Adidas / Yeezy, Initial Impressions, Sneakers

Adidas x Ronnie Fieg x Clarks 8th St Samba: Kithmas

Price: $220 [Sold Out; Check eBay for Current Prices]

Why Buy?

The Adidas x Ronnie Fieg x Clarks 8th St Samba offers great materials, good comfort, and really interesting style that’s impossible to find elsewhere.

Why Avoid?

the Adidas x Ronnie Fieg x Clarks 8th St Samba is expensive, and the outsole will wear fast.

Specs

Model8th St Samba “Kithmas”
HeightLow
MaterialsSuede / Leather / EVA / Crepe
Size13
Weight546 g / 1 lb 3.2 oz
ConstructionCemented Foxing Taped?
Country of OriginIndonesia

History

The Adidas x Ronnie Fieg x Clarks 8th Street Samba might have one of the most interesting histories of any sneaker. (And one of the hardest SEO names!) While most collabs are fairly basic in their idea – a brand has the know-how to create a product, a person or shop has a design in their head, boom: collab. This one was different.

Ronnie Fieg, the founder of Kith and collaborator extraordinaire, had done a collab with Clarks and fell in love with crepe outsoles. When Adidas reached out to see if he wanted to create a Samba, using crepe was high on his list. This created a problem; Adidas had no idea how to build a sneaker with crepe outsoles.

Fieg then played matchmaker. He brought in Clarks to show Adidas how to put together a sneaker made this way (along with a few other things we’ll get into later). This means the 8th St Samba is a true three-way collab with each partner learning from the other.

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The interesting back story doesn’t stop there. On the first drop, they immediately sold out, and rather than do the typical sneaker thing of “well, pay resale,” Kith did what we’ve all been asking for: they offered a pre order. Anyone who wanted a pair could get them.

Alright, alright. You get it. Ronnie Fieg knows how to spin a good backstory. The question is: are they any good? And more importantly, are they worth the price? Let’s dive in.

Looks

Upper

The 8th St Samba starts with, well, an Adidas Samba. The toe guard, the three stripes on the side, the extra hole on the eyelets nobody uses – it’s all there. Though, once you get closer, you realize none of the panels are exactly the same as on a regular Samba. This is a custom designed upper just for this model.

This colorway, known as the “Kithmas,” is the boldest of all of the 8th St Sambas released so far. Sharing the same cream-colored base and grey toe guard, this colorway also features green, navy, and burgundy stripes on the side with a navy heel tab.

I think at this point it’s also worth pointing out the materials of the upper. This review will go into exactly what they are later, but they look great. This is some of the best-looking material I’ve ever seen on a sneaker at any price.

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In addition to the suede and leather upper, the sneaker is half lined with leather and features a leather pad on both the tongue and under your heel. A nice, gold CF Stead logo is pressed into the interior.

The stitching is as clean as you’ll find, and even the laces are noticeably nicer than what you would typically get.

Mid and Outsole

The outsole of the 8th St Samba won’t feel unfamiliar to anyone who has seen any flat-outsoled Clarks made in the last decade or so. Made of a flat, light crepe, the outsole gives a majorly chunky vibe.

However, if your only reference to this material is the Desert Boot, these are a bit different. With crepe wrapped around the midsole similar to foxing tape, it is even wider and chunkier than everyone’s favorite boot in 2012.

On the very bottom, you’ll find an entirely flat sole. One item I will flag if you’ve never owned crepe soled shoes before. They get really gross, really quickly. Crepe is sticky so it picks up every piece of dirt, rock, or oil that you walk through.

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Summary

I really like the way that the 8th St Samba looks. It’s one part hippie-style, one part hype-style, and one part casual cool. While not as versatile as a regular Samba, especially in this colorway, when it does work, it works great.

Unlike a lot of sneakers, where this falls down is with athleisure. They are too chunky and fuzzy for joggers or shorts. Instead, these are better with clothing with textures – corduroy, jeans with lots of nep, sashiko, etc.

Additionally, it’s worth noting just how much of a quality product these look and feel like. When you have them in hand, the feel like a something from, well, Clark’s top lines. The 8th St Samba wouldn’t look out of place with other high-end pieces.

Fit & Comfort

Fit

To start off, the biggest question I see with these, when going for an 8th St Samba, you should use your sneaker size, not your Clark’s size.

