Boys & Girls Design Their Dream Sneakers in Completely Different Ways

Puma rounded up 30 creative children who ranged from ages 5 to 15 years old to get the answer to a burning question.

“We asked ourselves… How would kids design their dream sneakers?” said product line manager Tanya Didenko at the sportswear brand’s first-ever Puma Kids Lab, held July 24 in West Hollywood, Calif., at Au Fudge restaurant, the Jessica Biel-owned celebrity mom hotspot.

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“Fresh Off the Boat” star Ian Chen, 10, designed a sneaker at Puma Kids Lab.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Puma

The tots and teens participated in a workshop with Puma designer Neli Ernst, and street artists Jasper Wong and Yoskay Yamamoto, who mentored them as they exercised their imagination on the Basket and Basket Heart ($55) shoe silhouettes.

Among the attendees were “This Is Us”star Lonnie Chavis, 9, “Fresh Off the Boat” star Ian Chen, 10, and “Modern Family” actress Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, 10.

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A girl designs a sneaker with ribbons at the Puma Kids Lab.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Puma

Crayons, colored pencils, markers, string, ribbons, glitter and other crafty tools were distributed to the children along with plain renderings of two sneaker styles on paper — their canvas.

Of course, age accounts for some of the reasoning behind the design aesthetic, but the differences between the kids were more obvious when split by gender.

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A girl designs a sneaker with pom-poms at the Puma Kids Lab.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Puma

Many of the girls embraced texture and dimension, such as pom-poms, ruffles and glitter, as well as treatments that conveyed emotional responses and communication, such as smiley faces and verbiage. Some of the boys preferred to emphasize the logo and branding, as well as incorporate bold colors in organic patterns.

Ernst, who works in Puma’s sports style division said the brand wanted to see “what’s going on in their heads.”

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Sneakers designed at the Puma Kids Lab.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Puma


“It’s important to see what the kid would actually like to wear and maybe we can get a new product,” Ernst explained.

Some of the designs will be produced as exclusive one-off sneakers, and the brand shared that it is considering one of the sneaker styles for a limited-edition sale at stores.

The Basket Heart kids style retails for $55 on puma.com, but it’s currently available for $39.90 on nordstrom.com during the retailer’s anniversary sale. Many Basket styles are on sale for under $50 on puma.com.

Click through the gallery to see more designs at the Puma Kids Lab.


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