#TBT: A LOOK BACK AT OUR FAVORITE ADIDAS SAMBAS

The adidas Samba is without a doubt a classic imprint within the world of soccer, or in this case, “football,” seeing as it’s a silhouette that resonates the world over. Many argue – with good reason – that it’s the best indoor soccer shoe around, while others have adopted the model for a look outside of the beautiful game, like skateboarding or worn as a lifestyle sneaker. The silhouette itself was first introduced back in 1950 and has since become one of adidas’ most synonymous shoes, falling just second in line for being the highest selling design after the Stan Smith.

Selling status isn’t everything though, we’re more about a good story or learning about cultural relevancy in a product, and the samba has just that. Not only was the silhouette introduced to help players train on hard ground, therefore becoming the choice trainer for futsol, the Samba also played a significant part in the UK’s football culture during the early ’80s, when the subculture known as “the Casual” was in its prime. While associated with hooliganism, there was also a heavy fashion element to scene, where a casual would be decked out in expensive sportswear designer clothing – referred to as “clobber” gear – in a bid to divert unwanted attention from the police. The outfits, however, were also typically matched with, you guessed it: the adidas Samba.

While the history of the Samba is of course much more detailed, we already know that it’s a design that transcends time, hence it being well worthy of being highlighted with a look back at some of our favorite drops ever, leading up to the release of the adidas Originals’ Samba in June 1, which sees a meticulous one-for-one reproduction of the original design. Check out our list of favorite Samba releases below, then look out for the true throwback to release globally come June 1.


ADIDAS OG SAMBA LUZHNIKI


ADIDAS SAMBA W “WHITE ICE”


ADIDAS CONSORTIUM ‘DEEP HUE’ SAMBA PACK FOR WOMEN


ADIDAS SKATEBOARDING SAMBA ADV


ADIDAS X THE SHOE SURGEON SAMBA DAME


ADIDAS SAMBA PRIMEKNIT


ADIDAS SAMBA X BARNEYS NEW YORK


ADIDAS SAMBA B75806

CAN I KICK IT? PUSHA T RELEASES DAYTONA

If all of the forthcoming projects produced by Kanye West meet their release dates, then G.O.O.D. Music might just swallow all of hip-hop and perhaps even the entire music industry whole this summer. It’s been three years since Pusha T released Darkest Before Dawn, and quite a while since the rest of the artists with whom Kanye West has been working in Wyoming released as well (Nas, Kid Cudi). If DAYTONA is any indication of what’s to come, the masses might almost forget West’s recent social media statements.

Pusha’s new album, named after his favorite watch, represents the luxury an artist of his stature has at this point of his career in taking as much time as he needs to create a worthwhile project. In an age of radio singles, downloads, free SoundCloud releases, and viral videos, DAYTONA arrives as an antithesis, an exercise by a veteran that’s been in the game for more than two decades who no longer feels the pressure of making a name for himself or reaching a larger audience (“I’m too rare amongst all of this pink hair”). The album clocks in around 21 minutes at only 7 tracks long, but the deep production samples suggest months of crate-digging. There isn’t a shred of fat to be found here; no hooks, no clear radio single in sight. DAYTONA goes like the finest steak money can buy.

Some fans, undoubtedly, will feel shortchanged by less than ten tracks. The creative decisions do indeed leave little room for error with the album, but the finished product amounts to a statement from an artist continuing to reject what has become en vogue in the industry. Ultimately, Pusha T emerges triumphant, and any complaints will be most likely end up being similar to people complaining about the cover artwork (a photo published in 2006 of Whitney Houston’s bathroom) or to others complaining that he is still writing luxury drug raps. Pusha is a specialist, however, that writes such raps so well that most naysayers probably aren’t listening closely enough.

