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.
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.