This season sees PUMA renew its alliance with world-renowned footwear boogazine Sneaker Freaker, creating the final chapter of an epic collaborative series – the Blaze of Glory ‘Bloodbath’. Joining the project from NYC is celebrated sneaker retailer, Packer Shoes.

I love hearing and reading about the inspirations and stories behind trainer releases and this one is a good one! It begins back in 2008 after an unlikely incident. An abalone diver was swallowed up to the waist by a great white shark on Australia’s East Coast and amazingly, lived to tell the tale. Sneaker Freaker found its muse and applied the shark inspiration to one of PUMA’s revolutionary archive running models – the Trinomic Blaze of Glory!

First up was the ‘Great White’ Blaze of Glory’s whose predatory instincts were the perfect vehicle for Sneaker Freaker’s subtle storytelling with colour and texture aspects that elaborated on the theme - silver mesh, blue water pops, an abstract ‘shark bite’ tongue logo and a ‘river of blood’ seemingly trickling from the Trinomic hexagon cells, emphasised by razor-sharp rubber fangs. An anodised shark tooth dangled from the shoes like a souvenir necklace acquired on a beachside summer vacation. The response was phenomenal.

Inspired by the positive reception, a second version flipped the silver palette to jet-black, adding a slash of vivid turquoise with hot pink highlights to the man-eating mix. Dubbed ‘Black Beast’, hype around the shoes went into overdrive and the legend continued to grow.

Intrigued by the discovery of genuine shark leather at a tannery, Sneaker Freaker sourced the exotic material to create a third instalment. Blacker than the ace of spades and tougher than teak, shark leather sports a remarkably rugged, wrinkly texture. Just 30 pairs were given away to lucky friends and family. The shark leather is exquisite and prices for those shoes are now well and truly in the unobtainable bracket. They are regarded as one of the most striking and luxurious collaboration releases of all time.

In 2013, the partnership was refreshed in honour of the impending five-year anniversary. Redesigned and packaged in an oversize box laced with egg-shell foam, extra ins
oles and a leather lace pouch, the re-release of the ‘Great White’ and ‘Black Beast’ once again fried the minds of new-gen sneakerheads.

Naturally, talk at Sneaker Freaker turned to creating another limited release - the result of which was a turquoise terror known as ‘Sharkbait’. On the day of the release, sneakerfreaker.com repeatedly crashed as fans scrambled to secure one of the 50 pairs on offer. The aftermath of that e-comm meltdown initiated a lively discussion on Sneaker Freaker’s Facebook page. As disappointed fans expressed their salty frustration, one comment was particularly memorable for Sneaker Freaker founder, Simon ‘Woody’ Wood. ‘They should do another Blaze in red and call it ‘Bloodbath’, because that’s exactly what happened today!

Inspired by that epic recollection, Sneaker Freaker has once again teamed up with PUMA to launch the Blaze of Glory ‘Bloodbath’. Creamy crimson red leather, gum soles, mint highlights and metallic gold PUMA branding are the icing on this aquatic cake. When I saw these I literally drooled, they are stunning!

A global release of The Blaze of Glory ‘Bloodbath’ will follow the pop-up store at the Refinery Hotel in NYC in conjunction with Packer shoes,  dropping at Dover Street Market, Hanon, END and Footpatrol from October 10th. Little feet are getting love on this release too, with size runs from UK3.5 - UK12 and retailing at £140! Hurry up October 10th!!

What are your thoughts? Check out the video and more imagery below...


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