- MODEL: PUMA TE-KU
- TYPE: HANDBALL / INDOOR / TENNIS
- MADE IN: WEST GERMANY
- ART.NO: 178
During an era when PUMA started manufacturing footwear for a vast amount of sporting activities the Te-Ku’s made their introduction. Although an exact date for their first release isn’t completely clear, it was during the late 1970s that they originally became available on the open market and were shown in the PUMA catalogues of their time. Their name is an abbreviation of the sport for which they were intended, ‘Tennis and Kunstrasen’ (in German), translating to ‘tennis and artificial grass or AstroTurf’.
The most distinguishing and standout feature on the PUMA Te-Ku’s as seen here are their totally smooth sole without any tread or markings. This made them ideal for the environment, as the athlete would be able to quickly manoeuvre about the court and most likely perform sliding shots when necessary. The smooth gum sole was likely a unique detail on tennis shoes at the time, as it’s not a detail often seen on other shoes from back then.
Their simple, beige suede upper and matching braided laces with black lettering would’ve been designed to match the nearly all white uniforms players wore during the ’70s and ’80s. Manufactured out of PUMA’s West Germany and Yugoslavian factories the other variant made was the Te-Ku 80, with some pairs having gold lettering and a lack of the leaping cat on the rear heal.
Twenty years later in the early 2000s retro models were released in a variation of colourways not previously seen and in materials including suede and canvas. Having an all gum sole with tread pattern they were probably more of a casual footwear choice rather than for their performance capabilities on a court.
written by Professor B
photography by errol