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Pokémon’s Puma sneakers reopen the best original starter debate

Will you pick Squirtle, Charmander, or Bulbasaur?

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A photo of a person wearing the Puma Pikachu sneakers. The image using a fish-eye lens as the model leans back with their arms held open. Image: Puma
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

The Pokémon Company and Puma have announced a line of Pokémon-inspired sneakers and they actually look pretty slick. The full line includes sneakers inspired by five classic Pokémon: Charmander, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Gengar, and Pikachu. Puma will will be available to purchase on Saturday at select retailers and Puma’s online store.

The shoes look adorable and I think this is the first time I’ve been excited to get a pair of Pokémon-themed or even Nintendo-themed shoes. Each sneaker has a different model and color scheme. So the Bulbasaur one has a bit of a sleeker jogger look look whereas the Charmander sneaker looks more like a casual low-rise sneaker that resembles Nike’s popular Air Force shoes.

You can view more promotional photos of the shoes below.

Looking at the options, I can’t help but recall the decision I made between the starters way back when with Pokémon Red. I, personally, want to buy the Charmander version. The suede looks extremely fun, and it’ll be a bright and colorful addition to my regular staple of monotone outfits. Now, it’s just a matter of getting in the virtual line quickly enough to nab a pair.

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