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Adidas Samba vs Gazelle: Which Shoe is Best?

Adidas Samba vs Gazelle
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Adidas is known to sell some of the most iconic trainers in the world. Throughout its history, the brand has become a mainstay in fashion by creating perennially stylish and comfortable silhouettes.

Two of its most iconic trainers, which never seem to be too far away from the cultural zeitgeist, are the Samba and Gazelle.

In this guide from the lifestyle news section of our blog, we put these two giants of the trainer industry under the microscope to see which comes out on top. If you’re struggling to choose a new pair of trainers, let us help settle the Adidas Gazelle vs Samba debate as we take a closer look at the quality, significance, and cost of these two iconic shoes.

A Brief History of Adidas

It's fair to say that Adidas is a streetwear staple nowadays, but like many companies, it was born into humble beginnings. Adi Dassler registered his company in 1924, aiming to provide excellent running shoes to athletes while working from his mother's laundry room in Bavaria.

Fast forward to 1949, and the Adidas Samba was released. Staying true to the brand’s Germanic roots, these trainers were designed for footballers to play on hard or icy ground. The Samba is Adidas' oldest shoe, but are they the best?

A little later on, in 1966, the Gazelle burst onto the scene. These were first sold as an all-round athletics shoe and released in red and blue colourways: red for outdoor sports and blue for indoor sports. The Gazelle was also Adidas' first suede shoe, originally dubbed ‘kangaroo velour;’ the fabric is now a mainstay of trainers across the brand’s collections. 

Both shoes were initially created for sports performance, but as technology has advanced, they have become casualwear front-runners instead. Now you know a little about the backstory of these shoes, let’s see how they fair in our comparison.

Adidas Samba vs Gazelle: Which is better?


When it comes to quality, there is little to separate two of Adidas' favourite sons. Whether you opt for the vegan, leather, or suede offerings, both shoes are made from top materials.

Jumping into the actual feel of the shoes, the differences become more apparent.

The Samba is a simple but effective shoe with a lightweight upper that provides a breathable yet supportive feel. The shoe offers minimal insole support, so if you're looking for a flat shoe, you'll love the Sambas.

The Samba’s sole is known for being exceptionally grippy, thanks to its original purpose as a hard/slippy surface sports shoe. The rubber sole uses classic technology and feels reliable and sturdy.

The Gazelle, on the other hand, offers a more cushioned experience to your feet, with help from a foam tongue and increased padding around the sides and heel. This shoe is perfect if you like a compact, tighter feeling on your feet. Compared to the Samba, the Gazelle’s insole has a little more care, too, with a slight arch and increased padding.

In tribute to their indoor sportswear roots, Gazelles feature their iconic micro-hexagonal patterned sole, which means they’re not as grippy as the Samba, but still feel great on the street.

Adidas Samba score: 7.5/10

Adidas Gazelle score: 8/10

If you’re interested in high-quality clothing but don’t want to break the bank, check out our blog on the Best Affordable Luxury Clothing Brands.


Depending on the type and style of trainer you buy, Sambas and Gazelles can cost around £70-£90 each, which is an excellent price for a super-wearable, quality shoe. 

Picking up a pair of Adidas Gazelles or Sambas is a perfect way to level up your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

If you want to splash out on a pair of trainers, you’ll be happy to know that the Samba and Gazelle have been part of some big collaborations resulting in trainers worth thousands. 

One of these was a rare sample of an Adidas Samba made with Liverpool FC, which was listed on eBay for £2,800. Not to be outdone, the Gazelles from the Adidas x Gucci collaboration frequently sell for over four figures on resale websites StockX

Adidas Samba score: 8/10

Adidas Gazelle score: 8/10

Design and style

The similarities in Samba and Gazelle shoes are plain to see: the timeless silhouette, low profile, high-quality finishing, and iconic three stripes are present on both trainers. If we're being completely honest, it takes the keen eye of a certified sneaker-head to tell the two apart.

Both shoes hold their own with the retro stitching around the toe cap, sometimes called the "T toe cap", with the main clear difference between the shoes being the Samba's toe cap, which wraps further inward, looking more like a W.

