PUMA Teku Suede
- MODEL: PUMA TEKU SUEDE
- TYPE: HANDBALL / INDOOR / TENNIS
- MADE IN: VIETNAM
- MADE ON: 08/04
- ART.NO: 180586 03
A cult classic from PUMA’s contribution to the sport of handball, the Teku Suede fuses a vintage upper with the innovative EverTrack sole technology.
One of PUMA’s older models, the Teku (or Te-Ku 80, as it was originally called) didn’t enjoy the same levels of fame the States or Clyde received but PUMA purists will recognize this sleek silhouette.
The Te-Ku’s beginnings were in the lesser known sport of handball. PUMA aimed to design a shoe that was practical yet easy on the eye for high performance handball players. This resulted in the Te-Ku 80, which (similar to its cousins, the Clyde and Suede) was made of a suede and leather upper. However later pairs used different materials such as canvas for the upper.
What’s really interesting about this shoe is the midsole. The first pairs of the shoe were made with a crepe sole midsole. Made from natural rubber, a crepe sole is a used mostly for the soles of chukka boots for its strength and long life, and PUMA added one to the Te-Ku 80 in order to make the sole durable, yet soft.
Puma later replaced the crepe sole with an EverTrack, gum rubber sole and with that change the crepe-soled Te-Ku 80 became the gum-soled Teku. Lightweight, soft, and non-marking, the EverTrack gum sole was constructed to withstand the constant ground impact fast paced activities can bring about.
With the EverTrack sole becoming a firm feature on the new Teku’s, retro models became more about style and look. For the last batch of retros in 2004, Puma released more colourways (such as green and white or cream and crimson red, to name a few) and put out new materials on the upper. The shoe, being slimmer and more slender than the Clyde, was a perfect fit for both men and women.
Unfortunately, as they were last released in 2004, the Teku has become quite rare, and, needless to say, the original Te-Ku 80 has become even more of a rarity. A cult classic rather than a best seller, the Te-Ku 80 has been the subject of much debate, with some saying the shoe was first produced when PUMA moved production to Yugoslavia, and with others who claim the shoe was born in China. With the PUMA history books locked away, it will be hard to settle this argument.
Either way, the Te-Ku 80, and its successor the Teku, are sneakers that were both made with sole technology in mind – whether that be a crepe sole or an EverTrack sole – and owners of the model will enjoy a classic alternative to the Clyde or States.
written by Sam Arojo
photography by errol