With DAYTONA, Pusha aligns himself with hip-hop legends, figuratively and lyrically. On the obdurate, no-nonsense “The Games We Play,” he compares himself to the likes of Ghostface and Raekwon (“To all of my young n****s, I am your Ghost and your Rae/This is my Purple Tape, save up for rainy days”), and later on “Infrared,” includes himself on a guest list that includes names like Jay-Z. Like the latter accomplished with American Gangster, Pusha has provided a highbrow appeal to tropes that wouldn’t be considered the shortest route to widespread appeal or the cutting edge of the genre. And after twenty years, there are few of his peers rapping at his level on “What Would Meek Do?” (“Angel on my shoulder, “what should we do?” (we do)/Devil on the other, “what would Meek do?”/Pop a wheelie, tell the judge to Akinyele/Middle fingers out the Ghost, screamin’ “Makaveli”).

Much will be made of “Infrared,” the album’s conclusion that seems to re-ignite Pusha’s beef with Drake and the Cash Money label. The song contains a Quentin Miller reference and at least one other shot at using ghostwriters, but the most scathing remarks are directed at Baby and Wayne. “Salute Ross ’cause the message was pure/He see what I see when you see Wayne on tour/Flash without the fire/Another multi-platinum rapper trapped and can’t retire.” It’s not just a diss track, but more of a declaration of Push’s own ability to navigate the rap game like he navigated the streets. “Only rapper that sold more dope than me was Eazy-E.” DAYTONA proves that King Push is still coming out on top.

 

 

SCOUTING REPORT: THE STORY OF ADIDAS: OG SAMBA LUZHNIKI

Pusha T’s latest diss track aimed at Drake, “The Story of Adidon,” seems to be the only talk in social media right now, and I’m loving everything about it. But how are we not also talking as much as we should about the newly released adidas OG Samba Luzhniki Stadium edition? When these were first released to the public last week, the hype was definitely there, but not as much as it should’ve. Well, I wanted to go back to this release and shed more of the spotlight that it deserves. So without further ado, I present to you “The Story of Adidas” featuring the OG Samba Luzhniki.

Overall Design: Instant classic. I love a lot of things about this release. It immediately gives you that nostalgic old classic adidas vibe, of course with its design of the 3-stripes, but also with its colorway of an ivory white and scarlet red. The colorway is certainly inspired by the Luzhniki stadium, the main football arena from Moscow for the World Cup. The exact same colors used in this piece are used for the seats in the stadium. I am also a fan of the stitched-on typeface saying “Luzhniki” on the side of the shoe on one side, and the other side in Cyrillic letters to stamp this as a special edition release for this year’s World Cup.

Score: 4/5

Functionality: If you didn’t wear Sambas to play indoor soccer when you were growing up, did you even really play? I used to wear them for everything – not just soccer. I was probably the only kid in the gym to always wear them to play basketball even. Can you wear these Sambas to play soccer, however? Of course you can, but would you really want to? Compared to what’s out on the market nowadays, personally, I wouldn’t pick these Sambas with the expectation that they would be the best in performance. They’re probably not the most comfortable shoes out there, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make to stunt a bit.

Score: 4/5

Uniqueness: Understanding the love the Russian people have for adidas gear is important to appreciate this special release. The adidas tracksuits were popularized during the 1980 summer Olympics held in Moscow during the Soviet Union times. Back in 1980 adidas sponsored the Soviet Union team as their official team apparel sponsors even though the trademark adidas 3-stripes were not shown due to political reasons. In a nutshell, once the Olympics were over, many athletes failed to find real jobs and ended up doing different types of “jobs” on the streets. The classic adidas tracksuit was then often associated with troubled youth, or even those that are high above in the underground ladder. The head-to-toe adidas look was so popular with that crowd that there were several black markets dealing the apparel, as well a separate term for groups like the hooligans that are often seen wearing the tracksuits called the “Gopniks.” With the popularity of adidas in Russia and the connection of the World Cup also being held in Russia, everything about this release comes together naturally.

