New sneaker draws inspiration from the BMW GINA Light Visionary Model that was unveiled back in 2008

Collaborations between the auto world and the fashion world are nothing new. It’s even come to a point where the automakers themselves have launched fashion lines to diversify their respective businesses. With that in mind, let me present the Puma BMW X-Cat Disc sneaker, a collaborative endeavor between two German brands that actually have a history of working together.

As it turns out, that shared history was one of the driving forces behind the creation of this shoe as back in 2008, BMW, with some assistance from Puma, unveiled the GINA Light Visionary Model, a concept car that became infamous for its use of flexible fabric in place of actual metal body panels. The concept was polarizing for obvious reasons, but that didn’t stop Puma and BMW from dipping into that well once again when they collaborated to create the X-Cat Disc sneakers.

The shoe itself is unique because of Puma’s Disc system, which replaces traditional laces in favor of a disc on the tongue that can tighten and loosen the shoe. But that isn’t the only unique aspect of the X-Cat Disc. Far more controversial is the use of a single, seamless piece of metallic fabric as its outer shell. It’s a similar treatment to what the two companies did to the GINA Light Visionary Model eight years ago, which begs the question why this wasn’t done much sooner.

In any event, the Puma BMW X-Cat Disc is being marketed as a driving shoe and has rolled heels to help drivers navigate around a car’s pedals more efficiently. There’s no word on how much a pair will cost but fortunately, eager beaver customers won’t have to wait too long to find out. The shoes go on sale tomorrow, July 1, 2016.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

I used to be a big sneakerhead – I got out of it because it became too expensive, among other things – so a collaboration like this isn’t exactly groundbreaking news for me. Actually, BMW isn’t the only one from the auto and racing industries that Puma has been in business with in the past. Ferrari is also a Puma partner, as is Red Bull Racing and BMW Motorsport.

So about the shoes. I appreciate the thought and the ingenuity that came into the creation of the X-Cat Disc sneaker. But the whole novelty of using metallic fabric on the shell of the sneaker appears to be nothing more than that to me. I don’t want to say it’s a gimmick, but it feels like it. The mere fact that they used a principle that was previously used on a concept car eight years ago is a sign of caution to me. This sneaker would’ve been a hit back in 2010. But today, when sneaker technology is exploding? It seems like a call to the past, and not a very good one at that.

Granted, I haven’t seen the shoe yet and I don’t know how the metallic fabric is going to feel on the foot. But something about it makes me wonder how durable that’s going to be, especially when the shoes are going to be fitted. How long before the toes start creasing? Worse, are the creases going to remain? Creases are the worst, especially when you treat your sneakers as fashionable footwear. I’m skeptical about the X-Cat Disc’s ability to keep those creases at bay.

One more thing. I learned early not to trust sneakers without any laces in them. Sure, a disc looks cool at first glance and it’s easier to use when you’re tightening and loosening. But I’ve had a sneaker before that used the same idea. Problem is that one of the wires inside the disc snapped and when that happens, well, let’s just say it’s much easier to replace a lace than a disc.

A lot of people may like the Puma BMW X-Cat Disc and if they do, more power to them. I’m not going to dissuade anybody who wants to buy them. I’m just not going to be one of them.

BMW GINA Light Visionary Model

2008 BMW GINA Light Visionary Model
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Read our full review on the BMW GINA Light Visionary Model here.

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