Over the past two years, we’ve seen quite a bit of marketing from PUMA, especially in regards to reboots and redesigns from its archives, as well as strategic partnerships for a number of great collaborations. Having already partnered with two video game franchises recently, in the form of the PUMA X Tetris and PUMA X Sonic collections, the company recently announced its partnership with Electronic Arts Inc. for the PUMA Hi OCTN X NFS drop. Unlike the two previously mentioned collaborations, this latest partnership introduces a new sneaker, the Hi OCTN, with plenty of tie-in with the game itself.
Hi OCTN Design
While there is quite a bit in the way of features and comforts on the Hi OCTN sneaker, it’s definitely the design aspect that stands out here. Starting with the upper, the sneaker is both stylish and functional. At its base, the Hi OCTN has a neoprene sock-like construction, which also makes it very form-fitting. The upper has a mesh-like finish as well making it very breathable with hexagonal cut-outs throughout.
Moving to the more technical elements, the shoe has numerous overlays that tie the various elements together, while also in keeping with its functional approach. The shoe includes a black leather overlay, which extends right around the silhouette. This is wrapped from the mid-section to the heel by a multi-coloured panel, fading from pink to purple, then a variation of turquoise. Staying with the heel, the shoe features a purple neoprene overlay. This adds support on the rear, which the base sock finish is unable to provide. The rear aesthetics is completed by means of a pink loop with the NFS and PUMA branding printed on.
The pink theme is continued to the diagonal panel in the middle, along with touches around the tongue as well as on the ‘tongue’ itself. Having a sock finish means that there is no standard tongue, but PUMA has created a design that’s reminiscent of it. This includes the laces, which are thin with hints of purple on a predominantly black base. The look is completed by means of a purple loop on the top end.
Arguably the most stand-out feature on the upper is the metallic buckle, which wraps around the midfoot. It isn’t just for show either, with the buckle being fully functional and adjustable, to provide the necessary support you’d expect from it. As with most metallic elements on footwear, there is a clanking sound whenever you’re in stride, but it isn’t all that loud or annoying. That said, the aesthetic factor here far outweighs the negativity of additional sounds while walking.
Lastly, the Hi OCTN features a wider than the normal rubberised sole. Unlike most modern sneakers, this isn’t split into the midsole, sole, outsole and the likes. Instead, it’s a single-piece, EVA rubber from heel to toe. As with the wider tyres found on drifting cars, which provide additional grip, the sole on the sneaker has the same functional intention in mind. The rubberised frame has quite a significant number of grooves and ridges, similar to that of a car’s off-road tyre to provide grip, even in the trickiest of weather conditions.
The Hi OCTN sneaker draws its inspiration from the game for which it was designed, Need for Speed Heat. From the colour theme to the overlays and even the box in which it is packaged, there’s a lot of tie-in with the game. The sneaker definitely turns heads wherever you go, especially as a result of its contrasting pinks and purples on top of a black and white base.
Hi OCTN Comfort
As already mentioned, numerous times previously, the Hi OCTN a very functional sneaker. A lot of the features in the design have a dual purpose in offering greater comfort for the wearer. The supporting elements all add to the comfort of the shoe, from the purple neoprene on the heel and metallic buckle across the midfoot.
Moving inward, the shoe includes padding for extra cushioning while you’re hitting the streets. The pink insole continues the theme of the shoe, which also provides its own cushioning. The rubberised sole isn’t the most sophisticated of features in comparison to many of PUMA’s other sneakers from its catalogue, but it is quite comfortable nonetheless.
Overall, the Hi OCTN does enough to make is quite comfortable to wear for most of the day. It’s doesn’t have the honour of being the most comfortable of sneakers, with that title going to the adidas Originals HOC Supercourt. That said, the shoe does provide great levels of comfort that is able to support your feet for many hours on end, whether you’re standing in queues, walking the malls or hitting the town with your dance moves through the night.
Hi OCTN Performance and Quality
From the moment of unboxing, the level of quality is second to none. The sneaker smells of new rubber, as would be the case with a fresh set of tyres. Even now, after a few weeks of wear, the rubber aroma is still very thick and very appealing. The detailing in each element is great, where you can find hidden texts and details every time you look at it from a different angle.
There’s not much to write home about in terms of performance, as the silhouette is not meant for running or much physical activity. That said, the rubberised sole is very grippy on most surfaces. With the heavy rains in recent weeks, the sneaker provided sufficient traction in the wet. Where it did struggle a tad was with the wet sneakers on recently polished tiled floors. It isn’t slippery to the point of it being dangerous, but you’ll notice the reduced traction. When outdoors you won’t have any issues with the traction, in the wet, dust, mud and any other surface that may need additional grip.
The PUMA Hi OCTN X NFS sneaker has a greatly detailed design, from the stylised theme to tie in with the game, to the tiny details hidden across the upper. They are a definite head-turner with a standout design thanks to its contrasting colours and exquisite detailing. The sneakers went on sale at the end of November 2019, available at PUMA Select in Cape Town, Shelflife and Shesha for R2,499.
For a chance to win a pair, visit the competition page.
PUMA Hi OCTN X NFS
The PUMA Hi OCTN X NFS is great looking, highly detailed sneaker. It's contrasting colours and tie-in theme for the game makes it a must-have for sneakerheads.
- Great level of detail
- Beautifully themed finish
- Extra wide rubber sole
- Prone to lack of traction when wet on polished tiles