PUMA Disc Cell XTG

  • MADE ON: 11/97
  • ART.NO: PX1916

In 1997 PUMA approached cross training sportswear from a new angle, eager for the coming millenium and enthusiastic over futuristic features, shown clearly in the trio of technologies combined in these Cell XTG’s.

After the ’96 release of their PUMA Disc XTG Cross Training sneaker, complete with ‘the fit system’ and a Trinomic outsole, the cats came back from the lab with an uprgrade, known as the PUMA Disc Cell XTG. Although the design, make, and materials of the upper stayed nearly identical (except for the placement of the small-form PUMA formstripe logo patched across the outer side wall) their sole unites got a major upgrade.

PUMA introduced this new cushioning known as the ‘cell’. Modeled after organic bits found in the natural world, the idea behind the cell technology was to provide a better tension and cushioning in a shoe to enahnce sports performance. Whether this was simple hype or actually hard fact is still up for grabs (like so many possibly novelty techonologies of vintage sneakers in our archives) but it surely gets us excited either way, considering the historical relevance of it.

The downside? First of all I’ve never seen a Trinomic shoe failing, but it’s bound to happen, and although this pair is quite pristine on the upside, they soles are shot to hell. Pushing against the hoenycomb in the forefoot gives a slightly popping sound as each chamber loses its last bit of air, a sure sign that after some good use and hard years the Trinomic feature is bound to the laws of physical decay like many other ‘material innovations’ of the past.

But that’s not the tear jerker here, it’s the cells themselves! Not only are they cracking through age and use but they’re leaking blue fluid as well.

Remember that rating a shoe is all about context and these must have been enormous when they first dropped back in 1998 (their production was around November of ’97 so there’s no way they hit the market until the turn of the year). And looking back to the previously mentioned Disc XTG’s from ’96, well, they certainly improved upon the colorway vastly.

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol