PUMA Stenzel Firebird
MADE IN: YUGOSLAVIA
The archive and back catalogue of PUMA is so extensive that on many occasions you’ll find examples of two different shoes appearing to be the same. This is one of those instances and you can see their likeness to the PUMA Firebird previously featured. There are also vintage articles of Firebirds that were made in Italy, but like all pairs they’re always a shade of Red & Blue with a gum sole.
Estimated to originate from the late 1970’s, this pair was made in Yugoslavia, so it goes without saying that their quality are of a superior standard. Given their age, to have them in such good condition all these years later is something rarely seen with shoes from any brand. The rich red suede upper if offset with a royal blue Formstripe and matching liner. Their molded tongue is similar to that seen on the PUMA Dallas from the same time period.
The Stenzel name which differentiates these from the other Firebirds is taken from Yugoslavia Handball player Vlado Stenzel. The highly successful player had his own range of training clothing, signature Stenzel Coach and his face on the tongue on the PUMA Handball Spurt shoe. It was quite common for PUMA to endorse various top athletes from various sports and give them their own shoes. Just like Udi Latek had a shoe which was almost identical to the PUMA Dallas; the Stenzel Firebirds were almost an exact replica of the regular Firebirds.
The shoe which was a popular favourite amongst the Terraced and 80’s Casual sub-cultures still retains its cult following and admiration. One of the reasons that they’re still held in such high regard is that since the originals were first seen they’ve yet to be re-issued. Whether it was the Firebirds or these Stenzel Firebirds, we can safely say that if they were to be re-released they’ll be welcomed with opened arms.
Text: Professor B