Puma launches its most explosive and innovative race-day shoe

Make your fast, faster than ever with Puma Fast-R 2 Nitro™ Elite Fueled by Nitro™, Fast-R 2 is Puma’s most innovative race-day shoe ever! Limited edition Fast-R 2 Ekiden Rush celebrating 100 years of Japan’s most iconic road running race drops on 8 December 2023! Fast-R 2 Psychedelic Rush to launch globally 22 February 2024!

The high-speed takeover has arrived with the all new Fast-R 2 Nitro™ Elite – Puma’s most explosive and innovative race-day running shoe yet.

Built to help you break your PB, Fast-R 2 utilises the enhanced benefits of Nitro™ Elite technology, giving you a maximum competitive stack height (40mm) with unbeatable speed and cushioning, propelling your race-day to new territory; from short runs to marathons and every distance between.

A sequel to the ground-breaking Fast-R Nitro™ Elite, the Fast-R 2 allows 22% more energy storage and up to 46% more raw energy return versus its predecessor, resulting in a lighter, more economical ride, that translates to an average saving of 2 minutes 28 seconds for a 3:30:00 marathoner and 1 minute 23 seconds for a 2:30:00 marathoner.

The two-part midsole and exposed signature PWRPLATE remain key features, with the carbon plate elongating through the Nitrofoam™ Elite and out past the toe. This unique concept allows for increased surface contact; a lever that guides pressure forward and propels the foot as it leaves the ground.

A next generation, psychedelic Ultrawave upper – 20% lighter than the material used in the original Fast-R – is lined with a bespoke PWRTAPE, whilst the Pumagrip outsole ensures maximum multi-surface traction, allowing you to step out to conquer the racecourse in full confidence of achieving serious speed. Making your fast, faster than ever.

Romain Girard, Head of Innovation at Puma said: “We received significant feedback from consumers and athletes on the original Fast-R, helping us streamline our focus for Fast-R 2. The result: the most innovative elite race-day running shoe Puma has ever made. We are already witnessing this shoe break records, with a number of our elite runners smashing their PRs, with many more to come!”

The Fast-R 2 Nitro™ Elite Psychedelic Rush will be available from 22 February 2024 from Puma.com, Puma Retail stores, and Totalsports.

Fast-R 2 Nitro™ Elite Ekiden Rush

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the most prestigious event in Japan’s running calendar – Puma will drop a limited edition Fast-R 2 Nitro™ Elite Ekiden Rush.

Paying homage to the historic long-distance race, the Ekiden Rush colourway has unique design features including a 100th anniversary logo on the lateral, and the iconic purple sash – used during the race as a relay baton – on the medial.

1 000 pairs of Fast-R 2 Nitro™ Elite Ekiden Rush will drop on 8 December 2023 at Puma.com, in Puma stores and select global retailers.

Visit Puma.com or follow @PUMARunning to find out more.

Fast-R 2 Nitro™ Elite Specifications

  • Price: R6999
  • Weight: 240g
  • Stack Height: 40mm
  • Drop: 8mm
  • Lifespan: 400km

What a World Champs! (Just not for South Africa…)

The 2023 World Athletics Championships took place in Budapest, Hungary in the last week of August, and what an incredible meet it turned out to be! We saw nine days of World Records, Championship Records, Area Records, National Records, season bests and personal bests, watched enthralling competitions and incredible moments of sporting camaraderie, and basked in what was one of the best World Champs meets of all time. (OK, it wasn’t so good from a South African perspective, but that aside, it was a great meet.) Modern Athlete had two reporters at the event, courtesy of PUMA South Africa, doing daily coverage and interviews, and now it’s time for a look back at some of the highlights of wonderful week of athletics action. – By Sean Falconer & World Athletics 

Puma Welcomes Athletes to Budapest Ahead of World Athletics Championships

Sports company PUMA has kicked off its celebrations for the World Athletics Championships in style, welcoming athletes and media from around the world to the official opening of the PUMA House.

