PUMA Panama


As we’ve previously seen from PUMA that they had a thing for producing the same named models over several years, but each with different designs and from different factories. We earlier looked over another pair of vintage Yugoslavian-made Panamas which bare several similarities to these, but also some notable differences.

It’s still an unknown factor for where the origin of their name stems from. Like other models from the same era which took names from countries and cities, they were likely intended as a training shoe for a particular Olympic games. This pair which was made in France would’ve come after the Yugoslavian pair. There were also pairs from West Germany which were probably made in between. PUMA didn’t produce a large amount of shoes from their French factory so to have such an article is a rare sight.

The royal blue and white colourway does bare the same colours on the flag of the Central American country. Their general form follows that of the earlier pairs from Yugoslavia and West Germany, so they were obviously meant as some kind of retro rather than a new design hijacking the same name. The most notable difference on these is their gum sole. Unlike the earlier version the rear heel tab is leather and the FOT doesn’t feature a leaping PUMA cat. The front toe-piece is a slightly different shape plus the location and font of the logo wasn’t an exact match.

During the late 1990s to early 2000s the PUMA Panama was seen again although they resembled more the appearance of the PUMA Suede. They were released through their Spanish division who were known for adopting names from previous models and using them for new designs, and thus the Panama also chosen and re-worked. This is a further example showing some of the lesser-known models as part of PUMA’s back catalogue that we hope will one day see the light of day once again.

written by Professor B

photography by errol