Adidas Copa Mundial Samba Review

Bryan Byrne February 18, 2014 10
Copa Mundial Solar Slime

For most players, the Adidas Copa Mundial is the first boot that comes to mind when discussing classic, heritage designs. Since their release in 1978,  the boot has remained pretty much unchanged and it has somehow withstood the tests of time, fighting through every new release to hit the market. It is their durability and the effective level of consistent comfort that people love.

It has been a few years since we first officially reviewed a pair, and in the time since a lot has changed on the boot market and that includes my own personal knowledge base. With that, I figured this would be the ideal to time to take a fresh look at the range as they look to compete with the modern game. The Solar Slime “Samba” colorway was the version we managed to get our hands on, and here are the all important (and very honest) details you need to know!

Find the entire Samba Copa Mundial collection at WeGotSoccer.

Initial Reaction – Samba Collection

When we broke news that Adidas were set to release a range of wild Samba styled Copa’s, the reaction was very mixed. For most, it was sacrilegious that Adidas would put such wild colors on the longstanding, primarily untouched black upper. My reaction was a little different, especially since the black version remains available on the market for the traditionalists out there. Adding a splash of color brings new light on the range and I am all for seeing some Samba Copa Mundials hit the market to spice things up.

When they arrived for the first time, I was impressed with the entire package, including the box they come in. Adidas color each for the specific boot you buy, and it features an unusual inside flap that gives it a slightly more upgraded feel. The actual colorway of the boots totally pops. Some would call it flavorful, others might call it hideous, but whatever your stance it is completely different! Everything else about the boot feels like the traditional Copa Mundial, so it is just going to be interesting testing out an 11oz boot having worn nothing over the 6oz mark for the past 3 years (note: slight exaggeration).

Adidas Copa Mundial Brazil

The Comfort and Durability Factor

When we talk about boots with comfort and durability, the Copa naturally rolls off our tongues without even thinking. Generation over generation, they have been a staple in the diet of mature players who want a boot they can take out of the box and wear without fear of discomfort. The soleplate feels a little stiff the first time you wear them, but it gradually loosens up and by the end of a good training session, they are flexible and already in the process of conforming to your needs.

Then there is the supple K-Leather upper that oozes quality. With a more vivid upper, it is much easier to see and appreciate the creases that exist throughout, giving you a clear visual of how beautiful the material really is. It is incredibly soft and immediately transports you to another era of the game; when basing your game on speed was not the goal. Thanks to the layers of double stitching that sits across the forefoot, they easily adapt to your foot shape and given a few wears, you will notice how effectively they sit across your forefoot. It is almost like the upper melts downward as you “warm them up” to the contours of your foot.

All this, of course is pending you find the right size. And that is something you seriously need to consider and be aware of before sliding your foot into a purchased pair. Hence, the next section is a must read.

Adidas Copa Mundial Samba

Copa Mundial Leather Upper

How do they Fit?

When it comes down to it, the Copa is based off the fit of players from the 80′s, back when the general consensus was that a larger fit was needed. With the modern game, players look for a tighter fit and more streamlined performance. What might have been considered a true to size fit when the Copa was released is now completely different to our expectations and current releases.

If you want to get the right fit, you really need to consider going down a full size. In other words, I wear a size 9US in pretty much all current day releases from the adiZero F50 and Predator LZ to the Mercurial Vapor range, but in the Copa I am most at home in a size 8US. The 9US Copa sits much too long and are overly spacious, leading to a very clumsy feel. A half size could also be considered if you are concerned by a fit that is too snug, but for most players out there a full size is the way to go.

In the correct size, will find that the Copa offers a spacious width and the upper will stretch even if they start out too snug. The combo of a K-Leather with ample stitching is the primary reason for this. In terms of the market, they are one of the best wide fitting boots around.

