This sneaker love story starts more or less in 1973, when New York Knicks player Walt Frazier asked PUMA for a wider-fitting version of their suede basketball shoe. PUMA ended up signing him as an endorsed athlete, and soon enough Walt had his nickname imprinted on each and every shoe in gold block embossing.
Known as ‘Clyde’ for his snappy dressing reminiscent of historical outlaws ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ and his innate ability to ‘steal’ the ball, Walt played with a mixture of bravado, athleticism, intensity and a calculated lack of emotion that encapsulated the very essence of being cool. Indeed, playing it cool as a cucumber became his trademark. And, as the street hustlers, hip-hoppers, wee pappa rappers, breakers, b-boys and graff kids picked up on the shoe, Clyde’s personal style seemed to effortlessly rub off on an entire city.
There are only a few sneakers that truly qualify as classics, and the Clyde is right there with the best of them. They’re shoes that transcended their original sporty job description, that can genuinely claim to represent an entire city, generate a lifetime of anecdotes, and are truly an authentic legend on the street. They’ve been called a few different names over the last thirty years (Suede, Clyde, State) but the shoe has continued to influence the scenesters in the USA, Europe and Asia with acid jazzers, old school nuts, terrace casuals and skaters alike hot steppin’ these PUMAs.
Fresh from a short spell on the sidelines, PUMA has brought back the original, doing it with tender care appropriate for their most iconic sneaker. Clyde himself has been on a worldwide mission to spread the gospel at launch parties here, there and everywhere. Snkr Frkr has been graciously allowed to reprint many of the images from the Clyde promo book that was given away earlier this year.
So here’s that love story about a simple sneaker that was so perfectly designed it became an icon - elegant, sublime, suede and sweetly sensual. The PUMA Clyde, born not only to rule, but to rock chunky fat laces with buckets of cool on tap. Clyde... we salute thee and thy sneaks!
THIS ATICLE APPEARED IN ISSUE 7 OF SNEAKER FREAKER - BUY IT HERE.
Check out our next feature: PUMA x MTV RAPS COLLECTION