The Adidas Samba took off like the Concorde in 1969: nothing we have ever seen before. They may have begun life on the football pitch in 1950, but Adidas’ modern Samba collabs with brands from Wales Bonner to Palace and KITH have turned these sneakers into serious fashion statements. The Samba enjoyed some dominance off the back of 2022 going into 2023, but it’s two cousins the Spezial and Gazelle have seemed to want in on the popularity contest the Samba is currently gunning for gold medal in. The question you are probably sitting with then is:
“What is the difference? And Which one should I buy?” 
The answer is here: 
(well kind of)
The spike in demand for 2023’s hottest sneaker is a result of a slow burn of retro love over the past few years that has seen its popularity increase. With its mix of old-school vibes and clean lines, the Samba has shown that three stripes and a gum sole is all you really need to complete your sneaker collection.
Over the course of its 73-year history, the Samba has undergone numerous transformations, each iteration refining its performance and style. One notable version is the Samba Spezial, introduced in 1982, which elevated the shoe's functionality. Featuring a shock-absorbent wedge and a multi-stud outsole, the Spezial was specifically engineered to excel on slippery winter surfaces, providing athletes with 
more stability and grip. This evolution epitomizes Adidas' commitment to innovation and continuous improvement, ensuring that the Samba remains a timeless icon of athletic footwear. The Handball Spezial has become quite popular in the last 6 months as more vibrant colours adorn the silhouette in a wide variety of releases. The suede upper which is also one of the key differences between the Samba and Spezial as the Samba features a full leather upper with suede only featuring on the toe area, allows for these bright colours to pop significantly more than the more muted, cleaner look you would get from Sambas. 
For those drawn to bold, modern hues, choices like fiery fire engine-red or striking cobalt blue, accented with contrasting stripes, the Spezial is probably the one for you.
Now moving onto the third cousin which is a derivative from the iconic Gazelle training shoe, the Gazelle Indoor is a special variant tailored for indoor use. This adaptation is most apparent in its robust gum rubber sole, added to provide better traction on slick timber flooring typically found indoors such as Futsal courts. The sole's design features a pattern alternating between the original adidas Trefoil logo and circular pivot points, ensuring stability during dynamic movements. Despite its indoor-oriented design, the Gazelle Indoor remains equally proficient for its anticipated urban environment, seamlessly blending functionality with vintage style.
The Indoor gazelle blends the sleek, flatter shape and tones associated with the Samba and the chunkier, more vibrant Spezial into something pretty special but not so Spezial.
Adam Jordan Moosa