Adidas Samba Vegan Shoes Review

vegan Adidas Samba

Adidas is fighting for the market’s attention with its new “Our Icons Go Vegan” line of cruelty-free shoes. Lately, the brand launched vegan new editions of its classic footwear to make it accessible to a segment of customers that couldn’t put their hands on their products before.

Back in the 1950s, Adidas Samba caused a stir in the world of indoor soccer shoes and climbed to the top of the bestseller list immediately. The model hasn’t died to this day and is still roaming the streets on the feet of classic footwear lovers. 

When Adidas released a new vegan version of these iconic soccer sneakers, we were intrigued to know whether these shoes are as good as their predecessor. We’ve dug in deep and got our answers. So, if you’re on the fence whether or not to buy the new Adidas Samba Vegan, continue reading to find your answer in our in-depth review.

>> Read more: The best vegan Adidas shoes

At a Glance

This vegan edition from Adidas Samba will be your best fashion and athletic mate. If you choose to purchase this model, you’ll get a stylish look, lightweight build, grippy fit, and sturdy construction, all with a price that will make your bank account breathe a sigh of relief. 


Elegant retro style
Lightweight and low-profile design
Strong, grippy soles
Completely cruelty-free construction
Highly durable waterproof materials
Great responsiveness for athletes
Attractive price
Made to last a lifetime


Thin insoles 
Sizes run small
Not comfortable for broad feet
Not breathable
Cheap-looking vegan suede on the toe box

Adidas Samba Vegan Leather Sneaker Review – Detailed Review

The short story is that they’re stylish, comfortable, cruel-free, and an overall a top-notch choice, but if you want a better idea regarding the Adidas Samba, let’s delve into the details in this section.

1. Style

vegan Adidas Samba shoe

At first glance, you won’t be able to distinguish between Sambe Vegan and the original Samba. That’s because Adidas has maintained the appearance of the older version with its retro style and vintage-inspired aesthetics. 

After a closer inspection, the only difference you’ll spot is the “Adidas Original Vegan” logo on the back heel. It’s put there for the sole reason of giving customers a thing to distinguish between the two models because they look exactly the same.

The shoes boast a sportive look that leans more toward minimal rather than anything too edgy or flashy like today’s sports footwear. Showing Adidas’s “three-stripes” trademark at each side panel along with Adidas’ trefoil label on the tongue and heel patch, you can tell they’re classic.

They also come in black and white with brown outsoles, making them suitable to wear with anything from athletic clothes to casual workwear.

2. Materials

Here comes the core difference between the new and older edition. Adidas abandoned all animal-derived materials in this model and only used cruelty-free ones. There isn’t even a hint of animal-based glue or dyes. 

Instead of animal leather, the upper is made of recycled polyester that’s coated with polyurethane. The fabric is waterproof and looks the same as the real deal to the point that if you don’t know that the pair you’re holding are vegan, we doubt you’ll be able to tell the difference. 

Adidas has paid close attention to the details to make this model equal in quality to its animal-based twin. Like leather, the fabric used is highly resistant to humidity, heat, and light. Besides, it’s less vulnerable to scratching and chemical cleaning. It tends to crease up more than real leather but feels softer than most artificial leathers. 

Furthermore, You can clean it the same way you clean leather, though it’s more forgiving. Using cold water and detergent along with a bristle brush, you can scrub the shoes and wash away all the dirt. 

With that being said, this version of Adidas Samba is entirely safe for vegans and those who try to avoid animal-based products as much as they can. 

If there’s anything we’d complain about, it’s the quality of the vegan suede used in the toe box. Unlike the faux leather covering the rest of the shoes, it feels synthetic and less napped, which isn’t a huge issue but rather a disappointment in the aesthetics and feel of the shoes. 

3. Outsole

outsole of the vegan Adidas Samba shoe

The hallmark of this model is its grippy and non-marking outsoles. Made from recycled gum rubber, the outer soles are durable, flexible, and puncture-resistant. They provide a tremendous amount of traction for all indoor sports, and like the original’s outsoles, they stand up to abuse. 

