MADE IN: WEST GERMANY
The adidas Bamba, often seen as the poor relation to the Samba was released in the mid 1970’s, followed closely by the Mamba.
Once a shoe that was overlooked due to it being constructed of poorer quality leather, this was not really the case, as the leather on the Bamba was treated to be water repellent for longevity on wet pitches. Other models available at the time were certainly more desirable, especially the V.I.P and Ringo, but in the cash strapped early 1980’s you were very happy if you could wangle some Bamba out of your parents.
Originally seen mostly in playgrounds across the land, the Bamba and its siblings were one of the most popular training shoes worn by 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 its way. It was also a common site on the cold concrete football terraces, with older lads splitting the hems of their jeans to cover the laces.
On initial release, the Bamba shared the sole construction of the Zurich model and was available with white stripes 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, 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, one of which included a Consortium edition. Using premium leather on the uppers, in an OG colourway to match the example seen here. There have also been a couple of mainstream nubuck versions from a certain high street retailer.
Text: Mike Stopforth