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Sep 16

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!

 

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Apr 03

The New Release Wait

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The other day as I was perusing Twitter I found a post by Ugly Mely on a new release from Puma – the Monochrome 3-Pack for women. I flipped. The shoes are gorgeous. On top of that they are made for women. Suedes designed for women. Finally! So I posted the shoe on Instagram to ask about a release here in the USA. I was told the first of April. So here I wait. Look at this beautiful baby blue!!

Thank you Ugly Mely

This past year has seen some really nice releases by Puma. However, more times than not, those releases are for men. I loved the R698 collaboration with BWGH but there were no sizes for me (anywhere). Right now on Puma.com there are new suedes in honor of the World Cup – Brazil. I love them. Again, no sizes for me.

This is why I was so excited for this Monochrome pack. Pretty pink. Baby blue. Sweet yellow. And here I wait. Each day I check the sites mentioned. Each day I sigh wondering when my pink shoes will come to me.

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Aug 21

Interview with a Puma Clyde Collector

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There’s that moment when you’re scrolling through Instagram, looking at Pumas, and you come across an unexpected account full of Puma sneakers. In this case, full of Clyde’s. Meet Cliff – the “Puma Clyde King” as it is stated on Instagram. With a collection of about 80 pairs of Puma Clyde’s he may own more than anyone I know (at least here in the United States). As I scrolled through his collection I knew I needed to know more.

Cliff was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles and currently resides in San Pedro, California. As always, I wanted to know why he chose Pumas – specifically Clyde’s – to collect. He responded, “I never been the typical male that liked Nike’s, and Jordan’s.  Back in the day my older brother used to rock shoes like Fila, Adidas, Puma, diadora, K-swiss and Ellesse, this influenced me to be different. As I got older, I kept that style and stayed in my own lane instead of wearing Nike’s and Jordan’s which is more popular now. One thing about me is that I like to be different and not go with the crowd. Everything I buy have to be different, and since Puma’s are not really popular in the States that makes them more attractive to me.Puma’s remind me of my past days growing up with my brothers and my god-parents!”

As you scroll through Cliff’s feed you’ll see Clyde’s. Sure, there is a Suede or a Basket here or there but he says, “This style is nostalgic.  The Clyde style was the first Puma that I purchased on a trip to Las Vegas at the Puma Outlet. My wife pointed out the orange Puma Clyde with the white stripe , and I fell in love, and have been collecting Puma’s since 2006-07.” Good job, wife!

One thing I noticed is that Cliff owns some unique shoes. He has a few styles I haven’t seen before and of course, some designs that I drool over as I wanted them for myself. He says, “I just get the ones that I’m feelin’! New York stores and overseas stores have a lot of limited Puma releases so it’s hard for me to get the ones I want since I’m in L.A. I do a lot of searching online or at the local sneaker shops! When I do find the ones I want I just hope it’s in my size.”  I asked Cliff if there were some styles that he coveted but hasn’t found yet.  He mentioned a few: Puma X Atmos – Polar Bear, Puma X Atmos – Ibis, Puma Clyde Powder Blue/Cordovan, Puma Clyde Hall of Game Gray/Blk/White.

Cliff is a collector who wears his shoes. He said, “I wear all my shoes. In my opinion anyone who buy shoes and not wear them …..what’s the point? The whole purpose of collecting shoes is to enjoy them, dress them up and let other people see and admire your collection, not keep them in a box hidden away!”  I have to find a collector of Pumas who doesn’t wear what they buy. I think this is fantastic. 

I know many people don’t “get” the whole buying of sneakers thing. I am sure we have all had that one family member or friend who asks, “Um… how many pairs do you need?” (Sorry Mom). Cliff commented, “…They know that I have a style of my own, and they are pretty much used to seeing me wear  Puma Clyde’s that match all of my outfits now.”  In fact, as you read above, his wife was the one who first pointed out the orange Pumas that caught his attention.  Cliff says he doesn’t have time to collect much of anything else as Clyde’s take up his extra “time and money”.

The question I really wanted answered was, “Where do you find your Clyde’s?”  If you pick through his collection you’ll see some nice, rare Clyde’s. He even had a few pairs that I hadn’t seen. We all want that hookup, right? We want to know that guy in Japan who can find us the rare shoe or the style that wasn’t released here in the States. I have to say Cliff is holding fast to his source right now. I honestly don’t blame him. He replied, “For the time being I will keep that to myself because if I tell how I get them, then it will be harder for me to find the Puma’s I want down the line.” Although my foot is so small it isn’t like he would have to compete in sizes with me. Maybe I’ll wear him down one of these days.

I think that Cliff has a rare collection here in the States. I am amazed to see two or three new pairs almost daily on Instagram. There are those who collect Suedes and then there are people who like me who buy whatever tickles their fancy at the moment. Clyde’s are getting more difficult to find and there aren’t a lot of new releases here so Cliff’s collection is enviable. There are two things that Cliff loves more than Pumas. His wife, Latricia and his daughter, Symphony who, Cliff states, is “a future Pumahead”. Great job, Cliff, in furthering the Puma legacy!