Maria Valdes (Chief Product Officer at PUMA) and Erin Longin (General Manager, Run/Train) took to the stage alongside PUMA ambassadors, and icons of track and field including Karsten Warholm, Marcell Jacobs, Julien Alfred, Mutaz Barshim and Pia Skrzyszowska, giving insight on their preparations and expectations for the competition.

Maria Valdes said: “2023 is a great year for us – it’s our 75th year anniversary – and we truly believe that track and field is the root of many sports. There are so many memorable moments we can look back on where track and field really represented our brand. From Tommie Smith back in 1968 to the numerous world records of Bolt just a couple of years ago. We hope to have more moments like this that can help shape us for years to come – starting here in Budapest.”

Karsten Warholm said: “Confidence is something you build. Obviously, it’s not a given. If it is, it’s not real. We prepare very well in training, and I think that is the secret to my confidence. My coach takes good care of me and and the way we work, we always have control. And then of course when you go to a World Championship, you never know what you can pull out of the hat.”

Marcell Jacobs said: “Maybe I had too many injuries in the last two years… I really tried to overcome all of those problems. I’m the one who wants to be in a good shape, perfectly fit, and ready to face this very important challenge at the World Championships in Budapest.“

Julien Alfred said: “It’s been fantastic to be part of the Puma family. Puma is a great brand who have paved the way for many of my idols and it feels great. And I really love the spikes as well!“

Guests were also given the opportunity to hear from Jamaican athletes Shericka Jackson, Rasheed Broadbell, Hansle Parchment, and rising star Jaydon Hibbert.

Shericka Jackson said: “I’ve been working hard and there is no pressure for me. I’m in good shape and I’m going to show up, stay in my lane and focus on me.“

Rasheed Broadbell said: “It’s really not a bad feeling [to not be the favourite], but a good thing, because the attention is not on me, so it’s not really much pressure… But whoever the eyes are on, they have to ensure that they deliver. So for me, it’s just keeping in my lane, staying focused and delivering.“

Hansle Parchment said: “Usually everybody is going to the US for college, but at the last minute we changed our minds to go to the University of the West Indies. I think that was a very good decision for me, otherwise, I would have been running every weekend in the US. I’m very happy that I made that decision to stay in Jamaica.”

The World Athletics Championship Budapest 2023 will take place from 19-27 August.

Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series Expands in 2023

After a fantastic 2022 season, which saw the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series back to near capacity attendance, title sponsor Absa together with Stillwater Sports, the organiser of South Africa’s award-winning road running series, are excited to welcome Gqeberha and Tshwane as host cities, elevating the series from three to five mass participation events in 2023.

The two new cities will add a fresh and exciting experience for runners competing in those events. The Gqeberha event will take place on 2 April, and will see more world class performances in a city that is well known for breaking records. Later in the year, runners will line up in Tshwane on 27 August, for an experiential mass participation event in the Jacaranda City.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gqeberha and Tshwane as host cities of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series in 2023,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director of Stillwater Sports and Founder of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series. “Growing the series from three to five events is no small feat, and would not have been possible without the support of our title sponsor, Absa, which has been a driving force since we welcomed them onboard in 2021, and other key sponsors such as PUMA, DHL and Chery, to mention just a few.”

“Another important factor that should not be overlooked is the relationships that we have with each host city, which has contributed immensely to the success of the Cape Town, Durban and Joburg events, and ultimately the series. We are excited to work with Gqeberha and Tshwane, to further grow the status of the series,” he adds.

The full set of dates of the 2023 Absa RUN YOUR CITY SERIES will be:

Sunday 2 April 2023                        Absa RUN YOUR CITY GQEBERHA 10K

Sunday 14 May 2023                      Absa RUN YOUR CITY CAPE TOWN 10K

Sunday 9 July 2023                        Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K

Sunday 27 August 2023                  Absa RUN YOUR CITY TSHWANE 10K

Sunday 24 September 2023            Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10K

 

Proudly South African Series

The Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series has been revolutionising the sport in South Africa since 2015. A road running celebration like no other, the series began with the Cape Town leg in 2015, with the Joburg leg added in 2016 and the Durban leg in 2017. Now, in 2023, the two new events will see the series grow to five events.

