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Retro Runner Rehab: The PUMA Prevail

Date: October 06 2016

By: Rob Marfell

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Meet the PUMA Prevail. Very few know of this punchy 90s silhouette from the big cat, and that’s a wrong we’re here to right. The Prevail is like a stealth bomber in the annals of sneaker history. Not for its shape (in that respect it’s more like a tank) but simply because it flew under the radar. For that reason alone it isn’t the likeliest candidate for reissue. But the Prevail is one of PUMA’s finest, and we’re hopeful that 2016 is its year to shine.

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Like Conan O’Brien on Late Night, the Prevail was presented to the public in 1993. And like O’Brien, the reception wasn’t as good as it should’ve been. It’s not that the pedigree wasn’t there. Or that anyone was being let down in the looks department – its merits were overlooked because of a higher profile star. See, no one was tuning into O’Brien because he had taken the role of David Letterman, who had moved to the Late Show. And people weren’t entirely in tune with the Prevail because they were being instructed to ‘Turn it on’ with the PUMA Disc.

The Disc was a watershed moment for PUMA (we told you all about it here), and the public were drawn to it like a crow to silver dollar. Rightly so – Disc technology is amazing – however, shoe sales don’t work like late night television. Perhaps with a little more limelight the Prevail too could have made it to the next millennium.

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The Prevail mightn’t have been blessed with Disc tech, but it did get the looks. To most sneakerheads the 90s are the foundation of their taste. The era informs a lot of what we add to cart today, and luckily for the Prevail it has 90s novelty in spades. Burly bordering on rotund, the bridge of this retro runner harks back to a time when footwear wasn’t dainty. Prevails aren’t best worn under a pin-rolled chino like a sneaker sock. Rather they’re more comfortable under a straight leg of denim or baggy shorts.

The Prevail’s layering would make it a colourists dream in 2016. A mixture of jagged and curved panels give three-way colour schemes like this ‘White/Purple/Black’ more impact than no-sew layers ever could. Also note the tongue and side panel – colour blocking both makes it look like one weaves under the heel collar and into the other. Imagine if Ronnie Fieg did a ‘Salmon Toe’ version of these, punters would be camping for that beauty like Spartans outside Troy.

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Indication that the Prevail does have a little something something under hood comes by way of embroidered ‘Trinomic’ logos on the heel. The hexagonal cells that provide cushioning through energy-returning flex are alive and well in modern PUMAs like the Disc Blaze, meaning a retro wouldn’t be hindered with out-of-date tech.

Still, all we can do is pine for these. The Prevail is so rare that most images you’ll find of it on the Internet are of this exact pair. We managed to borrow this deteriorating duo from a PUMA enthusiast, Mr. Formstripe, who finessed them from somewhere in Europe. But we’re not without hope. The Prevail stepped into our lives in ‘93 the same year the first Clinton came into office. Now that the return of second Clinton looks promising, maybe the same will ring true for PUMA’s Prevail.

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