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Adidas Samba vs. Busenitz vs. Spezial vs. Gazelle: Differences and Reviews 2024

Adidas Samba vs. Busenitz vs. Spezial vs. Gazelle: Differences and Reviews 2024

    With a catalogue as broad as adidas’, there’s going to be more than a few silhouettes that look similar.The Adidas Samba,Busenitz,Spezial and the Gazelle are among the most prominent Adidas sneakers.These shoes have been in the industry for decades and contain a loyal following among sneaker fanatics.For this, there is a constant debate among the four.While they share a similar pattern, some major dissimilarities make them versatile.What's the difference between Samba and Busenitz?What's the difference between Samba and Spezial?What is the difference between adidas Gazelle and Samba?"Which is better Adidas Gazelle or Adidas Samba?Adidas Samba vs. Busenitz vs. Spezial vs. Stan Smith:which is best for you?In this article,I will compare Adidas Samba vs. Busenitz vs. Spezial vs. Gazelle,and show difference among them.Let’s get right into it…

Cover Photo:SJ on

  • Adidas Samba

Official Price: $60- $150 (From child to adult)

Adidas Samba History and Origin

The adidas Samba is one of adidas’ oldest shoes, initially introduced in 1949 for indoor football players,which is when the brand invented the shoe as a means to help players train on hard, icy grounds.Since then, people have been seen around the world in the iconic unisex sneakers. On and off the field, the Adidas Samba Shoes have been gracing the feet of soccer players and sneakerheads for decades.Meanwhile, in the 70s and 80s, it became popular for breakdancing. Because its low profile and lightweight design were ideal for performing intricate dance moves.

Now,Adidas Samba shoes've become one of Adidas most popular styles.It takes a fascinating skill of iteration to keep up this long without having to alter much of the original charm. And this is where Samba is a clear winner. 

Many different versions have been released over the past 70+ years, leading to the ‘Super’, ‘Super Suede’, ‘Classic’ and ‘OG’ versions that are widely available today.Worn by a countless number of celebrities and fictional characters from TV and film, they’ve firmly been cemented into social and pop culture.The Samba is still a Futsal player’s option, but it’s more often seen as a streetwear staple nowadays. With design collaborations landing left, right and centre.


Adidas Samba Design & Style

adidas Samba features a full-grain leather upper which makes the shoe lightweight and as well durable. It is made of a non-marking gum rubber outsole which helps to offer an excellent grip on different indoor surfaces.This shoe also has an EVA midsole that helps to provide comfort for the feet. It has a suede overlay that helps for abrasion resistance and also for maximum protection.It features a T-toe design alongside two layers of Adituff toe reinforcement which helps for durability and flick. It has a locked-in fit, a molded sockliner, and signature tongue wings for stability.

Smooth leather, signature 3-Stripes and an instantly Recognizable rubber outsole come together in one streamlined look loved by soccer players, skateboarders and everyday fans.It has been produced in a variety of color schemes, yet the original black with three white stripes is by far the most popular. The shoe features a tan gumsole that distinguishes it from other Adidas shoes.

Adidas Samba Pros and Cons

  • Affordable price.

  • Superb comfort.

  • Durable build.

  • Flaunts a vintage look.

  • Great grip for indoor courts.

  • Removable arch support foam.

  • Aesthetic style to match casual outfits.

  • Fits true to size.

  • Wide array of colorways available.

  • The tongue is too big.

  • Insoles wore out too soon.

  • Not for wide feet.

  • The squeaking of outsole.

Where to Buy Adidas Samba?

adidas (up to 6% super cash back)

Foot Locker (1.6%-2% super cash back)



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  • Adidas Busenitz

Official Price: $53- $90

Adidas Busenitz History and Origin

The adidas Busenitz should not be overlooked in the Three Stripes lineup. It’s been a staple of the brand’s skate range for over a decade, finding crossover appeal in the board and sneakerhead realms. 

When setting out on initial designs for the shoe, Busenitz, a German-born soccer fan, pulled design inspiration from his favorite Adidas soccer cleat, the Copa Mundial (a.k.a. the World Cup). From there, he and Adidas shoe designers looked to two other popular Adidas soccer shoes for inspiration, the Samba and Spezial. What they borrowed contributed the necessary heritage Adidas DNA that is now an intrinsic part of all Adidas Skateboarding shoes, and the existing durability and comfort found in Adidas Originals like the Samba and the Superstar. From there, the Adidas Busenitz Shoe went through rounds of wear tests to dial in the padding, comfort, and fit. What they came up with has been one of the most influential skate shoe designs to hit the skateboard market.

