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Sep 16

Meet Justin: Puma Collector

Interview, Puma Discs, Puma Suedes, Tropicalia Comments Off on Meet Justin: Puma Collector
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It has been awhile since I have done an interview with a Puma collector.  I decided to get back to it with my Puma friend, Justin Oliver. As with most of us Puma people we connected via Instagram in the sharing of our beloved Pumas.  Puma people are special. It always seems like the whole world is so focused on Nike and we’re just here with our suedes and wondering why others don’t get why Puma is the greatest. These interviews shed some light on that.

Puma Collection

Justin’s love of shoes started in elementary school where he would pass the time drawing and designing his how shoes. Colors, logos, designs… that was his thing. Also, he was intent on having the same shoes as his favorite athlete. He said, “…that meant an array of brands. The sneaker world to a kid in the 90s was a lot different than the sneaker world we know today.” Fresh out of high school Justin was working in the mall and had some good friends who were wearing Pumas.  Justin went out and, “bought a brand new pair of red/white Puma Easy Riders. After that, I bought a few pairs of Puma Roma’s and my love/addiction to Puma was born.” Now, collecting has become somewhat of an addiction (that many of us can identify with). But beyond that, Justin loves Puma and chooses the company because, “…it’s a combination on style and comfort. A simple pair of suede classics can be paired with any outfit. Or you can find a style for whatever outfit or activity you have going on at that time. Also, I believe the quality of most the styles have stayed consistent opposed to other brands that have started using cheaper materials.”

Justin went on to say, “For many years I had a collection of Pumas that consisted of about 20 or so pairs. I think with the rise of popular social media sites, such as Instagram, came an outlet to share my passion with friends – not just in the States but all over the world. It really fueled this addiction and in the last 3-4 years my collection exploded into a packed closet (with overflow in several other rooms and hand-me-downs going to my father since there wasn’t always room to keep everything).”

Right now Justin’s collection is right around 100 pairs (give or take a few he said). He has started to sell or give away a few pairs. He replied, “I just realized I don’t have time to wear them all and partially to use that money to buy new/more desired pairs. I feel comfortable with that number. I believe if space and finances weren’t an issue it would be a lot worse.Even with this amount of shoes there are still a few that Justin would love to add to his collection. His first ‘Holy Grail’ is the 2006 YO! MTV Raps Puma Clyde ‘Forever Fresh’.  Justin grew up watching YO! MTV Raps and loved the hip hop music of the day (even as a young middle class white kid who sometimes got laughed at for trying to emulate the style). That shoe embodies everything he loved about that time period.

His second ‘Holy Grail’ is the Goonies Puma Disc.  As Justin said, “The materials and details of the pair and the packaging are amazing and its inspiration is from the best movie ever made!”   Although both of these pairs can be located on Ebay now and then he does have a limit of how much he would spend on any one pair of shoes.

Any shoe collector faces the scrutiny of friends and family. There are the questions like, “Are you ever going to wear all of those?” or “Do you really need another pair of suedes?” And the answer is most often, “Yes. Yes we do.” Justin’s family may think he is crazy but they are still supportive and he receives Pumas for gifts. His wife is very kind and allows him one pair a month (within budget).

I asked Justin how he felt Puma was doing as a brand. They do lag behind some of the other brands here in the United States and have been taking steps to revitalize their image and shoes.  Justin comments are, “I feel Puma is doing a good job moving forward as a brand. Lots of recent collaborations with some important sneaker names have definitely made the brand more noticeable. I personally love the collabs with UNDFTED, Anwar Carrots, and ALIFE in the United States. These names are huge when comes to street fashion. Also, I believe Puma has a great core of athletes as brand ambassadors such as Rickie Fowler and Usain Bolt. They also have signed several celebrities who will move the brand into the spot light. I like the “attitude” and “edge” the brand carries at this time.” The brand has inspired Justin to buy more than just shoes – he’s currently in love with the cuffed sweatpants for men and owns shirts, hoodies, and hats.

