This review is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of PUMA.
When I first started running back in 2007, there were a handful of shoe brands that I associated with the sport of running. Brands that you would find in a true running gear shop, designed to withstand the abuse of long distance runners. And then there was everyone else. Shoe brands you would wear to the gym, find in discount department stores, or wear simply for fashion purposes. You would maybe see them on the feet of novices at their first 5k race, but you would never expect to see them on the feet of experienced distance runners.
In the past 8 years (wow, I’ve been running for that long?) I’ve noticed a change in the industry. Athletic shoe and apparel companies are recognizing the distance running movement, and are striving to meet the needs of this ever growing market. Brands that I once associated with light-up shoes for preschoolers are now successfully making sneakers worn by Olympian marathoners.
One of the brands I am excited to see enter the running world as a contender is Puma. As a former competitive soccer player, I am no stranger to the brand. However, I always expect to see their gear on professional soccer and elite tennis players, not world record breaking sprinter Usain Bolt.
Puma was generous enough to send me a pair of the new Puma Ignite running sneakers for review. Now, the excitement mentioned above does not come without reservation. While it doesn’t seem there would be much difficulty in an established shoe company to make a killer running shoe, there actually is so much more than simply throwing together the right materials. Much consideration has to be taken into not only the fit and immediate performance of the shoe, but how this fit and performance will last over 5, 10, 20, and even hundreds of miles.
Upon taking the Puma Ignite out of the box, my first impression was that it was surprisingly basic. Not a ton of unnecessary “flair” or fabric. Just a lightweight, simply, yet incredibly brightly colored shoe. The specs on this shoe are as follows:
- Flexible AirMesh upper with seamless overlays
- Soft, ultra-thin suede tongue for more comfort
- Moulded EVA sockliner hugs the arch
- IGNITE Foam midsole for high-rebound cushioning.
- Chevron flex grooves for increased energy return
- ForEverFoam at heel for optimal durability
- Flexibility through forefoot flex grooves
- Transition Line mimics the natural gait pattern
- Smoother toe-off for a fluid ride
- EverTrack for durability in high-wear areas
- Weight: 8 ounces (size 7)
- MSRP $100
As with most of my shoes these days, the very first thing I do is wear them to a 6-8 hour shift at work, where I am on my feet the entire time running a gym. While this of course is not “running”, it is the first step in testing comfort, and searching for any sort of hot spots. Other than the fact that the shoelaces are somewhat slippery, and don’t stay tied very easily, the shoe was incredibly comfortable.
So I hit the roads.
Both pavement and dirt to be exact. And, if we are being honest, I ventured into the woods on a steep trail or a minute or two in order to check out the status of the local trail . As you can see in the photo above, the tread on this shoe is NOT designed for trail, so I wouldn’t recommend doing the same. But as far as the paved and dirt roads were concerned…the Puma Ignite performed wonderfully.
I’m not sure why I was so surprised by this fact. Perhaps it was my first impression based solely on the look of this shoe. Perhaps it was my preconceived notion that Puma isn’t a contender in the distance running world. I expected this shoe to feel stiff and unnatural, and it was anything but. The shoe was so incredibly comfortable and smooth that I didn’t even notice it. Not noticing your shoe – not feeling any specific hot spots on your foot, or the fact that your toes or the arch of your feet feel cramped over time due to stiffness, feeling NOTHING at all, is the ultimate compliment of a running shoe in my opinion.
Admittedly, I haven’t been able to clear 30+ miles in these shoes quite yet, so I am unable to confirm the claim that the Foreverfoam provides extra durability in the shoe, as mentioned in the specs above. But so far, I have been quite impressed with the Puma IGNITE. I would recommend this shoe for someone who is comfortable in a neutral shoe. I haven’t been able to find the specifics on the heel to toe drop, but in my opinion and experience it feels rather minimal (if I had to guess, maybe 6 mm range?)
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of PUMA.