As a sneakerhead who was and will always be a motorsports fan first, these collabs are disrespectful to both and come across as nothing more than a money grab.
(At the time of this original writing, 14 November 2023) The Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix is coming up this weekend. For anyone that is an avid Formula 1 fan, and/or happens to know a thing or two about Las Vegas in November, then you know that this inaugural race is predicted to be a disaster. But that’s another conversation*.
Over the last handful of weeks, we have seen a number of brands and retailers announce their motorsport capsules/collections, and none of them have been impressive. I will go into a few of these collections, but before I do, I would like to preface the following read with this: I love these brands, and by no means is this a knock on the brands as a whole, just these new motorsport collections.
That being said, let’s get into it.
Puma should know better.
Puma is an actual motorsport outfitter who partners with numerous racing teams and championship series. Puma has produced amazing apparel for said teams and championship series and even produced some amazing collections for BMW Motorsport GMbH on numerous occasions.
So why is A$AP Rocky designing a Formula 1 capsule?!
Puma has the resources and the playbook for producing a quality collection that is representative of Formula 1 while also bringing in some flavor that represents Las Vegas and/or streetwear/sneaker culture. Let me be clear, this isn’t a bad collection, it’s just a bad collection for Formula 1/LVGP. A$AP is a car guy, he’s always had automotive themes and motifs in his works and products, so at first glimpse, this is something that makes sense. But this is something that makes sense for a collaboration with Need For Speed. The LVGP seems like it is a great option to roll this collection out to, but I think this would’ve been better suited to be released as a standalone collection not done with/for Formula 1.
TL;DR: It doesn’t feel like Formula 1 or Vegas.
I really like Feature as a store. They carry a lot of my favorite brands and their raffles are also top tier. I recommend Feature to anyone. I do not recommend, however, this “Feature 1” collection.
For the ‘Feature 1’, this shoe just doesn’t give me much in terms of storytelling. While their Velophasis does come with different details that usually come equipped on this silhouette, I think the coloring and textures of this sneaker could’ve been done a little bit better. For a sneaker that isn’t one of Puma’s most popular models, the all grey coloring forces a customer to really pay attention to said details of the shoe, so this sneaker misses the mark in terms of attracting the customer, and its intent.
Now, their Slipstream Lo isn’t a bad shoe. There is apparent storytelling and detailing that is carefully done. I personally would’ve done a different sneaker and a few different detailings, but I can’t be too mad at it. In fact, the name of this colorway is really my biggest gripe. The WEC doesn’t have a 24H endurance race in Vegas, but this would be Formula 1’s second time in Vegas, so a theme that is a little more towards Formula 1 would’ve been a little more fitting.
TL;DR: Naming and aesthetics prevented this collection from really achieving its potential.
This is an extremely lazy collection. And for a brand that delivered a beautiful collab with Formula 1 + ASSC just a few years ago, this is a massive watering down and apparent money grab.
The one advantage to this collection is that it is much cheaper than official Formula 1 apparel. So, a cheaper version of official apparel with an Undefeated co-sign could be a real benefit to some. But this collection just looks nothing more than Undefeated slapping their logo beside standard Formula 1 graphics, in standard B/W colorways and a few loud colors that are likely to sit on shelves for a while.
TL;DR: It’s lazy.
In summation, these recent motorsport collaborations are clearly here because of Formula 1 coming to Las Vegas for the first time in over 40 years. But like everything else surrounding this inaugural race weekend, these collections are shaping up to be disasters. Unlike the other possible disasters with this weekend, these will sit on shelves for a long time simply becuase these brands did not take the time to actually cater to the small intersection of motor + sneaker heads. They catered to the masses and profit margins.
Vegas will always be Vegas and attract all kinds of visitors for all kinds of reasons. I love Vegas. But, collections that are released around/solely for the Las Vegas Grand Prix heavily miss the mark if they aren’t marketed well as such, and or adequately designed/curated. It all comes off as rushed, temporary, and trendy. These brands all had a huge opportunity to come out with some quality, relevant, time-transcending releases and somehow they all DNF.