IT’S ALIVE!!! Okay, well, technically, the PUMA Mostro (or “Monster” in Italian) sneaker has been alive for some time now. Cryogenically frozen for the past 20 years, waiting for the right moment to be defrosted and released to the global sneaker cognoscente. That time is now. Inspired by two distinct creations, Mostro takes design elements from the 1968 sprinting spike, and the 80s-era surf shoe to create something that toes the line between sport and style. A peacocking yet suave set of kicks that embodies the shoe’s mentality of crazy low-key.
Freshly thawed and ready to hit the streets, FLAUNT spoke with Gregor Abenstein, Senior Head of PUMA Select, and Adam Pieters, Head of Product Line Management PUMA Select, two of the figures behind bringing the Mostro out of the deep freeze and into the spotlight.
How is the PUMA of the past in conversation with the PUMA of the present?
Abenstein:The PUMA of the past serves as a powerful guide, showcasing our capabilities and successes—be it through early fashion collaborations, investments in African football, or pioneering product directions. These historical achievements provide a clear perspective on our strengths and help us identify credible segments where we can showcase our unique offerings. Today we look to our past, study our strong heritage, and take key learnings for our work and creations for today and the future.
Pieters: In the ever-evolving landscape of fashion and sport, trends often cycle back. PUMA’s influence in the 2000s, marked by the fusion of sport and fashion with iconic models like the Mostro and Speedcat, has organically resurfaced. This trend, particularly embraced by the younger generation, highlights the enduring appeal of our past innovations in shaping contemporary preferences.
It’s a significant achievement to revive a specific style after two decades. How do you instill longevity into every design?
Abenstein: Reviving a product after two decades isn’t something you can plan for at the time of creation. It depends on the ever-changing consumer preferences and how past references resonate with current trends. To create a design with longevity, authenticity and staying true to our brand’s DNA are crucial. We focus on creating products that are different from the rest, aiming for a unique and desirable appeal that stands the test of time.
Pieters: Trends come and go, so a unique design with a groundbreaking aesthetic has the potential to resurface in the market. It’s about finding that sweet spot where a design represents a certain aesthetic and can make a comeback when the timing is right.
PUMA is known for its ability to marry artistry with practical sportswear. We know that the Mostro was inspired by track spikes and surf shoes—what kind of art inspired the Mostro design?
Abenstein: The Mostro design draws inspiration from the art of emphasizing the interesting and unconventional. It’s about creating something bold, taking the most impractical feature, like spikes, and magnifying it for its unexpected appeal.
Pieters: The Mostro’s inspiration lies in the unexpected. At launch, it was a groundbreaking design, capturing attention with unique elements. Today, it stands as a work of art—a beautifully constructed shoe that defies the constraints of time.
What does it mean to be “crazy low-key”?
Abenstein: Crazy low-key defines the Mostro as a hybrid style that looks wild but carries a subtle demeanor. It appeals to the avant-garde fashion world when styled boldly and resonates with the street kid who rocks it with a tracksuit in an unpretentious way. This duality was the key to the silhouette’s success 20 years ago, and we believe it holds the same potential for today’s consumers—the ones who embrace the wild and the ones who keep it low-key.
“Monster” is generally a pejorative term. Why, in PUMA’s terms, is it good to be a Mostro?
Abenstein: While ‘monster’ can have negative connotations, PUMA sees it as a term representing the unconventional, bold, and interesting. Monsters are new, unseen, and defy pre-existing norms. They don’t fit into a predetermined box and challenge the mainstream. PUMA thrives when offering the unknown, designs that require understanding and appreciation—just like little monsters that provoke questions.
Pieters: Looking beyond the negative connotations, ‘monster’ can signify something positive, especially in creating a ‘monster hit’ in the music industry. It’s about the impact and size of it. In the 2000s, the Mostro was indeed a monster hit, embraced by everyone as a symbol of success.
Photographed by Patcha Kitchaicharoen
Model: Tiffany Grant
Prop Stylist: Satjatorn Promaksorn
Casting Director: Alexander Torres
Photo Assistant: Chinnakrit Soonthornwan
Retoucher: Thodsaphon Khongkam