“The Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series joins elites, avid runners, walkers and individuals looking to live healthier lifestyles,” continues Meyer. “World class achievements and fun for all participants go hand-in-hand at each event. In 2023 we are both excited and proud to take the action to five major cities, growing our reach while giving more South Africans the opportunity to be part of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series experience. Emphasis will be placed on hosting mass participation road races that highlight city landmarks, include magnificent views, and feature lively performances from some of the host city’s leading performing arts groups.”

In closing, Meyer adds: “We look forward to welcoming new runners to the series, but also urge the existing RUN YOUR CITY community to join us in the new cities to give Gqeberha and Tshwane the true RUN YOUR CITY experience. We can’t wait to welcome thousands of runners from across South Africa as well as elite athletes from around the world to the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series in 2023.”

Sponsorship Goals

Absa Chief Executive Product Solutions, Geoffrey Lee, says that his team is equally excited about the expanded series in 2023. “Our purpose at Absa is to bring possibilities to life, and we believe that everyone should have access to all our sponsorships. When we came onboard as a sponsor of the biggest mass participation event in the country, our key objective was to get the country moving in the right direction, and help our communities and colleagues to aspire to change their lives and that of their community for the better. We recognise that now, more than ever, we need to play an even greater role in bringing the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series closer to the people,” he says.

“We have witnessed on many occasions how sport has consistently served as a powerful vehicle for societal change, and a great unifier in challenging times for our nation. Through our Together we can be more, Siyabangena campaign, which runs concurrently with the Absa RUN YOUR CITY series of events, Absa challenges all runners and walkers to be a force for good and actively create change in communities, while providing an opportunity to get active, reach performance goals, connect with other runners and explore our beautiful South African cities,” he adds.

Entries for all five events will open on Monday 5 December 2022 on the official event website, www.runyourcityseries.com.

Ed’s World Champs Blog: Terrific 200s – Brought to you by PUMA

Right, I’m sitting down to write this World Champs blog just after watching two incredible 200m finals, which wrapped up the programme for day seven of the Champs in Eugene, and I’m still buzzing. – BY SEAN FALCONER

The 200m sprint often plays second fiddle to the 100m at the big meets, like Olympics and World Champs, because the shorter sprint is seen by many as the premier event of athletics, the one that gets all the media coverage, and crowns the king of athletics. Ask the average Joe spectator of the big athletics meets who won the 100m and they get the answer right, but the 200m? Chances are they won’t know. It’s not that the 200m is ignored or forgotten, it’s that the 100m just gets more hype and coverage. But there is something really special about the 200m.

Where the 100m is about raw speed and power (on top of the intricacies of starting, maintaining form, not tensing up, etc), the 200m brings in a tricky technical aspect with the running of the curve in the first half of the race, followed by the proverbial million dollar question: Which athletes can maintain top speed most consistently in for the second half. For that reason, watching the heat maps of each athlete in the live coverage was fascinating, seeing which athletes decelerated the least as they hit the last 50 metres. While running is (supposedly) a simple sport – you just one foot in front of the other as quickly as you can – there is also a fascinatingly intricate technical side to every event in the sport, from the 100m to ultra-distance races.

Local Hero Does Us Proud

Before I talk about the winners, I first want to say a few words about our own Luxolo Adams. I was absolutely thrilled to see him lining up for the men’s 200m final in an absolutely stellar line-up. As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, he has had an amazing season, breaking through the 20-second barrier and winning a Diamond League title in Paris, and now he’s appeared in his first global final. Just as is the case with Akani Simbine making 100m finals at this level, it’s a far cry from not so very long ago when we didn’t have any South African sprinters performing at that kind of level. Now to have a finalist in both the 100m and the 200m at this World Champs, added to other success the country has enjoyed in sprints and relays in recent years, really warms this South African heart!

I know some may point to the fact that Luxolo finished eighth out of eight finalists, and that his time of 20:47 was a little disappointing, given that he clocked 20.09 in the semi-final and ran that 19.82 less than a month ago, but one has to factor in that finals are super tense, with athletes making extra sure that they do not false start and get DQed after doing all the hard yards to make the final. Also, the final is usually the third race in jus ta few days for these athletes, so there is also a fatigue factor that can affect times. All that said, I choose to focus on Luxolo making his first global final, and I hope it is just the first of more to come.