Score: 4/5

Details: adidas could have simply left this piece to ride the classic Samba look and change a bit of the colors here and there and call it a special release. But they’ve also captured many small details all around the shoe that makes this a one-of-a-kind in the Samba family. First, the aforementioned typeface of Luzhniki (and in Cyrillic) on each side of the shoe is a good touch. The red stars, often associated in flags, emblems, and the history of Russia/USSR, are also placed on the back heels. The inside of the shoe also has a red star with word markings of “3-stripes” and several different Cyrillic fonts making this overall release an instant classic and undeniably a special edition.

Score: 4/5

You can now purchase the adidas Samba Luzhniki from adidas.

Photo credits: asphaltgold

NIGERIA WC KIT: HAS THE HYPE BECOME A REAL STRUGGLE?

I have had a real problem ever since February. As many of you might remember, February was the time Nike chose to officially reveal Nigeria’s World Cup collection. In its entirety, the offering blew me away. I simply cannot remember feeling the same way about any other World Cup release in my lifetime.

The collection had that instant pull yet ironically Nike has kept us at a distance from it. When the collection was presented, I wrongly thought its release was imminent as in previous World Cup cycles where Nike has often used the month of March to release all of its federations’ kits. It was only after reading Nike’s press release on the collection itself that I became more concerned and puzzled. The press release did not make any mention of a specific release date even though Nike’s subsequent press releases on national team kits have. I would argue that release dates are the whole point of these press releases.

I, therefore, sought answers. Initially, I relied on social media and my usual go-to sources for new kit intel. I couldn’t find anything and to make matters worse, it seemed as if no one was willing to offer any answers either. I remember reaching out to Soccer.com a few months later. I had already prepared myself for the disappointment though as I have never had any success in getting real answers to my questions anytime I have reached out to them or any other customer service representative at other major soccer retailers. As expected, all Soccer.com could tell me was to stay tuned to their social media platforms.

It was only a short while ago that I finally found something on Twitter. It was a response from Nike revealing that the release date for this collection would be June 1st. This tidbit of information should have provided some relief yet I still find myself being consumed by this subject still.

With the release now only a matter of days away, I find myself more concerned with the question of whether I’ll be able to get the kit at all. As I said before, Nigeria’s kit release is unlike any other. It seems everyone wants it whether it be the casual or more passionate fan. At the same time, Nike will not make things any easier. While in previous years fans had a few months to buy their favorite kits before a World Cup, the window for this is now severely limited to a few days. The decision is none other than a deliberate attempt from Nike to have us feed into the hype. Unfortunately, we have no other choice as I, like everyone else, wants to have this kit by the start of the tournament.

As much as a marketing move, the delayed release date is also a smart business decision. Nike has ensured that people will pay the suggested retail price for the Nigeria kit which was likely not the case for adidas’ World Cup home kits. Out now since November, many fans have surely capitalized on some sort of discount ranging from 15% on the adidas website to the 25% to 30% off discount some soccer retailers here in the US had around Christmas time. Fans now will be lucky if they get free shipping but of course, the real concern for me is not so much price, but whether Nike and its retailers will be able to adequately meet the demand considering it will indeed be high. Again, they have not left themselves much time for this as every fan will want to have their jersey by the start of the tournament two weeks later.

Now, some of you may have noticed that I have not expressed any concern on whether the kit will live up to its hype. Despite obviously having more than enough time to dwell on this possibility, I have no doubt that the Nigeria kit will be everything I imagine it to be in person. Before I worried that Nike would make the mistake of not offering the match version of this kit as it has done with its smaller federations. Here is perhaps where you might be better able to understand the craze I’ve been driven to as I have found myself closely examining press release photos just to verify that Nike will most likely offer match jerseys. Recent reports for the demand of the jersey should also confirm this.

Still, the wait for Nigeria’s jersey has not been easy. I know many people surely share my struggle so please comment below on how you feel about this jersey and how you have coped with its long-anticipated release.

Images via Nike.

