50 years of the PUMA Clyde

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Described in an original advert as ‘The essence of cool’, the PUMA Clyde is a shoe that cut its teeth on the courts; and now it celebrates its 50th anniversary. It comes as no surprise as to why the PUMA Clyde has reached this half century milestone – it has all the accolades that define a classic basketball-turned-lifestyle shoe. Featuring a classic silhouette, bold sidewall branding, sturdy rubber soles, an endless selection of colourways – here’s to the next 50 years.

Renowned for winning two championships with the New York Knicks – a feat that got his name in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in ’87 – Walter ‘Clyde’ Frazier Jr. can be considered a bit of a basketball legend. This can be backed up by seven NBA All-Star awards, plus he featured in the 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams. His career stats added up to 825 NBA games and a total of 15,581 career points. As well as the long list of accolades, he was also something of a style icon, being lauded for his dazzling suits, Italian headwear and sharp footwear. It seemed that Walter ‘Clyde’ Frazier Jr. was the complete personality to endorse these extravagant sneakers.

As you might have guessed, the PUMA Clyde is a forerunner of the Suede, taking its softer uppers and reimagining it with a lighter build, a wider fit and – of course – updated branding to the sides. This versatile silhouette came in an abundance of colourways too, as the basketball star wore a fresh pair in every NBA game with close to 400 pairs being worn. Every pair shared the same comfort though, with a spongey insole and the best arch support for the perfect mid-game feel. Not to mention its off-court comfort too; like the Suede, this shoe has had quite the subcultural legacy, venturing far from its original sporting functions.

50 years later, the PUMA Clyde remains a legend of the game. It has followed the trajectory of many basketball sneakers, transitioning from court defined classics to streetwear grails. It represents an eternal name from the sport, and this is paired with a time-defying design. Finish this off with an iconic sportsman’s signature in golden foil branding on the lateral sidewalls, and you might just have the recipe for immortality.

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