The name Busenitz is not a name that anyone just knows, unless you’re a skater or are interested in the world of skateboarding. That’s because Dennis Busenitz, one of the most iconic figures in the sport, has maintained a low profile through the years. But through his partnership with shoemaking giant Adidas, his name is becoming more familiar even to laymen; the Adidas Busenitz sneakers is forming part of the skater’s legacy.


Adidas Busenitz Design & Style

The model is inspired by heritage adi football boots with its big flapping tongue and indoor-ready gum rubber sole – features already ideal for skating – but the all-suede construction and ample tongue padding help even further. An international choice for protection and comfort with a minimalist style, the classic tonal adidas 3-Stripes finish off any look. More than anything it's a really clean-looking sneaker that works just as well on a night out as it does in a skatepark. It helps that the shoe is easy to clean, sturdy, and has loads of cushioning to keep us comfy and supported.Coming in a range of styles and colors to suit your taste, the skating shoes are available to everyone.

The Busenitz comes in a variety of soles and styles. The difference between the Busenitz and the Busenitz Vulc are the sole construction. The Vulc features a vulcanized construction whereas the Busenitz is a one piece cupsole construction. The Busenitz Boost, a casual, trainer style version of the shoe, uses Adidas’ popular Boost foam midsole. And finally, the Busenitz Vulc Samba is the vulcanized version of the Samba ADV.

Adidas Busenitz Pros & Cons

  • Classic silhouette.

  • In some versions, the tongue can be reduced as desired. 

  • It is lightweight without compromising the quality.

  • It provides ample arch support.

  • Fit true to size.

  • Incredibly durable.

  • Technical shoe for responsive skating.

  • Surprisingly weatherproof.

  • These shoes give ample cushioning, grip and board feel. 

  • The price is higher than usual skater shoe.

  • There have been complaints that it can be narrow on the feet while also feeling slightly slippery. 

  • Not very breathable.

  • Takes a long time to break it.

  • The big tongue isn't for everyone.

Where to Buy Adidas Busenitz?

adidas (up to 6% super cash back)

KICKS CREW (3%-3.5% super cash back)

Stadium Goodsn (up to 35 super cash back)



  • Adidas Spezial

Official Price: $110

Adidas Spezial History and Origin

Spezial was originally designed as a handball shoe in the adidas homeland of Germany for the indoor sports game which is very demanding on footwear and needs to be robust enough to deal with short, sharp movements and heavy friction which the players create. It was first worn in 1979 and players from Germany, Holland and Scandinavia soon made them their favourites.While the shoe was recognized as an excellent handball shoe in the late ’70s, by the early ’80s, it had new appeal as a stylish sneaker for casual wear. Sports players and fans alike enjoyed the shoe’s comfort and sporty aesthetic — the Spezial looks just as good with jerseys as it does with jeans and a T-shirt.

Over the years, the Spezial has experienced many changes and has been reimagined in distinct color shades and materials.In 1982, the Handball Spezial was produced in red and white, white and black, and white and blue.Having seen the trainer become a collector’s item, adidas soon expanded these colourways and now there are a number of adaptations available.

When all said and done, there isn’t really that many original adidas trainer styles out there have maintained the cult status like the Handball Spezial has.Plus, collaborations with Liam Gallagher, C.P. Company, and Maharishi have certainly helped the sneaker go from an adidas walking sneaker worn by elite handball players to now being worn by elite fashion tastemakers.


Adidas Spezial Design & Style

Fashion moves in cycles and at present, the Spezial offers a unique retro appeal which is reminiscent of the late 70s and early 80s era.The Adidas Spezial contains a more modern pattern than the Samba. The upper is structured of Nubuck suede, incorporating the toe cap, giving it a slender, streamlined look.Adidas has designed the Spezial sneakers with a modern touch through its reflective three-stripes.The shoe has a deep profile and feathery design, perfect for performing complex dance moves.It also has a thick gum sole and a reinforced heel panel to weather the wear and tear it is subject to.The laces are flat, and the sole is smaller than the Samba’s, providing more padding and support.

The Spezial contains a slimmer toe-box than the Samba, providing a more refined look. Now there are a number of colourways and adaptations available.

Adidas Spezial Pros & Cons

  • Modern and futuristic design.

  • Great all-rounder.

  • Good cushioning.

  • Extremely flexible and comfy

  • Dozens of colorways.

  • Orthotic insoles.

  • Easy to slip on.

  • Good for gym days.

  • Solid lockdown.

  • Pleasantly lightweight.

  • Not suitable for wide feet.

  • Dirt and dust magnet.

  • Limited styles are available.

