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Decades ago in Germany, a dispute between the Dassler Brothers famously led to the splitting of their shared shoe factory and the creation of two rival companies — Adidas and Puma — that still stand today. Founded by eldest brother Rudolf Dassler in 1948, Puma has since risen as an international icon in sports and street style.
Having launched in the soccer and track categories, Puma desired to claim a stake for itself in the basketball market. Years before Michael Jordan became basketball’s face of footwear, Puma tapped Knicks’ starting point guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier to debut his own signature style with the brand, called the Clyde, in 1973. As Frazier sported the shoes on the court, they quickly became popular in park play from Manhattan to Harlem.
After endorsing the likes of Ralph Sampson in the ‘80s and Vince Carter during his dunking debut in the ‘90s, Puma paused its basketball brand to focus on other categories. In 2018, the German giant returned to the hardwood, signing a slew of top draft picks and releasing modernized performance pairs that draw from Clyde DNA.
Evolving from smooth suede low-tops to tech-driven designs that are worn by the likes of LaMelo Ball, DeAndre Ayton and even J. Cole, Puma has a basketball shoe for players of all sizes, skills and ability. Check out our list of the best Puma basketball sneakers for 2021 below.
Puma RS Dreamer Basketball Shoes
Built for the agile player on the go, the Puma RS Dreamer pairs performance technology with casual color-blocking. The first signature shoe for artist and hooper J. Cole includes Puma’s famed RS Foam in the heel and a full ProFoam midsole to deliver impact absorption where you need it and energy return with each stride. Cord lacing, a knit construction and suede overlays create a fluid aesthetic on this low-top model that’s seen NBA endorsement from Dennis Smith Jr, Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma.
Puma Nitro Fuzion Spectra Basketball Shoes
Worn by Breanna Stewart in the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game, the Puma Nitro Fuzion Spectra leans into the low-top trend with modern materials and sleek styling. Nitrogen-injected cushioning supports players on the move, while a FuzionFit+ adaptive compression band ensures feet stay locked in. These are built for speed, whether you’re bringing the ball up the court or creating havoc from the wing.
Puma Clyde All-Pro Basketball Shoes
The Puma Clyde All-Pro is all about honoring the past while moving with the times. Redone with LaMelo Ball and the next generation of point guards in mind, the All-Pro offers the same smooth ride of the original but is redressed in modern Matryx materials on the upper and extra responsive ProFoam+ cushioning underfoot. The silhouette comes in a range of shades that pay tribute to classic NBA franchises and even the beloved Christmas film “Elf.”
Puma RS Dreamer 2 Basketball Shoes
Offering crossover appeal, the Puma RS Dreamer 2 is J Cole’s second signature shoe. First seen on Cole in his cover for Slam Magazine and later in action during his run in the Basketball Africa League, this mid-top model offers more support than its predecessor with an even bolder look. A mixed material upper featuring stacked overlays calls to mind high-fashion favorites, while a bouncy EVA midsole proves this shoe is still all-business.
Puma Clyde Hardwood Basketball Shoes
The Puma Clyde Hardwood is a no-nonsense basketball shoe built strictly for hoopers. Once again upgrading Clyde Frazier’s signature silhouette, this modernized low-top combines leather and suede on the upper for an old school feel and breathable textiles on the toe box. Set atop a semi-translucent sole and featuring vibrant branded details and overlays, the Clyde Hardwood is a stylish pick that proves more than capable on the court.
Puma Court Rider Basketball Shoes
Worn by NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, the Puma Court Rider is built for speed. The low-top shoe stays stable thanks to an exaggerated lacing system and sticky rubber sole. Puma’s bold branding peaks in and out of the multi-layered upper, composed of a variety of textiles for style, structure and breathability. Head-turning colorways that pay homage to Nickelodeon’s Rugrats cartoon and the storied NBA 2k video game franchise take this model to new heights.
Puma Clyde Court Disrupt Basketball Shoes
Puma Basketball came back in a big way with the release of the Puma Clyde Court Disrupt. A position-less basketball shoe that balanced old school ethos with youthful energy, this re-imagination has been worn by young talent such as DeAndre Ayton, Terry Rozier, Skylar Diggins and more. In effect, the shoe amplifies the Clyde DNA with knit styling and is set atop a mix of Ignite foam and NRGY beads for top-notch performance. The style is so popular that it’s currently sold out on Puma’s website and is only available in limited quantities at select retailers.
Puma Uproar Basketball Shoes
The Puma Uproar has been worn by NBA’s finest, from center DeMarcus Cousins to point and shoot guard Terry Rozier. Slightly lower than the Clyde Court Disrupt, the Uproar utilizes Ignite foam and NRGY beads while combining leather and mesh on the upper for a soft-yet-sturdy fit. An external heel counter, herringbone traction pattern and conventional lacing system liken these to many mid-tops on the market that work for the full spectrum of players.
Puma Legacy Basketball Shoes
The Puma Legacy honors New York streetball icon God Shammgod, who’s known for his bedazzling ball handling. The style features a mix of Ignite Foam and NRGY beads for responsive cushioning and a non-slip outsole so that you can juke on a dime. Aside from the Shammgod style, the Legacy has launched in other mid-top makeups as well as low-top versions. The likes of RJ Barrett and DeMarcus Cousins have worn the Legacy series in NBA action.
Puma Clyde All-Pro Kuzma Basketball Shoes
Celebrating the convergence of fashion and function epitomized by the original Clyde model, Puma tapped stylish swingman Kyle Kuzma for its latest update on the classic silhouette. Fresh enough to turn heads in the tunnel but built for basketball, Puma sought third-party styling from Rhugi to mesh the runway with the hardwood. The finished product boasts performance perks like a Matryx engineered knit upper and full-length ProFoam+ midsole in a retro aesthetic that only the flyest can pull off.