Winners Totally Dominate

Now to the winners. In the women’s race, Jamaican Shericka Jackson proved that her 21.67 in the semi-final was no fluke as she went still faster in the final, clocking 21.45 to not only shatter her 20.55 PB, set in the Jamaican Champs less than a month earlier, but she became the fastest woman alive over 200m by clocking the fastest time since the late Florence ‘Flo Jo’ Griffith Joyner set the World Record of 21.34 way back in 1988. Jackson has often played ‘bridesmaid’ or supporting cast to her Jamaican compatriots, five-time World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and four-time Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah – she finished third, behind them, in the 100m final at these World Champs – but today she ruled supreme, and her post-race celebrations were a joy to watch.

Then came the men’s 200m final, and the USA’s Noah Lyles successfully defended the title he won at the 2019 World Champs in Doha – and probably also redeemed himself, in his own eyes, for ‘only’ winning bronze at the Olympics last year. Like Jackson, he also looked unbeatable as he led home US compatriots Kenneth Bednarek (19.77) and Erriyon Knighton (19.80) for another American clean-sweep of the podium, as they did in the men’s 100m final. But it was Lyle’s winning time that really stood out. Coming into the final, his personal best was the 19.50 he ran in 2019, and his season best for 2022 thus far was the 19.61 he ran in New York in June, but he blew the final away with a new PB 19.31, which moved him up to third place on the all-time list for the 200m. Only Jamaicans Usain Bolt (19.19 & 19.30) and Yohan Blake (19.26) have ever gone faster.

After he won and realised just how fast he had managed to go, Lyle ripped the top of his running suit as he celebrated. To be honest, I am not always a fan of the way some athletes behave on the track, especially the sprinters, and especially the Americans, but this time I was OK with it. The performance merited going a little crazy.

Catching My Breath

Now we have three days of competition left, and there is still a lot to look forward to. Last night Prudence Sekgodiso made it into the semi-final round of the women’s 800m, taking place later today, as will be the heats of the men’s 4x100m relay, where we hope our SA men can do make it through to the final, but the big one has to be Wayde van Niekerk in the men’s 400m final. And the mouth-watering women’s 400m hurdles will round out the programme. So that’s where I will be in the early hours of the morning.

Image: World Athletics

Ed’s World Champs Blog: Personal Highlights – Brought to you by PUMA

So, we’re coming up for day 7 of the World Athletics Champs in Eugene in the USA, and what a Champs it has turned out to be. I’ve seen various colleagues, friends and other fans of track and field on social media talking about goosebumps, and getting emotional, as they’ve watched the action live – even when it required staying up till the early hours of the morning to catch the action live. – BY SEAN FALCONER

There is a nine-hour time difference between SA and Eugene, Oregon, on the West Coast of the USA, so the evening sessions of the World Champs generally start around 2am our time, and continue till 5am or 6am, so I reckon there are a few rather sleep-deprived athletics fans this side of the Atlantic after a week of action.

Yes, there were a few issues with some athletes not able to get to the USA due to VISA issues, but in general, this has been a terrific meet. I’m not even going to try to list all the top performances here, as there have been so many, but I would like to mention some personal highlights that I particularly enjoyed.

