Puma as a performance brand hasn’t really taken off in the US. That’s partly because they sponsor primarily international athletes and partly because they seem to have tighter control over who carries their shoes. You won’t normally find their shoes in Dick’s Sporting Goods or even running specialty stores. Maybe retailers just don’t want to stock them, for some reason. We recently travelled to Europe and were able to get better access to several of their sports models. One of their biggest new initiatives has been the combination of bouncy NRGY globules with their more traditional Ignite foam.
The base of the midsole is composed of expanded TPU pellets (popularized by Adidas Boost foam), which then has a layer of polyurethane foam on top, mostly in the heel. The Hybrid Runner is flexible and lower to the ground. The heel is definitely softer than the forefoot, so people who land more toward the back of their foot will get a little more out of the shoe than those who forefoot strike. The forefoot feels more firm, but still responsive. This makes it pretty comfortable for casual use, as well, but excels best on shorter runs. That isn’t to say it’s a lifestyle shoe masquerading as a serious running model, it just isn’t ideal for say, marathon training.
The upper is similar to Nike’s Flyknit, but with more plushness and with it, warmth. That’s another reason they falter over longer runs; they just get really hot. There is a little bit of an arch reinforcement, but those with wide or flat feet should be fine. One more thing: They run a half size long, so if you normally wear an 11, gor for 10.5.
While not the best shoe ever made, the Puma Hybrid Runner is proof that the company makes serious performance shoes and should be in more stores State-side. Hopefully their high profile basketball releases will convince whoever makes the call to stock Puma more pervasively.
(Up to 40-50% off!)