The thing is, indoor courts like those of basketball and tennis tend to be slippery. Wearing a pair of shoes that provide friction against the court surface is a must to protect you against slipping accidents. 

The interesting thing about Samba Vegan’s rubber outsoles is that the more you play, the more they heat up and provide a good grip so that your feet stick to the court. This isn’t only important when playing basketball or squash, but you’ll appreciate them when going up and down slippery stairs or stepping on wet surfaces.

4. Insole

Samba Vegan’s insoles are made from ultra-lightweight EVA foam that provides ultimate flexibility and durability. The material is abrasion-resistant and skin-friendly, so there will be no blistering or chafing even after a prolonged time of use. 

As expected from a pair of classic, low-profile footwear, the insoles are firm with minimal padding. They might make you feel a little ache in your feet after standing a while on a hard surface, yet their flexibility and durability make up for this inconvenience. 

For casual wearers, they may not be super comfortable if worn for a long time, but the amount of padding there is perfect for athletes looking for quick and agile strides. 

5. Comfort and Fit

Since the sneakers are designed for futsal and casual wear, we hoped they’d come with broader insides to conform to different foot sizes. However, they come with a foot-hugging fit that may be inconvenient for users with wider feet. 

The toe box becomes narrower towards the end, which serves the slim construction of the model. Nevertheless, users have been complaining about it being restricting and a bit inconvenient. 

Moreover, sizes tend to run small, so it’d be better to order a size one step larger than your usual.

6. Breathability

vegan Adidas Samba shoe

In terms of breathability, the model is okay but nothing to write home about. The EVA foam insoles allow the air to flow and circulate inside the shoes, which keeps your feet partially comfortable on hot days. But, that’s not enough to guarantee that your feet won’t sweat when the temperature rises. 

In fact, the original model had better breathability than this one thanks to the natural pores of real leather. However, faux leather is made of plastic, which means it doesn’t have pores to allow the air to pass through your feet. Moreover, the polyurethane coating makes it more insulating, so there is no way you’re going to wear it in summer without sweating.

Since this model is designed mainly for indoor sports, this is a major flaw in the design. What makes it even worse is that the shoe’s tongue is too big that it blocks the air from coming inside. So, we wouldn’t recommend these shoes if you’re going to wear them in hot conditions.

7. Weight

One thing to be sure about is that these sneakers won’t slow you down. The shoes’ weight is a vital aspect in athletic and casual footwear since nobody wants to feel that their shoes are pinning them to the ground or that they’re dragging rocks along the way.

For this reason, Samba Vegan is one of the lightest models from Adidas. Although the rubber soles add to the overall weight a bit, it’s compensated by the ultra-light EVA foam padding and faux leather on the top. Hence, light and speedy experience is guaranteed. 

8. Durability

Thankfully, the new vegan edition holds the same durability level of the original, which was why it kept having positive reviews for so long. All materials used are of first-class quality, which means they are going to reserve a place in your closet while looking good as new for many years to come. 

Final Verdict

vegan Adidas Samba shoe

It feels like we finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel having huge brands like Adidas offering vegan recreations of their beloved models. 

To sum everything up, this new edition doesn’t differ much from the original Adidas Samba in terms of design, durability, and performance. The model may be less breathable, but this is a compromise many vegans would make in return for a product that doesn’t harm our furry friends. 

Price-wise, the model is affordable, and with all these impressive features, it seems to be a great bang for the buck. So do we recommend buying it? Definitely yes! 

Although it may not be the best option for casual users who spend a lot of time in their shoes, it’s still a worthy pick for indoor athletes and classic fashion lovers.

Thomas has been vegan for over 5 years and has decided to move to Costa Rica with his family to be closer to nature and live a more minimalistic life. He loves yummy vegan food and sustainable products.