  • I take my hat off to Akani Simbine for reaching yet another global 100m final. I know he will be bitterly disappointed to have finished fifth, having also narrowly missed out on a medal at the 2017 World Champs (fifth), 2016 Olympics (fifth), 2019 World Champs (fourth) and 2021 Olympics (fourth), but it shows just how much he has done to raise the bar of men’s sprinting in this country. It wasn’t so long ago that we still didn’t have any sub-10-second runners in this country, and the prospects of a South African making a World Champs or Olympic 100m final was so beyond our wildest dreams. Akani has been a genuine medal contender at every big meet since 2017, and for that alone he deserves huge praise.
  • Staying with the sprints, it has been phenomenal to see the rapid emergence of Luxolo Adams as a world class sprinter this year. He’s been bubbling just under the top level until now, but found his best form just before the World Champs, with his scintillating 19.82 in the Diamond League meet in Paris. Now he is in the men’s 200m final at the World Champs! I don’t think anybody would have predicted that if asked just a few months ago.
  • And of course, at the risk of repeating myself, hasn’t it been fantastic to see Wayde van Niekerk fit and racing again? And even better, back in a global final, where he belongs! That freak knee injury a few years back – in a charitable touch rugby game, of all places – looked like it may have wrecked his career, and many of us wondered if he would ever get back to the shape that saw him win the 2016 Olympic and 2017 World 400m titles, and set that amazing World Record of 43.03 seconds. Even if he doesn’t quite get to that same level as 2016 again – after all, he is six years older now – it remains a privilege to watch him running what is often referred to as the most brutal event on the track.

Anyhoo, enough rambling from me for one blog, let’s look ahead to see what’s coming up next.

Day 7 (21 July) – Afternoon Session

SA Time     US Time     Event                                          Round

02:05          17:05          Men’s Javelin Throw                    Qualification – Group A

02:10          17:10          Women’s 800m                            Heats

03:10          18:10          Men’s 5000m                               Heats

03:20          18:20          Men’s Triple Jump                       Qualification

03:35          18:35          Men’s Javelin Throw                    Qualification – Group B

04:00          19:00          Men’s 800m                                 Semi-Final

04:35          19:35          Women’s 200m                            Final

04:50          19:50          Men’s 200m                                 Final

 

Day 8 (22 July) – Morning Session

SA Time     US Time     Event                                          Round

15:15          06:15          Women’s 35km Race Walk           Final

 

Day 8 (22 July) – Afternoon Session

SA Time     US Time     Event                                          Round

02:05          17:05          Men’s Pole Vault                         Qualification

02:40          17:40          Women’s 4x100m Relay               Heats

03:05          18:05          Men’s 4x100m Relay                    Heats

03:20          18:20          Women’s Javelin Throw               Final

03:35          18:35          Women’s 800m                            Semi-Final

04:15          19:15          Women’s 400m                            Final

04:35          19:35          Men’s 400m                                 Final

04:50          19:50          Women’s 400m Hurdles               Final

 

SOUTH AFRICANS IN ACTION…

Watch for our local heroes in the following events:

 

Day 7 – Afternoon Session

Men’s Javelin Qualifiers

Group A – Johan Grobler

Women’s 800m Qualifiers

Heat 5 – Prudence Sekgodiso

Men’s 5000m Qualifiers

Heat 1 – Adriaan Wildschutt

Heat 2 – Precious Mashele

Men’s 200m Final

Luxolo Adams

 

Day 8 – Afternoon Session

Men’s 400m Final

Wayde van Niekerk

 

Enjoy the viewing, and chat later again.

(Image: courtesy World Athletics)

Rising Sprint Star Signs for PUMA

Global sports brand PUMA has signed 22-year-old US-American track and field athlete Abby Steiner. The rising star’s victory in the women’s 200-metre final of the US Outdoor Championships in 21.77 seconds made her the second-fastest woman in the world over this distance up till that point in 2022, and this week she made it through to the 200m final at the World Athletic Championships in Eugene, going on to finish fifth with a time of 22.26 in her first appearance in a world final.

Steiner currently boasts impressive personal bests of 10.90 for 100m and that 21.77 for 200m, and she holds both the women’s indoor 200m American record with a time of 22.09, as well as the collegiate-level NCAA 200m record (outdoors) at 21.80, which she set at the NCAA Championships in June this year.

In 2018, Steiner was named her nation’s best high school female athlete, having excelled both in athletics and soccer. That year she began studying at the University of Kentucky (UK) on a dual-sport scholarship, but after tearing her knee ligaments on the soccer field, she decided to focus on the track, and Steiner cites this decision as a key to her track development: “Before, with soccer, I’d be training soccer in the fall, then I would come to track. I think really allowing myself to dive fully into the process of the periodisation of training that we do, so fall training and then going into indoor and outdoor seasons, it’s all really important in developing speed and getting to where you want to be.”

