Last week, Highsnobiety traveled to Marseille to witness the launch of PUMA Training’s Fall/Winter ’18 collection, featuring two new sneakers alongside a range of new workout gear. Demonstrating the knitted PUMA Mantra FUSEFIT models in two colorways, British Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton was boxing, flipping tires, and swinging battle ropes in a bid to show off their high-performance spec.
Hamilton joined the likes of Rihanna, Big Sean, The Weeknd, and Usain Bolt as a face of PUMA last year. Primarily fronting the brand’s performance footwear and apparel, he was presumably a shoo-in to represent the brand’s athletic roots, being a man who lives life in the literal fast lane. As well as his training regime — something those who haven’t experienced the impact of G-force at 350 km/h+ has on the body often don’t understand the necessity of — a lifestyle that sees him travel long-haul several times a week means the world-champion driver is always on the go.
More than this, he’s a man who likes to look good doing it. Aside from his affinity with PUMA apparel and sneakers outside of the training range, Hamilton knows what’s going on at the top, with a taste for Virgil’s output at OFF-WHITE and Louis Vuitton, not forgetting Supreme and Gucci. We caught up with the world’s number one speed fiend ahead of his French Grand Prix victory last weekend to discuss.
What’s your favorite thing about the new PUMA Mantra sneakers?
I’m really digging the grippy spots on the soles. I work a lot on agility and quick movement when I’m training, so having a sneaker with grip is really important.
Do you draw a definitive line between sportswear and fashion?
I rock PUMA sneakers in my everyday wear all the time. I’ve always been a sneakerhead and I prefer wearing sneakers over boots or formal shoes. It’s all about what fits the occasion. Today, it’s about being able to slip my sneakers on, which is particularly good going through airports so much — not having to undo the laces and having that super-light, sock feeling.
What’s been your go-to sneaker, prior to the Mantra?
I wear the PUMA Clydes a lot. I have them in all different colorways — they go with pretty much everything.
What does Formula 1 training involve?
Anything and everything. One focus area that not so many sports cover is the neck — I’m wearing a 10 kg helmet so I need to build strength in this area. Otherwise, a lot of running. I have to watch my weight because every kilo costs time. There’s a bit of a public blind spot when it comes to fitness and racing, because people can go play football or do athletics and know that it’s physical. I guess with racing, not everyone can experience it, so people don’t know.
Do you prioritize comfort or style when you're on the go?
For me, comfort comes just above fashion. But of course, you still want to look good.
We all saw your Vetements x Tommy ’fit and Supreme suitcase…
And I was wearing flip-flops! [laughs] Yeah, I mean comfort is super important to me — I travel so much, I’m always on a plane, and there’s nothing worse than wearing jeans on a flight. I like being in tracksuits, so I’m always asking PUMA to send me its full-look tracksuits and hoodies. So yeah, comfort is everything, but I’m often getting pictured at airports, so you’ve got to make sure whatever you’re rocking, you look killer at the same time.
What are your travel essentials?
Moisturizer is pretty essential, and I’m always trying new products. Now that I’m on a vegan, plant-based diet, I pay a lot more attention to where and how products are made, and how they’re tested. Hand sanitizer is also really important — how many dudes do you see walking out of the toilet without washing their hands? And music, I don’t go anywhere without my headphones.
Who are you listening to right now?
Currently, those new Kanye albums. Ye is my favorite, but they’ve all been getting play time. I’ve also been listening to Jay and Bee’s new album, which… erm… I don’t know. My dream of those two together — I thought it would be different. It’s still dope, you just think two of the best in the business would create the craziest magic. I wanted more.
Can you remember the last thing you purchased online?
Erm, the last thing I bought on the internet would have to be a fricken online gaming headset, so I could play against a couple of my friends — a couple in L.A., one in New York, and one in Sudan.
Do you play Formula 1 games?
Did anything catch your eye at Fashion Weeks this season?
Unfortunately, I’ve not managed to get to any. I missed Milan and I’m racing during Paris. I love going to see the shows and seeing what’s new. The fashion world is so relentless, it’s constantly moving.
What brands are you finding most exciting this year?
OFF-WHITE is one of my favorites. I’m always keeping an eye on what Virgil is doing and I’m excited to see what he comes out with for Louis Vuitton. Gucci is also coming out with a lot of great stuff at the moment. Right now I’m also actually working on my own line, which is super exciting. It’s urban streetwear, and it’s been a really interesting process. I’ve just seen my next collection already, and the first isn’t even out yet.
Should we expect any PUMA by Lewis Hamilton collabs any time soon?
I’m hoping to, yeah. This partnership is growing and the goal when I started was at some stage to do something more in-depth, and get involved with the high-performance wear. It’s the dream to do your own kick, and if I could do something with PUMA and create something like Kanye and Pharell have done with Adidas — which currently I don’t think has been done with PUMA — then that’d be amazing. I’d love to take PUMA’s great ideas and fuse them with my DNA, and come out with a kick that destroys all the kicks it's ever done, that becomes the go-to piece.
Below, find all Highsnobiety's favorite PUMA sneakers to cop ahead of the Mantra FUSEFIT release on July 14.
PUMA ambassador Lewis Hamilton embodies the @PUMAPerformance #24seven training mentality, to raise the bar and go beyond your limits. Shop the new Mantra FUSEFIT and full AW18 training collection from July 14 at PUMA.
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