Are Adidas Samba Shoes Good For Running?

Known for being an indoor soccer shoe, many would think that the Adidas Samba would be good for running. However, can the shoe survive the harsh, rugged terrains of the outdoors?

Is the Adidas Samba a running shoe?

The Adidas Samba is not a running shoe. While it was originally designed as a soccer shoe in 1949, the Adidas Samba is mostly worn as a fashion sneaker and not for running.

Back then, the design was made to help soccer players train on icy, hard ground (hence the suction design on the gum sole). Today, some people wear the shoes for streetwear and training.

Are Adidas Sambas Good For Running?

The Adidas Samba is not good for running because it lacks cushioning, which is needed to absorb the impact as your foot strikes the ground. The shoe also lacks breathability due to the leather.

Here are 4 reasons why the Adidas Samba is not good for running:

1. The shoe lacks cushioning

The cushioning in running shoes is determined by two things: the firmness of the foam and the thickness (also known as stack height) of the shoe material between your feet and the ground.

Modern running shoes have a midsole made of foam, typically EVA or polyurethane, that helps absorb the impact as your feet strike the ground. This decreases the stress your muscles and tendons have to endure during running.

Whether you prefer a plush, soft ride for extra comfort, or minimal cushioning, one thing is certain: the Adidas Samba lacks the ability to absorb the impact during each running stride. 

Because the Adidas Samba does not have innovative running technology, it won’t provide you with a soft area to smooth the landing and give you more force to run faster.

Running once or twice with the Adidas Samba won’t harm your body, but do it over the course of more than a few months and it will definitely take its toll on your knees, tendons, and ligaments.

2. The rubber gum is too delicate for running

Many would think that due to the construction of the Adidas Samba (minimal cushioning and thin leather upper), it is a great minimalist shoe for running.

However, this is not the case.

A good minimalist running shoe has high flexibility and less stability, while the Adidas Samba (an indoor soccer shoe) has a stiffer sole and a stable base, making the shoe quite stiff.

Additionally, it also has a rubber gum outsole, a unique technology designed for maximum traction on hard surfaces of the court, but not for running in harsh, rugged terrains.

The rubber gum is delicate and may easily get damaged on rough surfaces. Once the rubber outsole of the Adidas Samba is damaged, the shoe will lose its grip on the court.

While you can run short distances and on smooth surfaces, you should not rely on the Adidas Samba for running in the great outdoors due to its lack of traction and flexibility.

3. The upper is not breathable enough

Your feet are likely to sweat during a run and more so if it’s a hotter day than usual. You will need breathable running shoes that provide enough airflow to circulate the moisture inside.

The Adidas Samba is made with a premium leather upper. Leather is a great material for casual fashion sneakers, but it does little to provide breathability during running.

The lack of ventilation will make your feet sweat more than they should. As a result, it can lead to complications such as athlete’s foot, where fungus thrives in warm, moist areas.

Instead, go for running shoes made with breathable mesh material. Mesh moves the moisture away to sit on the fabric rather than your foot which minimizes chafing and maximizes comfort.

4. Narrow shape may be uncomfortable for running

Getting a good shoe fit is important for runners.

As a general rule of thumb (pun intended), aim for a thumbnail’s length of space in the toe box. A good way to determine this is that you should be able to wiggle your toes inside the shoes.

Unfortunately, the Adidas Samba is known for being narrow. Due to its narrow toe box and thin construction, the shoe is not favorable for runners with wide feet.

The narrow toe box of the Adidas Samba won’t provide you with the necessary space needed for running in comfort. It will definitely cause you to want to stop running as soon as possible.

You also need to consider that you will be wearing socks during running.

Remember, make sure your running shoes are comfortable from the get-go. If you feel like you need time to break into the shoes, then they’re probably not good for running.

Are Adidas Samba shoes good for walking?

While the Adidas Samba is not good for running, it is good enough for walking. In fact, the shoe is an athletic trainer inspired by soccer that is mostly worn as casual sneakers for daily walking.

Verdict: Please don’t run in Adidas Samba

I’d like to close this article with a story.

During my first few months of running, I invested in an expensive pair of running shoes (Nike Zoom Alphafly). It was raining badly on a Sunday so I wore my old trainers, the Adidas Samba.

I wore the Adidas Samba because I didn’t want to ruin my expensive running shoes.

I definitely regretted that decision.

The next day, my knees hurt and I felt an ache in the arch of my right foot that I hadn’t felt in a while. Only after switching back to my running sneakers did the pain disappear.

So please, if you are dealing with running injuries or pain in certain areas, check your shoes. An expensive pair of running shoes is an investment and it can help you stay injury-free.

My advice is to never run in Adidas Samba shoes. Yes, they are athletic trainers, but they are best worn for walking and casual purposes. Run in performance running sneakers instead.

If you’re serious about running, do yourself a favor and invest in running shoes. Not only will you have a more enjoyable time running, but you also prevent injuries in the future.

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