The Big Cat bared its claws in 2018, waking up from its basketball slumber by inking No. 1 draft pick DeAndre Ayton, signing Jay-Z, building a provocative marketing campaign, and dropping a brand new sneaker: the Clyde Court. But it wasn’t just on the court that PUMA started to flex, the German sportswear manufacturer also dropped two of the most well-executed lifestyle silhouettes of 2018, revisited a classic from 1984, and celebrated 50 years of the Suede with a flurry of collaborative efforts.
Let’s take a closer look at what the Big Cat managed to devour in 2018 ...
SOFT PAWS ON HARD WOOD
PUMA made a raucous return to the NBA hardwood after a 20-season hiatus, re-entering the league with a bold marketing strategy typified by Terry Rozier’s social media plea in July: ‘I ain't f***ing with nobody else but PUMA’. Yes, the Big Cat woke from its hibernation with some real bravado, plucking four of the top 15 NBA draft picks, throwing shade at Nike for DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending achilles injury, and giving its growing list of athletes access to the luxe PUMA Jet.
Agent provocateurs, PUMA installed Jay-Z at the helm and took their first steps back on court with the Clyde Court, a stylish but conservative build that was made available to the public back in October. With the Clyde Court ‘Miami Vice’ dropping this month, PUMA will be hoping to tap Jay-Z’s vast knowledge of sneakers and culture more broadly to carve out their own path in 2019.
NO JUNK IN THE TRUNK OF THIS CHUNK
The Thunder Spectra served up some real lightning back in February, channelling PUMA’s 90s running catalogue and collaborations with legendary designer Steve McQueen for an unapologetic, exaggerated sneaker that’s livin’ just as large as any bulky silhouette in 2018. With metallic, violet and golden formstripes, speckled soles, and Triple S—like pastel colour palettes, PUMA repeatedly took the toolkit to the Thunder in 2018, constantly shifting the lens on one of the year’s most obnoxious, original, and underrated silhouettes.
REINSTALLING THE COMPUTER SHOE
PUMA reminded us all what the future used to look like with the RS-100 Ader Error. Using their RS-Computer Shoe as the aesthetic blueprint, PUMA linked up with Ader Error and loaded up a colour scheme torn straight from the kind of early analogue tech that defined the 1980s. It’s become a popular design trend in 2018; adidas revisited 1984’s tech-sperimental Micropacer, while A-COLD-WALL* linked up with Nike for the Vomero 5.
The RS-X was one of the most well-executed silhouettes across the sneaker world in 2018. Taking ‘all-things extreme, exaggerated and remixed’, the RS-X made a beeline for millennials growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, taking aesthetic cues from vinyl toys, arcade machines and Transformers, and somehow managed to avoid the big ol' sh** kitsch stick that beats down on most nostalgia-thirsty colabs.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE SUEDE
The Suede celebrated its 50th birthday this year, and enjoyed a series of collaborations with The Weeknd, En Noir Karl Lagerfeld, and Jeff Staples to the commemorate the milestone. 50 years of the Suede and 70 of PUMA, the Big Cat had one of its strongest years in existence in 2018.
If cats could bow, we’d tell this bad boy to take a long one.