Gamers and esports aficionados can have their pick of specialty footwear.
Puma’s Active Gaming Footwear features a price tag of 80 pounds ($104.63) in the U.K. and comes with a few features designed to play to the gaming crowd.
“In extensive talks with professional gamers, we uncovered the need for a sock-like shoe; one that is comfortable, lightweight and grippy,” Puma said in a statement. “It has a super-low profile rubber outsole made for at-home or in-arena use. What we created is a new performance shoe that we describe as Active Gaming Footwear, the latest Puma gaming tool to help gamers focus on their game and perform at their best.”
Puma called the shoe the “first edition” of its Active Gaming Footwear platform, suggesting this is just the beginning for the line. Currently, the first-edition silhouette features a sticky-gripped indoor rubber outsole with a dual-density foam insole along with a 3D-molded insert to provide a precise fit. The upper is made of Puma’s breathable 3D knit mesh.
‘Active Gaming Footwear’s most unique feature could be the ability to switch between three “modes” that change the way the shoe fits, though the mechanism for accomplishing this is not yet clear. The “Seek” mode provides a medial wrap-up grip, the “Attack” mode increases lateral wrap-up support and the “Cruise and Defense” mood helps with heel stability.
Puma’s Active Gaming Footwear platform is not the first to offer gamer-specific footwear features. In July, K-Swiss released what it called the world’s first mass-produced gaming sneaker, the MIBR One-Tap. And Puma is no stranger to the world of gaming. In October, the brand partnered with Cloud9, a popular esports club based in Los Angeles, to release a capsule of gaming apparel.
Puma designed its new gaming shoe to coordinate with the other gear it has engineered for gamers, including a $255 gaming chair in collaboration with Playseat. The brand’s early investment in the sport may give it a chance to succeed with esports athletes in a way that brands like Nike and Adidas have always done when it comes to physical athletics.
Adidas doesn’t appear ready to cede that ground just yet. Also announced on Wednesday, Adidas has partnered with Ninja—a popular entertainer on gaming streaming services and a professional gamer, as well—to create a collaborative sneaker, with details to come down the line.