Eyes on the Prize

Since focusing solely on the track, Steiner has quickly developed into a world-class athlete. She won the 2021 NCAA Division 1 Indoor Championship 200m title with a meeting record 22.38. Then in 2022, she completed a full sweep of medals at the next installment of the NCAA Indoor Champs, taking gold in the 200m (with a meeting record 22.16), silver in the 60m (with a PB 7.10), and bronze in 4x400m relay.

Next up was the 2022 NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Champs, where she won gold in the 200m and set that 21.80 NCAA record, added a bronze medal in the 100m with her 10.90 PB, and helped her UK varsity team win the 4x400m relay (in another meeting record 3:22.55). Steiner followed that with her title-winning 200m run at the US Champs, with yet another PB.

Earlier this year, Steiner was named the National Women’s Track Athlete of the Year and the 2022 Honda Sport Award winner for Track & Field, presented annually to the most outstanding women’s college athlete in each of 12 NCAA Division 1 women’s sports. Therefore, PUMA is thrilled to announce that she has signed to run in the company’s shoes and apparel. “Abby Steiner is one of the most exciting upcoming stars in Track and Field,” said Pascal Rolling, Head of Running Sports Marketing at PUMA. “We believe that she will have a brilliant career, and we want to be by her side and support her.”

Ready to Fly Faster

Steiner graduated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and exercise science in May 2022, and has been accepted to the UK’s physical therapy programme, but has decided to defer her enrolment in order to concentrate on her professional track career, and she is understandably happy to land a lucrative sponsorship deal with a sport brand so prominent and involved in track and field. “PUMA’s list of high-performance athletes is impressive and being one of them just feels amazing,” says Steiner. “I am very happy to be part of the PUMA family now, and I can’t wait to take off.”

More About PUMA

PUMA is one of the world’s leading sports brands, designing, developing, selling and marketing footwear, apparel and accessories. For more than 70 years, PUMA has relentlessly pushed sport and culture forward by creating fast products for the world’s fastest athletes. PUMA offers performance and sport-inspired lifestyle products in categories such as Football, Running and Training, Basketball, Golf, and Motorsports. It collaborates with renowned designers and brands to bring sport influences into street culture and fashion. The PUMA Group owns the brands PUMA, Cobra Golf and stichd. The company distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs about 16,000 people worldwide, and is headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

The PUMA Run XX NITRO is for HER

PUMA recently sent us the women-specific Run XX NITRO to wear-test, and our Marketing Director Roxanne Martin has been putting the shoe through its paces.

First Impressions

Before taking them out the box, the Run XX NITRO tells you that it is made for women who run – the name is derived from the female double X chromosome in DNA sequencing – and in line with PUMA’s RUN FOR HER motto, the design takes a woman’s needs into account, but more on that later.

The shoe’s design catches your eye the moment you look at it. The colour is bright pink with touches of purple, making it stand out. It’s bold, and in my opinion, a good-looking shoe.

Now, whenever I try a new running shoe, I like to wear it for at least three days before I attempt any running. I find that this gives the shoe a chance to ‘soften’ a bit, allowing me to wear it in before I hit the road. Doing a couple of days of walking always helps me to get used to the shoe, and how the shoe will adapt to my running style.

Straight out of the box, the shoe was a firm fit, but after wearing it for a few days, the upper had a chance to stretch a bit, and I had a chance to get used to the way the shoe guided my foot. Naturally, the sole design of a shoe has a massive impact on this, and in the case of the Run XX NITRO, it really feels that it is designed with running in mind.

Running in the Shoe

The Run XX NITRO is marketed as a women-specific neutral cushioned shoe, so being a female runner, I was understandably excited to give it a wear-test. 

When I read up on the shoe, I found that PUMA says the following: Featuring an updated fit that hugs a woman’s foot at the heel, instep and arch, the shoe’s new, firmer NITRO midsole is the perfect balance of durability and lightweight cushioning, while RUNGUIDE promotes proper alignment and increased stability for longer distances.

