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Perhaps you have just landed your first full-time job at Sheerluxe and have decided to honor the occasion with a pair of Vejas, or perhaps you have been scouring street-style round-ups and felt inspired to purchase some Adidas Sambas—which almost every fashion outlet declared “the shoe of the summer” in 2023. There’s good reason as to why both of these trainers have been popularized on the street—they provide a palatable scaffolding to almost every outfit—but there is perhaps a new pretender to the Sambas’s reign: the Puma SpeedCat.


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A little more unusual than the failsafe Samba—it’s more of a ballet slipper than a traditional sneaker and was originally designed for Formula One drivers in 1998—the SpeedCat’s presence within the mainstream is beginning to mushroom. This is mostly because of Emily Ratajkowski—who I assume is on some kind of retainer for Puma—but also because of aspirant street stylers and fashion forecasters on TikTok. “No, no, no, and no,” said one of the app’s users in response to a recent SpeedCat green screen, another said “I don’t like these.” But fashion loves a divisive shoe—and so comments like these are perhaps the most reliable endorsement of the SpeedCat’s cachet.

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Emily Ratajkowski was once again photographed in a pair of those sneakers while strolling around Manhattan on April 1 dressed in a chore jacket, wide-leg cargos, and the anti-paparazzi combination of a hoodie-plus-sunglasses. Much like Wales Bonner’s football sneakers and Gola’s Performance Ceptor TX trainers, the SpeedCats are not as “nice looking.” But that is the point: to wear a strange, nostalgic shoe that will simultaneously repel some people and draw others inwards. That is until the SpeedCat becomes a feature on Sheerluxe, at which point fashion will elect an entirely different shoe to moor itself on.

This article first appeared on British Vogue.

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