I want to thank Cliff for taking time to answer my questions. Don’t forget to check him out on Instagram and please be sure to look through the slideshow to see a glimpse of his collection.

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

Jun 20

One day I was window shopping online for shoes – shocking I know – and I saw the Future Suede Lite on Zappos.com. They had the colorway that I wanted and I was about ready to purchase the shoes. Thankfully I have learned to wait a day or two before doing that and the next day the shoes were on RueLala.com for half the price. Excited I added the shoe to my cart immediately. However, by the time I got to checkout the shoe was sold out. I was sad. Mad even because in my opinion the shoe should be mine for a period of time once it is in my cart. Nevertheless I clicked the “try to find it for me” button.

Jump ahead a month or so and I returned from vacation to find a Rue La La box. I couldn’t figure out why I had received it until I opened it and saw the Little Red Bag. Lo and behold they found them for me. I find the shoe very interesting as the materials are new for a ‘suede’.

I new when purchasing the shoe that it wasn’t really suede. I had read that the material is really a type of nylon or something. The stripe is suede but that’s it. They have named it “Future Suede” because the shoe design retains the shape of the 1968 suede. Would I prefer it in suede? Yes. I think it wold look great but otherwise it is beautiful. I love the colors. The mixture of light blue, pink, and yellow are very pretty. Of course I got comments on them the first time I wore them. The shoe pops.

Comfort is not even a question with this shoe. They are like all other Pumas – cushioned and as light as air. I do wish the shoe would have come with a lace option. The laces are light blue like the main part of the shoe but I definitely want to get either yellow or pink laces to match the accents. Fat laces would really enhance the shoe.

At the time of this posting you can find the Future Suede on sale at Puma.com (I can’t guarantee that if you are reading much after the posting date). I would suggest getting a pair. They have great colors for both women and men.

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Dec 21

The Josey Winter Shoe by Puma

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In the box that arrived from Puma I found the most delicious shoe – the Josey Winter Shoe. I was immediately taken by the shoe. The fuzziness of the top part of the shoe grabbed my attention. I honestly loved the furry McQueen shoes that Puma released this past fall and I’ve been secretly coveting some fuzzy shoes since then. The Josey shoe comes in this Army green color, ebony, and a oatmeal. I am super happy with the Army green. It is unique and although you may think it would not get attention when worn with darker jeans, I will say that my friends commented on them immediately.

I slipped on the shoes immediately. I didn’t fix the laces or anything. I sent a Kik message off to Katie S at Puma and thanked her profusely and proceeded to dance around the house in joy. The shoe also comes with two pairs of laces. The other laces are more hiking-boot like. They are thin and colorful but I prefer the fat black laces. The gray part of the shoe – the front – is suede. I plan on treating that part of the shoe with my spray. The lighter green part just under the gray (refer to the side view of the shoe) is  nylon. I think that is a great choice for winter. Nylon is easy to keep clean when treated.  The Puma stripe is the darker green and is in leather. Together they make for a pretty shoe. The oatmeal color is also really beautiful, but, I imagine much harder to keep clean.

You can see the fuzzy part inside of the shoe. This just adds to the comfort. I wore these out on a day that wasn’t very cold but I could tell the difference. My feet were toasty warm. They shoe has a little extra space in it. I presume to make way for thicker socks. I had on thinner socks and I could feel the extra room. That is a good thing because during the winter I like to wear thicker socks but sometimes my shoes feel too tight. With these, I can wear warm socks and my feel will not freeze. You may see reviews that list them as running small. I wouldn’t agree with that at all.  I am itching to get some colder weather so I can really test them out.

Right now, you can find these shoes on Amazon.com and on Nordstrom.com (although Nordie’s only offers ebony and oatmeal).

*I received this for free from Puma but the opinions and thoughts about the shoe are all mine.

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Oct 05

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Couples who collect Pumas together – stay together! That is a new one, right? Well Kenny & Cici are testing that theory and aim to make it happen.

I never thought that Instagram would be where I found my community of Puma collectors. Sure, I have found a few enthusiasts on Twitter, but, it seems that the main collectors love sharing their photos on Instagram and it has been so fun connecting with them (like Mr. Jones who I featured last month). I “met” Kenny and Cici via Instagram and have so enjoyed getting to know their style. In fact, their wedding is coming up in March of ’13 and Puma will be featured prominently!

Clearly, I wanted to know – what came first? The love of Pumas or relationship? Cici answered, “When we started hanging out I (Cici) noticed that Kenny had a pair of beat up red suedes. I was taken back because Suedes were always my favorite sneakers and I hadn’t seen a pair in a long time, since they were always difficult to find. I, at the time, had a pair of really beat up light blue ones. As we started dating seriously are search for Suedes also became more serious. So I would say the Puma connection and the love came simultaneously.”  

