Peep PUMA's New Basketball Sneaker: The 'Legacy'

And Jay-Z has been critical in their early successes

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Jay-Z performs onstage during the "On the Run II" Tour at NRG Stadium. / Kevin Winter/PW18/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment

PUMA Basketball, starting its second year since a reintroduction into the hoops space last October, debuted its third silhouette today called the Legacy. With both brand history nods and modern performance elements, the Legacy is an ode to PUMA’s current cultural upswing and its rich heritage simultaneously.

Since dissolving two decades ago in 1998, PUMA repositioned itself as an energetic force in basketball last year. The brand announced that Jay-Z was appointed as the Creative Director, signed incoming NBA rookies and savvy league veterans and released its Clyde Court Disrupt—a contemporary design aimed to heighten on-court performance and pay tribute to the brand’s longtime partner, Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Last June, PUMA awarded Frazier a lifetime contract with the company—an important show of appreciation for his contributions and his 1973 seminal signature shoe called the PUMA Clyde.

Leaning into the brand’s bountiful history, PUMA’s Legacy sneaker is largely related to the Clyde Court Disrupt. With 70 years of sporting heritage, the brand celebrates past greatness by borrowing key elements from its archives. The Legacy, a mid-cut style infused with two-toned knit fabrication and iconic branding, incorporates design language from Pele’s timeless PUMA King sneaker alongside a nuanced ode to Tommie Smith, who wore PUMA sneakers during his silent protest at the 1968 Mexico Summer Olympics. Both towering heroes in PUMA brand history and sports lore, this shoe has a context that informs the new Legacy silhouette beyond that of just another sneaker. It serves as a rallying cry for something far greater.

puma basketball legacy sneaker white 1
Courtesy of Puma
puma basketball legacy sneaker white 2
Courtesy of Puma

It should come as no surprise that the sneaker is called the “Legacy.” At the crescendo of Jay-Z’s thirteenth studio album, 4:44, his song “Legacy” speaks to leaving something behind that will have an impact far beyond the memory of one’s physical frame: Something tangible that will echo in remembrance, and lend truth to the stories that those who lived them can no longer tell. 

Jay-Z has been critical in PUMA Basketball’s early successes. A champion for the brand and a guiding force in many of its creative endeavors, his emphasis on enforcing history in marketing campaigns, advertising and product details has helped PUMA keep pace with other sneaker giants like Nike and Adidas. Moreover, he acts as a guardian over PUMA’s continued partnership with Meek Mill, who is managed by Jay’s Roc Nation, building a legacy of their own through a recent prison reform organization to reform the criminal justice system. 

As with any basketball sneaker, the story can’t be the only thing that works. The shoe also has to perform. Both the Clyde Court Disrupt and its successor, the Uproar, were solid introductory court sneakers. The Legacy aims to prove even more effective. A mid-cut upper is joined by a lacing system that reinforces superior ankle support and lockdown. The Legacy also highlights an engineered outsole built for unparalleled traction and grip, while the brand’s Hybrid responsive foam technology loads the heel for supreme cushioning.

puma basketball legacy sneaker black 2
Courtesy of Puma
puma basketball legacy sneaker black 1
Courtesy of Puma

While PUMA’s recent fiscal rise can certainly be attributed to its alignment with English Premier League champions Manchester United and a brand partnership with Selena Gomez, its basketball division plays a central role in newly-found culturally currency as well as rising sales projections. A recent Ralph Sampson retro basketball shoe is performing well at retailers; a thriving partnership with newly crowned NBA champion Danny Green (also under Jay-Z’s Roc Nation umbrella) has also been a bright spot. 

The PUMA Legacy, when it releases globally on August 17th at, will only sustain that energy. The trend towards ensuring that sneakers tell stories that matter, far beyond just what we choose to wear, is here to stay.

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