Mihara Yasuhiro

Introducing the new king of sneakers

Nothing we wear spends more time on the streets than our sneakers. We trust them to keep our feet cozy and safe while we relentlessly pound the pavement, and rarely do they fail. I, for one, have never had a rubber sole give out on a particularly vigorous walk.

Born and raised in western Japan, PUMA designer Mihara Yasuhiro began slinging sneakers in 1994 as a student at Tama Art University. Demand for his designs took hold; by 1997 his self-titled line was born. Just one year later, his first store, SOSU, opened in Aoyama Tokyo. Mihara’s wildly successful partnership with PUMA began in 2000 and is now in its fifth season.

Mihara’s styles are easy to identify. Rife with patterns, metallics and other unconventional shoe adornments (such as feathers), it’s easy to get lost in the high-fashion features of his shoes. But anyone who has owned a pair of PUMAs knows that a shoe this comfortable is hard to come by. Mihara prides himself on creating a successful partner of fashion and classic shoemaking.

SOMA caught up with the busy footman to collect his thoughts on sneaker culture and the ideas behind his latest collection. His humbleness reminded us that he is first and foremost an artist, and a darned imaginative one, at that.

What is the inspiration for MY-27 Spring/Summer ’07?
The theme for this collection is “Out of Place Artifacts” (OOPARTS), or an artifact that is unexplained. For example, picture a unique gold piece found amongst the ruins of an ancient civilization–it is this discovery that is impossible to describe, one would never imagine it could have come from this time and place. This season, I thought, “what if an artifact looks like a trainer [sneaker] that was excavated from the ruins of an ancient civilization?” From that concept, I started to make this season’s trainers. This is sort of my story of a trainer’s beginning.

Which one is your favorite?
All of them! They all mean something to me. If I had to choose though, the MY-6 would be my favorite because it was a big turning point for me and PUMA; this was the first shoe I designed on a computer.

Many of your fans are devoted sneaker collectors. What do you make of the sneaker/street-wear culture?
We all are living with different spirits in the street. And we are proud of our daily life in the street. Fashionability and function alone don’t satisfy us. Various spirits and influences affect each other to create something better in everyday culture… that’s what I think. I always like to pursue tomorrow as if living together today.

The PUMA Mihara collection has gained global recognition. Does this conflict with your original design philosophy?
There are many ways to say and see… I think that PUMA is a company that has a strong spirit. PUMA is a sport brand that thinks and walks like an athlete, and as they became a global brand they never forgot to respect individual talent. They are deeply impressed with my philosophy and with working with me. This is not ordinary. If Puma was an ordinary global brand, they would have never tried to create trainers with an unknown designer living in Tokyo in the 1990s. It’s so much more ordinary to collaborate with a famous designer.

So what’s next for the future?
I’m thinking of many things but it’s a secret for now!

– Pamela Ames

Reading by Lena, who has no idea this palm belongs to Mihara Yasuhiro.

1. This is a person who will always reach beyond himself.

2. Wildly independent, not willing to let anybody else make his decisions for him.

3. He has a deep level of courage. He is willing to make decisions and accept responsibility for the results.

4. Quite a temper here. It will tend to be directed inward as often as outward. He’s as hard on himself as he can be on anyone else.

5. A hearty and robust old age is shown here–very old! The health is much better after the age of 60 than it is before.

6. One of the great talents revealed in this hand is for communication. This talent will lead to whatever fame this individual experiences.


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