Steady Performance

Whether it is striking shots or running 20 laps of a field, everything about the boot feels comfortable and very controlled. In particular, the layered stitching on the forefoot creates raised panels that act like rebounding padding and they make for a clean strike zone. The extra protection doesn’t take away from touch, yet it gives you enough confidence to be able to strike firm shots without feeling the full impact of the ball. Unlike current day releases, you can rest assured that the continued level of performance with the Copa is as steady as it gets and you can rely on what they provide you from one game to the next.

Copa Mundial Solar Slime

Copa Mundial Soleplate Profile

Copa Samba Soleplate

The Soleplate is Best Suited For

Being that this is an FG soleplate, they are definitely suited for use on natural grass surfaces. But, you are not going to want to use them when mud is in play. Each conical stud is positioned pretty close to the next and as a result mud easily sticks, causing a very evident decrease in traction. If the surface is dry, they are going to be most effective and they do have a very stable feel about them during play. If you suffer from bad ankles, the nature of the soleplate will be of some benefit and although they won’t directly decrease the chances of you getting injured, they low profile of the studs ensures you are more connected with the surface and have a better opportunity of planting more naturally on uneven surfaces.

Another area where they really excel is on AG or artificial turf surfaces. With so many players currently playing on Artificial, it increases the desirability of the Copa. Again, the low profile of the conical studs ensures less drag and surface penetration, meaning you won’t get stuck in the dense turf. If you play on dry surfaces and AG from time to time, they are worth considering.

Copa Mundial Slime Tongue

Adidas Copa Mundial Solar Slime

Copa Mundial Heel Samba

Compared to the Modern Market

Obviously, this is a boot built for another era of player and they are substantially different to the technology filled boots of today. Flip them over and the first thing you notice is the old-school, heavily composed soleplate. It is actually made of a dual density polyurethane, which is a versatile synthetic material (a dense foam) used to provide excellent cushioning and durability. Yes it offers plenty of flexibility, but my gosh is it out of touch with the materials used in the modern game. It is chunky and definitely gives the boot a bottom heavy feel. Then, in order to ensure the boot is durable, a lot of leather is used to support the upper, including a doubled-up layer around the heel that creates the more protected counter.

All of this together equals a boot that weighs in at 11oz. If we look back 5 to 10 years ago, we wouldn’t be discussing weight that much but such has been the evolution of the market that anything over 10oz is considered heavy. Look at it this way, you could pretty much wear a pair of adiZero F50 to one Copa (each F50 weighs 5.8oz). No matter how you compare that, it is a lot of extra weight you are carrying on your feet and this can translate to some downturns in performance. Having worn a wide variety of lighter boots over the past several seasons, placing a pair of Copa’s on your feet is very noticeable performance wise. You can feel your feet drag more and there is a sense of heaviness as you move, almost making your movements sluggish.

Adidas Copa Mundial Review

The Bottom Line

Yes, I am a true fan of what the Copa Mundial is all about and what it represents. They resemble the Ford F-150, “BUILT TOUGH”, and they are going to offer comfort to players who rely on the simple pleasures of a boot.

But, for the modern day player looking to make the step to the next level, this is absolutely not a boot you should be wearing. They are overly heavy and don’t represent the needs of today’s fast paced games. If you are a younger player who takes their game serious or a parent trying to pick the best pair for their aspiring future pro, you should not consider these as a game boots. Look elsewhere to boots that are more mainstream and developed to enhance speed and acceleration.

I don’t get any joy out of writing that negatives, but there is no reason to recommend a boot that doesn’t suit modern day players.

In saying that, everyone should own a pair of Copa’s at least once in their life. They really are a modern day classic that will never be replicated or created in the same fashion again. I highly doubt the range will disappear anytime soon, but if Adidas were to remove them from the market it would hurt my soul as well as countless other players out there. To experience wearing a pair is stepping back in time, sharing the same performance offered to players in the late 70′s, 80′s, 90′s and 2000′s.

And of course, there are the traditionalists out there who simply want to get out on a pitch with their buddies to enjoy the beautiful game. Some would call them the more senior, experienced player. Look no further than the Copa and what they offer. Finding a pair of boots that offers comfort and durability is a luxury not to be taken for granted. Grab a pair, take them for a spin and let the good times role. Plus, invest in a good old tin of leather food to ensure they stay supple for seasons on end!

