THE HISTORY LESSON
Back in 2008, PUMA graced Sneaker Freaker with the honour of co-branding the first Blaze of Glory editions to hit the street. With the sneaker world in the grip of Dunk-mania, the freshly minted Blaze was a somewhat maverick choice, but the pillow-smooth Trinomic cushioning and neoprene bootie construction ticked all our aficionado boxes and we were hooked. Some eight years later, the subsequent releases in the series have firmly cemented the colab’s cult status.
This is a project with an unlikely backstory. When an abalone diver was swallowed whole up to the waist by a great white shark on the East Coast of Australia – and amazingly lived to tell the tale! – the project had its murderous muse. Rejecting a literal approach, colour and texture was used to elaborate on the ‘Great White’ theme, adding an abstract tongue logo that reconfigured the fearsome sight of the world’s most notorious predator in attack mode. Silver mesh, blue water pops, blood-red stitching and a splash of ‘gummy pink’ laid the foundation, while the shiny black plastic panel mirrored a shark’s piercing eye. Flip the shoe over and a ‘river of blood’ seemingly emanates from the Trinomic hexagon cells, emphasised by razor-sharp rubber fangs. An anodised shark tooth dangled from the shoes like a souvenir necklace acquired on a beachside summer vacation.
A second version of the shoe flipped the silver palette to jet black, adding a slash of vivid turqoise with hot pink highlights to the man-eating mix. Dubbed ‘Black Beast’, hype around the shoes went into overdrive and the legend continued to grow.
Intrigued by the discovery of genuine shark leather at a tannery, Sneaker Freaker sourced the exotic material to create a third installment. Blacker than the ace of spades and tougher than teak, shark leather sports a remarkably rugged, wrinkly texture. Just 30 pairs were given away to ludicrously lucky friends and family. The shark leather is beyond exquisite and prices for those shoes are now well and truly in the unobtanium bracket.
In 2013, the partnership was refreshed in honour of the impending five year anniversary. Redesigned and packaged in an oversize box laced with egg-shell foam, extra insoles and a leather lace pouch, the re-release of the Great White and Black Beast once again fried the minds of new-gen sneakerheads.
Another limited release hit the street in December 2013. With hits of treasure-chest gold and mako grey, the turquoise terror known as ‘Sharkbait’ was the perfect endgame to this titanic tour de force. On the day of the release, sneakerfreaker.com repeatedly crashed as fans scrambled to secure one of the 50 pairs on offer. The aftermath of that e-comm meltdown initiated a lively discussion on Sneaker Freaker’s Facebook page. One salty comment was particularly memorable. ‘They should do another Blaze in red and call it ‘Bloodbath’, because that’s exactly what happened today!’
Inspired by that epic recollection, Sneaker Freaker has once again teamed up with PUMA to launch the ‘Bloodbath’ Blaze of Glory. Creamy crimson red leather, gum soles, mint highlights and metallic gold PUMA branding are the icing on this aquatic cake.
For a release of this magnitude, we needed a bigger boat, so we’ll be splattering the streets of midtown Manhattan with the PUMA x SNEAKER FREAKER x PACKER ‘BLOODBATH’ RETAIL SPACE. In addition to the limited release of the Puma Blaze of Glory, the pop-up shop will offer a complete apparel capsule featuring limited co-branded BLOODBATH hoodies, tees, shorts and hats.
We’re very proud to present a first look at the BLOODBATH. Stay tuned for full release details coming soon…