The Rihanna Fenty Puma Creepers were hands down the most coveted and impossible-to-obtain shoes of 2016. When they were released in May of 2016, they sold out within a few hours online, so I had to wait until October to try my luck again. Luckily, Concepts in Harvard Square had them, and I snatched a pair to see what the fuss was all about.
The appeal of these sneakers lies not just in the stamp of approval from Rihanna, known in fashion circles for her daring, effortlessly cool looks, but also in its unique design: the colors chosen, the materials used (suede, on-trend velvet), the detailing (velvet shoelaces with gold aglets, leather insoles with FENTY clearly branded), and the flattering 1-inch platform. According to Rih herself on the Puma website, “I wanted to take Puma to a new place with something unpredictable and unexpected.”
In 2014, Puma went through a major rebranding and hired Rihanna as both a brand ambassador and designer of her own fashion & footwear line, called Fenty by Rihanna. Since then, the line has appeared at fashion week twice, in New York and Paris, elevating the Puma brand to (almost) couture status. As a semi fashion snob, I would have never shopped at Puma if Rihanna’s line didn’t exist. According to Footwear News, Puma saw a 16.4% increase in sales in the third quarter of 2016, thanks in large part to the Fenty line. (http://footwearnews.com/2016/influencers/collaborations/rihanna-puma-fenty-creeper-footwear-news-achievement-awards-fnaa-shoe-of-the-year-280124/)
According to Adam Petrick, Puma’s global director of branding and marketing, in the same Footwear News article, the recipe for this hit shoe is “equal parts wearability and Rihanna’s celebrity pull.” And not just Rihanna’s – celebrities like Lena Dunham, the Hadid sisters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, the Weeknd, and so on have been seen sporting the Creepers. Instagram has been a huge contributing factor to the sneakers’ success. I personally found out about the Creepers via Rihanna’s Instagram page (she has 48.2 million followers), and other celebs have posted photos of them wearing the Creepers on the Gram.
How does the shoe make me feel? Badass, bold, sporty yet elegant. Probably my favorite pair of shoes I’ve ever owned. I can’t wait to purchase them in other colors.