THIS WEEKS IG BEST 11

On Champions League eve it makes sense for headlines to be dominated by the Super Bowl of soccer. As such we highlight  Emilo Sansolini’s Simpson’s style piece while Voyeurs FC shows us some weird Real Madrid video game art. adidas dropped the ultra-light/built-for sped X18 and Jerome Boateng flexed in the Nike x Off White collab as he looks ahead to the World Cup. Elsewhere Mbappe rocks some fresh new Skepta Air Max’s and JuJu Shuster challenges lil Tay to a “Flex Off” while rocking a crispy white LAFC kit. Here is this weeks Instagram Best 11.

#DREAMGIRL #REALMADRID #VOYEURSFC 💁🏻⚽️

A post shared by ⚽️ 👈 👀 (@voyeurs_fc) on

Tomorrow! #RealMadrid vs #Liverpool – #ChampionsLeague

A post shared by Emilio Sansolini (@emiliosansolini) on

Clairefontaine 👍🏽😃 @equipedefrance

A post shared by Kylian Mbappé (@k.mbappe29) on

He’s N luv with the ATL 😉 @tpain

A post shared by Atlanta United FC (@atlutd) on

"GETTING READY" for the World Cup Shoutout to my man @virgilabloh 🙌🏾 #Werbung

A post shared by Jerome Boateng (@jeromeboateng) on

IS ENGLAND’S WC ’90 ITALIA HOME KIT THE TEAM’S VERY BEST?

Italia 90 is an iconic World Cup. For England, it was a special one. A team full of Gary Lineker, Peter Beardsley, John Barnes, Stuart Pearce and Paul Gascoigne. The Three Lions reached the semi-finals of this tournament, the furthest they have gone since their famous 1966 win.

It wasn’t just the players or the performances, especially from Gazza, that struck a chord with the world of football. It was the home and third kits. The home kit is an iconic one but the blue one is, in my opinion, the best ever England shirt.

Both shirts had a beautiful collar, one that wouldn’t look out of place on the fashionista’s of the world. As the culture has grown, shirts like the home and third kit have become more and more sought after due to their aesthetics. With the home shirt being the normal all white shirt featuring fantastic red numbers and the team lined up against the rest of the world looking slick.

It’s the blue shirt, for me, that is astounding. Featuring in, arguably, the best World Cup song ever by New Order ‘Three Lions,’ the blue third shirt is a grail of many. A shirt that can only be bought either in remake form or for $100+. The best place to find shirts, ClassicFootballShirts, only has one of these available for sale and it is listed for £249.99.

It’s rare but I can still dream of ever wearing such a good shirt. Despite the home and third being the best shirts that England have ever worn, a special mention to the away kit. A simple red version of the shirts, the kit is perfect for those who believe that red should be the home kit colour forever and always (or just for those that prefer the red version).

Conclusion: a trio of kits, all offering a cool aesthetic to the football fashion gurus out there, but only if you’re willing to part with a whole load of cash. I would if I could…

WITNESSING THE UNVEILING OF ADIDAS’ ENERGY MODE X18+

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to witness the official unveiling of adidas Soccer’s latest boot for the beautiful game: the adidas Soccer Energy Mode X18+. As it was an invite-only Media Day, we’ve had this tasty bit of news sitting on ice until today, its official public release. As such, we’re excited to run through the details of the new boot, as well as our experience during the unveiling event that took place at adidas’ German-based HQ. Aside from being able to see the new boot in al its glory, we were also treated to a full dissection of how and why the boot was made. Essentially, speed was the main focus, with adidas Football’s fastest players in mind. The shoe also brings on new innovation that helps accomplish its goals when in use.

There to explain its construction and design was VP of Design at adidas Football Sam Handy and his team, who ran through all the details with us, as well as showcase the behind-the-scene stages the design underwent to result in what you see before you today. But while hearing all about the new boot is great and all, we honestly just wanted to put the damn thing on to actually experience first-hand adidas’ latest soccer offering. Lucky for us, they had a wear test planned, so out we headed to the fields at adidas HQ to put some stretch marks into the Energy Mode X18+. Our feedback from the experience: these things are light as f*ck, incredibly secure, and have insane touch. But while we now know all about the boots, it’s only right that we highlight it for you, because you’re going to want a pair.

