Puma is the latest to join the eSports apparel arena with sock-like shoes

Does eSports gaming require specialist sportswear? Puma certainly thinks so! Let’s take a look at their new ‘Active Gaming Footwear’ and whether it will actually improve your gaming performance.
Puma active gaming footwear
Active Gaming Footwear is designed for indoor and arena use. Image: Puma

When is a shoe not a shoe?

Puma has released its Active Gaming Shoe. It definitely looks more like a fancy sock!

Puma Innovation says that their new gaming range was designed following ‘extensive talks with professional gamers‘. They worked in partnership with Cloud9 to come up with the design.

How does it work? The shoes are made from a low-profile rubber outsole and are super lightweight. The footwear has a grippy sole, and was created as a ‘performance shoe’. A pair will set you back £80.

Footwear settings

What makes the Puma esports shoe interesting is that it has four ‘settings’. These are:

  • Seek
  • Attack
  • Defence
  • Cruise

How do the settings work?

The idea is to have adaptive footwear that gamers can adjust according to the type of game they are playing.

I’m not sure wearing these sock/shoe hybrids are going to make any difference to home gamers. However, for active AR/VR games played in an arena, I guess it makes sense to have very comfortable and high grip shoes!

When counted in 2016 the eSports community numbered 323 million. I’m nowhere near being a pro gamer, so it will be interesting to see their views on whether the Puma shoe does give them a competitive edge!

I’ll be honest and say that I am still not sure what the settings do – and Puma’s product information doesn’t shed much light on it either. I think that the adjustive ‘settings’ are different types of support dependant on the movement involved with the action of the gamer.

They are described as:

  • Medial wrap-up grip in SEEK mode
  • Lateral wrap-up support in ATTACK mode
  • Heel wrap-up stability in CRUISE and DEFENSE mode
Puma Playseat
Puma’s new gaming chair was designed with Playseat. Image: Puma

The competition

Puma aren’t the first brand to release an eSports specific shoe. K-Swiss released the MIBR One-Tap. This was designed collaboratively with the Immortals Gaming Club.

One-Tap has a similarly high level of breathability and cushioning and vents for airflow and comfort.

Catch Up, Puma’s employee magazine interviewed Matt Shaw Team Head of Digital Marketing & Gaming. Shaw says ‘We believe there is a tremendous commercial opportunity for PUMA in the gaming and eSports space. The current landscape is populated by gamers and sports fans with tremendous passion, and terrible product options‘.

The Playseat® F1 Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Playseat design gaming chairs for high profile brands, such as Red Bull Racing. Image: Playseat

It’s an interesting time for the gaming industry, especially for eSports. Their popularity has skyrocketed with tournaments selling out arenas and prize pools reaching millions. It makes sense for brands to jump on-board.

Puma Playseat

The footwear isn’t the only product in Puma’s new eSports range. Introducing the Puma Playseat! Aside from a slightly clunky name, the Playseat is available to pre-order for €229.

It’s basically a stylish rocking chair; although it looks a lot more at home in a gaming setup.

The Playseat useshigh-tech, breathable materials to adapt to players’ positions as they get immersed in the on-screen action while remaining comfortable even after many hours of play‘.

Rubber feet avoid slipping, and there are four pockets to hold consoles and snacks for long gaming sessions.

Playseat isn’t a name that Puma has come up with; it is an existing company. They make the ‘world’s best gaming chairs’. Previous models have been designed with the likes of PlayStation and Forza Motorsport.

My favourite? The Playseat F1 Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. Would it improve my gaming skill? Probably not? Would it look awesome in my lounge? Definitely!

I think that is the name of the game; high visibility brand partnerships with big names in the eSports world is a golden PR opportunity.

I don’t really think the Puma shoes or Playseat are going to make any difference in performance, even for pro gamers. But at least they will look really cool whilst they’re using them!

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