David Obadian of German sportswear brand BWGH made a monster of a shoe late last year with the Puma R698 ‘Bluefield,’ mixing materials and shade of blue together for what was arguably the top pair of 2013. It may not come across in photos, but they were official…and officially hard to get as well.
Sole Collector recently asked a handful of heads what would be the next big silhouette for 2014 and, half awake from a nap, misunderstood the question and answered the Jordan XX8 SE. I still stand by the reply and the model because from a pure tech and design standpoint the XX8 SE holds insane potential on a mainstream level, as long as Jordan Brand doesn’t start butchering it with obnoxious colors. It’s the first advanced, reasonably priced JB model that wasn’t originally released when I was a kid.
But, for cool kids, PUMA has three models – the R698, Blaze of Glory and Disc Blaze Lite/Tech– that will probably receive enough special releases and collaborations, making them the ones entrenched buyers look to after having grown tired of Nike’s endless retros and retreads and unimpressed now that Reebok’s retros have all but run their course in terms of desirable remakes. As odd as it sounds, people are actually okay with paying $130-200 for PUMAS when they’re coming fueled with creativity, solid colorways and materials that make them worth the loot.
In early December of last year, Obadian hinted that more was to come in terms of collaborations between his brand and PUMA. This year, sneaker buyers won’t be caught off guard and now’s a good as a time as to start lining up connects to snag the next round of R698 mock-ups by BWGH as we get an early preview of what’s in store for 2014. Not one but three colorways are on the horizon. While the more fragment-designed pair doesn’t intrigue me, the tonal and split-colors versions do. I’m not sure if any of them match the ‘Bluefields’ but the even coming close to the bar set by BWGH there is worth mentioning.
Photos: Pete Williams/High Snob