The first thing I noticed was that the front of the shoe was wider than other PUMA shoes I have run in. I am always appreciative of this, as the front of my foot needs some breathing room, and this ties in with the fact that women often have wider forefeet and narrower heels than men. With the wider fit upfront, my foot can hit the ground more evenly, making my running feel more stable. Meanwhile, the back of the shoe holds my heel nicely, while I run, especially around my ankle. Having weak ankles and a bunion by my big toes, I really appreciated these design elements, as it’s not often that a unisex shoe will cover these bases.

The second thing that I felt when running in the shoe was that my arch felt supported the entire time. Again, women-specific shoes usually have a more built-up arch, as women’s feet tend to be quite different to men’s, and I really felt the benefits of this in the Run XX NITROs. This also makes the shoe incredibly cushioned throughout your stride pattern, but with a terrific springiness that makes you feel like you are ‘springing into action,’ with just the right amount of give and take between putting your foot down on the ground and lifting it again, giving you even cushioning and smooth rebound.

Things to Consider Before Buying

Women often have wider hips than men, causing our legs to naturally pivot inwards at more of an angle, so many women will require anti-pronation shoes for running. When designing women-specific shoes, designers bear this in mind, adding more support in the arch, but keep in mind that this still a neutral shoe, so take that into consideration before buying.

The easiest way to understand what shoe will fit your running style is to have a gait analysis done. This measures how your foot hits the ground and how far it rolls inwards as you move forwards. The good news is that this does not need to be an expensive exercise, as you can simply pop into your local Totalsports, which coincidentally also stocks this shoe, for a free gait analysis with one of their Run Specialists.

Another thing to remember is that most running shoes are made to be unisex, meaning the men’s shoes are simply down-sized for women, and not specifically made for women. However, with this specific shoe, I found the fit is slightly bigger than normal, and I needed a size down from my normal choice, so I suggest you first try on the shoe to make sure you have the correct fit.

 

 

Would I Buy this Shoe?

After running in the shoe, my answer is a definite yes! Thanks to the women-specific features and tech built into the design, I think PUMA has done its homework well to come up with a shoe that really addresses the needs of female runners, and I really enjoyed running in them. If you want to check the Run XX NITRO out, you’ll find them at your nearest PUMA stockists, selling at a recommended price of R3199.

Made for Her, the PUMA RUN XX

PUMA releases its first women’s specific running shoe!

For too long, running shoes have been made for men and then redesigned to fit a woman’s foot shape. This season, PUMA is rewriting that narrative with the Run XX NITRO, a running shoe made for her.

Named for the woman-specific double X chromosome DNA sequence, the Run XX stands behind PUMA’s ‘Run for Her’ positioning to prioritize female runners’ needs in the way we build and engineer our products. In collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Biomechanics Lab, PUMA launched a research study recruiting 224 runners who logged more than 36,000 miles over eight weeks. In conclusion, 81 percent of women in the study preferred the Run XX over the control shoe and said they liked the cushioning and responsiveness of the Run XX over the control.

“This was the first time we conducted a large-scale study on female runners and the results will help us shape our approach to women’s running shoes going forward,” said Erin Longin, General Manager of the Run/Train business unit at PUMA, adding, “I believe this study will help us to continue to support female runners and keep them running longer.”

The Run XX features a progressive, female-specific design. Featuring an updated fit that hugs a woman’s heel, instep, and arch, the running shoe’s new firmer NITRO Foam midsole is the perfect balance of durable and lightweight. The shoe’s RUN GUIDE promotes proper alignment and increased stability for longer distances.

“As a runner myself, I want to know my running shoes will support by own biomechanics because women are made differently, and the Run XX does exactly that,” said Erin.

Run XX NITRO will be available from 24 June 2022 on PUMA.com, PUMA Stores, Totalsports, Superbalist, and selected retailers with a retail price of R3199.

