5 Reasons Why the Puma Roma Is an Underrated Classic

  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi

    Gerard Julien/Getty Images

    Americans aren't up on soccer yet

    Okay, I get that this is generalizing but in terms of the sneaker-buying community, there are VERY few people hitting the stores and buying shoes associated with soccer. Around the world? There’s a different answer. But many Americans are simply just missing out on what Puma has to offer, which is a clean silhouette on a lifestyle sneaker that is both comfortable and versatile.

    1 of 5
  • Usain Bolt

    Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

    Olympics

    Even when you see athletes like Usain Bolt outfitted in dope Puma shoes at the Olympics, it sometimes feels like these events come to overshadow the shoes as a whole. They are more than just performance shoes. They can work off the track and soccer field, as well. Yeah, Puma dropped that Ether with its most powerful boot yet with 2014’s evoPOWER but that doesn’t mean cleats are all that they do.

    2 of 5
  • adidas Stan Smith

    adidas Originals

    Stan Smith

    The rivalry between Puma and adidas dates back a long, long time. Up until they eventually squashed it all with a friendly brand vs. brand soccer game not too long ago, this was next level stuff. And because of a few classic 3-Stripes silhouettes resonating with the streets, like the Stan Smith and the Superstar, it feels like adidas has always overshadowed Puma when it comes to lifestyle product. Not any longer, though.

    While adidas has been a monster the last two years in lifestyle shoes, there’s enough room for everyone in 2015. Puma can work itself into that equation.

    3 of 5
  • Mario Balotelli soccer

    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Athlete endorsers

    Think about these names: Mario Balotelli, Sergio Agüero, Cesc Fàbregas, Marco Reus, Radamel Falcao, and Rickie Fowler. How many of those athletes can you talk knowledgeably about? Worldwide, they are monsters, some of the biggest celebrity athletes on the globe. But in the U.S. sometimes our vision is quite narrow. Hopefully that changes in 2015, or at least it should. If you want cats with swagger and style, it’s probably time you started looking past some of these dudes in the NFL and NBA.

    4 of 5
  • Rihanna

    Ollie Millington/Getty Images

    History

    There have been a ton of unreal athletes that have rocked the Puma over the years and not only were they successful in their given sports, but many of them took style to another level. Think Pele. Think Clyde Frazier. Think Serena Williams at one point. Think Bolt. Think about the 1986 Olympics. Remember the infamous Black Power salute from Tommie Smith and John Carlos after winning gold and bronze respectively in the 200m? Yeah, they were rocking Puma.

    And last but not least, now Rihanna is down with the movement. It’s time for you to get on board.

    5 of 5
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi
  • Usain Bolt
  • adidas Stan Smith
  • Mario Balotelli soccer
  • Rihanna

I didn’t grow up wearing Puma. I grew up wearing basketball sneakers, whether it was the X-Beams from Reebok because Steve Francis was one of my favorite players or the Skip to My Lous because if you copped the shoes you got Vol. 5 of the AND1 Mixtape. During high school, I wore Timberlands and Lugz every day to school. (Seriously, every day.) And then on the court, I wore everything from custom iD Nike Basketball joints to Charles Barkley‘s Air Max2 CB 94 to Allen Iverson‘s Answer V to even Tracy McGrady‘s first signature sneaker with adidas.

I didn’t wear Puma too often. I thought it was a soccer shoe–they still are, in a way. But also, at the time, the most anyone was dipping into the “lifestyle” movement was with white-on-white Air Force Ones.

Now that we’re deep into 2015, times have changed and so has the intention of the Puma Roma, including the all-white colorway that is available at Champs Sports.

The Roma is a Puma legend, a shoe that started off in 1968 as something meant for track and field–sprints, hurdles, you get the picture. It had padded nylon-suede styling. The newest retro release, though, comes equipped with an upgraded padded tongue, arch support, a new leather upper, and even new colors.

It may not be the biggest release of the year but it’s definitely going to have a place in the game simply because nowadays it’s all about classic, comfortable, and simple silhouettes. Before you go all in and start copping, make sure you know what you’re getting into, especially if you’re like me and grew up on totally different sneakers.

Here are 5 Reasons Why the Puma Roma Is an Underrated Classic.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney