Puma Ignite

Puma Ignite

You know this running shoe is the German shoemaker's flagship model when the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, fronts the marketing campaign.

Puma calls Ignite its most responsive shoe.

Puma uses its proprietary Ignite foam for the midsole of this neutral running shoe. The polyurethane and ethylene-vinyl acetate compound is said to deliver responsive cushioning, optimal energy return and comfort.

At the heel is Puma's new ForEverFoam - a durable compound used in the motor industry, but new in running shoes - which serves as a dampener to absorb the shock of each step.

Its EverTrack rubber outsole provides traction with flex grooves in the forefoot area for flexibility. An exposed area of midsole (or Transition Line, according to Puma) runs from the hindfoot area to the forefoot area to supposedly help in natural gait pattern.

The upper of synthetic leather mesh has a seamless overlay with a slim tongue which has some padding. The champion model, seen in marketing materials, comes with a deep blue upper and peach midsole - pretty, but not my cup of tea.

Thankfully, the review unit came in black and silver upper with a white midsole, which is more subtle and elegant.

Despite its funky appearance, the Ignite has a 12mm heel-toe offset (the difference in height between the heel and the midfoot), which makes it more of a traditional running shoe.

When I first tried on the Ignite, I was delighted by how foot-hugging and comfortable the shoes felt with the seamless mesh and padded tongue.

This is especially so in the arch and midfoot area. Yet, the toe box opens up with enough room for my toes to wiggle.

On the first run, the Ignite already felt like I had been running in them for months. There is no slippage of foot and the ankle is well-supported. The comfort level never drops.

Ventilation-wise, the Ignite is not as breathable as some other shoes on the market. However, it is cool enough and does not get uncomfortably warm on 5km runs or longer.

The Ignite gives a decent energy rebound during each stride. Whether I was doing heel or midfoot strikes, the energy response and comfort were equally good.

Impact was nicely cushioned and neither my knees nor my feet complained after each run. Even when I was walking for more than 10km in them, I hardly ached.

However, the Ignite is not as responsive as the Adidas Ultra Boost, which I recently reviewed. However, it costs $110 less. It looks better and has a more sneaker-like appearance, drawing admiring glances and comments.

That means this is one good pair of shoes which will work whether you are wearing them on your travels, to the pub, to the mall or to the gym.

Oh, and you can run in them, too.

The Puma Ignite may not be the most responsive running shoe on the market, but it is certainly among the more versatile pairs of running shoes I have tried.



This article was first published on June 3, 2015.
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