Sneakers named after basketball players are aplenty. But there’s only one sneakers named after a gangster.
Walt Frazier was as well known on the basketball court as he was off. Although his fantasy style of play drew attention, his true style was most aparent off the court. He was nicknamed Clyde for his choice of hat, very similar to the one worn by Warren Beatty in “Bonnie and Clyde“. No one knows what he was hiding under there, but we have our doubts as later he became the image for “Just for Men” hair colour. He always wore his extravagant cow and tiger fur coats… with a sober tie “no to be too clamorous” he’d explain. Having retired back in 1980, the 10,000 followers on his fake Twitter account show his lasting impact.
In 1973 Puma created the Clyde for him. Although today the sneaker doesn’t seem ground breaking, back in the day its huge array of colours seemed fit for the excentric Frazier. In reality, the Clyde was a version of the Puma Suede and State, the sneakers worn by Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the ’68 Olympics, during which they raised their fist on the podium, a Black Power salute in sign of protest.
Worn by the Rock Steady Crew, Puma was there at the start of rap, then later, with fat flat laces and Kangol caps, became synonymous with 80′s Hip Hop. And in the 90′s, they made the cover of a few Beastie Boys albums. Also, the Puma Clyde was very beneficial for NYC stores. Because they were made of suede, they didn’t last long in the snow, and walking with them through the salt covered streets meant completely ruining the shoe’s sole. Every time a snow storm hit, sneaker stores were thrilled. In case you’re reading from New York, you’ll be happy to know that the materials have improved a great deal since then!
You can take home this illustration when you buy our Puma Clyde Script. Just enter the SZ9 code in our shopping cart. Follow the rest of our sneakeroots series, in collaboration with the seize9 blog, who brings you the best sneaker stories (in Spanish!).