Memphis Depay on signing Puma and buying Bored Ape
Memphis Depay has a new shoe sponsor. The Dutch footballer, who now plays for Barcelona, signed with Puma after leaving Under Armor in 2021. Memphis, who grabs headlines wherever he goes, is more than just an athlete. He released a full album, Heavy Stepper, in 2020, he’s known for his sense of style, and he was looking for a brand that valued him as such.
There has been speculation for some time about where Memphis would land. He was spotted Nike, Under Armour, Puma and Adidas in the same week in August 2021, which spurred rumors in European tabloids. But today he is making it official with Puma and appears to be one of the faces behind his Ultra football boot. Memphis and Puma also aspire to work beyond the court, hoping to create a lifestyle product and perhaps give it its own basketball.
We spoke to the footballer before the big news break where he discussed putting on sneakers, dropping his first check on the Louis Vuitton x Kanye West sneakerswhat he has planned with Puma and how much he loves his Bored Ape.
Do you remember the first time you started wearing sneakers?
I remember once when I was with my mother, walking through the city. We passed a Foot Locker. I walked in there, but she didn’t want to go, but I just walked in there. I don’t even remember how old he was, but yeah. It was the first time I felt like I really fell in love with sneakers. Later, at that time, when I was 16, when I signed my first contract, I was able to buy more sneakers. But the first time was with my mother, in fact, I forced her to buy a sneaker.
Do you have a whole collection built at home?
Yes, I have some sneakers. I’m not much of a collector, I guess. But for example, the Louis Vuitton x Kanye West collaboration was great. I bought this with the money from my first contract, and it went straight away. But other than that, I move a lot too being a footballer, you live in this town, then in this town, so some shoes disappear. I do not know how. But I have a good collection.
Did Puma send you a big package of sneakers when you first signed?
Yeah, they sent me loads. What I like about them is that they all have different types of collaborations as well. But they also, of course, have the Puma Suede, which is really great. But also the running shoes which I like very much, they give the impression of flying. These, all white, clean. You can wear them with anything, a tracksuit, but I like to wear them with jeans.
And what made you decide to go to Puma?
I feel like for who they are at that age, where I am right now, well, I’ve always been a guy that I see myself as more than an athlete. And I see what Puma was doing, like supporting the athletes on and off the field. And for me, it’s super interesting, because I feel like it’s a brand that’s free, that has an open mindset. Really looking at a player like OK, what is he capable of? And for me, it’s interesting, because I also do a lot of things off the pitch. So in my view, this is the right step for me right now.
I saw a story online when your last contract ended for your cleats, you wore another brand and there was speculation where you were going to sign. Was there a bidding war to sign with a brand or did you see people talking about it online?
Yeah, my friends, they sent me stories where they speculated. But however, I was just taking my time and trying to listen to my intuition and say to myself, OK, because the next step is really important to me. Once I signed for Barcelona, you know what kind of step it brings and the passion I have as a football player, but also having my own brand of clothes or making music. So all of this made me feel like I was at home in the Puma family. And the negotiations, they also went well, they were ready to think with me, outside the box, and I had a positive feeling about it.
And do you have any opportunities with Puma that you didn’t have before, with your previous contract?
I’m a type of guy, I always try to be an inspiration to young people. So if he doesn’t have the 360 package, it’s less interesting for me. So I feel like I was allowed to be myself but what if the brand that connects with you that way then you can build a lot bigger you can do anything . I feel the back support from Puma, that they really want to do stuff with me.
Do you want to have your own sneaker or something like that, or a shoe color? Is that something you want to talk to them about?
Yeah. These are all negotiation conversations, but they definitely happen, we certainly offer some things. Which is super inspiring, I’m happy if there are collaborations in clothing or sneakers, obviously inspiring kids to play with flying boots. So I always give my opinion, and then obviously we can go from there, and they give their opinion. I feel like we negotiated quite a bit, but I’m really happy that we got some things done in the contract. That’s why I think the future of Puma looks really bright with me, but also with other athletes doing more things off the court.
Will you meet Jay-Z and fly in his jet?
Hey, I hope so, man. I do not know yet. I’m in the States a lot, so I’m a huge Jay-Z fan, so we’ll see.
What do you like most about the Ultra football boot?
I think it’s really crazy how light, the weight of the shoe. I’ve never really played in such a light shoe before, so I feel like I’m going to benefit from it. Also, the grip on the shoe, for me, even the little details, like the back heel, it’s soft and smooth. Yes, those are the most important things for me, obviously, because I have to race and work in them, and then the colors for me, they are crazy.
Do you want to get custom cleats or get your own player edition?
Well, to tackle that base, yeah, we’re going to come up with a pretty cool, out-of-the-box, flying, colorful on-the-ground drip.
Would you like to put your Bored Ape on football boots?
Shout, Bored Ape. I do not know. I’ve seen basketball players wear the Bored Ape on their shoe. It’s dope, maybe I’m coming up with something different.
What made you want to buy a Bored Ape?
I think the NFT space is really interesting, so on the back we’re also building something that’s really inspiring. We will certainly talk a lot more about it in the very near future. For me, buying a Bored Ape is basically saying, “OK, I’m going to take this seriously.” Obviously it’s also a flex, but we’re only at the beginning of NFTs and even the Bored Ape, if you look at the community that owns one.
Where do you rank buying the Bored Ape in all the choices you’ve had in your career?
Of course, the first three, because I’ve already received offers that exceed what I spent on the Ape, but other than that, it’s also something new, not many people are still in it, like digital artwork, digital space. So spending money on it may seem, for many people, crazy, but NFT space, I’m taking it seriously and also coming with my own project very soon. So it was also a strategic decision.