When the first Sonic The Hedgehog movie trailer raced onto our screens, it was met with overwhelming criticism. Fans were divided by many aspects of the film’s trailer. However, majority of the concerns were raised around Sonic’s first appearance on the big screen, focusing their energy on the blue hedgehog’s character design. Thankfully, director Jeff Fowler heard the criticism and subsequently sent out a tweet vowing to rectify the concerns. A week ago, the results of the said changes were observed for the first time when a new trailer was released, showcasing Sonic’s major design overhaul. Eagle-eyed fans, however, would have noticed more than just the cosmetic changes made to the Sonic’s eyes, nose and mouth, but also the PUMA sneaker redesign as well.
A year ago, SEGA partnered with PUMA for an unlikely collaboration, merging the game-makers titular character with PUMA’s newly launched classic range, the Running System (RS) sneakers. The first sneaker to launch under the new collaboration was the PUMA X SEGA RS-0, featuring an upper made from a textured suede to resemble that of Sonic’s trademark blue fur, as well as a second sneaker as part of the same drop featuring characteristics of Dr. Eggman’s Eggmobile. The second drop features a slightly more minimalist design, with the PUMA X Sonic RS-X3 having an all-over black upper, with fine details from the game.
In the first trailer, PUMA’s partnership was on full display when Sonic sported the red PUMA Speed 500 sneaker. In the second trailer, however, along with the redesign, the team removed the Speed 500, opting for something a lot closer to red, pointer shoes from the game. While the film may not have indicated much in a way of the sneaker redesign, the recently released Japanese poster did. What we get in the end is something of a Frankenstein cross between Sonic’s in-game booties and the Speed 500. With the PUMA branding on the tongue, it’s clear that those involved didn’t want to risk breaking contract, with potential financial losses for all parties. The addition of the puffy socks also doesn’t hit the mark. While it may be true to the game version, it doesn’t quite translate well for the live-action version. I can’t tell whether the redesign was signed off by the PUMA team or from the film’s producers. Judging by the recent success of the PUMA brand, I don’t think it’s the former, with the likelihood of pressure being put on the design teams from the powers that be.
Thankfully for PUMA and SEGA, the previously released Sonic sneakers speak for themselves as to what’s possible when restrictions aren’t put on the design teams. Obviously, we won’t be seeing yet another redesign of Sonic the Hedgehog, with the overhaul already doing its bit to appease some fans, it’s clear that not all the design changes have hit the mark.