Where to Buy Adidas Spezial?

adidas (up to 6% super cash back)

FARFETCH USA (1.6%-2% super cash back)

JD Sports Global (8%-10% super cash back)

End Clothing (2.5%-3% super cash back)


  • Adidas Gazelle

Official Price: $110

Adidas Gazelle History and Origin

Gazelle shoes from adidas have been a fan favorite,especially in the UK,since they first hit the scene in 1968 as a soccer shoe. Gazelle was the first-ever shoe by Adidas that was made of suede.By the 1970s it was quickly realized that the Gazelle was not merely a pair of training shoes but could also be used in soccer or other athletic activities.When revived in 2016, Gazelle was designed similar to its 1991 model and still carries the Hip-Hop, BritPop, and the Madonna era vibe.After its 1966 conception, the adidas Gazelle has established itself as arguably one of the most revered silhouettes within the 3-Stripes brand's arsenal. During the 90s, it became a staple lifestyle accessory of the Northern UK locals. Nowadays, the shoe has seen somewhat of a fashion revival thanks to its recent collaborations and the re-emergence of terrance styles, leading to a surge in popularity.

In the 1980s and 1990s, gazelles rose to popularity among the younger generation and have remained popular ever since.


Adidas Gazelle Design & Style

Gazelle, modeled after their previous version keeps intact the aura of the period while adding a more contemporary spin to the style.This pair was inspired by training shoes, so they have more of an athletic appearance but at the same time look casual as well. They feature a lot of the colorways from that period, but the silhouette is much slimmer. Lace-up closure ensures an adjustable fit. Besides the signature stripes, they also have some detailing and look athletic and casual at the same time.From effortless to dressing to impress, they are easy to pair with any outfit. 

Today it is available in a wide variety of colourways and comes in slightly differing iterations. The most popular of which are the OG, the Vintage and the simple ‘Gazelle’, which is modelled after the 1991 version.

Adidas Gazelle Pros & Cons

  • A lot of colors and styles to choose from.

  • Stylish, retro design.

  • Versatile.

  • High quality materials.

  • Effortless comfort:

  • Good arch support with extra padding.

  • Wide toe design gives a roomy fit.

  • Non-slip shoes with the sticky gum outsole.

  • A bit stiff tongue.

  • Limited cushioning.

  • Narrow fit.

  • Less durable.

  • Squeaky outsole.

Where to Buy Adidas Gazelle?

adidas (up to 6% super cash back)

Foot Locker (1.6%-2% super cash back)

KICKS CREW (3%-3.5% super cash back)

Flight Club


Adidas Samba vs. Busenitz vs. Spezial vs. Gazelle:Comparison Side by Side

1. The Upper

Adidas Samba - The Samba features a good quality synthetic leather. Furthermore, it is a whole grain that enhances its durability. The T shaped suede overlay in the toe cap area and the elongated tongue are elements that are specific to this style.

Adidas Busenitz - The shoes easily became known for its top quality suede, GEOFIT collar and tongue that can be adjusted as desired.

Adidas Spezial - The Spezial upper, including the toe cap, is entirely made of Nubuck suede. Plus, the toe-box in Spezial is slimmer than the Sambas.

Adidas Gazelle - The upper of the Adidas Gazelle is made from Suede Nubuck. The suede material gives the Gazelle a vintage look.However this also makes them also a bit vulnerable to wet weather and to be easily stained. The reinforced toe box, the contrast stripes and heel tab add some nice retro vibes to this classic sneaker. A few models from this line also feature usual leather and nubuck leather with synthetic leather overlays. 

2. The Outsole

Adidas Samba - The adidas Samba always features a rubber gum sole as standard.The gum rubber material was originally chosen for the Samba sole to make the shoe slip-resistant for basketball and indoor soccer. The gum sole provides a good grip on slippery surfaces; it’s softer than a rubber sole; and more flexible.The gum sole is instantly recognisable due to its brown or tan colour, which often contrasts the rest of the shoe.

Adidas Busenitz - The outsole is made from regular rubber.

Adidas Spezial - In the Adidas Spezial, the outsole is made from mushy gum rubber that boosts its versatility. 

Adidas Gazelle - Gazelle often has a standard rubber sole (gum is available on the Indoor version).The outsole features a diamond pattern for enhanced traction.The sneaker is intended for street fashion, and the rubber sole makes up for more ease in that regard.

3. The Insole

Adidas Samba - Much like all retros there is a removable EVA insole that makes up for most of the cushioning in the sole when you first put these on. It wears out after a while, much faster than the rest of the shoe but that is why it is removable so you can get a fresh one.

Adidas Busenitz - Similarly, the Busenitz also has removable EVA insoles.

Adidas Spezial - Adidas Spezial took a different route for their insoles. Instead of regular insoles, they use special Ortholite insoles for better cushioning.  

Adidas Gazelle - The sole unit for the Gazelle is the typical one for a retro shoe with a non removable EVA midsole that sits on top of the rubber outsole that features a diamond pattern for enhanced traction. 