But why Pumas? Why the Suedes?

Cici: First off, they are mad comfortable. Also, with the Suedes, I like the classic, old-school style to them; they remind me of my youth. When I was in high school I had a navy pair, and then a forest green pair in college. Looking back, I wish I still had them.
Kenny: First off, why not Puma. When I was younger I was always a fan of Jordans and shell toe Adidas. Then I got my first pair of navy Suedes and I fell in love. I then had to get the black, red and green. Those were the simple days when I only owned one at a time. They are extremely comfortable and like Cici said, they remind me of my youth, my love for sneakers and hip hop.

If you flip through the slideshow at the top of the page, you will see that the Suedes are Cici & Kenny’s choice of Puma. While they are “exploring the Ligas and Clydes” they say that they always return to the Suedes.  As I found out about how they collect their Suedes I was touched by their story of sacrifice. Ok, so sacrifice might be a strong word choice but you’ll see what I mean as you read their rule of collecting.  Their rule: “We own 60 each. We have a rule that one of us cannot have a pair that the other does not have. With this rule it makes it harder to collect older pairs because sometimes we can’t find both of our sizes. We have this rule to keep away jealousy. Because of this rule we were unable to buy the Made In Japan Suedes that we both really wanted, or the Yo! MTV Rap suedes on Ebay.”  Sometimes in relationships you do need to give something up for the person you love and in this case, the sacrafice might be the coolest looking Pumas ever like the Eco Tonal Pack. 

Kenny and Cici of course have favorites and shoes they would like to own.

Kenny: “There are many. Yo! MTV Raps, the Made in Japan, a couple of the Crooked Tongue, Ron English. I like a lot of the collaborations. I also really want the all blue pair from the Eco Tonal Pack; we have every color but that one, but I can’t find my size. Because of our rule, we have difficulty finding these shoes and sometimes we can find one size but not the other. For example we just ordered what we thought were the all blue pair. When it was delivered they had Cici’s size, but they sent the wrong sneaker in my size. Turns out they didn’t have my size, so we sent both sneakers back. Cici gave up a pair just because I couldn’t get it. If that ain’t love I don’t know what is. I would do the same for her.
Cici: I want all of them – every suede ever made. (So does Kenny). My dream pair, however, is the Jamaica suedes. I’ve seen them, but could never find them.

In searching for their Suedes, they said “We usually buy on the Puma site, or go to the Puma stores in NYC, or the outlets out here in Long Island. We recently discovered Zappos has a pretty decent selection. Actually through the Instagram Puma community we are slowly discovering more and more websites for shopping which has been pretty awesome. Even through your purapuma website we discovered one or two more sites (yes!).”

As I mentioned above, Kenny and Cici will be having a Puma-themed wedding. The main photo is their Save the Date card (so cute!) and they will be featuring Puma sneakers on their wedding cake. In fact, Cici says they have special ones just for the wedding. She continued, “I won’t let Kenny wear them before that day and I won’t wear mine either. It’s a pair of Medieval Grey/Vivid Blue Suedes. I want them to be nice and clean for our wedding day. We bought the bridal party brown suedes to wear after the ceremony (it’s a beach wedding in Key West, so we want them to be barefoot for the ceremony). And I got the bridesmaids Puma Track jackets and Puma gym sacks as gifts.”  The wedding will truly be a celebration of love and Pumas.

I wanted to get their opinion on the availability of Pumas in the United States.  Being a part of Instagram means we get to see styles and designs from all over the world and sometimes those are difficult to find here.  They said, “We don’t understand why they are so difficult to find here. I remember a time when you could go to a couple of stores and find Suedes without a problem. Journey’s and Athlete’s Foot were the go-to stores back in the day. Now all they have are the “fancier, newer” Pumas. Not that there is anything wrong with those, we just like the classic Suedes and wish they were easier to find. We talk all the time about going to Europe for the sole purpose of shopping for sneakers; we dream of visiting the factory in Germany. We’re hoping that with the growth of the Instagram community and with sites like yours, that Puma will start to realize that there is a pretty solid following here in the US and they will continue to grow their brand here as well. Maybe start getting as big as Nike and Adidas.” I see we have the same shopping dream and, I, like them, also hope that there will be an expansion of styles that are available to the consumer without special ordering or trying to track them down. I do have to admit that I feel a bit of jealousy towards Cici. I had asked her if it was difficult to find Suedes to fit but because she wears a man’s size that is above a size 7 she doesn’t have the same issue as me. Lucky gal!

I wish Cici and Kenny the best in their up-coming wedding and definitely cannot wait to see photos of the cakes, bridal party in Suedes, and more! Be sure to check them out on Instagram – they do post more than shoes and their photos are always creative and fun!

@Cici13 and @Kenny31313

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