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On the occasion of the official release of the Puma Future Z, we had the opportunity to talk for almost 30 minutes with two craftsmen of the design of the Future Z worn and embodied by Neymar.
Presented a month ago in a Teaser Edition colorway and worn by Neymar Jr, the Future Z was officially unveiled in its new colors this Monday, January 11, 2021. As part of this launch, we had the privilege to talk to each other with two of the little hands that are at the heart of the Puma crampon design teams. Lilly Cocks, Developer Teamsport Footwear and Florian Nemetz, Product Manager Teamsport Footwear told us about the Future Z, its ambitions and the ambitious strategy of Puma Football.
“After three years, it is once again time to excite our consumers, to unveil a totally new look but above all to unveil a new technology”
First question, why the name Future Z? Why a letter when the Ultra uses the same naming system as before?
When we introduced the Future, it was a new silo that was a game changer for us in football. But as we are launching a completely new shoe in 2021, it was still important to change the name of the shoe while keeping the term Future. The Future Z is built on Future DNA but it also gives a new update with the Z we added. The Z, contrast, il means several things:
- First, it’s a symbol for a weapon, we wanted to create the ultimate shoe to help you beat all your opponents on the court.
- Secondly there is an obvious nod to Generation Z, it shows the future of football
- Lately zig zag, dribble, movement, it’s a shoe made for agile players
Recently, Dominique Gathier explained to us that the players who wear the Ultra base their game on the speed of movement with the ball. Who are the Future Z players?
We have two strong silos today. Ultra is the speed silo and Future Z is the agility silo. We do not focus on a specific position but rather on the state of mind of the players. The Future Z has clearly been designed for creative playmakers, players who are the creators of their team, mavericks, those who want to be the leaders. At the end of the day, they’re all technical, that’s the most important thing they need to have. The pair combine agility and technique (the skills).
When did the first Future Z brief date? Can you explain the design timeline for a new model like this?
The first brief for the Puma Future Z dates back to a little over two years ago. From start to finish it’s about 24 months, especially for a new silo like the Future Z. The brief allows us to get a feel for the direction of the next pair. The designers and developers are able to start from that and come back with a first concept of the shoe. Once we have a confirmed design we can launch the samples, we can create several to improve the product each time and arrive at the final version. So it’s a long process, but it allows us to create a shoe that we are really happy with in the end.
“Every detail on the shoe gives you a profit. We did everything differently, after three years it was time to change and come up with a new concept but keeping the Future DNA. “
How many different versions of the Future Z saw the light of day before arriving at this final model?
Over a 24 month period, we must have made six or seven different versions of the pair. This what was interesting about this shoe is that we had the concept from the start with the technology FuzionFit + that we tried to develop from the start. So over the samples, the shoe remained almost the same and we only improved the technology FuzionFit +.
Since its release in 2018, the Future range has undergone many changes. Nevertheless, this Future Z wants to be totally different and above all innovative thanks to the presence of new technologies and a new design. Why such a change ?
Since its launch, the Future has been a big hit for us at Puma. After three years, it is once again time to excite our consumers, to unveil a completely new look but above all to unveil a new technology. This is the main thing we learned, the design is important, the colors too, but it is necessary to have good technology behind the visual. It was the same with the Netfit. And we want to do the same with FuzionFit +.
New look, unique in terms of design. First bold and strong color, very visible. But we keep the Future DNA. Every detail on the shoe gives you a profit. We did everything differently, after three years it was time to change and come up with a new concept but keeping the Future DNA.
The Netfit was at the heart of the previous version of the Future range. Does the Fuzionfit compression band want to be in line with this technology?
Netfit is something that we have had for a long time and we really wanted to move forward with a new concept and new technology for the Future silo. It is from this will that we wanted to create the FuzionFit +. We really think this is a good step forward from the Netfit. The player is always at the center of the thinking when we imagine a shoe and as mentioned before, support is really important to us. This is why we think the FuzionFit + is the best technology we can give gamers today. The band has been designed specifically in such a way that it offers enough freedom for the players who put it on but it also offers enough locking.
What is the special feature of the new sole Dynamic Motion System ?
The new sole stands out in particular by a new design at Puma. The thin area in the middle allows us to keep a shoe light but also to visualize that the band FuzionFit + goes around the entire shoe. It allows the player to feel the benefit of this technological over a larger area. The thinness of the central part of the sole does not prevent having a wider front part and the new position of the studs offers much better traction.
We were really won over by the qualities of the .3 version of the Ultra. Can we expect such a good surprise on the Future Z?
Absolutely yes. P3 is as important, if not more important, than P1 to us. And we really put a lot of effort into developing this shoe. We wanted to make the technologies of the mid-range model as close as those of the high-end version. We are really happy to have created a very good P3, tVery close to the Future Z 1.1 visually, which allows to add real value from the first glance. Anyway, the .3 is always part of the initial brief when designing a shoe.
How important is design?
This is obviously very important but not as much as the performance.
“One thing is certain, theperformance is the key. Everything we imagine and develop must have a benefit ”
Three years ago, Puma reinvented itself with the arrival of the One and then the Future six months later. After this reorganization, Puma gathers voice shares and new players every day. Products obviously have a major place in the arrival of these players. But what makes the strength of Puma crampons today?
For me it is a combination of several elements. First, the message we give is that everything we do is done so that our products have an advantage in terms of performance. It is therefore due to the quality of football boots because it is above all the quality that convinces consumers. The other thing is that we are closer to our consumers, we organize more meetings with them than before to hear the expectations, the needs, the feedback.
The marketing aspect is necessarily as important and in particular the players that we signed like Neymar. He’s clearly a gamechanger for us and he will be for the next few seasons, it’s only the start of a new era but this great player is a great addition to our portfolio of players. Constantly, it’s important to keep recruiting players and characters like him. But hey, tall that is good but there is still a lot of things to do to catch up with the “big two”!
Your job is to anticipate the needs of tomorrow and to design the crampons that we will be wearing in two or three years. What is the future of football boots at Puma?
The key for us is to talk to consumers. The practitioners who are now 15, 16, 17 years old because it is really important to have their opinion. One thing is certain, theperformance is the key. Everything we imagine and develop must have a benefit. So we are working closely with universities, innovation teams, but also with our licensed clubs (AC Milan, Man City, Newcastle) to be sure that we can validate the designs, to test a new sole, a new one. upper, and that’s what in the end makes the process of creating a shoe almost two years. Obviously I can’t tell you what our shoes will be for 2023/2024 but you can keep in mind that there will be some really exciting products at Puma in the seasons to come!
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Neymar’s Future Z, officially unveiled by Puma Football