The PUMA Suede first launched in 1968 as a basketball sneaker, featuring a low-rise profile with the iconic Formstrip on the side for that instantly recognisable look. Canvas and leather were the go-to materials for athletic shoes until this point, but Rudi Dassler decided to revolutionise this dated concept by using the more luxurious suede and forever changed fashion history. Eventually, the PUMA Suede would expand beyond the court and make its mark in other sports and the fashion scene, cementing its place in history as an iconic style.
During the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, PUMA-sponsored athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos made their silent protest on the podium during the national anthem to stand up for black Americans, their PUMA Suede trainers in hand. Other athletes adopted the Suede as their go-to, notably the New York Knicks legend and Basketball Hall of Famer, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, who loved the design of the PUMA Suede so much that in 1973 he had his own ‘Clyde’ version.
Popularity for the Suede grew and it became a must-have for B-boys in the 70s and 80s, becoming synonymous with the hip-hop scene and featuring in Stan Lathan’s 1984 film Beat Street, which focused on B-boy culture and electro sounds. From there, its reputation continued to increase and the PUMA Suede went on to become a staple fashion shoe that continues to appeal to new generations to this day.
• Suede upper
• Rubber outsole • Lace closure
• PUMA Formstrip • Low top
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