Finally, I wanted to know what Justin’s top 5 shoes are – hard choices for any collector. The top 5 in his rotation are his BioWebs, ALIFE “Silver Bullet”, 698s, ALIFE x Stuck Up 698s, Tropicalli Discs, and a beater pair of blue/yellow Cabana Racers. Those are some really nice daily-rotation choices.  Now for his actual top 5 that he owns:

  1. Puma x ALIFE. During Justin’s first trip to NYC he stopped by ALIFE during the release of the collaboration. Although he was early, the owners let him in so he could watch the set-up. He was able to pick up a pair of the sudes but they also treated him to a free t-shirt, bag, and a wrist-band to the RedMan concert.
  2. 2001 Red/White Easy Riders. This was his first pair and although he had passed them on to his father, his father has kept them and made sure they are preserved (that’s a great Dad!).
  3. 1995 Puma Suede Tan/Natural. This is his ‘vintage’ pair and is deadstock. That’s always special to a collector.
  4. Puma x The List ’93 Original Suede Green Flash. Although released just a couple of years ago it is much like the YO MTV Series with the bright colors and style of the 90s.
  5. Puma x Alexander McQueen Rocket – Lipstick Red. This is special because of the highest quality materials and top-notch leather. Justin loves it for the details and the flip-down tongue that is a lot like the old-school soccer/baseball cleats.

I’d like to thank Justin for taking time to answer my questions. Be sure to flip through the photo gallery and to visit him on Instagram!  Do you know a Puma collector that should be interviewed? If so, let me know!

 

written by PumaLover \\ tags: , , , ,

Dec 07

Pumas: The Doctor’s Choice?

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I recently injured my foot. It was either too much training, running uphill in a 5K, or a combination of both.  Regardless, I hurt my foot. I have to wear this really attractive sandal/shoe thing for a month.

hurtfoot

I went to the Doctor wearing one of the ‘original’ discs (from when they were first re-released two years ago). He commented that most shoes aren’t supportive enough…and then he saw the discs. He picked it up and said, “This is a great shoe!” I took him at his work and have started to wear my discs to work.

puma discs tropicalia

Thankfully, Puma sent out their Friends & Family discount. I was very excited about the extra 20% off at the Outlets. I really needed a new pair of track tights & as always, want to browse the back shelf of discounted shoes. Lo and behold, there was a pair of the Sun-Faded pink tropical discs. I had really wanted them when they were released but couldn’t afford them. I noticed they were a size 6 – a half size smaller than what I wear. I didn’t let that stop me. I slid the left one on and of course it fit. Discs tend to run a tad big and wide so the 6 fits fine.

Sun faded pink puma discs

So now you know. When your doctor tells you that you need more supportive shoes, look to the Puma discs. Their sole is incredible (as I’ve written about numerous times) and you can twist them pretty tight to give full support to your foot. I’m wearing my around the house since I can’t wear the outside shoe/sandal thing.

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May 16

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I believe I spent the better part of 2013 begging Puma to release discs for women. I loved the pairs I purchased but the men’s sizes ran a bit wide. The wider size required me turning the disc the entire way to get a good fit. I knew that if they would design styles for women that they’d fit me perfectly. I like to think Puma listened to me as 2014 has been an incredible year for the discs. This post will focus on two releases although Puma.com has a number of new styles for women and they are all really great looking.

The first release was the Blaze of Glory: Women. Puma hired Solange Knowles as Creative Consultant for this line. Solange, as well as three other designers, produced a collection full of color. I can honestly say there is not another collection out there in the sneaker world that is quite like this one. The other designers involved were Gerlan Jeans, William Okpo, and Hisham Bharoocha. I can’t say that each of the designs works for me. I generally prefer just two or three colors on one shoe and two of the designs just had too much going on. One style stood out from the rest and that is the one featured in the image gallery – “Tire”. The color-blocking on this shoe works well and the sole design is very cute and eye-catching.

The next release was the Tropicalia collection. Puma’s whole Tropicalia line is superb. The colors, the patterns, and the styles available are all beautiful. At first I couldn’t decide if I should get one of the Blaze of Glory discs or a Tropicalia. Thankfully my kids bought me the Tropicalia for Mother’s Day so problem solved. The style showcased in the image gallery is a white/teal combination. I really love it. In fact, it seems many do because that image went viral on Instagram and received 400 likes. Crazy. The shoe also comes in a black/pink combination that is also really nice (and probably better if you’re worried about getting the white dirty like me).

I have reviewed the discs in the past but let me just comment on how comfortable these shoes are. They are almost like pillows for your feet. I would highly recommend these for anyone who needs to be on their feet all day. If you need a wider shoe these are also a great choice. You control the fit by turning the disc so if you’d like to keep them wider that isn’t a problem.

I can’t wait to see what other styles Puma releases in the future. Right now on the site they have some great colorways that are more basic – black, magenta, etc. If you’re looking for something a little less flashy those would be a great choice.

