- MODEL: PUMA CHALLENGE
- TYPE: BASKETBALL
- MADE IN: TAIWAN
- MADE ON: --/97
- ART.NO: 2368 / 1B
We gladly present another relic from PUMA’s basketball past, likely one that not only challenges those to remember it but especially challenges those who’ve never heard of it to begin with!
On a first, quick glance they’re definitely some space-boot high tops. Blobby, swirling, patterned rubber outsoles, super puffy, wide, fat tongues, tricky criss-cross plastic-rimmed eyelets, and that ever traditional-to-basketball over-perforated toe box and side wall look.
Displayed here in a cool green colorway, this pair was most likely produced in ’97 given the markings in silver ink against their tongues (reading ’01897′). Having taken their production to Taiwan by then, the typical Italian built PUMA pair with its thin walls isn’t present here, leaving the shoe bulky and thick. Comfortable? Sure they are. Durable? Seems quite so. Unique or original? Not a chance PUMA.
Unfortunately for their name, these shoes neither seem to be a challenge to create nor present a challenge to rival brands. The embroidry across the upper is nice and the shiny synthetic stripping materials bordering the ankle collar ain’t bad, but other than these features the shoes are just a bit of a weak release, which at least partially explains why they aren’t better remembered by vintage hoop heads.
So why feature ‘em? As sneaker historians we like to call it ‘filling in the blanks’. Kicks like these are important to showcasing the history and development of basketball trainers, and whether they influenced others or other releases influenced them, they stand to show a time in the past when things were potentially much more challenging to brands than they are today. Many OG collectors will confirm, the sneaker scene worldwide has boomed about twice now, and we’re currently in the midst of a large explosion (at the time of writing this, nearing the end of 2013). But back in the day it was a whole different game, a whole different Challenge.
Thus, while these aren’t our favorite pair of vintage PUMA trainers over here at eatmoreshoes, we’re still quite ecstatic to unbox a deadstock pair of PUMA Challenges and ponder on who wore them and when, letting our minds dribble back to the courts of PUMA’s past archive, ground-breaking or not.
written by Dylan Cromwell
photography by errol