4. Performance

Adidas Samba -  For indoor footballs, the Adidas Samba works excellently. The innovative technology of the Samba allows you to make passes and shots smoothly. Moreover, the shoe had an excellent surface grip. 

Adidas Busenitz - The Busenitz is a great candidate if you want sneakers that won’t tire your feet with their weight. It’s a great shoe if you go skating. The narrow toe box shape makes these sneakers the best for skating. 

Adidas Spezial - As far as performance goes, the Adidas Spezial is designed to provide support and stability for indoor sports.They did well while playing indoor handball and basketball. The shoes even provided a good grip on dusty surfaces.

Adidas Gazelle - If you’re someone who requires more arch support, the Gazelle is the better choice.Gazelle features a cushioned insole and a padded heel cap that provides more support than the Samba.The rubber outsole has an intelligent pattern that enables a good grip. The traction of the boots is excellent and smooth. 

5. Fit and Sizing

Adidas Samba - Samba is true to size. Yet, there is a drawback. It’s not the best for people with wide feet. So, if you have wide feet, you won’t feel comfortable wearing them.

Adidas Busenitz - Similarly, the Busenitz is also true to size. But you must get a half size up if you have wide feet. Then you can use the sneakers without any complication.

Adidas Spezial - Spezial fits true to size.If you like a snug fit, go with your regular sneaker size with the Spezials. But for a roomy fit, you can go half-size up with them.

Adidas Gazelle - The Gazelles are true to size. So, you don’t have to get a large size or low when purchasing the shoe. But for wider feet, you might want to go half a size up. 

Comparison Table

Adidas SambaAdidas BusenitzAdidas SpezialAdidas Gazelle
UpperFull-grain synthetic leatherSuede upper

Suede upper

Nubuck upper with synthetic leather overlays
OutsoleTan gum rubber soleRubber outsole

Gum rubber outsole

Rubber outsole
InsoleRemovable EVARemovable EVAOrtholiteNon removable EVA
SizingTrue to size(go half a size up for wide feet)True to sizeTrue to sizeTrue to size(go half a size up for wide feet)
BudgetLow RangeLow RangeLow RangeMedium Range

Conclusion: Which Is Best for You?

Being four of the most popular models of Adidas, the Samba,Busenitz,Spezial and Gazelle have incredible features.You are wondering who the winner of this debate might be. Well, there isn’t any specific winner. The best shoe is mainly a matter of aesthetic appeal.

For soccer players looking for a good pair of sneakers within an affordable range, Samba is the best choice. However,it’s not the best choice for people with wide feet. 

For skating, I recommend you the Adidas Busenitz. It has fantastic longevity with a design built for skating.

Adidas Spezial is the finer choice for those who value style, ease, and affordability. It is a classic model that has resisted time and is ideal for regular wear. However, in terms of durability, the Adidas Samba is better.

When it comes to performance, the Gazelle is the clear winner. It has a more comfortable fit and a lighter sole which makes it the better choice for running and other physical activities. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Should I size up or down for adidas Samba?

adidas Sambas have a regular fit, but some people find them to be slightly narrow. If you have wider feet, go up half a size for a little more room. Measure your feet and check the adidas Samba size chart to find your size.

What is Adidas Samba good for?

Adidas Samba is great for soccer.

Are Adidas Sambas comfy?

Yes, the Adidas Sambas are very comfortable. The insole utilizes EVA, which creates comfort when the users wear it.

Are adidas Busenitz slip resistant?

This pair features a premium suede upper with synthetic leather 3-Stripes and heel tab. A flexible cupsole combines with a molded Adiprene sockliner and Geofit anti-slip collar for comfort.

When did Adidas Busenitz come out?

The Busenitz came out in 2009.

Are adidas Busenitz waterproof?

Made to withstand whatever weather conditions comes at it, the adidas Busenitz Pro will come equipped with Gore-Tex to make it waterproof.

Do Busenitz fit true to size?

The Busenitz shoe usually runs a half size small.

Do adidas Spezial fit like Sambas?

If you like the Sambas, you'll love these. They look and fit almost the same with the exception of the Specials being a bit more narrow and constructed out of super soft suede. 

Are adidas Spezial comfy?

Are they comfortable? When you put the adidas Spezial on foot you can instantly feel the cushioning. Despite not being a running shoe, you still get a great amount of comfort from this terrace classic. 

Do adidas Spezial run big or small?

The adidas Spezial fits true to size so be sure to go for your usual size. 

What were adidas Gazelle designed for?

Adidas Gazelle is a line of shoes released by Adidas in 1966. The original use of the shoe was for training but then later redesigned to an indoor version for handball.

Are adidas Gazelle good for walking?


Do adidas Gazelle have arch support?

Yes!They give very good arch support..

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2023-12-20 19:506210