Hitler, Gogol, or just a shoe? Russians theorize about hidden meaning behind Puma sneaker
A sports shoe released by popular brand Puma has riled Russian social media, with internet sleuths putting forward theories that the sneaker is an ode to Hitler – or perhaps even world-famous writer Gogol.
The Storm Adrenaline sneakers likely raised suspicion due to their name, with history-conscious consumers drawing parallels to Adolf Hitler’s infamous storm troopers. The comparison seems far-fetched, but the conspiracy theory quickly gained traction thanks to two pieces of supporting evidence: Puma founder Rudolf Dassler was a member of the Nazi Party and was allegedly an ardent National Socialist. Then there is the shoe itself. When looked at from above, the toe and tongue of the shoe model vaguely resembles a Hitler-like hairdo and mustache.
For many this was enough to fire off furious tweets about the sneaker.
One distressed observer, who claims to be a member of the Moscow City Duma, lashed out at Puma’s “disguised portrait” of the reviled Nazi leader.
Another displeased shoe connoisseur said the sneaker features the “face of a figure from the 20th century, and it’s not Charlie Chaplin.”
The accusations were somewhat softened by alternative interpretations of the shoe design. More literary-minded Russians proposed that the black toe and tongue combo actually created a portrait of famed author Nikolai Gogol.
But why stop with Gogol? Others claimed that the sneaker actually paid homage to American poet Edgar Allen Poe.
It doesn’t appear that the social media upheaval has forced the shoes off shelves in Russia – more likely because ‘Storm Adrenaline’ comes in various colors and designs, none of which resemble much of anything.