Cyclists looking for non-clipless shoes to ride in have a growing number of options, including footwear like the classically-cool line from Chrome; a nod to decades past with a pair of Vans (slip-on, natch); or the soon-to-be-released, and Friday-appropriate, Coronado Cruiser Pedal Shoe from Keen. But if you’re looking for a shoe with more urban flash, there’s only one choice: Puma’s Cycling to Mars shoe.
News of the sneaker came out this week on sites like Arbiters of Cool, Hypebeast, and online urban-biking bible Prolly is Not Probably. Right now, details like price and general availability are limited. But there is some description online. The shoe have hideaway laces, a stiff outsole, and reflective strips. They will be available at Puma stores soon.
Unlike Nike, which recently released the City Tiempo model with its eyes on the fixed-gear bike market, Puma has a significant history in urban pedaling. About seven years ago, the company sponsored a bike team comprised entirely of messengers, including one of the granddaddy’s of the alleycat scene, Kevin “Squid” Bolger. Indeed, Puma has sponsored alleycats and contests across the country where winners receive prizes like airfare to the Cycle Messenger World Championships. (Two of my teammates won plane tix from Puma to the CMWC a few years back.)
A bit of trivia? Puma is the second shoe company created by a single family. The first was Adidas. A family fight caused one brother to break away and create his own brand, which turned into Puma.
But I digress. . . . Back to the shoes. Aesthetically, the Cycling to Mars model have a definite look. The shoes look like they would work, performance-wise, for platform pedals and commuting or in the single-speed/fixie scene. My take? If you like Kanye West and his accompanying flash, heavy with multi-hues and European styling (which is almost Sidi-esque), the Mars shoes are likely your only game in town.
—Stephen Krcmar lives in California. His semi-regular alleycat, Thus Climbed Zarathustra is next weekend in Los Angeles.