PUMA Raider Hi

  • MADE ON: 08/91
  • ART.NO: 6330 / 1

The PUMA Raider is a perfect example of the big cat company’s ability to put out the sort of puffy and rugged – yet intricately designed – basketball high tops many sneaker fanatics expect from the 80s and 90s.

Laid atop a sturdy, simple outsole, the upper is built of leather layers, almost all white with bits of black splashing through in various shapes and textures. Smooth, clean patches, softer textile areas, vertical and horizontal lines, and even fading printer dots passing back the form stripes; this shoe is far from typical. Yet even with as much business as it has going on, once it’s on the foot, it’s got an overall whisper to its colorway… nothing too ‘in your face’.

Indonesian-made in 1991, it’s no wonder that the white paint is flaking from the tongue itself and that much of the glue around the off-white ankle collar piece is beginning to come alive again. It must be considered though that this particular pair has seen enormous wear and tear, from the aged and yellowing glue around the bottom edge of the upper to the midsole which is going a burnt amber color itself. The uniquely textured upper part of the tongue is solid though and the back of the tongue and sockliner are in a fantastic, cushy, comfortable condition (quite unlike the PUMA Avenue or Pressing shoes, even if they were to be held up, in deadstock, box-fresh condition, against these torn-up Raiders).

Set all that critique stuff aside and I must admit my favorite part of this model is the small details. PUMA had a knack for putting weird touches into their early 90s models that this shoe can’t escape such a fate. The already mentioned formstripe dots fade back to the separated black plastic area with additional eyestays, below which sits a small plastic rectangle, which can only be servicing purely aesthetic concerns. Further the separation of the top two eyelets from the third with a patch of black ribbed rubber not only adds durability to the top of the shoe itself but also provides a great abstraction to the shape and a sweet excuse to toss in more color patches. Even the outsole is given a cool PUMA embossing (in white) and some wild, wavy traction spots sculpted into the black man-made rubber.

Damn I want a deadstock pair of these in my size.

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol

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