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May 14

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Instagram has been the most fantastic place for meeting and getting to know fellow lovers of the Puma brand. There are those who collect only suedes. Some focus on the Clydes. When I first found Imran’s Instagram page I felt happy to find someone who wasn’t the average Puma collector. He had shoes no one else had and I liked that. Imran lives in the UK (outside of London) and owns his own business. It involves fast cars which makes me jealous. Lately he’s been adding the best shoes to his collection – read about which ones those are and learn more about my Puma friend.

Of course I always want to know, “Why Puma?” Here in the United States we are bombarded by Nike so finding a fellow Puma lover is always exciting. I imagine over in the UK and Europe it is probably a little easier. Imran replied, “Many people ask me this question. Normally collectors of other brands don’t get why you would collect/buy sometime else! I guess I just find the designs aesthetically pleasing – that’s the main thing. As a teenager I was into Nike’s but I think they lost their way with the air model after the Air Max 97. At that time I had only owned Puma football boots [soccer cleats for you Americans] and a pair of OG Puma Discs. I was looking around for sometime different and found some Puma Sprints and then Mostros – both of which I owned multiple colorways of.” As a co-owner of Evolve Automotive he added, “Puma also has a strong association with motorsport and as I am also a petrolhead it suits me!” As you follow Imran’s Instagram feed you’ll also see he is quite the fashionista and puts together very nice outfits. About his clothes he commented, “Apart from the Puma sneakers I also have a lot of Puma clothing/accessories and especially love the collab pieces from Hussein Chalayan and Fake London Genius.”

Imran Puma Disc CollectionAt the moment Imran has 25 pairs of Pumas. I’d say that about half of those are Puma Discs. I asked him why the Discs? He said, “I like a lot of the colourways (not all!) and they are ultra comfortable. I like the fact that they are bit different and not many non-sneaker fans know what they are. As they become more popular that will change but until then I will enjoy them fully.” I like to think I turned him onto the red and yellow discs that are in his collection. I remember his first response being something about them being bright. Well they look terrific.

In addition to the liking Discs Imran says this about the styles he seeks: “I like a wide range of them but I do like to hunt out collabs (Beams, Millerain, Ronnie Fieg), Japan only releases, limited editions or Puma Black Label sneakers (Alexander McQueen/Hussein Chalayan). Part of the enjoyment for me is finding hard to find sneakers. I do have more discs than anything at the moment. I loved my first pair in the 90’s – I guess they were too advanced at the time but seem to be getting more popular this time around.”

Some upcoming releases that has Imran excited are “the all white discs with red accents that were previewed in Project Las Vegas”. He added, “Also I have heard that Puma are releasing a Disc Bubble Tech Pack. If that is true then I can’t wait to see what they look like and if the colourways are good for me I’ll be copping for sure.” I think we’ll all be excited to see that shoe and how it will look/function. Whatever Pumas he picks up you can be sure that he will be wearing them. Some collectors like to put shoes away and keep them safe. Imran says, “I buy to wear not store and collect although there is nothing wrong with that. Everything gets worn eventually! I obviously wear the limited edition less and when its dry. I have the normal Pumas to wear as beaters.”

If you’re ever visiting UK/London you should be sure to check out the following spots recommended by Imran: In the UK we are lucky to have the Pumatwentyone store which has some limited releases – they are not online though which makes it a bit difficult for me as I have to take half a day out to go to London to visit. Stores like Footpatrol, End, Hanon Shop and The Business Fashion have carried limited release Pumas. Of course the Puma official online store is a good place to pick up some pieces. I visit Las Vegas every year for business and always take time out to go to the Outlet Store there.

A big Thank You to Imran for sharing his love of Pumas with me. Please be sure to check him out on Instgram and give him a ton of Likes.

written by PumaLover \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,

May 08
Puma Mobiums
Email Campaign by Puma using two of my Instagram photos (see yellow boxes)

Over the past few months Puma has released some killer shoes for fitness. They had the Formlites. Then they introduced the BioWebs. And most recently their new Mobiums. I really wanted to try the BioWebs. Sure, I was swayed a bit by the look but they seemed like a great crosstrainer.  I do a lot of crosstraining – more so than running – so I’m always interested in the best shoe for the job. My Formlites are pretty comfy but I prefer them more for running than crosstraining just because of how the sole hits the floor.

