It sounds so weird to say, but Puma is just killing it in the running shoe game the last few years. What I once thought of as a soccer cleat and cool casual footwear company has come on ridiculously strong and put out some of the best shoes we have tried recently.
We have recently been trying out their FAST-R Nitro Elite – a racing shoe that we are sure you will love once it is released.
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I mean, clearly we aren’t going to get far along any discussion about these shoes without first mentioning the visuals of these things. The neon yellow and light blue Ombre of sorts is really flashy and eye-catching – an interesting color mix that seems to actually work. It’s actually similar in colorway to the Puma Velocity NITRO 2.
Outside of the colors, there are a few items that are impossible to miss. These include the heel fin, see-thru upper, and the crazy “split” heel. Yes, these are funky, but they actually seem to have purpose and aren’t there for looks alone. It honestly reminded us a little of the Brooks Aurora-BL. Both of these shoes look like they should feel funky and disjointed, but both actually are pretty great.
Even the addition of a rocket ship to the (underrated) tongue reminds us that looks are one thing – but these shoes are made to propel you to a PR. We can’t tell if the heel fin really has much in terms of function, though it seems to add some stability to the overall heel. Regardless, even if it’s just a cool style choice, coupling it together with space vessel imaging and it just seems to fit the vibe.
Toss in some reflective qualities on both sides of the shoes, and you look ready for liftoff no matter the time of day.
The key to these shoes are right there in the name – “FAST(-R)”. And in order to make a fast racing shoe, weight has to be cut. And cut it has. A standard sizing of these run 6.1 ounces for women and 7.5 ounces in men. Wow.
First and foremost, the upper – a monomesh – is thin (see through even) and its clearly lightweight and breathable. I was expecting a lot of give in these, leading to my foot sliding around inside, but this was absolutely not the case. It fit really great out of the box, and I have not had any issues with security.
In fact, coupling the mesh The marathon-worthy racing shoe offers a sock-like fit in breathable monomesh, with additional reinforcement from their “PWRTAPE” really works. Toss in a nicely cushioned heel (the lack of which can be an issue in other sock-like fits) makes this super comfortable – seemingly way too plush a fit for a dang racing shoe. We loved it.
Heading downward in the shoe – which is an improvement (which is saying something) on their already awesome NITRO foam. Our other experiences with Puma’s NITRO construction has left us giddy – so an advanced version seemed impossible.
“PUMA’s elite version of our advanced foam technology, NITRO ELITE, is a supercritical peba-based foam infused with nitrogen gas through an innovative new process that makes it possible to combine three key benefits to the runner—responsiveness, cushioning, and is extremely lightweight for a more effortless run.”
We would have to echo this sentiment – we love the feel that these have. We would usually reserve this sort of cushioning for an every day trainer and not for a lightweight racer – but here we are. Welcome to the new world.
As mentioned before, the “split heel” is eye-catching, but there is reason behind it. Between the front and back of the midsole, Puma’s carbon fiber PWRPLATE stretches throughout the midsole and really does well with keeping the whole shoe stable and supported. Puma claims it maximizes energy transfer and we’d agree. The midsole, and really the whole shoe, just scream out to run fast.
The outsole is their Pumagrip compound – a consistently raved-about quality in all of Puma’s recent running shoes. There’s not much new to say about this other than it’s great.
I mean, this is about as positive a review as you can get – and I honestly can’t wait to get these out in more races this summer. I honestly wasn’t prepared to enjoy this shoe as much as I did. This is an amazing pair of racers – and while we haven’t officially tried out all of the other “big boys” in this sphere (cough…Nike…cough), we feel confident in saying that the Puma FAST-R is worthy of towing the starting line with anyone.
The major drawback will be the price point at $250. That being said – racing shoes are absolutely pricy these days and this isn’t out of the norm than the competitors on the market. They, along with many Puma running shoes out there, can be tough to find.
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Products & Price:
- Puma FAST-R Nitro Elite | Releasing Late 2022 for $250
- 6.1 ounces (women’s), 7.5 ounces (men’s)
- Stack Heights: 27mm forefoot / 35mm heel (including sock liner)
- HTD: 8mm (Midsole only)
- HTD: 10mm (including sock liner)
Thank you to Puma for providing us with test shoes. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.