Over the couple few weeks we have been training in the PUMA Speed 500 running shoe. It is the latest trainer from PUMA built for faster runs with some of the latest in athletic shoe technology and a personalized fit. Read on for our World Exclusive review of the Speed 500!
The key technical elements of the PUMA Speed 500 read like a laundry list of performance-related innovation. Here is a look at the shoe’s spec courtesy of PUMA.
- FIT: NETFIT has engineered lacing zones for secure, personalized lace positioning
- SUPPORT: TPU heel support for optimal heel lock down
- CUSHIONING: PROFOAM midsole has high rebound for instant, lightweight cushioning
- PROPULSION: Engineered PROPLATE offers a reflex toe-off to propel you faster
- Weight: 270g/ 9.6 oz.
- Heel-to-toe drop: 8mm
- Bootie construction with flexible sock collar
The design of the PUMA Speed 500 is completely modern without any of the touches of classic kicks that seem almost obligatory nowadays.
Its upper is all mesh with a very ventilated sock like section at its center. The sides are a more solid fabric with a fairly large number of eyelet / vented openings that allow for PUMA’s novel personalized and readily changeable lacing. The PUMA Speed 500 also have a lightweight T-shaped heel counter at its back to provide rear foot support.
The PUMA PROFOAM sole holds everything together on the Speed 500 with a nicely etched pattern that is split via a diagonal strip on the inner and outer feet.
PUMA’s legendary Formstripe is prominently printed on the outside of the PUMA Speed 500. The sportswear giant’s logo is also placed on the pull tab at the front of the shoe’s sock and on the heel counter. The PUMA Cat (always essential to the brand’s aesthetic) appears at the front of the heel counter and just below the lacing system.
The resulting look of the PUMA Speed 500 is absolutely brilliant and will have you admiring the shoe from the second you unbox it. Its vibe is one of a shoe worn by a serious athlete dedicated to their craft at the track, running path, street or at the gym.
The design works well in all the colorways of the Speed 500 from the darker colorways used for its launch to the summery white, teal and orange seen on our version of the shoe.
The PUMA Speed 500 boasts a world class fit. This is felt from the moment you slide the shoe on by sliding your feet into its bootie foot enclosure using the pull tabs at the front and back of the shoe.
The sock area of the shoe has a great feel on the feet thanks to its lightweight, knit fabric. The ribbed area at the its top grips the ankle area well and remains in place throughout training. PUMA has used a similar mechanism on several of its soccer boot silos since 2017 to good effect.
The PUMA NETFIT lacing zones that are in abundance on the fabric at the side can be combined with the two pairs of very long laces that come with the Speed 500 to create an infinite number of configurations. This allows for unparalleled lacing personalization that can create the exact fit that you are looking for. You have got to spend a bit of time with the laces and NETFIT system to get you perfect fit and may have to change the setup a few times along the way. Such is the nature of customization when so many possibilities are available.
We are a big fan of the flattened laces of the Speed 500 since they stay remain tied and in place regardless of the pace of your run. Tie them up once at before a run and you can be rest assured that you will not have to stop to redo them!
The PUMA Speed 500 is comfortable and ready to run in from its first wear. No break-in is required as the shoe wraps to the feet with no hotspots, zero slipping and no skin-irritating rubbing.
The Speed 500 is a true to size shoe. Because of its sock-based construction we recommend only getting it in your normal running shoe size. This is not a shoe that needs to mold to your feet or to be stretched out in any way.
On the Run
We have been running in the PUMA Speed 500 on multiple surfaces ranging from a rubberized track to artificial grass to concrete to the treadmill. Here is what we found of the shoe on the move for runs from 5 km to 10 km at moderate to fast paces.
Weight – At just 9.6 oz. (270 g) the PUMA Speed 500 is a lighter weight shoe. PUMA’s designers created it to shed a few grams so that it could be used for faster runs. The Speed 500 worked as intended in that its lightness is definitely perceptible. The result was that we could move faster than with other shoes over the same distances. The 500 performed remarkably well during speed work that involved sprinting.
Ventilation – The PUMA Speed 500 is one of the best ventilated running shoes that we have seen in some time. The shoe’s breathable knit sock lets air in and out from your feet and keeps them dry. The side panels of the shoe are made up of lightweight moisture dissipating fabric as well. Their temperature regulation abilities are made better by the many NETFIT lacing system slits throughout them. We have run in the Speed 500 on a few warmer May days and can attest to it keeping our feet cool and dry for our every run we’ve worn the shoe for.
Cushioning and Support – The high-level cushioning offered by the PUMA Speed 500 can be felt from the time the sole of your feet first meets the shoe’s PROFOAM midsole. It is soft and comfortable (from the heel to the forefoot) from the onset and a welcome surprise on a lighter weight shoe. Add the Speed 500’s unassuming but effective TPU heel counter and you’ve got a shoe with great stability that is a joy to move in.
We particularly like the toe-off and extra propulsion that the PUMA Orbiter provided. The rebound that you get on each stride with these shoes is quite amazing and can help you get a few extra miles into your weekly fitness regime.
Ride – Put together the light weight, customized fit, cushioning, support and breathability of the PUMA Speed 500 and you have got a shoe that provides a fantastic ride for short to midrange runs.
The shoe provides a very responsive, bouncy running experience from heel strike to toe-off. Its sole rebound can be felt along the full distance of an entire run along with its small (8 mm) heel to toe drop. PUMA’s proven PROPLATE is also in the mix for a bit of an extra push at the forefoot.
In the Gym
The PUMA Speed 500 doesn’t miss a beat for upper body and some full body moves at the gym. Its sole to upper support keeps you stable and in place for dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell and TRX suspension moves. Its rebound is great for any exercise involving jumping, shuffling and, of course, running. These include burpees, man makers and box jumps.
The excellent comfort of the Speed 500 is certainly a benefit at the gym since you never even think about the shoe while training. The only time you notice it is in admiration in the gym mirrors or when someone inevitably asks about it.
Despite its 8mm heel to toe drop the PUMA Speed 500 isn’t a shoe for heavy weight lower body training. This is because its sole is too thick for the close to the ground feel needed to effectively do exercises such as squats, leg presses and deadlifts. They are fine for leg extensions and leg curls though.
We’ve worn the PUMA Speed 500 for three weeks, forty-five running miles, countless walking miles, and an hour in the gym each day. Even after all this the synthetic fabric upper looks almost as good as when the shoe was unboxed. The sole has fared just as well with no signs of wear or even scuffing. The only indication of our use is that we’ve picked up some dirt along the way that has made our beautiful white shoe lose a bit of its initial pristine appearance. This will not be a problem the darker colorways of the shoe.
As we’ve always found with PUMA shoes, the Speed 500 boasts great craftsmanship and should last for at least a year of regular use.
The PUMA Speed 500 is brilliantly designed, extremely comfortable and performs astoundingly on the run and in the gym. It has our team’s recommendation for anyone looking for a new training shoe as the weather warms up. The latest colorways of the shoe have a price point of $130. However, those released earlier this year can be had for a low as $85 on PUMA’s online store. This is, without question, a steal for such an excellent shoe.