PUMA Super Ace


Other than the much more modern PUMA Ace 2 golf shoes and the hideous PUMA El Ace 3 (claimed to be an athletic shoe but we’ve no idea for what precisely) there hasn’t been many models that share such terminology in their name. In fact there isn’t much of a trail at all when it comes to digging up the dirt on these vintage PUMA Super Ace tennis shoes.

Why tennis, do we presume? Besides the fact that their build and design just reek of the netted court-sport their name also leads a trail of crumbs too. An ‘ace’ in tennis is a legal serve that is done so expertly (or received so poorly) that the player on the receiving end completely misses it – doesn’t even touch it at all – and thus results in a fast and furious point for the delivering player. Spin serves or kick serves (also known as topspin serves) are some of the ways to accomplish such a feat with more flair.

Is it possible that the idea of putting a spin on the ball helped to influence the wavy tooling that can be found in the heel and toe area of the sole unit? Certainly, but it’s not for sure. And beyond original inspiration, this aspect most likely allows for technical control, providing better stop and start traction when moving or pivoting, and additionally unveiling ample aesthetic character to the shoe; a visual attribute that is not very frequently featured on any other PUMA shoes, whether vintage, retro, or entirely of the newer eras.

Other notable design details include the formstripe, built entirely out of perforation holes and stitching – nothing insanely ground-breaking here in today’s world but back in the day these were a quite possibly perceived as a very clever idea – and the bare-from-branding black suede FOT spot on the heel. Quite a classy taste there, a point that feels almost unnecessary to the point of mystery, that part of the creative design process that looks nearly mistaken, yet is too hard to overlook to be unintentional. And though it may be a more familiar bit of anatomy in a variety of PUMA shoes, the double-layered suede toe guard is a nice touch too.

What more can (and should) be said? The markings (or lack thereof) on the shoe itself do not confirm date of production (though we’ve seen another identical pair that clearly claims they were made in China) and we don’t have access to an OG box, catalog appearance, or even an article number. Either they’ve been forgotten because they weren’t a square hit of a shoe, or they were in fact such a super ‘ace’ of a release that the players of their day wore them into the ground and almost out of existence, bar this pair we’ve lucked upon here.

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol