How to style retro sneakers

The Way of Us styles the Puma Suede five ways

Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photography: The Seppis | Styling: Mandy Nash 

While we love the amount of technology going on in modern footwear, there’s something to be said about a retro sneaker, which is probably why we keep going back to these OGs with each and every reissue.

Sure nostalgia plays a role, but it’s probably also got something to do with how versatile a retro sneaker is, and to prove our point The Way of Us styled five different looks using the Puma Suede.

Like several other OG sneakers, the Puma Suede was made famous by an athlete, 70s basketball legend Walter “Clyde” Frazier, who was commonly regarded as the coolest brother in the game and who played in thick rubber soles crafted in tough suede, as opposed to the other players’ canvas and leather kicks.

It was after the shoe was adopted by 80s hip-hop heads, b-boys specifically, who admired Frazier’s rebellious style that the silhouette really took off.

50 years later the Puma Suede is still as fresh as ever, and here’s how you can inject some of that Frazier flava into your looks.


While it was b-boys in the 80s who popularized this look, it's actually much bigger than hip-hop. Look closely at that iconic photograph of Tommie Smith and John Carlos in their Team USA tracksuits, raising a defiant Black Power salute, and you’ll see that the Puma Suede shared the podium with them at the Berlin 68 Olympics. You too can make a statement in athleisure wear, and whether you mix and match or keep things uniform it's totally up to you.


In the same way that wingtips or brogues look sharp with a suit, the Puma Suede’s classic silhouette makes a great impression on more tailored outfits. And you may as well go for a bright colourway, after all, you’re already wearing sneakers with your suit so make even more of a statement with a red pair. If the doorman gives you flack about dress code and some sort of outdated policy of “no sneakers into the club” you just tell them that Puma is part of French luxury goods holding company Kering, which does Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Brioni, Gucci and Saint Laurent Paris, thankyouverymuch.


What’s so great about this look is that it’s taking two very versatile categories, sneakers and denim, and then combining them using the workwear trend. This very current look makes plenty of sense when incorporating the working man’s fabric of choice, and if worn with the type of shoe that can take a beating, too, well it’s an outfit that’s able to stand up to whatever life throws at you.


Leave behind any sort of graphics, prints or other fanfare - you’re not a mirrorball, man! Instead this style is a celebration of tone and has more to do with proportion of cut and quiet confidence than peacocking. The subtle white Formstrip on black suede... that hint of white T-shirt under the black bomber...  let's just say that Puma’s creative director, Rihanna, would approve.


Look, you don’t need to go full Hypebeast and carry a Supreme brick around with you. If you care about limited edition anything and were one of the dudes lining up outside of the Pablo pop-up, then a pair of box fresh Puma Suedes in an OG colourway will always play nicely with your Two Bop and other Cornerstore brands. Something for The Weeknd, perhaps?