It’s easy to look at Puma’s re-entry into basketball with the Clyde Court with skepticism. After a nearly 20-year hiatus from the hardwood, the brand re-emerged over the summer, tapping Jay Z as a creative consultant and padding its roster with promising yet unproven talent. Then came the new sneaker itself, which took inspiration from a 45-year-old model. Those elements aren’t traditionally associated with performance footwear, yet that’s how the German-based brand chose to break back into the hoops world it abandoned shortly after Vince Carter’s 1999 departure.
Following the initial signing wave of rookies, the brand then snatched up rising star Terry Rozier, veteran Rudy Gay, and most recently All-Star Demarcus Cousins. Those names do offer more name recognition, but do little to inspire confidence that the brand can produce a worthwhile on-court tool. After all, those names are all hired guns that are being paid handsomely to wear the product.
At the same time, though, it’s not as if Puma hasn’t been producing performance product all these years—the brand is among the most popular when it comes to soccer. And there is basketball in the brand’s DNA. The Clyde may be a staple casual model now, but it was originally designed for performance. All that history and success in other sports won’t make a difference though if it can’t be implemented into a modern basketball model. Was Puma able to deliver a product worthy of its aggressive marketing push?
Hover over the dots for a full performance breakdown to find out.