While there’s nothing quite like the look of a white leather Samba, the suede of the Gazelle is a firm favourite and a much-loved detail. It’s paved the way for suede trainers going forward and looks great, whatever the occasion.

The Gazelle and Samba are available in a myriad of hues, with both contrasting and matching three-striped designs. So, whether your style’s vibrant maximalist or sleek monochrome minimalist, there will be a pair of trainers to match your preferences. 

Adidas Samba score: 7/10

Adidas Gazelle score: 8/10


Both trainers are making waves in current pop culture; there's no doubt about it. With this being said, these shoes aren't particularly exclusive in their standard colourways. And the classic design of both the Gazelle and Samba means they’re present in the wardrobes of fashionistas young and old. 

Looking at partnerships, some super sought-after collaborative colourways have caught the attention of trainer connoisseurs, especially over the past couple of years.

Adidas has collaborated with the likes of Gucci and Sean Wotherspoon to create limited editions of Gazelles that have turned the heads of resellers. 

The Samba has also been in on the collaboration action, with designers like Wales Bonner, Pharrell Williams, and Ronnie Fieg creating their own Samba iterations.

Adidas Samba score: 8/10

Adidas Gazelle score: 6/10

Have you got a taste for the finer things in life? Check out our guide to the Best Luxury Shoe Brands for more premium pieces. 

Cultural significance

Both trainers have been a popular choice for the functional and the fashionable since they hit the scene. It's fair to say Adidas has had the world in a foothold for the better part of a century.

In recent years, Sambas can be seen on the feet of style icons like Kendall Jenner and Rihanna. Super-global-rockstar Harry Styles is also a massive advocate of the three-striped soccer shoe. Simply put, the Adidas Samba is often featured in the wardrobes of the stars.

Having said this, the Gazelle is just as significant, if not slightly more. Brad Pitt is a known fan of the shoe and even rocked the black and white colourway at the Venice International Film Festival in 2022. Elsewhere, Normal People actor and heart-throb Paul Mescal is a known champion of the Gazelle. 

The Gazelle was also tastefully worn by Egyptian footballer Mo Salah on the front cover of GQ in 2022.

Adidas Samba score: 7/10

Adidas Gazelle score: 8/10

Final Scores

Whatever happens, these two pairs of trainers are essential for any fashionista's wardrobe. But there has to be a winner… let’s see the final scores.

Adidas Samba score: 37.5/50

Adidas Gazelle score: 38/50

By the width of a gum sole, the Gazelle has won it. The Samba may receive some crazy clout, but you can't beat the blend of comfort and class that the Gazelle brings to the table. With both being great shoes, it was hard to pick between them, but there always has to be a winner.

We’ve established that the Gazelle is slightly better than the Samba, but how does Adidas compare against another sportswear giant, Nike? Read our guide here: Nike vs. Adidas: Which Brand is Best?

Step Up Your Trainer Collection 

Interested in picking up some of the trendiest kicks on the market? If you're interested in some of the collaboration pairs, they can cost you a pretty penny.

If you want to keep your ear close to the street, we have many more clothing reviews ready to jump into.


Are Sambas or Gazelles more comfortable?

Both shoes have a different feel, so it is primarily down to preference. Opt for a pair of Sambas if you prefer a simple feel with a wider fit. More inclined towards cushioning and support? Gazelles might be your best bet.

What is the difference between Sambas and Gazelles?

Designed at different times and originally for various sports, there are some clear feel differences between the Samba and the Gazelle. Looking at materials first, the Gazelle is a largely suede trainer, whereas the Samba is often made of leather.

Thinking about conception. The Gazelle was made as an all-round athletics shoe, providing more cushioning to the feet than the football-style Samba, which focuses more on a lightweight feel. 

Why are Adidas Sambas so popular?

The Adidas Samba has stood the test of time thanks to its classic, low-profile silhouette, neutral colour palettes, and the trendsetters who love to wear the shoe. In short, the Samba is an iconic and versatile shoe that looks good for a fair price, and that will always be appealing.



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