Long Live the King
WHY THE KING SOCCER BOOT IS PUMA’S MOST BELOVED SHOE OF ALL TIME.
The King soccer boot and six other game-changing shoes over seven decades.
Puma’s catalog is rich and deep in iconic silhouettes. But only one can be crowned the brand’s best. Inside the company, nothing is more revered than the King.
“From a last point of view, a material point of view, a play point of view, the King was absolutely made to give the soccer player the best comfort, best feel for the ball, best fit,” said Björn Gulden, CEO of Puma. “There wasn’t any marketing or gimmick or motivation aside from making the best shoe.”
For these reasons, it was the favorite model of the GM of Puma Teamsport, Matthias Mecking, when he was a kid.
“Growing up in Germany and playing soccer in the ’80s , you had the choice between the King and the [Adidas] Copa Mundial,” Mecking said. “And the King, I felt, fit me better.”
But its performance attributes alone aren’t why the King, which debuted in 1968, reigns supreme. The shoe’s legend was bolstered by the stars of the pitch who laced them up.
“The best players in the world, the players that wore the number 10, players that really made the difference, wore the King,” explained Puma’s senior marketing advisor Helmut Fischer. “Pelé, Eusébio in the ’60s, Johan Cruyff from the ’70s, Diego Maradona — the very best [soccer] players in the world all wore the Puma King.”
Torsten Hochstetter, Puma’s global creative director, is still enamored with the icons of the sport who performed amazing athletic feats in them.
“When I’m in the archive and I’m holding the original shoe of players such as Johan Cruyff or Diego Maradona, that’s incredible. I have goose bumps. It’s very powerful,” Hochstetter said. “They wore the shoe and we all know the legacy of those athletes. Those cleats were one of the most important tools that they needed when they played.”