Yes, we know this is a road shoe Trail Runners also run on the tar, occasionally, and since we hate wasting the amazing grip of our trail shoe on the tar here is a review of a road specific shoe so you can save your lugs for hugging the mud.
Enter the Puma #IGNITE:
Every now and then a shoe comes out that even before you have seen it in the flesh you know it is going to be a great shoe! It is usually accompanied by a very good marketing campaign and a few pro athletes throwing their hard earned experience in with the shoe to create a demand that will hopefully exceed the supply, and catapult the companies new creation into legendary status. Has Puma achieved that with the IGNITE? Have they set a new industry standard? First impressions would say a definite “hell yeah”!
Puma, for me, has always been one of the coolest and hippest brands of shoe out there. Their Lifestyle collections are jaw droppingly stunning, but if I am brutally honest I have often found that they haven’t quite been able to carry that innovation, style, class and industry shaking ‘PUMA-ness’ into their performance ranges as well as I would have hoped. There is no denying the shoes are good, Usain Bolt wouldn’t be running in them if they weren’t, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that Puma was missing a shoe for the non-lightning-like and aspiring speedsters to enjoy and thrive in. My hopes were realised when a comet came crashing into my life. A comet in the shape of a brand spanking new pair of the recently launched Puma IGNITES!
Once they cooled down enough after entering the earths atmosphere at a serious speed I was able to put them on for the first time and man were they comfortable! The soft, ultra-thin suede tongue was the first thing I noticed. There is nothing worse than a thick tongue digging into the top of your feet and these are so thin you actually forget they are there, yet they still disperse the lace pressure perfectly over your foot. The sock liner is a molded EVA and is another great feature that adds to the comfort. The fact that there are no sew lines inside the shoe means the shoe really fits around your feet like a glove, making your IGNITE experience a really fast one.
Puma have labelled this shoe their “most responsive running shoe ever” and they are not wrong. The IGNITE midsole is made from Puma’s PU foam which offers a high-rebounding ride which really does disperse the impact of the forces generated while running extremely well, yet the shoe still offers an incredible amount of response and feedback through your feet which enables you to turn all of that cool sounding stuff into some serious speed! Some shoes are so focused on cushioning that you lose out on actually feeling what’s going on underneath you, you are basically made to run with pillows strapped to your feet at the expense of all your agility, power and fun-factor. The IGNITES take the best of what’s out there in terms of cushioning and still allows you to run like a cat through your city. Mobile. Agile. Free. Lets face it this shoe is hot, probably one of the best looking shoes that have been launched in the last while. The designer, Jacob Garia, designed the shoe around a comet. We think he nailed it!
Along with the cushioning and responsiveness the shoe is incredibly light off the toe as you roll through your running gait, some shoes feel lethargic through the ‘toe-off’ phase but Puma have given the shoe amazing flexibility through the forefoot flex grooves. The other aspect of this I really enjoy is that the shoe actually stays together at the points where the forefoot flexes and moves as you run. Some shoes start pulling off the mid-sole or the logo starts separating from the upper as the shoe flexes and it is really annoying, the quality Puma have nailed with this shoe is going to ruffle some serious feathers in the industry. The mid-sole also features some clever and very cool looking Chevron flex grooves along the side of the sole, at first I thought it was just for show but they add a decent amount of flexibility to the sole which again turns effortlessly into some serious speed. Thanks to Puma’s EverTrack technology the high-wear areas of the shoe are beefed up with some added durability.
Not only are the clever cats at Puma clever enough to design this stellar shoe but they are also clever enough to know that people don’t just buy brands for the sake of buying brands, people buy brands because they want to belong to a community. When you buy a pair of IGNITES you are not just buying a pair of shoes, you are buying into a community. With the connectivity of social media that is not just a local community, but a global one. Thanks to Puma’s app, PumaTrac, runners looking to get fit have run out of excuses. City’s compete against each other using their various hashtags (for us Capetonians it’s #IGNITECapeTown) and the app features a variety of rewards and challenges to accomplish. If ever you needed some decent motivation, this is it. The other day I found myself not feeling like a run but then the thought of JHB, Durban or even Mumbai catching up to us was enough to make sure I laced up my shoes and hit the ground running. #NoExcuses.
Puma are completely revolutionizing how their customers are responding to their brand and their products. Now instead of just being one of the top shoe salesman in the world they are facilitating everything a runner needs for success in his or her running career. They are literally creating a platform for the brand to be there for their fans. Every. Step. Of. The. Way! They have built a world wide community, which is why they can confidently say, “Don’t run, #IGNITE!”.
Puma… We the fans, salute you!