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Exploring The PUMA Suede’s Forever Classic Role in Hip-Hop Culture – Billboard

Written by on 04/08/2023

Hip-hop is a revolutionary and vibrant cultural movement that strengthened the relationship between music and fashion. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, we recognize the lasting impact of the players who changed the world forever, planting the seeds for trends that have stood the test of time.


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The PUMA Suede has played a significant role in fashion and street style since its release in 1968. Originally designed as a basketball shoe, the classic sneaker silhouette gained popularity among athletes and sneaker enthusiasts alike. However, its origins can be traced back to the early 1970s when the shoe started to gain traction in the emerging hip-hop scene in New York City.

During the early days of hip-hop, breakdancing and street culture became integral parts of the movement. The PUMA Suede’s unique design, with its durable suede upper and chunky rubber sole, made it a popular choice for dancers. The shoe provided the necessary comfort, flexibility and grip required for performing intricate dance moves. As hip-hop grew in popularity, the PUMA Suede became synonymous with the genre’s history intertwining with fashion and pop culture.

The PUMA Suede influence continued to expand throughout the 1980s and 1990s as hip-hop artists gained mainstream recognition as trendsetters in popular culture. Some of the biggest artists in the world also began wearing the PUMA Suede, pairing them with tracksuits, baggy jeans and oversized hoodies. The shoe became part of their signature style, appearing in music videos, concerts and other significant moments in pop culture.

When artists rocked the Suede, fans followed suit, integrating them into their everyday lives. The PUMA Suede’s consistent presence made it more than a functional footwear option: it became a highly recognized fashion statement. As the genre expanded globally to the 21st century, the PUMA Suede remained a fixture of its culture.

The PUMA Suede has been worn by icons of every generation.  Today, the PUMA Suede has been worn by the likes of Jay-Z, Slick Rick, Flau’jae, and more.

Today, the PUMA Suede will forever be a classic sneaker in hip-hop and streetwear. Its rich history and enduring popularity have made it a classic silhouette that continues to be worn and celebrated by artists, musicians and fashion enthusiasts worldwide. The shoe represents not only a stylish and functional footwear choice but also a symbol of the cultural impact and enduring legacy of hip-hop.

The PUMA Suede is a timeless shoe that represents each generation of hip-hop culture. Billboard curated a playlist that captures the timelessness of the iconic silhouette by combining classic hip-hop tracks with the new sounds pushing the genre forward today. Grab a pair of PUMA Suedes and listen to the playlist below.

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