When Puma Performance’s manager announced that “big things” are coming I genuinely expected the company to revolutionize the running community as other competitors have. This never seemed to be the case. In the running community, Puma has a reputation as being the fashionable choice. One made not because of its superior comfort levels over the duration of your run, but more on the mantra that the “cool kids” run with Puma. Unfortunately when it came to the technical aspects demanded by the running community, they’ve often been found wanting. That said, I’m proud to say they’ve definitely hit the bull’s-eye with the Puma Faas 500 v4. It could quite possibly be the best fitted shoe I’ve ever run in.
Look – 8.5/10
As always Puma’s design team made a shoe so visually pleasing that you might even be forgiven for wearing it with jeans… I said might, so don’t. Many runners hate running in white shoes and it’s for this reason that Puma also released three other ranges. I happen part of the crowd that loves this light hearted throwback to the 90’s styled “white runner”. It also makes the bright blue signature Puma swipe jump at your with the undertones of a black mesh-like texture rounding it back towards modern trends.
Comfort – 9/10
Asics are known for their comfort and other competitors have always tried to reverse engineer the perfect feel. Adidas feeds off its Boost technology aiding to its comfort but their shoes have been said to be too tight for some. These Puma Faas 500 v4’s remind me of Nimbus like comfort and from the moment you put them on your feet, you just want to hit the road. That feeling remains, even when you’re some distance away from the start.
Performance – 8/10
Puma’s numbering systems are associated with support, thus the 500 range provides mid-range medium support. As a result the sole unit is rather modest with the Faasfoam+ molding to your feet, absorbing every shock. The 4mm drop at the back of the shoe does encourage a more midfoot running style. The upper sole is a layer of mesh called weavemesh which is tightly weaved together with the sockliner being sturdy. The rounding of the shoe is layered with plastic and even though that could indicate breathability problems, I am happy to say I had no suck problems, even on the longer distances. The Everfit 2.0 technology is a fast improvement on the first addition with the straps now being virtually attached the “tongue” of the shoe. The only gripe I had was the shoe’s ability to grip on terrains other than the road, especially when they are wet. I used these in my last half marathon, and the mid run rain did demand greater concentration, especially on the down hills.
Value – 8.5/10
Priced at R1,699 it surely finds itself firmly in the middle market runner compared to current options available. Road running shoes are often found in excess of R2,000 these days and rightly so as they tend to represent everything Puma used to lack… This is different though. These shoes are on par with anything available in its price range. However, last season’s shoes are always at a discount thus the current ranges are always for the runners who like to wear the latest.
Verdict – 8.5/10
In the past I would only have recommended Puma if you’re the type of runner that entered one race a year to round off your bi-monthly run on the promenade. Their shoes look fantastic, aren’t hellishly expensive in comparison to its competitors and provide enough support when you don’t demand too much from them. However, this time round, I’d recommend them to anyone. These shoes are exactly what I’ve been waiting for from Puma.
Written for The Pundits by @Froners