I started using my Puma Discs for my bootcamp and I really like them. They are comfy and have a lot of cushion for the jumping I do. However, they tend to be a little wide on my foot so during certain exercises they feel like they will fall off. I twist and twist to get them snug but because they are created for men they don’t fit as snug as I would like. One day, I was twisting away and my disc broke. It won’t catch anymore so I couldn’t tighten it.  Puma, of course, did my solid and replaced the discs and also included a gift card.  I was thrilled so I went right out and bought the Mobiums. The colorways are exciting and I was really interested to see what this elastic band was all about.

When I first slipped on the Mobiums I wasn’t sure what to think. I felt like my arches were falling in and that there was pressure on the insides of my shins. They had a ton of cushion though so I figured they’d be fine.  I can’t say I was impressed after my first time out. I have a tendancy to run heel-to-toe. I know that all the running geniuses out there will tell me I’m doing it wrong and what not but that’s how I run. I don’t tend to plant with my mid-sole.  The Mobiums will help you run that way if you want to change how you run.  After my bootcamp my shins did ache a bit. I was worried I was going to have shin splints after wearing the shoes but knew that one time out wasn’t enough to decide.

I have asked around to some others who bought them Mobiums. One person reported that they hurt his feet a lot while his girlfriend reported loving them. I think how you run determines how they feel. For those of us who are old school heel-to-toe runners they will not feel that comfortable. I have found that when I plant with the mid-sole part of my foot that they feel better. I probably run better as well. They are definitely very comfortable for bootcamp and jumping and landing in them is great. My Instagram friend Cici does pole vaulting in track and she found that they are great for that.

I haven’t found a good review by a dedicated runner on these shoes. I’ve looked. A lot.  I have seen many reviews of the shoes by people who haven’t even worn them. I find that curious because it seems you would need to put in a few miles in the shoe before making a determination on the band and form of the shoe. I haven’t put in a lot of miles in them (maybe 5 – I hate running long distances) and I like them. I think that if you’re looking for a running shoe with a lot of cushion and you’re willing to break in the shoe and plant mid-sole then this is the shoe for you. Also – you’ll look good and no matter what anyone says – we all want to look good while working out.

Finally – a really big thank you to Puma (thanks Katie!!) for 1 – the replacement of the discs. Their customer service is top notch! 2 – for using two of my Instagram photos in their newest email campaign for the Mobiums. It is very cool to open an email and see your photos included.  This is one of the main reasons I like Puma as a brand. They are connected to their customers and they really try hard to make you happy. Now if they could just release the leopard print suedes here in the states I’d be so happy!

written by PumaLover \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Apr 10

 

So spring has finally decided to show up. After a March that gave my state more snowfall than the rest of the winter, I am happy to say that the sun is out, the temperature is warm, and I can finally put away the heavy clothes and see what summer clothes fit.  Of course, this means fresh shoes for spring. I haven’t bought many shoes lately as I’ve been trying to save money.  I have a one-day trip to Boston planned and I plan on doing some shopping while there.

Some of the latest releases from Puma include the BioWeb and the Mobium. These are both athletic / training shoes. The BioWebs initially sold out quickly. I know that a guy at my gym said he desperately wanted some and couldn’t find any (I hooked him up with where to shop – of course).  I purchased the Mobiums myself and have been training in them (review to come).  Puma also continued their release of wedges for women. I don’t know that I would have ever bought the wedges if I hadn’t received some to review for Puma. I love the new colors they have out though. This pink/cream/peach colorway is super cute and would match a ton of my outfits. I just don’t have the $100 to drop on them. They are also introducing these wedge sandals (The Madeira’s).  At first glance I didn’t care for them but I honestly think they’d be really cute with the right outfit. I’m not sure if I’d like the mesh but if someone wanted to gift these to me I wouldn’t complain.

I was also the recipient of a great pair of First Rounds from AWOL. They had a pair that had been in their store for quite awhile. On Instagram they offered the pair for free to whoever could come and pick it up.  I couldn’t exactly get to Boston for that pick up but thankfully they were kind enough to ship them to me. They are a 1/2 size to big for me but since my daughter’s foot grew they fit her perfectly.  Thanks again AWOL – I’ll be visiting in Boston and hope you’ll have some Pumas in my size.

One of my constant complaints is that there aren’t sizes for women in the shoes I really want.  I was told recently to just be quiet about that complaint (in a much harsher way).  I guess it is easy for someone to tell me to shut it when they can find the special releases in their size. I desperately want some Discs in my own size.  The men’s size 5 fits me but runs wide (normal for the shoes I buy in men’s sizes).  There aren’t Clyde’s for women very often. And the Future Suede Lites that were just released didn’t come in smaller sizes.  I’m being patient though as I saw snapshots of some suede colorways for women that are great. *twiddling thumbs*  I’ve honestly decided that I just need to focus on other styles from Puma because I’ll never be able to purchase the shoes I want in my size.