Again, check out the entire Samba Copa Mundial collection at WeGotSoccer.

The Skinny Summary

Highlight: A boot that has withstood the challenges of new releases and graced the market for the past three decades, built with a supple K-leather upper and designed with comfort in mind.
Category: Heritage, a boot that oozes old-school class.
Weight: 11oz in a size 8US. That increases to 11.7oz for a size 9US.
Would I Buy Them: I love the ideals of the Copa and I implore all players to at least own one pair in their lifetime. I have 2 pairs, so I’m covered!
Player Position: Rather than player position, it is more about the expectations of a player and what they want. If you want a traditional boot that offers comfort and durability, they are a top boot to consider.

One final note, related to price. I am pretty disappointed with the price point of the Samba edition. Only 18 months ago, the Copa was priced at $110. Since that time, the original version has had two price hikes and is currently listed at $149.99. Having spoken to Adidas about this, they related the fact that the price had remained unchanged for a long time and the increase was intended to bring them in line with prices across the globe. Then, they released the Copa series and increased the price to $179.99. I understand the increase for a limited edition release, but considering little research has gone into developing the new range, the dramatic $110 to $179 increase seems absurd. What was once considered a top “value for money” option has pretty much lost that famous, deserved title.


3 / 5 stars     
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Bryan Byrne

Expert Boot Reviewer

The mastermind behind the revolution that is SoccerCleats101. Bryan started this website back in 2008 and has been testing boots on a daily basis ever since.

Check out our About Page for more details on Bryan and the website.

10 Comments »

  1. Jnaer February 18, 2014 at 2:53 am - Reply

    Pantofola d'Oro or Mundials?

  2. Anti February 18, 2014 at 4:49 am - Reply

    Bryan when will release Adidas Adipure 11pro SL Black / Running White / Solar Slime 2014

  3. Jose Reyes February 18, 2014 at 10:14 am - Reply

    I understand that these boots are heavier. I honestly believe that the feel in weight is more mental than anything else. I have Copas and I consistently wear EvoSpeeds and other light weight boots. While I can notice a slight difference, during play it really is not noticeable. I am a serious player as well who is looking at Playing DII, and I always have my Copas with me. While I would argue that most players will want to to wear something more modern, I don't think it is fair to say that Copas are not well suited for advancing players. Anyway, I have heard rumors that adidas is coming out with the Copa Mundial II this year or next.

    • Guest February 18, 2014 at 7:26 pm - Reply

      Adidas is coming out with a Copa Mundial II along with predator remakes (Manias, 1994's…), but I feel that Bryan is correct in what he says. The second edition of the Copa Mundial just proves how Adidas also recognizes that the Copa is no longer a boot that reflects or is adaptable to the modern game. Basically all cleats (and their weights) are really just in your head, but feeling lighter on your feet, or feeling the rubber help you kick the ball harder can make a big difference. The confidence gained can change the way you play for the better, playing with confidence allows you to take risks, or feel more comfortable in your role. So.. I agree with Bryan, but I can't wait for Adidas' coming releases before the World Cup

      • Jose February 20, 2014 at 5:41 pm - Reply

        This is where I disagree. I think your shoes should be comfortable and good fitting. If you rely on your shoes to make you feel confident (not referring to anyone in particular) then I definitely think one should take more time to practice the skills and abilities.

  4. artie help February 24, 2014 at 10:15 am - Reply

    bring back the profi liga !!!!!

  5. Roberto Carlos March 20, 2014 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    I play left back and shut down the young teens ALL THE TIME in my copas versus their flashy boots.

  6. bonilla March 25, 2014 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    are this unisex?

  7. artie help June 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    So Bryn , you're saying that you would not wear these shoes in todays game? Strong words Amigo.

    • soccercleats101 June 23, 2014 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      For modern day players looking to excel their performance, no I don't see them as an appropriate option.

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