Retro is here to stay. We’ve seen it across numerous brands across various categories, most visible in the fashion industry. The sneaker industry has been one of the biggest proponents of retro products, mixing it up between rebooted sneakers from the 70s, 80s and 90s, to reimagining the designs based on classic sneakers with modern influences. PUMA has seen quite a number of products launched in recent years, from the successful Running System range to the more recent Future and Style Rider ranges. Both of the latter silhouettes were based on the classic Fast Rider sneaker originally launched in the 80s.
The Rider sneakers have seen two recent launches, from the Ride On series dropped in December and the more recent Play On range. It’s the latter range we focus on with the PUMA Future Rider Play On sneaker.
Future Rider Design
There’s no doubting any of the Rider sneakers when you spot them in the wild. They all have bold and contrasting colours. The PUMA Hi-OCTN X NFS featured a great mix of vibrant colours, but is no match for the Future Rider Play On. These colours add to the nostalgic style of the Future Rider, standing out from the crowd in even the darkest of settings. At its core, the sneaker features a white midsole and PUMA Formstrip, which is surrounded by and contrasted against pops of various colours, including PUMA Black, Fluorescent Green and Dazzling Blue as the primary colours. Other colours scattered throughout the upper include some red elemental objects and a touch of pink highlights. Looking at the sneakers in passing you won’t necessary notice all these details, picking up mainly the green and blue standouts. But it’s this balance and contrasting of all the colours that make it really stand out.
In addition to the mix of colours used, each of the colours also have mixed materials that were used to complete the build. The upper is constructed from a mix of lightweight and breathable nylon, suede and premium leather, which is paired with an EVA midsole as well as a Federbein outsole made of brown rubber with conical studs. The various materials on the upper are stitched together in different patterns to add to the textured finish of the sneaker. All of these have a clean finish, apart from the tongue, which has an old-school unfinished look, with the inner sponge showing itself.
While the design is focused largely on the vibrant colours, there’s a lot of detail on the sneaker that may go unnoticed. This includes the blend of textures and finer details in the trimmings and overlays. Overall, the design really stands out and is sure to turn heads wherever you go.
Future Rider Comfort
Typically, when it comes to the classics, sneakers from 20-30 years ago don’t always have the best of comfort levels when compared to modern sneakers. That said, many rebooted classics often have a mix of modern elements thrown into the mix, most of which are internal technologies that affect comfort levels. This is exactly the case with the Future Rider. While the original may have had extra padding and lining on the inner, the updated model has trimmed this to make it more comfortable in use, without cramping the foot.
The sneaker doesn’t have the pronounced insole as with the RS-X Tracks, but there’s sufficient cushioning to make each stride as comfortable as it can be. The conical studs add to the levels of comfort by softening each of the wearers’ steps. The Future Rider is definitely not your standard classic sneaker, having improved on the levels of comfort one expects, allowing wearers to strut around town for hours without fuss.
Future Rider Performance and Quality
With the comfort at maximum levels, the Future Rider already delivers half of its performance stats. A lot of this is thanks to the newly developed PUMA RIDEFOAM midsole, which provides maximum levels of rebound, while keeping the retro look. The midsole features a corrugated, shock-absorbing Federbein construction rubber. The conical studs add to the levels of grip when required, even when wet underfoot.
With the original, Fast Rider, built for the track, the modern take keeps some of its lineage with sporting qualities. The mix of elements as discussed previously, as well as the soft rubber, makes the sneaker extremely lightweight. It may seem trivial for most, but the TPU heel stabilisers, in bright red, add a level of steadiness to each stride that makes quite a difference. Paired with the rubber midsole and you have quite a well-balanced and capable sneaker that’s able to transition from the gym to the streets, as with most other PUMA sneakers in recent times.
The Future Rider lives up to the PUMA’s motto, Forever Faster. While I’m not in the habit of running with any of my sneakers or pushing them to their limits, it was worth a go with these, specifically because these would have been what athletes of yesteryear would have been wearing on track. And they don’t fail to impress either. All of the elements, as mentioned above, act together to create an all-round experience that’s light underfoot, comfortable in each stride, as well as performance heavy thanks to the rebound Federbein rubber.
I’ve always had a great affinity for classic sneakers. With the PUMA Future Rider Play On it’s no different. I loved the colours, patterns and finer points throughout the sneaker. Couple that with the extreme levels of comfort and you have an iconic blend of new and old.
The Future Rider Play On is available online at PUMA.com, as well as PUMA stores, The Cross Trainer, Superbalist, sportscene, Side Step, OFFICE London and selected retailers.
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PUMA Future Rider Play On
With so many retro sneakers to choose from these days, new releases always need to find that something special to stand out. The PUMA Future Rider Play On does just that.
- Wildly bold colours
- Great comfort