Memphis Depay on Signing to Puma, Wanting to Meet Jay-Z, and Why He Bought a Bored Ape

Barcelona star Memphis Depay talks about why he signed to Puma, wanting to meet Jay-Z, and why he bought a Bored Ape and what his plans are to do with it.

Memphis Depay 1

Image via Getty

Memphis Depay 1

Memphis Depay has a new footwear sponsor. The Dutch footballer, who now plays for Barcelona, has signed to Puma after he left Under Armour in 2021. Memphis, who makes headlines wherever he goes, is more than just an athlete. He put out 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 over where Memphis would land. He was spotted Nike, Under Armour, Puma, and Adidas in the same week during August 2021, which spurred rumors in European tabloids. But today he makes it official with Puma and looks to be one of the faces behind its Ultra football boot. Memphis and Puma also have aspirations to work beyond the pitch, hopefully creating lifestyle product and maybe give him his own sneaker.

We talked to the footballer ahead of the big news break where he discussed getting into sneakers, spending his first check on the Louis Vuitton x Kanye West sneakers, what he has planned with Puma, and how much he loves his Bored Ape.

Do you remember when you first got into sneakers?
I remember one time I was with my mother, walking through the city. We walked by a Foot Locker. I walked in there, but she didn’t want to go, but I was just walking in there. I don’t even remember what the age was, but yeah. That was the first time I feel like I really fell in love with sneakers. Later, at that stage when I was 16, when I signed my first contract, then I could buy more sneakers. But the first time was with my mother, actually, I forced her to buy a sneaker.

Do you have a whole collection built out at your house?
Yeah, I have a few sneakers. I’m not really a collector, I guess. But for example, the Louis Vuitton x Kanye West collab was dope. I bought that with my first contract money, and it was directly gone. But other than that, I move a lot also being a football player, you live in this city, then this city, so certain shoes disappear. I don’t 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, they have all different type of collaborations as well. But then they have also, obviously the Puma Suede, which is really dope. But also the running shoes I really like, they feel like they are fly. These ones, all-white, clean. You can wear them basically with anything, tracksuit, but I like to wear it with jeans.

Memphis Depay

And what made you make the decision to go to Puma?
I feel like for what they’re standing at this age, where I’m at right now, well, I was always a guy that I see myself being more than an athlete. And I see what Puma was doing, like supporting the athletes on-field and off-field. And for me, that’s super interesting, because I feel like they are a brand that are free, like have an open mindset. Really looking at a player like, like OK, what is he capable of? And for me, that’s interesting, because I do a lot of stuff off-field as well. So in my vision, that is the right step for me right now.

I saw a story online when your last contract was up for your cleats, you had worn another brand and there was speculation about where you were going to sign. Was there a bidding war for you to sign to a brand or did you see any people talking about that online? 
Yeah, my friends, they would send me stories where they speculate. But however, I was just taking my time and trying to listen to my gut feeling and feel like, OK, because the next step is really important for me. Once I signed for Barcelona, you know what kind of stage that brings and the passion I have as a football player, but then also as having my own clothing line brand or making music. So all that together made me feel like I feel home in the Puma family. And the negotiations, they went also quite smooth, they were ready to think with me, outside the box, and I had a positive feeling with that.

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’m trying to always be an inspiration to the youth. So if it 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 things with you in that way, then you can build way bigger, you can go all in. I feel that back support from Puma, that they really want to do stuff with me. 

Do you want to get your own sneaker or something like that, or a colorway of a shoe? Is that something that you want to talk to them about?
Yeah. Those were all conversations of the negotiation, but they’re definitely coming, we are definitely coming up with certain things. Which is super inspiring, I’m happy if there’s collaborations in the clothing or the sneakers, obviously inspiring kids to play in fly 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 accomplished certain things in the contract. That’s why I think the future of Puma looks really bright with me, but also with other athletes doing more off-field things.

Are you going to get to meet Jay-Z and fly in his jet?
Hey, I hope so, man. I don’t know yet. I’m often in the States, so, I’m a big Jay-Z fan, so we will see.

Memphis Depay 2

What do you like most about the Ultra football boot?
I think it’s really crazy how light it is, the weight of the shoe. I haven’t really played in a shoe that light before, so I feel like I will benefit from that. Also, the grip on the shoe, for me, even small details, like the back heel, it’s soft and smooth. Yes, those are for me, more the important things, obviously, because I have to run and work in it, and then the colorways for me, they’re crazy.

Do you want to get custom cleats or get your own player edition?
Well, to touch on that base, yeah, we’re going to come with some pretty cool, out of the box, fly, colorful drip on-field. 

Would you put your Bored Ape on the football boots?
Shout out, Bored Ape. I don’t know. I’ve seen some basketball players having the Bored Ape on their shoe. It’s dope, maybe I come with something different.

What made you want to buy a Bored Ape?
I think the NFT space is really interesting, so in the back we are also building something that is really inspirational. It’s going to, for sure, be talked about a lot more in the very soon future. Me buying a Bored Ape is basically saying, “OK, I’m going to take this serious.” Obviously it’s a flex as well, but we are still in the beginning stage of NFTs and even the Bored Ape, if you look at the community who owns one.

Where do you rank buying the Bored Ape in all the flexes that you’ve had over your career?
For sure top three, because I already got some offers that are more than what I spent on the Ape, but other than that, it’s also something new, not a lot of people are still into it, like the digital artwork, digital space. So, splashing some money on it might feel, for a lot of people, crazy, but the NFT space, I take it serious and I’m coming also with my own project very soon. So, it was basically a strategic move as well.