 

Even Better Than Before

The lightweight, neutral PUMA Velocity Nitro 2 is a slight upgrade on what was already a really good shoe, offering a cushioned, responsive and comfortably smooth ride. – By Sean Falconer

In 2021, PUMA made the running world sit up when it introduced its Nitro range, featuring new nitrogen-infused NITRO foam midsoles. These immediately proved popular because of their cushy, soft feeling, but still with a snappy, responsive ride. The Deviate Nitro Elite garnered widespread attention that year when US marathoner Molly Seidel wore them as she won the bronze medal in the Olympic Marathon, and another popular model in the range was the Velocity Nitro, a budget-friendly neutral trainer designed more for recreational runners. Now with the Velocity Nitro 2, PUMA has managed to enhance the performance of the original shoe.

Targeted Cushioning

As much as NITRO foam has proven popular, some runners have found that the softness of the NITRO can start feeling a bit sluggish as your legs tire and you tend to heel-strike more and ‘sit’ lower on your heels. In other words, they wanted a bit more structure in their shoes, not just out-and-out soft cushioning, and that’s where PUMA has tweaked the design to improve the shoe’s performance.

The Velocity Nitro 1 featured a midsole made predominantly of NITRO, but with a heel plug of firmer EVA foam and a stabilizing plastic shank in the heel. In the Velocity Nitro 2, PUMA has extended the layer of EVA foam, which now runs the entire length and width of the shoe and sits underneath the NITRO layer. This provides more stability for the NITRO, allowing it to do its cushioning job without compressing too much and becoming sluggish. At the same time, PUMA has reduced the EVA foam’s thickness in the heel, and increased the NITRO foam’s thickness there, while eliminating the heel clip. The heel stack height remains the same at 33.5mm, with a 10mm drop to the forefoot.

These changes are responsible for a softer feel in the heel and a smoother, snappier toe-off, but that plusher heel is obviously of more importance to heel-strikers, especially with that 10mm heel-drop. That said, because I am a midfoot striker and like running lighter and faster, more up on my toes, I still found the midfoot and forefoot provided great cushioning and a most enjoyable ride, with a noticeable feeling of forward propulsion as you transition to the forefoot. I therefore found these shoes ideal for faster tempo runs and speedwork, but I could definitely still do long runs in them.

I also found that the PUMAGRIP rubber outsole coped well with several different surfaces I ran on, including tar, gravel and grass, as well as wetter surfaces, and the treadmill. The Velocity Nitro 2 features more outsole rubber than the original, but more importantly, the new triangular lugs on the outsole provide exceptional grip. I felt really sure of my footing these shoes. Oh, and at just under 250 grams per shoe, these shoes are light, but they also ‘feel’ really light, too.

Comfort Ensured

I don’t mind admitting that I have really soft feet, and thus I like a bit of cushioning around the heel area. Otherwise, shoes can rub my Achilles up the wrong way… That’s pretty much the only reason I was not the world’s biggest fan of the Deviate Nitro plated shoe last year, and also why the original Velocity Nitro was criticised. Happily for my heels, this new Velocity Nitro 2 ticks all the boxes in this area, with a well-cushioned and comfy heel collar, and I had no problems with slippage, because it’s not too bulky to prevent the heel being locked down securely. 

The shoe’s new seamless mesh upper proved comfy, too – not quite the stretchy sock-like fit of other shoes I have run in, but still very comfy. I particularly liked the toe box area, which is unstructured and allows my toes room to wiggle. The tongue is now also slightly thicker and more cushioned, for extra comfort.

What My Feet Said

The key to this shoe is its NITRO midsole, providing exceptional shock absorption with energetic rebound, but that grippy outsole and comfy upper are also big plus-points. Meanwhile, the women’s version has been created with specifically for the female foot, with a narrower heel, lower in-step and sculpted arch.

In terms of fit, I have wider feet and found the half-size did the job in giving my feet enough room, while my usual 8.5 UK sizing seemed just right – the thumb-width of space in front of my toes is definitely a thumb-width. However, some reviews I read said that testers found the shoes a bit on the longer side, and thus recommended trying a half-size down. This is one of those situations where you will only know if you go into a PUMA stockist and try the shoes on for yourself. As they say, if the shoe fits…

GET THEM HERE

The PUMA Velocity Nitro 2 retails for a suggested selling price of R2799 at PUMA stores, Totalsports, Sportsmans Warehouse, Superbalist and selected retailers, or you can order the shoes online at puma.com.