Adidas Sambas Rishi Sunak

‘In the bin’: We asked the Samba girlies what the hell they’re going to do now

Nothing is safe from Rishi Sunak

Something cataclysmic happened to the girlies last Thursday afternoon: Rishi Sunak wore a pair of Adidas Sambas during an interview promoting his tax policies. The year’s coolest trainer was instantly and irrevocably tainted. I looked down at the pair on my feet with a sense of deep embarrassment and a strong urge to launch the shoes into the nearest skip.

Over the weekend, wearing Sambas outside felt much like stepping out with a “Keep calm and vote Tory” badge pinned to your lapel. By Monday, pairs were rapidly vanishing from the streets of London: “Distinct lack of Sambas on the Peckham to Dalston overground this morning,” one person Tweeted. “Sense of fear and uncertainty in the air.”

A trainer hasn’t had such a violent vibe shift since Kate Middleton started wearing Vejas last autumn. Still, it’s actually kind of worse for your wardrobe to identify as a Conservative than a Royalist. “Your arse is so cooked,” one friend Whatsapped me as momentum gained and memes of Rishi wearing oversized jeans and Adidas covered the Twitter/X timeline.

But is one clip of the Prime minister wearing the season’s most popular trainers really enough to cancel them altogether? We spoke to the Samba girlies and guys in mourning to find out:

‘I wouldn’t want to wear something associated with someone so awful and low’

When University of Lincoln student Sarah first saw Rishi in Sambas, her immediate concern was one for fashion: “Honestly, I thought ‘okay. They don’t match with the fit,'” she says. “But then I started to wonder if he’s trying to ‘subtly’ make young people think he’s representing us.”

Whatever the motivation, the Prime Minister donning a pair of her favourite trainers has been enough for Sarah to swap them out: “I wouldn’t want to wear something associated with someone so awful and low,” she says. “I have Adidas gazelles so I’ll go back to them or my air forces.”

‘Death! If he has a stylist it’s super questionable’

Junior fashion assistant at Threads Styling, Federica, says whether or not your Sambas are cancelled could all be down to colour. “I feel safe in my black pair,” she says. “I think Sambas on males in general are an ick. But him? It was death! If he has a stylist, it’s super questionable,” she adds.

One of the offending – supposedly ick-worthy men – who had been spotted in Sambas up until this point concurs the shoes now need to be banished: “In the bin,” says 28-year-old Callum. So, what next? “[Novesta] Gats or [Adidas] Spezials,” he claims. Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66s, Asics GEL-1090s and Nike P-6000s are also rumoured to be in the running.

‘They were bound to take a nose dive into uncool at some point’

Like most of the Twitter/X timeline (whose response has been apocalyptic) 31-year-old Kirsty is intensely vexed by Rishi’s fashion choice and questions his motivations: “I feel sick that he’s wearing them. Is there nothing this man won’t taint? Is there any joy the girlies and the gays can have? Apparently not,” she says. “I wonder whether it was a PR move so people focus on the shoes instead of the awful things coming out of his mouth.

“It speaks to how oversaturated we were by Sambas that even the Prime Minister is wearing them,” she adds. “I hate to say it, but maybe this day was coming? Not as dark a day as that fucking idiot wearing them – but they were bound to reach their peak and nose dive into uncool at some point. It was that Tory wanker wearing them that sealed the deal.”

‘He already stole the NHS from us, he can’t steal Sambas too’

But amidst the panic and the hurried binning, there’s still an air of defiance around Samba wearing. These are £90 trainers— to rush rid your wardrobe of them just because the tides of trendy have changed is the truly Tory careless-with-cash move, if you think about it.

“They are too comfy and perfect for holidays – Fuck Rishi,” Felicity, a lecturer at the University of Exeter tells me. “He already stole the NHS from us,” adds Bristol Uni student Annabel. “He can’t steal Sambas, too.”

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