As fashion’s obsession with ’90s and early aughts style rages on, Puma is resurrecting the Mostro — one of the German brand’s hit shoes from 1999.
The shoe was the star of Puma’s latest York Fashion Week outing — which it called “Welcome to the Amazing Mostro Show” — at the Park Avenue Armory on Thursday night. The brand turned the space into an amusement park of sorts, complete with an old-school swing ride that spun the shoes and a soundtrack fitting for a rave. (A pre-show performance by Eartheater set the mood.)
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The Mostro’s name is derived from the Italian word for “monster.” With its instantly recognizable spiked outsoles and Velcro-strapped uppers, it was an undeniable hit in the early 2000s.
“After all the overly built sneakers, the chunky dad [shoes], the outdoor trend, it was clear that the low profile was going to come back massively. We were just patiently waiting, and now it’s time,” Puma creative director Heiko Desens said.
The show, styled by i-D magazine editor-in-chief Alastair McKimm, featured 56 full looks, which included both custom and commercial pieces from Puma’s upcoming fall 2024 catalog.
“We wanted to show all the different versions how the shoe works because we get a lot of people who say, ‘How does it work with track suits? How does it work with shorts? We built the show apparel to support the whole look,” Desens explained. “We had the directions set: The pants need to be oversized or need to be super tight and cropped.”
Puma chief product officer Maria Valdes said upon first impression, it might appear difficult to envision the shoe paired with a variety of ready-to-wear looks. “But once you start seeing the different types of consumers, it shows you what the spectrum can be and determine how you style it and wear it.”
The event included several show-exclusive iterations of the Mostro, such as a knit over-the-knee version with a sock construction and 3D printed low-cut shoes. (Puma also engineered 3D shin guards and gloves to illustrate how the innovation stretches and expands.)
“We’re experimenting and reengineering the Mostro in 3D,” Desens said. “What would it look like if you would start from zero? This is something we need to test.”
As for the accompanying apparel, which Desens described as the canvas to showcase the shoe, Puma’s concept was simple: Big extremes.
For instance, Puma reimagined iconic T7 track suit in multiple ways with massive pants and shrunken jackets. The brand also played with the proportions of everyday staples, such as baseball caps with tiny brims and dad hats with massive ones.
“Nothing is regular. Everything is either really oversized or very shrunken. Those are the looks that work best with the Mostro,” Desens said. “Regular track suits don’t work.”
A majority of the looks were monochromatic, executed in black or white — with metallic silver, neon yellow, lavender and two multicolor outfits providing a few moments of contrast.
The Future of Mostro
Desens sees similarities in Mostro consumers from years past and today.
“The audience back then was looking for an elevated shoe. The Mostro had a lot of leather elements, a lot of detailing. It was very different from traditional court and running silhouettes,” Desens explained, noting that the style quickly became an alternative to a loafer or leather shoe.
More than two decades later, consumers are on the hunt for something new again. “They tired of the last decade of uniform clothes. We all know what the shoes were the last 10-15 years that dominated fashion and streetwear. They don’t want to conform to that anymore,” the creative director said.
The Mostro’s reintroduction began in fall 2023, when Puma teamed up with Ottolinger, the Berlin-based fashion brand created by Swiss designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient. Their collaborative collection, featuring reimagined takes of the Mostro Boot, debuted at a pop-up shop in Paris in late September.
A launch of the Mostro in light gray and bright yellow hues followed in January, with the shoes being sold in select retailers.
Looking ahead, Desens confirmed Puma will release the “Ectasy Pack” in the next two months, which will focus on strong colors.
Further down the line, Desens said the first camouflage drop will debut “toward the end of the year,” as well as an iteration with mono mesh uppers will drop in the summer. Also, consumers can expect collaborations on the silhouette this fall.
“We will keep it quite tight this year, and when it’s the right time we will expand,” Valdes said. “This week, we have had a lot of meetings with our key accounts, with selected retailers and we have received a lot of positive attention and intention to collaborate with us.”
About the Author
Peter Verry is the Senior News and Features Editor for Athletic and Outdoor at Footwear News. He oversees coverage of the two fast-paced and ultracompetitive markets, which includes conducting in-depth interviews with industry leaders and writing stories on sneakers and outdoor shoes. He is a lifelong sneaker addict (and shares his newest purchases via @peterverry on Instagram) and spends most of his free time on a trail. He holds an M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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