For the past few years, running sneakers from the '90s have made a huge resurgence in the footwear market, with fans choosing retro (and retro-inspired) styles as their go-to looks. Enter Puma, specifically its Cell line, which is returning twenty years after its debut.
Cell cushioning tech is a big deal for Puma—so much so that the brand has already pulled two pinnacle models from its lineage out of the archives during the end of last year in celebration of the Cell Endura and Cell Venom's 20th anniversary. The latest OG offering to join the comeback story will be the Cell Alien that's set to return to retailers next month.
"In the past year we rolled out the Cell franchise again, which was really important for Puma at that time because the 20th anniversary had rung in at the end of 2018 coinciding with the 1998 release date when the brand first introduced its Cell franchise. We are trying to pick the most important silhouettes from that time," said Erman Aykurt, the Creative Director of Puma Sportstyle. "We are really into the aesthetics. It was just really expressive."
The Cell Alien is not to be mistaken as part of the "dad shoe" trend still looming in the sneaker space. "The dad shoe is trying to be offensive and chunky. The Cell Alien came from an era where you really wanted to show off, while dad shoe tried to be conservative. The Cell franchise always tried to be innovative with new shapes, new aesthetics, and a new design language," according to Aykurt.
The striking silhouette features a renewed mesh base upper with overlapping leather overlays including the Formstripe on the sides. Rounding out the release is the Cell cushioning technology that boasts a TPU configuration in the form of hexagonal cells at the heel to provide wearers with extra protection.
"Visually it’s almost a 1-to-1," said Aykurt. "The Alien prominently features the Formstripe whereas the other two relied on minimal branding. Moving from the forefoot all the way to the heel is a rib structure underneath the stripe that almost gives it almost an “Alien” look like it has gills."
Puma also made headlines recently thanks to its announcement of the power lacing Fi (Fit Intelligence) technology suited to rival Nike's Adapt BB sneakers, but don't expect the Cell line to receive any of those updates.
"We are exploring several avenues, but at the moment the Fit Intelligence tech is something we will be rolling out on a bigger scale. Sometimes it makes sense to overlap the tech but other times it makes sense it keep it separate."
As for the future of the Cell line, Puma will be re-imagining other styles in later seasons including dipping into additional sports categories outside of running. But for now, the brand has also introduced the newest Cell Viper and the LQDCell tech—both of which are currently on Puma's web store.
The re-release of the Puma Cell Alien will launch exclusively at Undefeated locations on May 4, followed by a wider drop on PUMA.com starting on May 16 for $110. Additional colorways are slated to arrive later this summer.