With that out of the way, while you will probably take your true sneaker size in both, these don’t fit like a Samba. The Samba is notoriously narrow, while I would say the 8th St Samba runs on the slightly wider side overall. This leads to a very comfortable and casual fit, as opposed to the sportier fit you might be used to in basketball or soccer shoes. You probably wouldn’t want to run in these, but I doubt you’d be doing so anyway.

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One more thing to be aware of from fit, with the higher quality material used in these sneakers, you’re going to see the sneaker form to your feet with wear. Folks who are used to higher end goodyear welted shoes are going to be familiar with this, but if you regularly wear Jordans or similar you’ll find these sneakers actually fit better each time you wear them.

Comfort

Where the Samba was one of the least comfortable sneakers I’ve ever tested, the 8th Street Samba is pretty good. While I wouldn’t say it falls into the max comfort sneakers like the Nike Invincible Run or the Ultraboost, these should be absolutely fine for a full day.

While you might not expect it based on pictures, there is actually very little crepe between you and the floor when wearing these. Instead, most of the comfort comes from a huge slab of EVA underfoot. This means you should expect less of a bouncy ride, and more of a traditional sneaker comfort.

Materials & Construction

Materials

If there is one area where the 8th St Samba really blows its competition out of the water is the materials. They are not just good for a sneaker, not just good for a collab, but they are good. Period.

The majority of the upper is made from CF Stead leather. CF Stead, made in England, is one of the most well-respected leather brands out there, and are generally considered to be among the best suede makers on the planet.

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To be fair, CF Stead makes several tiers of suede and this is not their highest, but it is still the best I’ve ever seen on a sneaker.

Even better, Adidas, Fieg, and Clarks didn’t cheap out on places you can’t see. The heel pad under your foot is glove leather, and the lining is real (if thin) leather as well.

Some people might be fooled by the midsole, though. While traditional Clarks use a big wedge of crepe as the entire midsole, this sneaker actually has a fairly thin wrap around a block of EVA foam. This isn’t super surprising, Clarks started to move over to this production about a decade ago. Personally, I would have preferred all crepe, but if you’re used to the feeling of a sneaker, you’ll probably prefer this.

The only major drawback I have with the look and build of this sneaker will be here, though. Crepe is already not particularly durable, but this thin wrap means this sneaker’s outsole will wear out extremely fast.

Construction

The construction of the 8th St Samba is not exactly standard. This is what I can tell without cutting it in half, however it’s so non-standard that I want to put a quick disclaimer that I could be wrong. If I am and you have better information, please share it below.

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Based on how the sneaker is styled, it appears to be a combination of a foxing-tape style sneaker (such as Vans) and a more traditional cemented construction. What this means is that the upper is constructed on a last, then glued to the eva foam block. Then, a piece of crepe is wrapped around the midsole and bottom of the upper and heated to fuse them together. Finally, another piece of crepe is glued to the midsole, and heated up to seal along the tape.

I can see why Adidas needed some help getting these built.

Pricing

So far, the review of this 8th St Samba Kithmas has been positive. Why isn’t this already sneaker of the year 2024 (even though it officially released on Christmas day 2023)?

Well, these are some of the most expensive sneakers out there at MSRP: priced at $220 MSRP. If you were not lucky enough to get a pair during the draw, expect to pay a lot more. Resale prices on this size are hovering around $300 at time of writing.

That is not cheap, though I will say I’m kind of surprised the priced them at that price. That matches the MSRP of the regular 8th St Line, and now Adidas is taking a cut too.

Are the Adidas x Ronnie Fieg x Clarks 8th St Samba Worth It?

The Adidas x Ronnie Fieg x Clarks 8th St Samba. are an awesome pair of sneakers. They look amazing, they feel great, and the materials (other than the outsole thickness) justify the price.

However, the two faults with the sneaker tend to compound into a problem that makes these sneakers hard to give a blanket recommendation on. Not only are they expensive, but they are likely to wear out faster than just about anything else. For a website that started by trying to find shoes that hold up over hundreds of wears, these clearly don’t align with that goal.

All that being said, I love my pair. If you are a sneaker collector who only wears each pair a few times a year anyway, the durability won’t matter to you. And even with all that, I don’t think this is a cash grab for any of the brands. Just be aware of what you’re getting into.

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