PUMA Revives Its Ambitious 1998 Runner

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, PUMA is set to release its cult-favorite runner from 1998, the CELL Endura, later this fall season.

Back in the ’90s, sneakers that showcased the inner-workings of its cushioning technologies were sweeping the international footwear market. It was a blend of bold styling and functional performance that appealed to both athletes and style-driven consumers, sparking what we now refer to as the “lifestyle” sector of the industry. Many brands attempted to tap into this tech, among them was PUMA’s CELL line. With stable cushioning in mind, CELL was built from a blow-molded polyurethane elastomer (TPU) that was configured in a pattern of hexagonal cells. Combinations of these cells allowed PUMA to engineer cushioning that met a variety of running needs.

In 1998, PUMA unveiled the CELL Endura, the “pinnacle” model in the brand’s visible tech runner range. Now, 20 years later, the model has come full circle as ’90s sneakers with athletic yet chunky silhouettes are returning to the forefront of fashion. This modernized Endura stays true to its OG glory, updated only through new materials, new production techniques and a slightly-sleeker shape. Additional details include rubber toe-caps, breathable mesh uppers with suede overlays, PU-coated leather overlays, EVA midsoles, and rubber outsoles.

Source: Hypebeast

Rhi Rhi is Back !

Fenty x Puma CL Creeper – Don’t Call it a Comeback

Puma is sitting pretty at the moment. The often underrated brand has been making some really sharp signings for just over a year now. The company’s focus has decidedly shifted towards a younger market. But, they’re also getting ahead of the sport-meets-style curve. The latest Fenty x Puma CL Creepers are a great example of this.

Available in both Brown and Black, the design ethos of the Creeper is getting more imaginative by the release. The uppers here are in a familiar suede build. The model is based heavily on the OG Puma Suede from back in the day, so that’s no surprise. The more expressive element here is the addition of a trail-inspired outsole. This raises the profile of a sneaker that was already considerable high-up. That being said, it also amplifies some of the allure of the CL Creeper as well.

The resulting shape of this slight re-design further expresses Puma’s experimental approach these days. While other brands are dominating with the use of woven materials and showy cushion, it makes sense to try something different. And that word, different, may be underselling the Creepers.

Available now, this Women’s exclusive is sure to fly off shelves, as Rhi Rhi’s popularity remains untouchable. Don’t sleep!

PUMA Archive

Take an Exclusive Peek Inside the PUMA Archive with Chief Archivist Helmut Fischer

A rare trip through the brand’s historic vaults.

Walking into PUMA‘s headquarters – a huge, glass-panelled building nestled amongst the houses of the picturesque German town of Herzogenaurach – it quickly becomes apparent how cherished the brand’s rich athletic history is. Plaques of sports heroes wearing the panther logo line the walls. Photos of soccer teams holding international trophies and athletes celebrating the breaking of a world record sit above the shoes that carried them across the finish line.

It is here, amongst these portraits of Maradonna, Linford Christie and Clyde Frazier that we’re introduced to Helmut Fischer, otherwise known as ‘Mr. PUMA.’ Helmut has worked with the brand for the majority of his life, nearly forty years in fact, and he’s seen PUMA help athletes from Usain Bolt to Boris Becker reach phenomenal levels of success.

Tucked away at the top floor of the building is Helmut’s personal PUMA archive. A store room crammed with shelves upon shelves of almost every sport shoe the brand has ever produced. Sneakers bearing signatures – as well as the occasional ”Thanks Helmut” – from some of the most celebrated sportspeople in history are stacked next to crates of old world cup kits, deflated soccer balls and surely what must be every-single iteration of shoebox PUMA has designed in the brand’s 65 year history. Old models to the most recent versions sit side by side, from iconic trainers like the PUMA Fast Rider and Roma, (both of which are set for re-release later this year), to more conceptual, unnamed designs that never saw commercial release.

Although entire days could be spent rifling through the thousands of designs kept here, the reason PUMA has invited us is to take a tour through this vast collection and shine a light on the brand’s rich sporting legacy and its history of innovation.

“Untitled” – 1950

Reminiscent of a modern day bowling shoe, Helmut presents PUMA’s first training sneaker. This was made in a time when they only really used leather for shoes, and what they later realised was that it wasn’t really comfortable,” he says. Despite the age and limited technology available at the time of this shoe’s design, it’s exciting to see how committed to sport performance PUMA were even in this early incarnation. The nostalgia associated with such an old, simple design is compounded by the fact it’s surrounded by the decades of innovative designs that followed it. The idea that all the shoes around us can, to a lesser or greater degree, be traced back to this model is pretty startling and really drives home the scale of the brand’s influence in the history of sport.

Wilhelm Bungert – 1962

The next model Helmut selects is an example of one of the brand’s first forays into an athlete-helmed shoe. The eponymous ‘Wilhelm Bungert,’ came about when PUMA approached the German tennis star for help producing a sports sneaker together. “The sole is pretty thick,” says Helmut, “it had a good cushioning effect and absorption, and was very flexible.” The design of the sole, with its thin grooves that kept a steady grip during a match, also had other applications. “You wouldn’t pick up the bits and pieces from the court. They wouldn’t get stuck in there.” Looking considerably more familiar and contemporary than the previous example, it’s fascinating to see one of the earliest shoes that, visually at least, began to the blur the line between being strictly a sports trainer and a more wearable, lifestyle shoe.

