Now & Then: Design DNA of the PUMA Thunder - The Drop Date

Now & Then: Design DNA of the PUMA Thunder


Design DNA of the PUMA Thunder

For this new instalment of our Now & Then series, we take a closer look at the PUMA THUNDER series, exploring PUMA’s design archives and digging out some of the predecessors that inspired the Thunder’s design. Inspired by ’90s running silhouettes and collaborations, the bulky style and shape echoes the very best of the PUMA back catalogue, matched with contemporary colours that make it feel just as relevant on the catwalk as it is on the street. So, grab your notebook as we start with some of the earliest DNA strands in the Thunder’s genetic code…

PUMA Disc System Response

The PUMA DISC SYSTEM RESPONSE first dropped in 1993, taking its unique adaptive fastening system from the running track and into the tennis courts. The Disc device allowed the wearer to quickly dial in a custom fit, offering a level of comfort and security unmatched by traditional lacing. With so many possible applications, this system was introduced to other sport categories within the brand and subsequently applied to a number of other running models. The sturdy foundations of the Response sole unit provided a solid platform underfoot – the essence of which appears on the Thunder series today.

PUMA Mostro Leather

2002 saw the launch of the PUMA MOSTRO, which walked ‘the line between sport and style’, establishing itself as one of the brand’s most iconic and best selling silhouettes to this day. Practical, flexible and comfortable, the multifunctional nature of the Mostro endeared it to many people, selling over 300,000 pairs in its initial year, followed by 1.3million in 2003 and over 3.2million in 2004. With its futuristic appearance, the Mostro pushed the boundaries of expectation, with its unique hook and loop closure that proved reliable and stylish. The contours and lines on the sidewalls of the Mostro gave a streamlined look, similar to those used on the design of the Thunder, but with a very different end result.

PUMA AMQ Ribcage

Alexander McQueen’s collaborative series with PUMA spawned many memorable creations, but the PUMA AMQ RIBCAGE from 2009 lit the touch-paper for a trend in bulkier shapes, years ahead of the curve. A slightly lower profile complimented the colour palette, yet the innovative Ribcage looked slightly out of place at its time of release, as it attempted to bridge the gap between fashion and sports performance. Only now, almost a decade on, can we truly appreciate just how pioneering the Ribcage really was, elements of which can be seen on the Thunder’s construction today.

PUMA Hussein Chalayan

The PUMA x CHALAYAN HAAST SUMMER from 2013 demonstrated how the meshing and reciprocation of motion and sport can work effectively via lightweight materials and simple, supportive constructions. With form and shape clearly at the forefront of the design, the performance aspects took running tooling from PUMA’s heritage to make a piece of footwear that covered all bases. The well-balanced front section tempered the sturdy nature of the shoe, preventing a substantial design from simply becoming a shapeless block. The Thunder utilises a similar aesthetic, giving a heavyset presence but remaining nimble where it’s needed.

PUMA x Alexander McQueen McQ Run Lo

The PUMA x MCQ RUN LO from 2014 continued the collaborative series, resulting in a collection heavily inspired by various components of human anatomy. The Run Lo’s exterior cage acted as an exoskeleton, representing a network of tendons and ribs with careful TPU overlays and smart panels that presented the technology in a clean manner. An oversized midsole was topped with layered panelling and an indented heel arch, cutting away some of the bulk without losing any of its personality. When placed side by side with the Thunder, the influence of the Run Lo is clear to see, almost looking like a prototype of the modern shoe.

PUMA Thunder Spectra

The journey culminates here with the PUMA THUNDER: an authentic, credible flag bearer for the bulky ‘dad shoe’ style that has dominated the streets and runways for the past two years. Taking such pinnacle design cues from the likes of designers such as Alexander McQueen, the bloodline of the Thunder goes back for at least ten years, proving itself to be the trailblazer of the bulky footwear trend. For those of you who like to pay respects to such influential design, the Thunder collection is AVAILABLE NOW in a variety of colourways and can be obtained from PUMA via the banner below.


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