Featured on “Pawn Stars” Season 19 Episode 5, this is an original, unworn pair of Puma’s 1968 Brush Shoes, sold with a matching pair of 6 spike running shoes. After filming the seller of the brush shoes approached us and we have agreed to sell the shoes on consignment as a set with the additional “legal” pair of cleats.
The brush shoes were born due to a change in track surfaces used for Olympic events. A new track type called tartan was introduced to improve traction in adverse weather, however traditional 4-6 cleat running shoes were showing a tendency to get stuck in the material. It was widely expected that the world’s largest athletic shoe company at the time, Adidas, would design a new shoe for the surface however their fierce competitor, Puma beat them to the finish line.
Puma designed a 68-spike cleat (an homage to the upcoming 1968 Olympic games) using small needle-like spikes similar to brush bristles. The uppers were also significantly sleeker than before, locked down with a new hook-and-loop closure system widely known as Velcro. As soon as the new shoes hit the track the records began to fall. At the US Olympic training center outside Lake Tahoe Vince Matthews broke the world record for the 400m, followed by John Carlos setting the world’s first sub-20 second 200m in history with a 19.7 time. Then to leave no doubt about the performance of these new shoes, Lee Evans set a new fastest 400m time breaking Matthews short lived world record.
Word of the record-breaking Puma shoes quickly made its way the head of Adidas, Horst Dassler. Horst, the son of Adidas founder, Adi Dassler, quickly moved to derail this opportunity for Puma to showcase their advancements on the Olympic stage. Adidas and Puma’s rivalry was no ordinary business rivalry, it was a bitter familial feud between estranged brothers Rudi and Adi Dassler. The German brother’s bad blood dated back to the end of WWII, when Rudi was jailed for his work supporting the Third Reich. Rudi believed his brother Adi had ratted him out to take greater control of their company Gebruder Dassler Schuhfabrik. The brothers never reconciled, instead building separate shoe factories on opposite sides of the Aurach River, Adi with Adidas and Rudi, with Puma.
Unwilling to allow their bitter familial rivals to come to market with such a groundbreaking athletic shoe, Adidas appealed to the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) utilizing Horst’s charm and a heaping bag of cash. Two weeks before the start of the Olympic games the IAAF announced that no track shoe with more than eight spikes would be allowed in competition, instantly making the brush shoes illegal. The world records were nullified, and the vast majority of the 500 pairs of brush shoes in existence were destroyed.
However, Puma had the last laugh, their legal 6 spike shoe was worn by the US team and Tommie Smith won Gold with John Carlos earning the Bronze in the Puma sneakers. The pair of "legal" shoes included in this sale are the same model as those worn by the US track team in the 1968 Olympic games.
This is one of the few remaining pairs of brush shoes in private hands, other examples have found their way to museums and other special collections. Both pairs of shoes include their original Puma boxes, are unworn and in excellent condition. The shoes are guaranteed to be authentic and include a COA from the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. Due to the nature of this item, there are no returns, and all sales are final.
Illegal Puma: 10.5H" x 4W" Size: 9"
Legal Puma: 10.5H" x 4W" Size: 9.5"
Note: Cosmetic flaws to the exterior and interior of the boxes such as excess glue, abrasion marks, and scruff.
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