest market — the football boot was the first sports shoe that everyone recognized, because football was the most popular sport in Britain.

The Samba was the first football ‘trainer’. You could wear it on cinder, astroturf and concrete. That’s why people had them at school... or the baby of the Samba, the Kick. I remember on my first ever day of school, everybody had adidas Kick on. Samba was the expensive one, you had to be serious about football to have these.

This one has got a trefoil on it, so it must be from 72 onwards. I think it was the 23rd of October, 1972 that all the trademark laws came into being. If that’s the wrong date, it’s not far off — it says it on the old Lacoste labels. Every brand at that time had to trademark their logos to stop them from getting copied. Before that, adidas had no trademark and no trefoil; they just had the word adidas.

I’ve only had these for seven or eight months. They’re deadstock ones, in the box, and I got them under the radar on eBay. The white stripe was the most popular, I never saw these ones with the yellow stripes as a kid. There’s an orange stripe one too.

They always say these bright colours were for shock in battle, like when the guys who used to design military kit in the 1840s or whenever used to use red. I think with football, a lot of the colours are there to dazzle people’s eyes. Nowadays everyone’s got bright yellow and orange football boots.

One of the guys who used to work here, his dad, Mark Prestage, used to wear Samba in 72. He wore them with Fred Perry polo shirts and Wrangler jeans. I said, “Did you buy them for football?” And he said, “No, they were just for marching around Manchester in.” That’s quite an early flavour. He was top boy I suppose, but that term didn’t come until much later.

He said he got them at Hurley’s. Not Hurley’s on Piccadilly Approach, but Hurley’s in Piccadilly Gardens, underneath where Burger King is now. I don’t remember that shop at all. At that time, wearing these really expensive football trainers was showing off to the nth degree.

The adidas Samba SPZL and the Bulhill SPZL go on sale at 00:01 on Thursday the 3rd of November. 

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The people say...

  • Duncan Disorderly

    Anyone recall the Harrier or was it just one for us shandy-drinking Southerners? All black on top, orange sole, gold trefoil. £8.99 back in 1982. Perfect for kicking empty Hofmeister cans on the way home from school

  • john mccormick

    Samba was the trainer of choice for us poor lads but most of us had KIck. The boys from the “bought houses” had Samba , council house lads had Kick. Same with football boots, Santiago was the top one with the long tongue you could fold over, most of us had Inter , £2 cheaper and short tongue. Happy days.

  • Jimbob

    We all had kicks. Paid 9.99! In just sport in Newcastle. This shop is still there now. Samba were the most expensive trainers I had ever seen at 22.99. Until I saw munchens and Borg in 83/84. Thought my dad was going to faint when he saw the price sticker! Does anyone remember the tongues coming out of the kick and the sambas easily? Glad these have been brought back. I hate the super samba with a passion .

  • Iain SInclair

    Great shoe but bad news for white socks, always left black/grey marks!

  • nick wilson

    Kick were 20 quid from the catalogue in the mid 80s.

  • EDDIE ElVIS

    Samba Bamba Mamba then Kick. My first ever pair of adidas were Kick! I know they were half the price of Samba but still a massive importance in trainer history because not everyone in Liverpool as kids could afford Samba so opt for the Kick instead. Thems the days!! ?

  • stephen parkin

    not forgetting mamba and all black. I have to disagree on the reason for wearing samba over kick, in the 70’s as a pre teen I wore kick because I saved all my money to buy them around £12 if I remember right whereas samba were almost double that price and well out of my reach although my spoilt mate had all black which were dearer than the other two. And I bought mine at Hurley’s on Salford precinct .

  • Bruce weir

    Wasn’t there one betwween the kick and the samba called bamba?

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