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PUMA Knows It Made the Next It Shoe Highsnobiety

If you were one of the tea leaf-readers who predicted that the PUMA Speedcat would be the shoe of 2024, you can now re-enter the chat and tell all your style-minded friends that you told them so.

The comeuppance of PUMA’s sporty low-cut sneaker, initially designed for F1 drivers in the late 90s, has been happening ever-so slowly on the street and now the movement is fully backed judging by PUMA itself, judding by how deeply it’s promoting Speedcat sneaker in 2024.

In late January, a Forever Speedcat pop-up, complete with archival imagery, thematic products, and the reveal of a Speedcat sneaker collab with designer brand JUUN.J, opened in Seoul. The entire PUMA Korea Instagram page is currently dedicated to campaign looks for the new, modernized Speedcat shoes.

And listen, everyone knows that all things Very Cool typically begin in Korea.

Ever a trendsetter (and known PUMA fan), Emily Ratakokwski has been rocking different Speedcat colorways for months now.

And the more you see the sporty sneakers around the more they start to look like something, well, that EmRata would wear while walking her dog downtown in 2024. They’re sleek, they’re slick, and they’re unlike anything else underfoot.

Much like how water shook to foretell Jurassic Park‘s T-Rex, EmRata’s sneaker rotation was the first sign that the PUMA Speedcat wave was officially upon us. And yes, we did tell you so. 

The sneakers never really went away, though. PUMA has been updating the Speedcats for years now, most notably with their Speedcat LS line, released in 2021.

But the sneaker was historically niche — the Speedcat was designed in 1998 for PUMA’s F1 racers as a snug, fireproof boot.

In 1999, the Speedcat was made available to the masses as a more conventional shoe, though they retained their signature thin rubber soles and sleekness. 

Even around the late 90s release of the racing shoe, lifestyle sneakers only got chunkier and more extroverted.

In the wake of the great low-profile sneaker renaissance of the 2020s, it’s now the Speedcat’s time.

It’s perfectly poised to align with contemporary Y2K-leaning tastes and adventurous enough to provide a aerodynamic alternative to the once-hottest silhouettes that’ve since gone mass.

To be fair, though, there’s room in this world for all sneakers, so this doesn’t have to be a competition.

But with the success of A$AP Rocky’s ongoing PUMA F1 collections and rising interest in motorsport-inspired fashion, it was only a matter of time before the Speedcat sped past its rivals.

Especially as temperatures rise, expect to see plenty of fashion-forward folks revving up their Speedcats.

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