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Sambas the Bambas – Brand review

Sambas the Bambas – a brand that takes sustainability to the next level. Using only biodegradable and recyclable materials of plant origin, sustainable production within the EU and beautiful designs on the shoes, created by talented artists.

The Spanish barefoot brand Sambas the Bambas has successfully launched its entrepreneurial journey with a campaign in 2021. In addition to the beautiful shoe design and vibrant colours, you will recognise this brand for its use of exclusively plant-based materials. Synthetic materials, which are usually used as a vegan alternative to leather, are not acceptable to them. In addition to cotton, linen, cork and hemp, you’ll also find materials derived from coconut, pineapple and even grape skins.

I had the opportunity to test their shoes during their development and I am happy to see that the brands are happy to take into account the opinion of the end users. The Playa and Jungla, which you will see in this review, are two of the first models you could buy in their campaign and both designs are extremely popular. In the meantime, there have also been minimal changes to both models, which I will draw your attention to in the review.

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1. General

  • Brand: Sambas the Bambas
  • Model: Jungla in Playa
  • Tested on: woman, medium-wide feet, 26.3 cm long and 10 cm wide, low instep, skinny ankles with narrow heel, fin-shaped foot (see my how to measure guide and foot type) – wearing size 42

| Made in EU | Adults | Leather | Shipped worldwide |

2. Material characteristics

2.1 Upper

Sambas the Bambas shoes are suitable for those who love strong, vibrant colours, as well as for those who prefer more neutral tones. All their materials are exclusively plant-based. They use many well-known materials, such as organic cotton, linen, hemp, cork, as well as Piñatex® (made from pineapple leaves) and Vegea (grape skins).

They are available in different designs and colour combinations – as a ‘bootie’ model that reaches ankle height, as well as lower and semi-open models with the option of laces or velcro fastenings.

Both the Jungla and Playa models are their ‘bootie’ model, where the height of the shoe reaches to mid-ankle. Both models are made from organic cotton and painted with vibrant patterns created by Spanish artists.

The adult models use laces for fastening, which are also available in the larger children’s models, such as the Playa model in the review. Smaller children’s sizes have a velcro fastening, which is more practical for younger children who are not yet as adept at tying. The top loop of the ‘bootie’ model has been replaced by a classic eyelet in newer models.

Sambas the Bambas pay great attention to detail. Just look at this beautiful combination of cork and organic cotton on the heel of the Playa model.

2.2 Lining

All Sambas the Bambas shoes are lined with various natural materials such as organic cotton or linen. In the Playa and Jungla models, the lining is made of organic cotton.

The insole is removable and the shoes can be worn without it without any problem. In the Playa and Jungla models, the insole is made of coconut fibre and is 5 mm thick. As the insole is a little thicker, it also adds a little more softness and cushioning to the shoe. In some models, instead of a coconut fibre insole, a hemp fiber insole is used.

2.3 Sole

The sole is 4mm thick and made of a special patented material derived from vegetable oil. The sole feels a bit firmer at first, but it softens with use and can be easily twisted in all directions.

Without the insole, the ground feel in the shoe is good, with the insole this intensity is slightly reduced, but the sole still responds well to the ground. In terms of softness, the Sambas the Bambas sole is somewhere in the average compared to other brands.

See also the video for a close-up.

3. Sizing information

3.1 Length

The shoes are available in both kids’ and adult sizes in the size range 26-45. Inside length and width values refer to last measurements and correspond to the actual measured inside length of the shoe.

©Sambas the Bambas

With a foot length of 26.3 cm, I wear a size 42, which means that the shoes are 15 mm longer than my foot. Despite the slightly larger amount of space in front of my toes, this length suits me perfectly and the shoes do not feel too long. My daughter wears a size 34 (foot length 21 cm).

See post How much space do we need in shoes if you want to know more about that.

3.2. Toebox shape & width

The design of the Sambas the Bambas has a gentler slope towards the pinky toe. This shape is very universal and will suit many different foot shapes. Most of the extra space in front of the toes can only be left on foot type 1, but it also depends on the width of the foot how much this can be a nuisance.

More about different foot types you can read in my post What is my Foot Type?

The width in the chart for size 42 is 10.2 cm, which is a pretty realistic estimate of the width. The shoes are suitable for medium and wide feet but not extra wide. More extra width or volume can be gained if the shoes are worn without an insole. Wearing the shoes with an insole will also reduce the available width and volume available.

If you have more voluminous feet, I recommend wearing the shoes without an insole. By removing the insole, the shoes are also generous in the amount of space above the toes.

My foot is 10 cm wide and does not have much volume. If I wear the shoes without the insole, I have some extra room in the width, while with the insole in my foot fills the shoe completely.

In the photo below you can see a comparison of the fit in the toe area when the shoe has no insole (left) and with an insole (right).

3.3. Fit around the instep, heel and ankle

Sambas the Bambas adapt well to different ankle widths and heights of the instep, but are best suited to average ankle widths and average instep heights. They also fix well to narrower ankles and lower insteps.

The volume in the instep area is most easily corrected with the included insole. In case of narrow feet, I recommend wearing the shoes with the insole, in case of a higher instep and fuller feet, remove the insole.

4. Comfort

Due to the use of all-natural materials, canvas models may initially appear a little firmer and more compact, but with use the material softens a lot and becomes softer and more flexible.

On my model also the tongue felt a little firmer in the beginning. In the ‘bootie’ model its height ends exactly at the crease of the ankle, which caused this problem.

To avoid this problem, Sambas the Bambas has therefore, according to initial feedback, changed the design of the ‘bootie’ model, which is now slightly higher (its height does not end exactly at the ankle crease). Also the design of the tongue and the amount of stitching that affects the stiffness of the tongue area have been changed. In newer ‘bootie’ models you shouldn’t therefore experience problems with the initial firmness of the tongue. On lower models, the tongue does not extend to this height, so these sensations do not occur there.

In case the tongue still causes you problems, I recommend wearing the shoes initially laced without using the top hole until the material softens (see picture below right).

5. How and when to wear them?

Of course, in addition to vibrant colours like Playa and Jungla, Sambas the Bambas also has a number of more subdued colours like beige and black available, but if you love colours like me, then designs like the Jungla I’m wearing in the photo can be a great addition to your wardrobe. I like to pair them with more neutral clothes and similar colours.

6. Price & where to buy

You can buy the shoes on their official website. Prices vary from around 60€ for children’s models and from 80€ for adults.

Sambas the Bambas is a newly established brand, so pre-orders are being taken for models that are currently out of stock. During the pre-order period, you can buy them at a discounted price.

7. Shipping info

Sambas the Bambas ships worldwide. Shipping costs depend on the shipping country and are calculated at the time of order.

8. To sum up

People have many expectations about the footwear we wear. When it comes to barefoot footwear, these expectations are even higher. We want a light, soft shoe with a thin, flexible sole and a wide toebox. Sambas the Bambas has succeeded brilliantly here, although the task was certainly not easy for them.

You won’t only recognise their shoes by their vibrant patterns, because this is a brand that is not only bold in its use of colour, but also extremely innovative in its use of materials that are exclusively plant-based. Definitely more than a great start for this new barefoot brand!

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