PUMA The Beast

  • MADE ON: 03/03
  • ART.NO: 180230 01

If Fred Flintstone had a sneaker there’s no doubt in our minds that it’d be PUMA’s wild Slipstream upgrade known as The Beast.

No, but seriously, while snakeskin and animal textures are by now becoming commonplace among sneaker culture – even if they are still considered to be lavish and extravagant enhancements – these hold it down in a different way. For one, the contrast between the almost all white upper bodies and their various beastly faux fur patches goes beyond eye-catching; it’s almost annoyingly loud. In fact I would personally argue it takes a particular type of personality to rock these in an honest fashion that isn’t about getting the attention (positive or negative) of passers-by, but instead truly aligns with one’s inner animal. Not many folks can pull that off without looking like wanna-be dweebs.

Y’all might already know, but I’m not a ‘head who’s overly concerned with endorsements, collabs, or specialty enhancements. I care about fit, form, and durability. And when it comes to The Beast I can proudly say these hold it down on all fours. Great comfort, solid construction, and a sturdy sole unit saddled up with PUMA’s “anti shock system”, a series of suction cups on the outsole providing some absorption.

I’m no zoologist (nor would I wanna be, as one or two house cats are by far enough for me) but from my understanding the fake fur would be addressed as leopard print pony hair and it’s main premise was used in order to enhance the almost identical Slipstream High silhouette that PUMA is a bit more known for and transform it into these hybrid hyenas. A quite similar pair pre-dating these was dropped in 2001 that featured a more predominantly brown and black colorway with only a bit of white on the sole unit.

The Beast upgrade is of course an obvious name though funny enough six years later in 2009 the big cat company dropped a ‘Monster’ version of the Slipstream that is nearly the same as this pair here – only featuring a black and red colorway and applying some ostrich and snakeskin texture to the leather parts – but for some reason The Beast name wasn’t used again. Besides surface treatments the ’09 creation varied in another discrete yet still distinctive way: its tongue was texture flipped, built with leather in the center strip and surrounded by fur, which is the exact opposite of the configuration you can see here with these Beasts from ’03.

Various other ‘Monster’ colorways followed in the Fall of 2009, and later on in the Spring of 2010 some even crazier ‘Creature’ versions dropped, featuring some not-so-organic textures embossed and even laser-engraved onto their multi-material-built bodies and they surprisingly lacked the funky fur we’d come to expect with such experimental Slipstream revisions. Once again The Beast name was no where to be seen.

We’re likely skipping some versions, but let’s jump forward to 2012 when PUMA reached back and grabbed that Beast name bringing to the forefront of their footwear brigade with some weird camo do-ups that appeared to be their LSD-enhanced vision of what the Slipstream might look like in the future. Gosh, I sure hope not. As a part of their MMQ series (the brand’s slogan, Macht’s Mit Qualität, revamped into an acronym for trendy value I guess) there were various releases including bags and apparel that matched as well.

That’s their forward path into the present and while I can’t claim for certain to know an original birth date for The Beast, I can state having seen low cut versions that came in the wonderful green and white vintage boxes predating the 2000s. So they’ve certainly been around for sometime. And as for their future, while I won’t drop any dimes as of now I will say that the newer generation of PUMA itself has been quite eager to learn about their own past and this certainly includes The Beast and its wild journey over time. I wouldn’t be surprised if something lept out the bushes at us in the near future…

written by Dylan Cromwell

photography by errol

  • Anonymous

    The latest Slipstream release is very similar to this design (of course). I’ve read that the materials used were very high quality. I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t buy a pair when I saw them in my size. I’d buy these in a heartbeat. I never knew I liked animal print on shoes until Puma.