Let’s be honest, when was the last time you purchased a PUMA sneaker? I’ll wait…for me it was the Alife x PUMA R698 “Peach Bud” in 2016. Needless to say, they sat and I picked them up for a ridiculous steal. Now in 2018, I can’t enter a sneaker blog or any social media without seeing something about PUMA. The brand took an amazingly aggressive marketing stance while also focusing on what the people wanted.
The first step in the right direction was clearly the introduction of the acclaimed Fenti collection by Rihanna. Although not a men’s shoe, PUMA did something other brands weren’t doing…focusing on the female demographic, not just taking the “shrink it and pink it” approach. With the brand taking off in that sector, there was no room for error, they had to capitalize on this new found attention. So keeping with the times where artists are more influential than athletes, PUMA signs entertainers like The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, Big Sean, and at one point Kylie Jenner (not really an entertainer but an influencer none the less ). So now with big names that this generation will trip and fall to follow, the brand needed product to match this star power…enter the PUMA Thunder Spectra. Capitalizing on the “Chunky” and “Dad shoe” trend, PUMA had an instant winner on their hands. Upon the initial release, this sneaker sold out of retail stores just to find itself with the likes of the big boys on resale sites for way more than retail. Now would you have ever thought you’d hear the words PUMA and Resale in the same sentence? Just to add on to the success of the lifestyle sneaker, they released the RS-X Reinvention. I have to say, these are some of the most well put together sneakers I’ve seen in a while. Best chunky shoe hands down…yes even better than the Yeezy Wave Runner! Don’t just take my word for it go buy a pair from their site…oh wait you can’t because they sold out! With a spectacular showing at Complex Con and a combination of some very solid sneakers, the brand is putting themselves in the conversation. The PUMA wave was real and did not plan on slowing. So what’s the next move?
Next, upon their quest to become a part of the everyday sneaker conversation, PUMA did something no one saw coming…jump back into Basketball. So let’s see, they covered artist and influencers and now they’ve made their way to the NBA. And let’s go ahead and add Jay Z as the Creative Director for this project. Sneaker culture had a collective heart attack and did exactly what the brand wanted. This was the topic of every sport and sneaker blog all through the NBA offseason leading up to the draft which saw 2 top picks to sign the reemerging brand: Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley. Not only did they grab a couple of the most talked about rookies that most of the country would be keeping an eye on, but they also went after a well-known player who just so happened to be moving to the best team in the league, Demarcus Cousins. With this, they scooped up an athlete who used to be with Nike, but they also made sure to get one who was outspoken and with his recent move you’d be seeing him in his PUMAs all throughout the postseason. With PUMA’s entrance into this space again (Vince Carter used to be signed to them if you didn’t know) they needed a sneaker to build on. That sneaker was the Court Clyde Disrupt. Paying homage to the original Court Clyde, the sneaker wasn’t extremely well received, but it got people talking. But, to most people’s surprise, the sneaker actually played pretty well on the court with its mixture of the brand’s NRGY Beads and IGNITE Foam. So perfect, they’ve made a small dent in the basketball world. Their next move, like previously, no one saw coming, a league-wide sneaker deal with the WNBA! Once again, they saw a market where an impact could be made and took their shot. To be honest, these bigger brands better watch out because PUMA is catering to the female sneakerhead in both lifestyle and performance spaces. Give them some time and they will be a force to be reckoned with if no one else steps up in that extremely powerful market.
With the constant moves and creative marketing, PUMA is primed to make a huge impact in 2019. One can only ask, can they sustain and for how long? I look forward to seeing what they have in store for us in the near future. My advice to the other brands would be, don’t sleep on PUMA.