One of PUMA’s statement shoes of 2017 so far is the Speed IGNITE NETFIT. It was unveiled last month in a reveal that featured PUMA superstar athletes such as Usain Bolt, Antoine Griezman, Andre de Grasse and Julian Edelman.
The shoe combines brand new athletic lacing technology with the sportswear giant’s proven IGNITE sole and evoKNIT upper into a package that just may be the most innovative training shoe in years. We’ve been doing our off the soccer pitch training in multiple settings in the PUMA Speed IGNITE NETFIT since its release. This is our world exclusive review of the shoe.
Before we get into our IGNITE NETFIT experience here are the specs on the shoe from PUMA.
The PUMA Speed IGNITE NETFIT incorporates the pinnacle of PUMA’s performance features in one shoe designed to make you lighter, more agile and faster. The NETFIT upper offers users a customizable lacing system for an entirely individual fit, marry this with PUMA’s evoKNIT upper liner and you have a shoe that forms to the shape of your foot like nothing before. And, of course, there’s a longer set of laces available for further customization options.
The dual layer midsole features PUMA’s proprietary IGNITE PU foam that provides long lasting energy return and PUMA’s molded Eco Ortholite Sockliner offering a breathable, anti-microbial sockliner for exceptional step-in comfort. The Speed IGNITE NETFIT all sits on PUMA’s high-grade engineered outsole, giving users a propulsion zone featuring forefoot flex grooves fortified by rubber to provide a snappy, quick toe-off during the run. The outsole heel is injected with PUMA’s EverTrack+, a blown rubber compound that gives enhanced cushioning and durability, whilst being 43% lighter.
The look of the PUMA Speed IGNITE NETFIT (and indeed all the entire NETFIT footwear range) is unlike anything ever seen in a running shoe before. One of our testers wore in on a long trip from the Southeastern USA to Hawaii and reported them drawing compliments from strangers in airports, restaurants, gyms and beachside running paths. The comments were all along the lines of “Those look great”, “They are so high tech” and general awe.
The Speed IGNITE NETFIT puts PUMA’s sock like evoKNIT upper (debuted last fall) on its sleek IGNITE sole. The sock is entirely shrouded in a netted mesh that is the most important element of the shoe’s customizable lacing system. The sock also has a collar area that locks onto the lower ankle. This area has a clever ridged design that provides a nice contrast to the mesh below it.
The sole of the PUMA Speed IGNITE NETFIT is connected to the upper by bonded, rubberized area (presumably also for protection) that adds to the shoe’s aesthetics.
There is some synthetic leather above the mesh and an exoskeletal heel counter system on the PUMA Speed IGNITE NETFIT. They also add a contrasting effect to the NETFIT system while clearly appearing functional. Lastly PUMA’s Formstripe runs beneath the mesh for a nice touch of the firm’s traditional branding.
All of these components are assembled brilliantly into a shoe that can stand out in today’s world of multicolored training shoes with even the subdued black and white colorway that you see in our pictures.
Fit has long been one of the Holy Grails of all pieces of athletic footwear. It is the key element in the comfort and customization of any shoe. The PUMA NETFIT system and evoKNIT upper area of the Speed IGNITE NETFIT is a combination designed with both in mind.
The evoKNIT upper is essentially a form-fitting sock that adjust to every single contour of your feet up to the mid-ankle areas. As a result there is absolutely no slippage or unwanted gaps between your feet and the upper. It is also lightweight, well-ventilated (more on that later) and feels very natural. The result is an unheralded feeling of freedom and flexibility whether you wear them are on a light run, an intense run or cross training at the gym.
The netted mesh that forms the PUMA NETFIT system allows you to place the elongated laces (two pairs are provided with the kicks) that come with the shoe just about anywhere. There is no restriction from your usual lacing eyelets. PUMA provides five common lacing systems as a guide on the shoe’s packaging. They are Standard, Stability, Wide Foot, Narrow Foot, and Heel Support for common runners’ preferences. However, the mesh accommodates the laces well just about anywhere you place them for functional or style purposes. Since the NETFIT covers the whole upper you can use it to adjust the shoe fit in just about any manner you want. For example, if you want the heel area to fit tighter then put the top laces a bit back and pull them for the desired feel.
We stuck with the Standard lacing that the shoe came with but did play around with a few variations. The Standard setup worked fine for our size 10, medium with feet and provided a comfortable great lock into the evoKNIT sockliner. The laces are on the flatter side and held in place amazingly well through runs of up to five miles in distance. PUMA has definitely stumbled upon something here. No wonder they’ve got more of this system coming across multiple sport shoe ranges!
As you might imagine the PUMA Speed IGNITE NETFIT’s composition makes it a bit lighter that other high end running shoes on the market today. We found the men’s size 10 that we tested to come in at roughly 10 oz. Similarly priced trainers in the same size weigh anywhere from 10.5 to 11.5 oz.
The reduced weight is definitely perceptible to the wearer and obviously provides an extra edge in running faster and long.
The ride of the Speed IGNITE NETFIT is a product of its customized fit and the tried and tested IGNITE sole that has been a fixture of the PUMA’s finest running shoes over the past couple of years. The addition of EverTrack+ for additional cushioning enhances the comfort of the sole during every stride. All of this results in a near ideal ride that was kind on even the injured foot of one of our testers who tried out the shoe on a three mile sidewalk run.
Running in the PUMA Speed IGNITE NETFIT can best be described as comfortable and near effortless. It’s the type of shoe that you forget about when on the move. What you end of getting out of your run is all about what you can physically manage. The Speed IGNITE NETFIT serves well to support your along the way.
The use of PUMA’s evoKNIT fabric for the upper of the Speed IGNITE NETFIT results in increased ventilation compare to other shoes that have synthetic uppers. The sockliner absorbs and dissipates moisture well and keep your feet dry on the run. It is essentially like wearing a moisture wicking compression shirt on your feet.
In the Gym
The PUMA Speed IGNITE NETFIT doubles well as a cross training shoe for just about everything you might do in the gym. We’ve worn them for traditional weightlifting moves, kettlebell exercises, battling rope action and suspension training. The shoe provides good support in every case despite being a running shoe. It is not a pure cross trainer that would want to deadlift or squat in but it’s a shoe that you can take a run in and then get your upper body weight workout in.
The PUMA Speed IGNITE NETFIT has held up quite well over the last month with 60 running miles. As expected the white sole has picked up a bit of dirt. The upper however has remained impeccable and looks like it did out of the box the first day we slipped it on. The snugness of the evoKNIT sockliner is also still intact with no signs of loss in elasticity. We expect these shoes to be fully intact for training well into 2018.
A work of running shoe art, the PUMA Speed IGNITE NETFIT is indeed a game changer that provides a truly customized fit. Currently available in two colorways, the shoe has an MSRP of $140. This is in line with other high end trainers nowadays but will drop once other new colorways pop up. We unequivocally recommend them if you’re in the market for some new trainers.