Across the pond from the UK leaving Mark behind in the jaws of Feargal, we are back stateside with a collector whose collection invigorated my love for PUMA. While there are several other Puma collectors who have had the same impact on me, I wanted to start here because we will soon be hopping countries again 😉 (Ssshhhh!)
My name is Vincent Bland. I’m originally from Sanford, North Carolina. I am a 21 year retired United States Air Force medic. My wife is currently still on active duty and recently deployed to Turkey so I am a stay-at-home dad for the next year.
Tell us about your childhood years and growing up in your city
Growing up I wasn’t poor but wasn’t rich either. I got the necessities and occasionally a few extra gifts here and there but never went without.
How did your love for sneakers begin in general? At the time, what were people around you rocking on feet?
Growing up I wore what I was bought. Usually it was whatever was on sale but I did get a lot of different brands. I remember suedes, shell toes and Reebok classics the most. People around me wore a variety of shoes. As long as they were clean and name brand it really didn’t matter. At the time I wasn’t really into collecting, I just wanted to have clean sneakers. Of course all of this was before Jordans ever came out.
Why PUMA though? What impact did PUMA as a brand have on you?
I basically came to the realisation that I had way too many shoes. I stopped counting once I hit 300. I had all types and all brands. Once my wife and I moved in together, I realised I needed to get rid of some and so I decided to get rid of everything except Pumas because at the time people weren’t wearing them as much and I wanted to stand out.
Did the signing of Jay-Z as creative director come as a surprise to you? Where do you think the brand’s basketball segment is heading?
Can’t say it was a surprise but at the same time I can’t say I was expecting it either. It really doesn’t have an impact on me either way. I do think the new Uproar line is a better looking shoe. However my basketball playing days are behind me so performance wise I’d have no comment.
How has the sneaker landscape changed for you as a sneaker enthusiast and a consumer in the last decade?
Is one monopoly (re-sellers) being replaced by another monopoly (StockX)? Were these platforms needed at all to begin with?
I’m indifferent. I personally can see the good and the bad in it. If you missed out then you know exactly were to go to find it but be prepared to pay over retail. I just can’t see myself paying over retail for a shoe. Especially knowing that it was bought out by people who have no intention of ever wearing it. I always sit back and wait for the price to drop. The Mayor once said “a shoe is only worth what someone is willing to pay”, (he also gets free shoes but that’s besides the point) and I completely agree.
Can you name some sneaker shopping spot(s) for people who might be visiting your city?
I live in Tacoma, Washington and about 20 miles from Seattle. There are the usual shops like Foot Locker, Champs, Foot Action, Shiekh, etc., and also some boutiques around but for me specifically being a Puma collector there is only one mall about 30 minutes away that carries a handful of Pumas.
What are your top 5 shoes from your collection?
Sega x Puma RS-0 Sonic the Hedgehog (Best overall collaboration in recent years that incorporates aspects into the shoe)
UNDFTD x Puma Clyde “Gametime” (Shoes I was wearing when my son King was born)
Staple x Puma Suede “Pigeon” (Had the autographed pair sold it, and it took 10 years to get another pair)
Puma x Alexander McQueen Scarred Mid Croc (Most luxurious and expensive pair I own. Retail was $3,600)
Goonies x Puma Disc Blaze (One of my favorite childhood movies)
Puma x Atmos Endangered Species (Harp Seal Clyde)
Vincent Bland & King
I stumbled upon Vincent’s collection on #Shoenitedwestand and instantly got hooked. In my quest to find all the insane older Pumas and collectors with a passion, I sacrificed my thumb to scrolling through Vincent’s crazy Instagram feed. Seeing most of my Puma grails on his feet, that marble top and the boxes behind it, this feature had to happen. Not only does his collection have a variety of silhouettes within a single brand, he has a bunch of other kicks from different brands too. This is something you only see among the older heads who tend to be indifferent to hype and know exactly what they want on their feet. Also, he comes in handy as a medic when you faint after seeing his collection so that’s always a plus. I wanna thank Mr. Redking for taking the time to do this interview and for blessing the gram with some of the dopest Pumas I have ever seen.