Review: PUMA Calibrate Runner
The most innovative running shoe that we’ve seen released for 2020 is the PUMA Calibrate Runner. It is the first in the world to feature an XETIC sole developed by PUMA in conjunction with the scientists at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Design Lab. Read on for our World Exclusive up-close look and review of the Calibrate!
Here are the main technical specifications of the Calibrate Runner from PUMA along with a three dimensional look at its key features.
- CUSHIONING: XETIC smart cushioning proven through digital testing provides comfort and rebound under applied force
- STRUCTURE: Responsive structure in the foam minimizes landing impact to maximize comfort
- GRIP: Rubber outsole ground contact offers traction and durability without slowing you down
- Fully engineered knit upper for sock-like feel
- Woven sheer overlay at lateral side for strong support
- Flexible sock collar for easy slip-on and off
- Full lace closure for secure fit
- PU Foam midsole with re-curve shape
- XETIC technology at midsole
- Full coverage rubber outsole ensures ground contact and optimal grip
- PUMA Formstrip overlay at side
- Webbing pull loop at heel
While the futuristic visible technology of XETIC may look like 3D printing at first, XETIC is not made of plastic, it is foam. XETIC takes its name from “auxetic materials”, structures, which behave in a certain way when they are subjected to mechanical stresses such as compression. For XETIC, this means the cushioning provides an excellent comfort for all wearing occasions.
The Calibrate Runner’s functional pieces have been assembled by PUMA’s shoe designers into a brilliant, head turning package in a white and silver and black, bright green and silver launch colorways. Our test shoe was the style points-heavy white and silver combination that PUMA used for its digital marketing campaign of the shoe as seen in our pictures.
The XETEC sole is clearly the first part of the PUMA Calibrate Runner that is noticed. PUMA has emphasized it with a metallic silver finish that makes the sole look like something from the future. The openings in the sole add to this effect given that they are unlike anything ever seen in a trainer before. Flip the Calibrate Runner over and you can admire its translucent, ridged underneath area. We can see these being tricked in the future with oversized text such as PUMA sponsored soccer club or city names. Think a black and red AC Milan or turquoise and pink Miami edition of the shoe!
A form fitting sock enclosure sits atop the XETIC sole. The sides of the sock are made to stand out with a prominent reflective silver PUMA Formstripe over slightly hardened mesh areas with a clever gradient effect. The front area of the upper is pure PUMA woven fabric with a reflective PUMA Cat above the lacing area and a reflective strip below it. Both are in place for visibility during night time running.
The back of the PUMA Calibrate Runner isn’t overlooked and is quite well done. It is based on a white triangle-shaped piece of synthetic material in between the side webbing of the upper. A reflective PUMA Cat is placed at the middle of this area above an XETIC plate at the back of the sole. A silver pull loop is stitched at the top of the rear upper area of the Calibrate.
The PUMA Calibrate Runner is as much of a true to size shoe as we’ve ever seen. Therefore, we can unequivocally say that you should get it in your normal shoe size. The shoe does not stretch or expand with wear like some synthetics because its upper is a woven fabric.
Getting into the Calibrate Runner is simply and requires not lacing adjustment or pulling of the upper at the top of the foot. All you have to do is slip your foot into the sock opening and pull on the loop at the back of the shoe. Lace it up and you’re ready to get on the move.
The feeling of the PUMA Calibrate Runner on the feet is amazing. The upper wraps the feet like socks and accommodates every contour of them. The toebox is perfectly sized for medium width feet while the midfoot fit can be tweaked with lace adjustments. There are no loose spaces, hotspots or areas of slippage from the first wear to those after many miles of running.
The XETIC feels wonderful from heel to toe whether you’re walking, jogging or running in the Calibrate Runner. We’ll get into the ride of the shoe next!
Once on the feet and moving the Calibrate Runner feels like PUMA’s latest supershoe and proves that it is definitely a contender for every shoe of the year award out there.
The level of cushioning provided by the XETIC sole is absolutely amazing. The combination of the foam material and visible air pockets in the XETIC is perceptible via the bounce and energy return that is perceptible with each step. The shoe provides a natural feeling when running at the same time because of its responsiveness that is felt from toe-off to heel strike.
The PUMA Calibrate Runner’s XETIC sole also provides good flex that produces a good underfoot feel whether walking or running in the shoe. This makes the Calibrate a great shoe both short and longer distance runs. Our testers said that they can see themselves running marathons in it.
While the XETIC sole is the star of the ride provided by the Calibrate Runner, its knit upper plays an important part in the shoe’s running experience. This is because its wraparound, no slip fit stabilizes the feet at all speeds so that each step becomes a pure heel to toe event supported by the Calibrate’s cushioning and energy return-based response.
The high tech knit upper of the PUMA Calibrate Runner keeps the feet cool and dissipates moisture quite well. It is well-ventilated and does not retain any wetness at all. From what we can tell it is the latest iteration of PUMA’s evolving fabric-based material that was once called evoKNIT. Whatever its name is now the material makes you forget about the shoe on your feet even when running in the late summer heat. Combine the Calibrate Runner with a good pair of socks and you’d be amazed at how dry your feet emerge from tem after a run or workout.
We’ve also tried the Calibrate Runner out in some cooler September temperatures in the 60s. Needless to say, the ventilation is as good as ever. We’ll be trying them out in colder winter temperatures soon enough.
In the Gym
The stellar look of the PUMA Calibrate Runner makes you want to rock the shoe just about every and anywhere that you can. So we took it to our second home at the gym while hitting all of our upper body parts over the course of five days. The shoe performed like it was meant to be on the feet during every exercise from chest presses to shoulder press to biceps curls to TRX suspension training. Its support was second to none with excellent balance and footing.
It’s not a shoe for any leg work involving pushing (think legs presses) or calf raises. The XETIC sole is just too thick to provide the type of contact with weights or push off surfaces needed.
After a solid two weeks of wear over the course of thirty running miles and countless hours in the gym our PUMA Calibrate Runner still retains its unboxing look. We’ve been careful to avoid getting its wonderfully white upper dirty but that is bound to happen over time. The knit upper has retained its shape with the top of the bootie still extremely snug on the ankle.
The XETIC sole appears to be scuff resistant and shows zero signs of wear. Even the underfoot of the Calibrate remains in fantastic condition. We think that it is made of an anti-abrasion material that is built to last like the rest of the shoe. We expect to get at least two years of consistent use out of the PUMA Calibrate Runner based on our experience with it thus far.
Simply put the PUMA Calibrate Runner is brilliant from its stunning looks to excellent performance on the run, in the gym and for everyday use. It is the standout trainer on the market as we enter the Autumn of 2020. It comes in at a non-discounted pricepoint of $140 which is average for high end running shoes. Definitely check it out if you’re in the market for your next pair of running shoes!