Yes, this is the best sneaker in the history of the universe. We know this to be true, because we personally put it together for Puma, and we know what time it is down here in the southern hemisphere. Marrying the rare ‘blaze of glory’ model (yes, this is its actual name, and yes, we are closet Bon Jovi fans) with a power ballad and hints of brackish menace, we managed to create a vicious little voodoo child to call our own. Let us take you through the history of our most Bon Jovial sneaker…
Our initial thought was to look for something cool in the PUMA back catalogue. The XR racer and RS 100 are nice enough but no cigar, they’ve already been round the block. We also ruled out the Clyde, after all, there’s already been a stack of quality this year with Solebox, CT, MITA and Sneakers ‘N Stuff all getting their fingerprints on Clyde’s private parts. No offence Clyde, but the throb in our loins lay in the futurism of the eighties, even if that meant raiding the nineties for inspiration. When we explained our ideas with Mark McGarry at PUMA, he dropped the BLAZE OF GLORY and we were instantly smitten. We had our shoe. It has everything we love plus it hasn’t been seen for ages… try googling it and you’ll see it’s invisible in the cyberspace pantheon of PUMAs.
The silhouette should however look familiar, because it’s the same sole unit as the highly distinctive DISC BLAZE. Since you’re all educated sneakerheads, you’ll know that the main claim to fame for the DISC BLAZE is the novelty of its ‘no laces’ system – DISC actually refers to the chunky manual system mounted to the top of the shoe. Just a simple flick of the wrist and wires retract which fitted the shoe snugly to your foot – pull the strap and they slacken off. Some say it was released in 1992, others in 1994, but the DISC BLAZE looks to all intents like a classic eighties runner. I’ve always loved the neoprene bootie and jacked-up rake of the heel. For an added bonus, flip the shoe over and there’s the hexagonal Trinomic cells imbedded in the sole.
With its elegant and proud stance, the BLAZE OF GLORY looks up-righteous from any angle. In truth, the shoe doesn’t even need laces to keep them pegged to your feet, but it’s the plastic-strap lacing system which really gives the shoe it’s distinctive zing. Another unusual feature is that there’s no trademark PUMA formstripe, which makes for a low-key corporate flavour – the only brand reference on the entire upper of the shoe is a silver foil cat on the heel. As far as the color palette goes, we plumped for something distinctive that was fresh without being immature. The principle goal was to produce an end result which has no peer or comparison. With the sheer volume of releases these days, that is about as tricky as it sounds, but I think we’ve succeeded in creating an admittedly retro shoe that seems to be from a distant place in the future. There’s cyan sateen mixing with heavy duty silver performance mesh and blood-red overlocked stitching holds it down up top whilst the forefoot is splashed with a daub of gummy pink.
It’s amazing what a set of laces can do for a shoe, we tried several before settling on these silky braids which feature oversize metal aglets. Once they arrived, the shoe really found its falsetto. There’s also a choice of two insoles, including our ‘Jirozame’ diamond design which was created specially for the project. In keeping with the understated theme, you’ll have to look hard for the Sneaker Freaker branding, it’s neatly executed as a rubber applique to the webbing on the heelstrap. Here’s the tickler – there’s a whole lot more to this project than we’re showing you right now. As we went to press, there are still a few details and some more sampling to be signed off. Keep your eye on sneakerfreaker.com for updates of this project. All will be revealed soon enough.
THE SHOE WILL BE RELEASED APRIL 25 – CHECK HERE FOR RETAILERS IN YOUR AREA.