Product development and design

Enhancing the excellence of our products is one of PUMA’s strategic priorities. In order to accomplish this, we will focus on five key measures: authentic sports DNA across all our products, design and innovation excellence, focus on clear must-win priorities, creating product franchises as a brand, and a global-local (“glocal”) product creation approach.

As a sports company, PUMA has 75 years of history and sports authenticity, created by writing history alongside the world’s fastest athletes. All PUMA products will have 100% sports DNA. While we celebrate the sport roots of our products and rich archive on the non-performance side, we push for new innovations on the performance side.

In addition to the clear sports DNA of our products, we also place a special emphasis on design and innovation across all our categories. We have a strong pipeline of innovations across all our performance categories both on the footwear and apparel side. We have the clear ambition to make the fastest products for the fastest athletes and our innovative technologies such as NITRO™ will ensure that we live up to this ambition.

Also on the design side, PUMA has a rich history of firsts and bests. We built on our legacy in 2023 by relaunching the Avanti with global icon Rihanna, a style which is based on the sneaker through which PUMA revolutionised the category in the 1990s. The Avanti is a perfect example of how we leverage our rich archive of iconic silhouettes while ensuring cutting-edge and on-trend design in the here and now.

To sharpen our focus, we decided to implement fewer, bigger and better product stories and we defined four clear must-win priorities that we will focus on: classics, sports culture, our NITRO™ technology and creating the best product offer for women.

Classics are one of PUMA’s biggest asset, given our rich history and our vast archive, which continues to inspire our designers today. PUMA was already an established brand when football transformed to terrace, skate became streetwear and when fashion embraced low profile styles. This means that PUMA has genuine credibility to respond to the return of such trends.

Through its archive and history, PUMA will continue to incubate new trends, such as low profile, and capitalise on existing trends such as the prevalent terrace and skate trends.

For PUMA, sports culture is about more than the game, as the influence of sport can be felt long after the final whistle or the chequered flag. In Football, the terrace trend first started in the football stadiums of the 1980s and made its way into fashion and streetwear.

Basketball also has a direct impact on culture and streetwear, for example when the players make strong fashion statements on their way into the venue of the game, or when celebrities show of their style as they sit courtside.

Few players embody this spirit and cultural influence like our ambassador LaMelo Ball, with whom we will continue to work on his range of signature shoes which blend performance and style.

In Motorsport, some of the biggest names in sports, film and music regularly attend Formula 1 races and can be seen in the pits on race weekends. By hosting races across the planet and popular documentaries featuring the sport, F1’s global viewership has skyrocketed in recent years and the audience has become more female and diverse, further increasing its influence on culture. With our strong legacy and authenticity in motorsport, we’re well positioned to capitalise on this growing cultural influence and create relevant F1-inspired streetwear. We already showcased this approach when we released a bespoke capsule collection with A$AP Rocky, our creative director for the PUMA X F1 partnership, during the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

NITRO™, one of the best foam technologies in the industry, is at the core of our successful return to performance running and we will continue to invest significant resources into these performance products. PUMA has a long-term vision for the running category, with a pipeline of innovations going beyond the next four or five years.

NITRO™ foam maximizes responsiveness and cushioning while being extremely lightweight, and while it was created as part of our performance running line up, it is also used in other categories, for example in basketball.

PUMA has set up state of the art testing facilities in Germany and the US for our elite athletes, called NITRO™ LAB, which can gather full-body insights to develop bespoke and customised products, so they can perform at their best.

NITRO™ is used in our award-winning running styles Deviate, Velocity and the latest addition ForeverRun. With these three styles, we have a clear product proposition for our consumers.

Women have been a priority for PUMA for many years, and we are doubling down on our commitment to make the best products for her, whether it is female-specific fits for our footwear or other products specifically catering to the needs of women.

We take her serious throughout our performance categories, for example in football, where following two years of research, PUMA is the only sports brand to offer all football boots in fits that are specifically developed for female feet, with a lower volume in the midfoot and a smaller instep compared to unisex sizes. More than 90% of PUMA’s professional female players choose their boots in women’s specific fits, which shows the real demand for such products.

While PUMA is not afraid to combine performance and non-performance, our goal is not to be a fashion brand but make sports on trend.

We will continue to create products for her and communicate to our female consumers through campaigns with our global ambassadors such as Rihanna and Dua Lipa, and Pamela Reif.

Another clear area of product excellence is to create franchises as brands with well-defined consumer benefits such as Deviate, Velocity and ForeverRun in running, FUTURE, ULTRA, and KING in football as well as All-Pro and MB in basketball. In non-performance categories, we also see the opportunity to establish strong product franchises such as Suede, and Palermo on the Classics side or RS-X and Mostro on the Progressive side. Going forward, we will continue to focus on these key products and ensure a long-term strategy across all our categories.

We have set up local creation centres in major markets such as the US, Europe, China, India, or Japan so they can design the products that best resonate with local consumers and we are active in regionally relevant sports such as cricket, handball, rugby, or netball. We believe that this glocal approach to product creation combining global Business Units and local creation centres ensures the perfect balance of global reach and consistency and local relevance of our products.

Research and product development at PUMA mainly comprise the areas of innovation (new technologies), product design and model and collection development. The research and product development activities range from the analysis of scientific studies and customer surveys through the generation of creative ideas to the implementation of innovations in commercial products. The activities in research and product development are directly linked to sourcing activities.

As of 31 December 2023, a total of 1,406 people were employed in research and development/ product management (previous year: 1,307). In 2023, research and development/ product management expenses totalled € 171.5 million (previous year: € 153.1 million), of which € 89.0 million (previous year: € 82.2 million) related to research and development.