When choosing clothes and sneakers, I must admit I’m drawn to those that come with the “IYKYK” or “If You Know You Know” wink. I do go Hypebeast every now and then but choosing brands that exude luxury and quality but are not drooled over by most people have definite appeal to me.
Both Puma and Parisian Label AMI fit the IYKYK bill. Puma, while a mainstream brand, is generally less popular than behemoths Nike and Adidas. Yet it has come up with iconic designs and has experienced a renaissance of sorts over the past year. It has gained popularity as an alternative brand to the two industry leaders (think the La Melo Ball MB01 line of basketball kicks), with sales hitting record levels in the US. It’s even actually setting itself to be the leading sportswear brand in very populous India.
AMI PARIS, founded by Alexandre Mattiussi, has meanwhile gained even more popularity after being featured on the Netflix series, “Emily in Paris.” The brand has always been known for quality, a positive attitude, and a relaxed fashion look.
So what happens when Puma and AMI collaborate? A beautiful shoe that exudes both quiet luxury and playfulness is born.
I’m no expert on Pumas (you have @itspeynut on IG for that) but I’ve always believed it's held its own when it comes to quality of materials. Their suedes are thick and nappy, the leathers soft and supple (depending on the price point, of course), and the rubbers can take a beating. The collab with AMI takes this attention to detail to a higher level. If you take a closer look, the stitching is even all throughout—something you'd be hard pressed to find even on luxe brands. The colors are consistent and I can't find any bleeding. The suede is what most sneakerheads look for and there appears to be no misprint. This kind of quality is usually found only in much more expensive sneakers.
This is actually the second collaboration AMI has done with Puma using the same The Slipstream Lo silhouette. I admit, it's a bit low key. You’d have to know what you're looking for to differentiate it from a normal Slipstream. Then again, if you know the AMI brand, you'd instantly be drawn to the AMI logo on the heel, and again on the tongue. The striped laces also give an awesome contrast to an otherwise understated white sneaker. And the gum bottom just, umm, tops it off nicely. To describe it in one phrase: clean Dad shoe.
They're heavy but that’s normal for Dad shoes. They surprisingly resist dirt despite being so white. I’m guessing the sail-colored suede areas camouflage any normal wear dirt, making the blemish appear to be part of the shoe. That said, I’m sure wearing the shoes outdoors often enough, exposing it the elements, will dirty it eventually. But that’s a small price to pay for such a beautiful shoe. Wear this with your best preppy or Amboy outfit and you can't go wrong. Rating: A-
The nice thing about low-key sneakers is you can easily grab them on retail and their prices don't go too high. At just over PHP 7,800, with the quality and brand names you're getting, grab ‘em and run. And if you chance upon them on sale, don't even think.
Bringing these kicks to the @rhobeelicious criteria of judging, these would be the luscious Caramel Cake from Estrel’s (if you haven’t tried this, hurry over to its Quezon City address). It appears simple and plain but once you taste it, you’ll know it’s high quality and will leave you asking for more.
[An old school sneaker enthusiast, Rhobee Pilares enjoys street fashion, toys, cars, food and the excitement of busy, bustling cities. You can often catch him at coffee shops reading on the latest media trends. IG @rhobeelicious.]
Photos by Rhobee Pilares