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Craving a Post-Samba Sneaker, EmRata Took the Nuclear Option Highsnobiety

If something is cool, Emily Ratajkowski knows about it. She’s a living barometer for knowing what’s in and what’s out, really. And, according to a recent outfit she wore in New York City, PUMAs are the new It Sneaker.

But not just any PUMA, no. EmRata somehow has traded in her adidas Sambas for the ugliest (in a good way) shoe in the PUMA stable. Let’s discuss. 

Ratajkowski left her house on December 1 in a fuzzy coat over a pair of wide beige pants, a favorite. While the comfy coat was the most eye-catching aspect of her outfit by far, it was EmRata’s slim pair of black and white PUMA sneakers that really cinched the look.

EmRata’s shoes are very similar (but not identical) to the $100 PUMA Speedcat sneakers, a racing-inspired silhouette that’s super flat and, quite frankly, mildly hideous. Sort of like the PUMA Mostro, but a lot less fashion-forward.

Both styles, demand the right pants and utmost swagger to pull off. The Speedcats, in particular, are terrifically Eurotrash in a too-tight leather jacket, Porsche sneaker kinda way.

EmRata is fully into the look, though. Days after wearing that initial pair of Speedcats, she wore the very same model in red, paired with an oversized leather jacket, a crop top, and track pants, emphasizing the low profile of her chosen It Sneaker.

These unmissable yet sorta low-profile PUMA shoes are the natural evolution of things: the Samba becomes popular as a toss-on daily driver, the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 emerges as a hip-girl alternative, and then the real tastemakers seek an even more advanced replacement once that hits critical mass.

For Ratajkowski, the answer came by way of one of the most challenging, affordable PUMA sneakers on the market.

The Speedcat-like PUMAs do retain a silhouette comparable to the Samba, especially in terms of visual heft, but they’re sleeker and less utilitarian, ugly-cool in a normcore way. They’re also grotesquely bulbous and wildly difficult to wear without a necessary sense of laisser-faire style.

The model isn’t above experimenting with PUMA for the sake for chasing newness. This past summer, Ratajkowski rocked a pair of PUMA’s Palermo shoes, which also retail at an easy $100 and function as an affordable Samba-killer co-signed by the likes of PUMA ambassador Dua Lipa.

Heck, why not sign up Ratajkowski to rep the brand right alongside Lipa and Rihanna? She’s clearly a fan.

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