In-N-Out Burger is used to sending cease and desist orders to copycats trying to mimic everything from its famed Double-Double to its iconic brand image.
But the Irvine, Calif.-based quick-service brand is looking at putting a stop to a knockoff of a different kind: a sneaker.
Footwear giant Puma recently launched a $120 red, yellow and white sneaker dubbed the “Cali-0 Drive Thru” shoe. Puma, on its website, is describing the shoe as inspired by the essence of the California lifestyle.
“The Cali Drive Thru pays homage to this classic style and an essential part of the Cali lifestyle: its burger diners,” the shoe description states.
Puma could not be reached for comment. To be clear, Puma does not call it an In-N-Out sneaker.
However, lifestyle and retail blogs are calling it an In-N-Out-inspired shoe. One German shoe boutique Tweeted last week: “Sneakers and Burgers! "Puma X In-N-Out Burger Cali-0 Drive Thru CC.”
The website, Hybae, led with this headline: “Puma Just Launched a Drive Thru-Inspired Cali Sneaker.”
Those headlines are catching the attention of In-N-Out. A company representative told Nation’s Restaurant News on Tuesday that the brand is not working with Puma on any merchandise.
“There has been no collaboration between In-N-Out Burger and Puma,” said Denny Warnick, In-N-Out’s vice president of operations. “It seems there were at least a couple of articles containing misinformation about the product that were released yesterday.”
There’s a reason why internet bloggers have taken that leap. The key giveaway on the shoe is not the brand’s classic red and yellow colors, but the palm-printed shoelaces that come with the kicks.
Palm trees are a key décor image in the 70-year-old burger brand’s stores. The palm trees are found on wallpaper. Most stores also have crisscross palm trees planted next to their buildings.
In-N-Out, which has a reputation for going after companies that emulate its trademark burgers and image, is looking at possibly sending a cease and desist letter.
“We are currently looking into the matter,” Warnick said.
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