Puma Retailers Love the Brand’s History and Consumer Engagement

Athletic brand Puma has lots to boast about these days. From collaborating with Selena Gomez to working with a team of NBA players, the label is connecting to a new generation of customer while generating strong sales for its retail partners.

Here, five powerhouse retailers share some of their favorite Puma moments.

Dick Johnson
Chairman and CEO, Foot Locker
“Puma has great history. They push the edge a bit, which has been well-received by the customer. An exceptional program was the Fenty, launching at Six:02. Rihanna came in and did a rendition of her Fashion Week show at our New York space, and the shoe was a huge hit. We also had pop-up shops in New York and Los Angeles, which connected the brand with the celebrity. It helped us bring Six:02 to the forefront of sneaker lifestyle product. Puma is also important [due to] its athletic heritage and representation across categories and genders. And it’s had a great stable of athletes over the years, grounding them in the authentic [sport] category.”

Lacey Flynn
Retail marketing director, Shoe Palace
“I like how diverse Puma’s offering is. We have over 140 stores [reaching] different consumers. Our core is families coming to Puma for the Suede, Clyde or Ferrari styles. At our flagships in Hollywood, Calif., and Miami, you see people coming in seeking out what Cara 
Delevingne wears. When the Fenty collection dropped, we couldn’t keep it in stores. Looks from The Weeknd’s XO collection has that fashion-forward kid coming in. While Puma’s done well getting superstars, we’ve been asking for marketing campaigns for the local consumer. They just released a campaign with Nipsey Hussle, who’s very central to Los Angeles. If they can start doing that on the women’s side, it will also help.”

Bernie Gross
Art director, Extra Butter
“I gravitate to brands with a heritage and legacy of pop culture and sports. There are plenty of athletes who wore Puma. [The brand] has kept that alive by procuring the right talent worldwide. From a fashion perspective, Puma’s been smart to align itself with the right up-and-coming brands and designers in order to make bold statements showing how progressive it is to trend-adopting consumers. In 2017, we collaborated for the Clyde’s anniversary by creating a style inspired by B-boying, called Kings of New York. We hosted a battle — a front-row, real, raw experience for customers and spectators who never witnessed this culture firsthand. It was a genuine and unique way to release a shoe.”

Susan Boyle
Owner, Rime
“Puma collaborated with Rime in 2013 for the [special-edition] Gold Puma x Rime Luxe Sky Wedge for women. They asked me to come to [the U.S. headquarters of] Puma in Boston. Next, I’m sitting with its team in the design room, creating the shoe. We had so much fun. It was like an arts and crafts day. I felt it was the first time Puma was listening to women’s needs. What I also love about Puma is its willingness to take risks, such as collaborating with British visual artist Shantell Martin. They’re willing to step outside the box and not just collaborate with a rapper. Capsule collections like these do well for us.”

Derek Curry
Owner, Sneaker Politics
“On Aug. 8, we threw a release party for 808 Day, celebrating the Roland TR-808 drum machine. If you bought shoes, you could enter a raffle to win a drum machine. Puma’s always ready to support parties; that makes them really cool. It’s not just a [consumer] transactional thing. Customers hang out, talk and interact. [However], I wish they’d go back to doing collaborations with stores instead of clothing brands. Give us a shoe and let us tell a cool Louisiana story. Right now, they’re mainly a women’s business, such as Rihanna’s Creepers. We had the shoes selling out the day they came out.”

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