Three hours: That’s how long it took for Rihanna’s first shoe for Puma — the Creeper — to sell out when it debuted last fall and it continued to gain momentum during this year.
The Fenty Puma Creeper was the only choice for the 2016 Shoe of the Year: The sought-after honor will be presented at the 30th annual Footwear News Achievement Awards in New York on Nov. 29.
“In my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined an honor like Shoe of the Year,” Rihanna told FN. “It means so much to me to make a mark like this in the shoe and sneaker industry and to have so many people share my love for the Creeper.”
FN selects the shoe of the year based on retail sales, consumer feedback, social media prowess and overall buzz. The award has been handed out just three times: Kanye West took it home last year and accepted it in person with a heartfelt and funny 20-minute speech about his fashion rise and hit Yeezy Boost 350 sneaker with Adidas. In 2014, tennis legend Stan Smith was on hand to accept the prize for his own hot signature shoe with Adidas.
“Shoe of the Year is the most coveted award because it truly reflects industry dominance,” said Michael Atmore, FN’s editorial director. “Like Stan Smith and Kanye West, Rihanna made a statement shoe that drove global excitement and generated huge sales. Rihanna and Puma pushed the market in a new direction with an overnight sensation that has real legs.”
This year, Rihanna’s Creepers have flooded Instagram feeds, caused site crashes and popped up on eBay the moment the shoes sell out. Fans of Rihanna’s bold, devil-may-care approach to fashion have scrambled to get their hands on a pair of Creepers, which have released in an array of mostly neutral colorways over the past year. But it’s not just female fans who are scooping up the style: Rihanna and Puma have also released the Creepers in men’s sizing with success.
The Creeper — which has been worn by Cara Delevingne, Gigi and Bella Hadid and The Weeknd, among other celebrities — is a twist on Puma’s classic styles, decked out with a Creeper-style sole. Rihanna, who serves as creative director for the athletic brand, designed the shoe with input from menswear brand Mr. Completely, which had previously made her custom Adidas and Nike sneakers.
Since the release of the Creeper, Rihanna and Puma have dropped a laceless trainer and faux fur slides. She’s also put on two Fenty x Puma runway shows, most recently for spring ’17 at Paris Fashion Week in October.
As Rihanna steps into the shoe spotlight, FN is also acknowledging the continued success of West and Adidas, which is why Adidas North America president Mark King will be honored with the Person of the Year award.
Other honorees at the event, affectionately known as the Shoe Oscars, include Designer of the Year Paul Andrew, Lifetime Achievement Award winner Aldo Bensadoun, Icon Award winner Iris Apfel and Hall of Fame inductee Linda Fargo, fashion maven at Bergdorf Goodman.
Stay tuned for more of the 2016 winners, including Company of the Year, Brand of the Year and Style Influencer. The FN Achievement Awards are sponsored by the Fashion Footwear Association of New York (FFANY), Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), Zappos Luxury and Two Ten Footwear Foundation.