Roma – 1968

Jumping forward a few years, Helmut digs out the Roma. “What you can also see here is that it has a double layer sole for shock absorption,” Helmut says, highlighting the blue and white surfaces on the heel. “They tried to have hard and soft material in the sole to provide more comfort for the runner.” This shoe was also one of the first shoes to utilze the brand’s signature ‘Form Stripe’ logo for more than just branding. “The Form Stripe that you see here was invented by Rudolf Dassler in 1958, and he used that not only so that you can clearly see it’s PUMA, but also because – since you have it on both sides – it stabilizes the shoe.” explains Helmut. “So it’s a technical feature but also a marketing and branding feature at the same time.”

“Clyde” 1973

Next on the list is perhaps one of PUMA’s most famous silhouettes. The Clyde, a collaboration between the brand and basketball legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier that unlike most basketball shoes, avoided a high-top ankle support design. “[Clyde] said that he’d like to have a shoe that was lo-cut and suede,” says Helmut. We ask if this was the colorway it originally came in. “The color? Yes, this was it. Not in this size though,” replies Helmut, chuckling. “I think he was a 49.” To prove his point, he dives back into his collection to pull out a significantly larger shoe, bearing an authentic Clyde Frazier autograph. Seeing such a seminal trainer in the flesh, one that arguably defined its era in both a sporting sense and also a cultural one, is an incredible experience. Considering it was signed by the sporting icon himself, let’s just say our sneakerhead bucket list just got a little bit shorter.

Fast Rider – 1978

This was actually developed in the US and then came back to Europe, and the idea was to use it for a sport that didn’t really exist back then: jogging,” explains Helmut, holding a bright blue running sneaker with a distinctive studded rubber sole. Realising that modern runners no longer trained exclusively on the track or the field, but rather on the street, PUMA looked into how they could provide greater performance and protection than its competitors. “What they did was not just use this layer here” says Helmut, pointing to the heel, “but also put the shock absorption in the sole itself. That’s why you’ve got this funny pattern.” It’s interesting to see a vintage Fast Rider because, despite being nearly 40 years old, it’s still a surprisingly contemporary design. 

PUMA Disc – 1991

This was the first running shoe that didn’t have laces,” explains Helmut. “The technology here is a PUMA patent, so nobody else can use this exact technology. It’s unique.” The now iconic disc fitting system, that replaces laces with a wheel mechanism that tightens the shoe to a perfect fit, was a revolutionary concept when it was released. “It was basically a new idea. Bringing a slipper shoe and lace shoe together. You go in, turn it once and you’re set.” For a certain generation, the PUMA Disc was the epitome of daring, outlandish trainer design and as kids, we remember thinking that anyone with a pair of these was a pretty pioneering individual. Seeing the shoe in its sporting context is not only illuminating from a sneaker historian’s point of view, but also highlights the depth to which sport and performance are ingrained in all PUMA shoes.

Mostro – 1999

Helmut then pulls out the Mostro, a sleek futuristic shoe that, as it turns out, he played an integral part in its creation. “I met a designer from Boston and I showed him a mid-80s surfing model and he turned that into the Mostro.” Sadly, Helmet doesn’t remember the designer’s name. “I tend to forget all the names, there’s so many of them,” he says. Much like the Jil Sander trainer, this was another example of the omnipresent nature sports and sport-influenced design has in all of PUMA’s ranges, even the more lifestyle skewing models.

Being allowed to explore the PUMA archive wasn’t just fascinating from a sneakerhead’s perspective – although admittedly that box gets well and truly ticked – it was also interesting to discover just how significant a role PUMA has played in the past century of sport. From the iconic photos in the lobby, to the relics of sporting legends found in Helmut’s archive, it quickly becomes apparent the level of commitment PUMA has, and has alway had, to helping athletes achieve sporting excellence.

Source: Hypebeast

Puma Fenty Bow Slides

How many celebrity figures are hotter in the shoe game right now than Rihanna?

There really might not be a more potent combination of star-power marketability and interesting designs. The debut and subsequent sell-outs of the Creeper models is evidence enough of this. With that being said, the FENTY line also dabbles in less traditional areas of footwear design.

The Bow slides are a good example of the line’s habit of reimagining classic aesthetics. The old school soccer slide is one of simple, if not altogether dull, execution. Here, we see it adorned with signature flair, sporting a Satin bow as the support strap. Continuing on that theme, you’ll even feel your steps tucked in by Satin foam backing, making for an extra plush feel. Of course, we also see the “FENTY by Rihanna” graphic emblazoned onto the footbed, which could probably move this piece off shelves singlehandedly.

The use of satin is apparently the result of Old World Parisian influence, harking back to a time of the luxury-over-everything sort of aesthetic. Still, it really does come across as a very Rihanna-esque interpretation, adding fashionable flair to a piece we might have otherwise never noticed.