I have picked up some Puma tanks for working out as well as a Puma soccer shirt.  The soccer shirt was for men but thankfully a size small fit me perfectly.  I may need more workout pants as well.  I’m waiting for the next great sale at the Outlet store so I can be set for summer workouts. 

Finally, one of the latest shoes I bought were for my daughter. She had seen the Rudolf Dassler ballerina flats in the main Puma store. I broke down and purchased them at the Outlet when she got A+’s on her math tests. I have never owned a pair of Puma flats or ballerinas before. They really aren’t my style but when I slipped those shoes on to test them out – wow. Total comfort.  The padding is amazing and the front part of the shoe doesn’t cut off at my toes.  Well done Dassler/Puma – well done.

For the summer I’m looking forward to saving up for another pair of Discs, suedes, and buying a special pair from Japan. The leapord print came and went from Japan and it made me sad. I keep wishing I could find a pair but I’ve looked online numerous times and they just aren’t available.

What are you looking to purchase this summer?  Any special styles?

written by PumaLover \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Feb 13

Puma Discs at the GymI first read about Puma Discs in an article by Sneaker Freaker that talked about the world’s craziest sneakers without laces. I had never heard of them and honestly, the first time I saw them, I wondered why anyone would want some. I thought they looked bulky even though the colorway shown was pretty awesome. The one featured was from 1994. In 1994 I was graduating college and getting married to some idiot and moving myself to Maryland. I didn’t know anything about sneakers or shoes (nor could I afford any).

In 2011 Puma re-released the Discs.  In 2012 more styles were shown and they had a collaboration with Ronny Fieg.  The Fieg design sold out fast and is coveted by many sneaker collectors.  There was no way for me to afford that style but for Christmas I was given the white/green style was is available in the stores and online. When I opened the box my kids both said, “Wow! Those are ugly!” as I squealed with delight. I slipped them on immediately and instantly knew why people loved them – they felt like pillows on my feet.  Granted the size was wrong so I had to return them and had to wait anxiously for the new size to arrive.

The Discs aren’t made for women. They come in small sizes so I was able to get a men’s size 5 but it is clear they are definitely sized for men as they are wide. That could be how they are designed because of the wire cage that tightens as you turn the disc. Perhaps I’m not turning it enough or they are just wider than the average shoe. My foot slips around a little bit in them. I try to wear thick socks and turn the discs as much as possible so that doesn’t happen.

I have started wearing the Discs to a bootcamp I’m doing 3 x a week. I have switched between the Discs, the Formlites, and my Faas 250s. The Discs are the best ones so far. During the bootcamp I’m running, jumping, doing pushups, lunges, etc. The wide variety of exercises means I need different types of comfort for my feet and my knees. Especially my knees. The Discs offer everything I need. The downside to the Discs? The rubber part that holds the disc. You can see it circled here. I would really love it if this piece of rubber was softer somehow. When I run it bumps into my foot and is bothersome. I don’t run long distances or anything so it is fine but I’d never suggest anyone use these as a running shoe because of it. Overall though the shoe is perfect for crossing training if you can turn the disc and get a tight fit.

I definitely would like to get another pair of discs. I hate getting my shoes dirty and although I hear these are easy to clean – they will get dirty from the bootcamp. Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of options and, as usual, Puma hasn’t made any specifically for women. The colors available (except for the special Fieg release) aren’t exactly “girly colors”. I have been spending some time researching shoes in Japan and I saw that they have excellent colors.

As you can see Japan has a variety of colors. I’m very partial to the pink design because pink is my favorite color. I don’t know if we’ll ever get these colorways in the United States. I hope that Puma realizes that these shoes could be marketed to women easily and that using colors that appeal to women would boost their sales. Maybe I don’t know anything but I know fitness and I know how women think about sneakers. They want to look good at the gym. I notice that each of the women in my bootcamp have shoes that are colorful, bright, and include pink somewhere. No one has asked about my sneakers but I bet if they were pink they would!

Overall the Puma Discs are great shoes. People may find them ugly (I think it was my cousin who commented that they were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shoes) but if they tried them on they would find an incredibly comfortable shoe that is fantastic for cross training.

written by PumaLover \\ tags: , , , , , ,