Puma's lightweight and cushioned sneakers prove you don't have to spend more than $100 for really great running shoes
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- In 2018, Puma put its IGNITE foam and its NRGY beads together in its Hybrid midsole to create a lightweight, cushioned, and energy-maximizing solution for runners.
- We tried two styles from the Hybrid line, the Hybrid NX Running Shoe ($90) and the Hybrid Runner Running Shoe ($100) to see and feel this combination in action.
- We loved how comfortable they were and that they're more affordable than other running shoes with similar cushioning technologies.
Then, in 2017, the NRGY beads, another cushioning technology and one more visibly showcased in the design of Puma's shoes, emerged. With each step you take, the NRGY beads inside move freely, then "jam" together when your foot hits the ground.
Last year, the Puma team put two and two together, combining these innovative technologies to create the Hybrid foam, a marriage of premium cushioning, lightweight responsiveness, and heel stability - and our once-tired feet haven't felt the same since.
The Hybrid foam provides a marked difference by simultaneously providing bounce and support, so your feet will feel good throughout your whole run. Available across a variety of sleek silhouettes and bright colors, you have plenty of options to choose from, and they won't look out of place in everyday life when you're not running, either.
We tested two shoes from Puma's Hybrid collection. Here's what the running shoes look and feel like.Advertisement
I'll start by saying I wouldn't consider myself a dedicated runner. If you're looking for marathon training shoes, I can't speak entirely for how these Hybrid sneakers would do. However, if you're like me and usually run a few miles at a time, once or twice a week, while loving the idea of a marathon, these shoes are great and can improve how you run.
Wearing these shoes, I ran the most I ever have at one time continuously (aka 5 miles), and at the end I still felt like I could keep going - a sure sign to me that 1) the Hybrid foam really does offer better energy return, consequently improving my endurance and 2) I needed to switch out from my current pair of Nikes, pronto.The foam is thick and supportive, but also lightweight so I never felt weighed down during my run. This comfortable cushioning carried me throughout. Rather than using the smallest amount of effort possible to lift off and touch back down on the ground, each step felt actively bouncy and I was able to run with a more consistent stride. Running outside can be hard on the knees, but these shoes softened the blow and made the run feel much better. Advertisement
They're just as effective in an indoor, group-exercise class, or any activity where your feet need to make constant, quick, and hard impact with the ground. The rubber outsole has a strong grip, preventing you from slipping, and the knitted, sock-like uppers allow your feet to breathe.Advertisement
I got my first taste of Puma combining NRGY beads and IGNITE foam late last year when I tried the Clyde Court, the brand's first crack at basketball sneakers in 20 years. My first impression was that they were incredibly cushioned, unlike any other basketball sneaker I had ever worn.
Now, feeling the same cushioning technology on the Hybrid Runner - a shoe that you'd expect to have great energy return - it's a lot more impressive. Compared to basketball sneakers, where a more rigid material is sometimes better for the sharp cuts and lateral motions that come with the sport, the cushy ride of the hybrid midsole feels to be a much better fit for a running sneaker.With a sock-like upper, they're super comfortable for wearing casually, and when it's time to get active, they keep your feet from becoming fatigued quickly. Arguably the best part about these sneakers is the $100 price tag. Most other sportswear brands with responsive-cushioning technologies (I'm looking at you, Nike and Adidas) sell runners for about $80 to $100 more.Advertisement
The bottom line
Puma proves you don't have to spend more than $100 for very good running shoes. In its Hybrid collection of shoes, its two best technologies, IGNITE foam and NRGY beads, come together to provide the ultimate cushioned comfort.Subscribe to our newsletter.
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