The design of the adidas Soccer Energy Mode X18+ comes to us in three iterations, including an in-stadium version, as well as a cage and a street version. As mentioned, the boots come with an emphasis on maximizing the player’s speed, aided by its lightweight and minimal construction. Inspiration wise, adidas looked to its past models to see how they could improve on previous efforts in a bid to create something current and innovative.

Now for the details: the adidas Soccer Energy Mode X18+ comes with a stretch laceless upper that reduces obstruction between the ball and touch while maintaining security in fit around the mid-foot – a crucial aspect to acceleration. The collar of the boot features a new stretch claw collar construction that simply adds to the stability and support. The outsole boasts a new lightweight speedframe with drillium engineered tooling and minimalistic construction meant to offer extreme traction.

The most impressive innovation behind the brand new boot, however, lies in its unique skeletal weave that results in an ultra-thin woven grid of optically charged speed yarns as the entire upper. What this ultimately means is that the player will experience a super-light boot that’s very responsive to the touch. On top of that, you had adidas’ ultra-soft speedmesh layering that puts ball control into the mix without sacrificing foot mobility.

As mentioned, the new silhouette takes a seat within adidas Soccer’s Energy Mode pack alongside other favorites likes the Predator, Nemeziz and Copa. The boot just came out today, so it’s available for purchase at selected retailers, as well as on adidas Soccer’s online webstore. Have a look at the boot foryourself, as well as our photo recap by photographer Luca Jaenichen of the official Media Day throughout.

PHILLY’S UNION GIVES TWO MARINES FREE INK DURING A MATCH

A little over a year ago the Philadelphia Union announced a unique initiative which saw them enlist Aston PA’s Bonedaddy’s Tattoo as the club’s official tattoo shop. It was an unprecedented, fresh and all around a cool move by the Union.

Fast forward to last weekend where the club added to their brilliant initiative by thanking some of their local military members with some fresh and free ink. Two active duty military members were nominated by fans then selected by the Union to receive the tattoos. The Marines selected received their complimentary tattoos in a stadium suite while they watched the Union smash Real Salt Lake 4-1. As you can see from the pictures below, the experience enlisted Bonedaddy’s Tattoo to completely transform the space into a proper tattoo parlor which really added a genuine aesthetic to a beautiful experience.

SCOUTING REPORT: LET’S TALK BARCELONA & PSG

Aren’t we tired of talking about Real Madrid and the Champions League finals? Finally, Liverpool gets some of the UCL spotlight that has been dominated by Los Blancos for the past three seasons. Being a Barcelona fan myself, this weekend’s final is not something I am looking forward to. Of course I want Liverpool to snatch it from Madrid, but considering my bad luck in sports this year, I have a feeling the boys in white are going to win it again and I’m going to avoid all soccer forums until the World Cup – I don’t like facing the truth. And being a bitter Barcelona fan, I want to steal the big spotlight from these two teams, especially Madrid, at least for the length of this article. For this week’s Scouting Report, I’ll be covering Nivelcrack’s most recent release of their half-zip pullovers inspired by the colors of Barcelona and PSG.

Overall Design: The design of the two pieces are simple and clean. No graphics are integrated, but the main colors of each club were used to show the inspiration behind each piece. The colors of FC Barcelona are blue and red, which is also why they are known as the Blaugrana meaning blue and deep red in Catalan. The colors of PSG are blue, red, and white, hence the name of the piece is “Tricolor” after the three signature colors of the Parisian club. This is a contrast from the rest of Nivelcrack’s SS18 collection as most pieces from that collection were graphic-heavy. The structure of the pullover featuring the half-zip up to the neck is also a great look in my opinion, where it definitely has its roots in soccer.

Score: 4/5

Functionality: These pullovers are made from 100% polyester and yes you certainly can play on the pitch with these, and I actually recommend it as I’ve done so myself! The quality on these is up there with other tracksuits and tops from other major sporting apparel companies. The reason why tracksuits and athletic tops like these became a fashion trend was not just for its looks, but also how comfortable and practical they were for daily wear. When I first laid my hands on them, they felt rich and thick, but also light enough to not drag you down when you wear them.

