Puma Ralph Sampson Sneakers Review

Puma Ralph Sampson Sneakers Review

Worldwide sportswear brand Brand has once again stepped into the basketball ring after a very long hiatus, bringing with them the classic Ralph Sampson Sneakers which were a huge hit back in the 1980s. In my latest men’s style blog review, I take a close look to see if they still hold up after 30 years! Read on for more.

Truthfully, I had never seen these sneakers before (or if I did, they didn’t strike me as anything special) nor had I much knowledge about Ralph Sampson. Suddenly I was made very aware of them after this new release was promoted via a variety of sneakerhead retailers, once spotted it came became a difficult task to forget about them! I was in the market for a new pair of white trainers, ones which were suitable for the upcoming summer while boasting a modest retail price; it seemed the Puma Ralph Sampson Low OG Trainers could be the shoes I needed for the warmer weather.

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This re-release coincides with Puma’s re-entry into the basketball sport, hoping to carve a piece of the pie which has already been monopolised for far too long by the typical big industry names.

Back in the ’80s, Ralph Sampson was renowned as the top player in the sport (long before Michael Jordan hit the court), famously featuring on the front cover of Sports Illustrated six times within four short years. During his tenure in the NBA, he was approached by Puma to have a shoe created especially for him, which would also be available to the masses and branded with his name. Something like this was unheard of back then (unlike now, when nearly everyone with a glimmer of fame somehow gets a dedicated fashion line) and indeed shows his legendary status in the game – click here for an interview with Ralph Sampson regarding his collaboration.

Now I have brushed up on some of the backstory, let us quickly move onto the meat of the blog post with my review of the Puma Ralph Sampson OG Low Top Sneakers.

Design & Style

Vintage is very much on trend at the moment, especially in the fashion world, with shoes leading the retro revival. The 90s oversized Dad trainers are incredibly desirable at the moment, but the 80s are full of classic treasures, like the Ralph Sampson sneakers. These shoes were originally designed 30 years ago, yet there is something very modern about the overall look of these low-tops (also available as a high-top alternative), those sleek lines and edges could easily have been created for today’s market.

Puma’s iconic ‘swoosh’ pattern sits prominently on the side of each shoe, coloured in understated light grey (also used on the small amount of piping around the edge of the tongue), pleasing to the eye in stark comparison to the typical releases from the brand with their heavy use of bold colours. The only exception is on the heel and the tongue, where a dark navy adds a striking contrasting effect.

The shoes do have a streamlined look; however, they still present a slightly bulky appearance, which is most apparent when worn. This stocky looking aspect is mostly due to the thickness of the sole, giving a noticeable lift when on your feet, something very different from the typical low profile structure of modern sports sneakers. Finally, Ralph Sampson’s signature is proudly placed on the side of each shoe in a gold print, standing out like a beacon against its surrounding white background. Overall for me, there are a considerable amount of positives with the design and style of these white sneakers, unquestionably ticking all the right boxes.

Wearability & Comfort

Despite these sports trainers originally designed with basketball players and their fans in mind, this does not automatically pigeonhole them into the same bracket when it comes to fashion. Naturally looking the part on the court or teamed up with complimentary sportswear items (tracksuits, casual sweats and more), but ultimately they can be paired with numerous other outfit possibilities too. My typical clothing ensembles sway towards a streetwear vibe and these Puma Ralph Sampson OG Sneakers blend seamlessly with that clothing style.

As the shoes were made for heavy duty sports action, the comfort factor is a lot higher than a pair of Italian designer sneakers. The inside of the shoe is very soft and spongy; you can almost feel a subtle bounce as you walk. Despite this high praise, there are more comfortable alternatives available on the market from a variety of brands. On my first outing, I chose to wear them with low profile socks, and I found that the inside heel section did begin to rub against my skin after a full days wear. Something to consider before purchasing, especially if you plan to wear them with turned up skinny jeans, otherwise opt for socks which cover the entirety of the heel.


Puma shoes are new to me, with no frame of reference when it came to sizing I decided to play it safe and order both a UK 8 and a 9 (EU 42 and 43 respectively). In my experience, I wear a size 42 in premium sneakers and a 43 in sports trainers, yet to my surprise, the 42 Puma fitted me the best. It was a close decision, the smaller size was overall more snug with a visibly slimmer appearance, whereas the larger pair was a touch loose and looked quite big on my foot (dwarfing the 8 when placed next to each other, both the shoe and the box).


As with other sports brands, the packaging on these Puma shoes is primarily manufactured with functionality in mind, rather than to be displayed. Even so, I found the dark green and white packaging attractive to look at, a colour you don’t often see on shoe boxes. I found the cardboard to be sturdy, more than enough to protect the trainers from damage in transit. Inside you can expect the usual extras, tissue paper wrapped around and inside each shoe.

Value For Money

These basketball sneakers are reasonably priced, despite their high profile credentials (which usually garners an increase in the RRP). Even so, they are still retailing higher than many of their contemporaries on the market (but a vast difference compared to a pair of plain coloured premium sneakers), but if you are a savvy shopper, you may be able to get a better deal if you shop around.


Rounding up, I am happy that I came across these sneakers via an email blast (this form of marketing had to work at some point, right?) and took the plunge with the purchase. Aesthetically they arrived at just the right time when I needed a pair of classic looking, understated men’s trainers for the upcoming summer. Mostly a pleasure to wear (despite the minor heel discomfort) and available at a reasonable price point. Overall, it would be advisable for you to give the Puma Ralph Sampson OG Trainers a test drive!

Quick look back at the top reasons to buy –

  • Timeless design and shape.
  • Vintage style which is currently trending.
  • High quality production values.
  • Reasonable price point compared to competitors.

What do you think of this Puma re-release, is it something you would happily wear on your feet? More interestingly, do you remember them when they were first released? I would love to know more if you did!



  1. Kieron
    July 19, 2019 / 6:44 am

    Thanks for the review. I just bought these in a UK 11 from End. I love the style, the grey logo and heel offer great contrast. Its a trainer that I think works well with shorts/jeans either very light blue or darker. Worthy style for the summer.

    I do however want to note to any readers looking to buy these, which sadly was not noted in the blog.

    Sizing: I own an 11 Puma Suede Classic in Black. These are snug. The Ralph Sampson 11 is huge. I’ll be ordering a size 10 to replace them. So you might possibly want a size down from your normal.

    Tongue: The look / trim is nice. However I feel the uppers to this is quite hard. Not hard in regard to how it feels on your foot but how it rides the contours of your foot, it stiff and you get weird shape indents.

    Do you agree?

    • Adam
      July 25, 2019 / 7:43 pm

      Hi Kieron, interesting that you had to size down as I mentioned in my review I went with the bigger size out of the two I tried. The smaller size was a little snug for me compared to my normal (premium) sneaker size, yet in my normal trainer size they were pretty much spot on.
      I never noticed any indents on my feet either, perhaps this is mostly an issue with bigger sizes?

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