This review first appeared in EDGAR and has been reproduced with the permission of the original author.
Before we dive into the Toys, remember that all this started with a disagreement between two brothers in 1948. That tinge of sibling rivalry between Rudolf and Adolf Dassler created two world-famous brands, Adidas and PUMA.
Now the third largest sportswear manufacturer in the world, PUMA kicks were always in everyone’s top 10 when it came to iconic sneakers. Right from the PUMA States/Suede’s from 1968, to half a decade later when the Thunder Spectre was released earlier this year.
Chunky sneakers are coming back, with Reebok and Fila throwing their kicks into the ring with the Aztreks and Disruptors. And then there’s PUMA with its RS-X range: the loudest, most colourful and chunkiest sneakers out there.
The range is an over-the-top reboot of the RS range in the 1980s known for its cushioning technology. The RS-X range this year focuses on, “all-things extreme, exaggerated and remixed.”
Built on the original silhouette of the OG, RS kicks from the 1980s; the sneakers have gone through an extreme makeover with numerous material mixes and loud colours.
To sum up the design of this random sneaker in one sentence, the RS-X Toys was inspired by collectable vinyl toys. Targeted at millennials who grew up in the 80s and 90s, the sneaker reminds them (/us) of the iconic toys they (/we) grew up playing with.
At first glance, you either love it or hate it. There’s no middle ground. There’s no ‘learning to love it’. Having shown it to several people during the review – they either beamed with excitement or ridiculed me for the ridiculous kicks.
I obviously won’t talk to the ones who didn’t like them anymore – I can’t have that negativity in my life.
With 5 colours and over 5 different materials, the shoe is quite intricate. While you initially spot the large yellow, red and blue rubber slapped onto the shoe like Play-Doh, a closer look shows you much, much more.
For example, the embossed patterns on the yellow, red and blue rubber are different. The yellow features a tiny hyphen-like pattern clustered close together; the red features a tiny diamond-shaped embossing, while the blue features large squares.
The only problem I have with the design is that when you look down at the kicks while wearing it – you get a basic, almost boring view of the sneaker. When wearing this, you will find yourself staring sideways into every reflection available to appreciate the sneakers. It’s nice that everyone else can see what you’re wearing – but I would want to see them too.
If you are not self-absorbed like me, this won’t be a worry at all.
The shoe is rather deceptive. Since it’s quite chunky I was under the impression that it would be a heavy sneaker. I was mentally prepared that its weight would be similar to a standard Low Top Air Force 1, after all it’s padded with rubber and sports a very high sole.
Boy, was I wrong.
The sneaker is ridiculously light and incredibly comfortable. This shoe was made for running.
I almost felt a bit bad running in these. With the strong possibility of becoming a collector’s sneaker – the last thing I would want to do is run regularly in them and wear them out.
But then again, these kicks were designed to take us back to our childhood, I highly doubt we were that concerned about clean sneakers back then. The Toys would look good battered up a bit. I’m definitely not going to run through mud with them, but if anyone else does, please send me a pic!
The cushioning is something that sets the RS-X range apart from the rest. It’s shockingly comfortable. One of the main reasons for this luxury is the PUMA Running System polyurethane midsole. More on this below under ‘Support’.
As with any runner, the Toys are constructed with a mesh upper for optimal airflow. The sides are predominantly mesh too, so the entire sneaker is quite airy and perfect for our Dubai summers.
Something not very noticeable in the pictures or videos is the leather overlays surrounding the upper and sides. The front features a few centimetres of leather and there’s leather around the eyelets of the shoe too.
I’m incredibly curious to see how this sneaker is put together and the exact number of individual pieces that go into the construction. A quick count shows me over 30 pieces just on the outside of the sneaker.
With the science and tech that went into the comfort and construction, it’s a no-brainer that the fit is nearly perfect. I have absolutely nothing to point out. The sizes stay true to what it says on the box. And since the majority of the sides and the tip of the shoe is mesh – wide feet would fit snug. And the additional polyurethane cushions in the insole would take care of skinny feet so everyone’s happy.
Follow me on this; let’s get a bit technical. The midsole supports the medial longitudinal arch, right from your heel to the ball of your foot. There’s a polyurethane protrusion built on top of the sole that effectively ‘fills in the gap’ right in the middle of your feet.
Now this is quite normal for several sneaker manufacturers.
Adidas do it, for example the NMD Racer features a Thermoplastic polyurethane stabilizer in the arch. However it feels a lot more familiar with the RS-X Toys – a lot more natural and comfortable.
What the RS-X does better is including another polyurethane cushion higher up by the foot’s anterior transverse arch. You would have to peek deep into the sneaker to see it – but you only need a 2 seconds to feel it as soon as you put them on. The T-shaped protrusion cushions the arch of your feet, right at the flex point of the sneaker. As that part of your foot takes the most pressure during a run.
If you’re planning on using the Toys as a show sneaker – then you would just be able to walk around in absolute comfort.
If you’re going to hop on the 2018 bandwagon of chunky sneakers, I’m pretty sure the RS-X Toys is already on your wish list. While aimed at potential collectors – the shoe does serve as a decent running shoe as well. If you’re in the market for one, find a store and try them out. You won’t regret it.