Score: 5/5

Uniqueness: When you think of this criteria, you’re looking for something that is different from what’s out there right now in the market. Being a Barcelona fan and maybe from a biased perspective, I had a very positive first impression when I first saw the “Blaugrana” pullover. Not because anything in the design was out of this world, nor because it was something I haven’t seen before, but because it perfectly captured how I would want to represent my club without having to boast about the actual crest of the football club. It had just enough of the Barcelona DNA (shout-out Xavi) for me to want to wear it.

Score: 4/5

Details: The details of both pullovers are in their colors, but not much else. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the point of this release was to have the colors be the focus of the overall design, and I think Nivelcrack played their cards right with this one. This is the only way for us to talk about Barcelona and PSG during this time of the month, and I want to thank these two pieces for giving me an opportunity to snatch some of the spotlight from the Madridistas of what would soon be a terrible weekend for me.

Score: 3/5

You can now purchase the Blaugrana and Tricolore Half-zip Pullovers from RBC for US customers or Nivelcrack.

CAN I KICK IT? KYLE RELEASES LIGHT OF MINE

“Look around. Look at life…You got so much more to appreciate.” So says Lil Yatchy, acting as California-native emcee and producer KYLE’s conscious on “iSpy,” the latter’s 2016 single that managed to break top ten positions on U.K. and U.S. charts. KYLE’s new album Light of Mine not only reflects this attitude but does so in a much more mature way that his previous two projects SMYLE and Beautiful Loser. Whereas KYLE has always crafted feel-good, upbeat genre-bending hip-hop music, he more fully acknowledges the not-so-fun aspects of life this time around. In the end, Light of Mine is not only an escape but also a call-to-action for the masses stuck in the doldrums of social media antagonism and negative news.

The album opener “Ups & Downs” is quite the introductory paragraph to the essay KYLE has written to support this thesis. In the last two years, the playful rapper from Ventura, California, has come a long way from the days of “Sex & Super Smash Bros.” He made the biggest hit of his career, but instead of being changed by the game, he seems determined to remain himself amid the pressure of expectation. Light of Mine doesn’t feature any video game soundbite samples or songs crafted around superhero double entendres, and a few notable features might seem to suggest otherwise on the surface, but the album is really a well-crafted argument against conformity. That conformity includes the en vogue tendency of many hip-hop artists to write songs about living one’s best life either accompanied by or amid drug overdoses, binge drinking, or treating life like a party. “Listen, please approach your early twenties with some caution/GPS my way back to myself, I thought I lost it.”

Light of Mine starts with the protagonist depressed and lost, and it’s not until the end of the album that he’s fully back to his old life-loving self. The penultimate track “Clouds” is the climax of the story here, where he remarks, “I’ve walked so many miles with my head aimed at the ground/I forgot the world and clouds (clouds, clouds, clouds, clouds)/If I could just look up, I’d see him lookin’ down/I know my grandpa’s proud.” It’s not that life’s difficulties and sadnesses are only of our own making, but their effects and lasting impact are largely just that.

It’s not that KYLE won’t smoke weed or drink alcohol (that’s the opposite of the truth). It’s not even that he’s beyond sadness or pessimism. However, Light of Mine is a reminder that the activities in which we participate and even the work we do don’t define us completely. Take “iMissMe,” for instance, where KYLE says, “Looking for myself, I found someone I’m not/Or someone I once was, someone I forgot (haha).” The music of the song is a danceable, new-age funk jam that whose lyrics show a person struggling just like everyone else choosing the light instead of the dark.

KYLE fittingly ends the album with “iSpy,” suggesting that KYLE has known for years exactly what he wanted to do with Light of Mine. This album isn’t quite made up of the nerd mantra hip-hop of which Beautiful Loser was comprised, nor is it the soundtrack to the happiest of young adult summers as was SMYLE. This album is more pensive and grown, but no less reassuring or enjoyable.