Puma has announced a new collaboration with video game publisher 2K to introduce the latest edition of its Court Rider sneaker, in both tangible and digital iterations. Dubbed the Puma Court Rider 2K, the shoe will be available in NBA 2K21 prior to its retail drop, allowing consumers to virtually try out the footwear in the video game.
Last year, 2K ran a similar partnership — but with Puma’s competitor Nike. As part of NBA 2K20, consumers were able to score exclusive Nike sneakers within the video game and in real life, completing different in-game challenges to unlock the silhouettes on SNKRS. The completely new designs included a pair of LeBron James' and the late Kobe Bryant's signature shoes, giving gamers and sneakerheads alike an incentive to play NBA 2K.
Puma levels up — No challenges stand in the way of Puma’s virtual Court Rider 2K sneaker, which is already available on NBA 2K21 for avatar use. Matching merch, such as short sleeve and long sleeve T-shirts with the Puma Hoops mascot, and a dual-colored hoodie with a bold 2K21 graphic, are also accessible within the video game.
Obtaining the tangible sneaker is more of a feat. 2K and PUMA sent the shoes to the first 21 U.S. players who selected the Puma endorsement in-game — but everyone else will have to pay retail for the shoes in order to sport them on the real court.
And while the Court Rider 2K grants players optimal performance in NBA 2K21, its full-length Rider foam midsole — engineered for ultimate comfort — means it’ll help your IRL performance too. A rubber outsole and dynamic lacing system provide more support and stability.
Dropping this month — Puma and 2K’s entire collection — tees, hoodies, and sneakers included — launches on Puma’s website on June 21, as well as at select retailers like Foot Locker and Champs Sports. All pieces are under $100, making the tangible capsule nearly as accessible as the virtual one.
There’s more to come from digital fashion — whether that be with 2K, Puma, Nike, or another brand. Avatar and video game fashion is a continuation of a trend we’ve seen accelerated by COVID-19. With most consumers now spending more time in virtual worlds — whether they be Instagram, TikTok, or NBA 2K21 — brands are creating digital products to keep up. Balenciaga crafted a video game, dubbed Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, to showcase its Fall 2021 collection, while Gucci partnered with Pokémon to create designer digs for player’s avatars. And by creating tangible alternatives to this digital fashion, consumers can make their real selves extensions of their online personas, or vice versa.