Review: PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow
The groundbreaking PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow is now in limited release. The ultra-advanced running shoe is expected to be available at PUMA’s online store in the near future. Read on for our World Exclusive up-close look and review of the Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow!
PUMA has thrown the best of their existing running shoe tech along with several new innovations into the Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow. Here are the key technical features of the shoe from the sportswear giant’s factsheet on it.
- NITRO Elite: Premium performance foam technology that provides pinnacle responsiveness in an extremely lightweight package
- PWRPLATE: Innovative carbon composite plate designed for maximum energy transfer and optimized running efficiency
- PWRTAPE: Targeted upper reinforcement for support and durability
- PUMAGRIP-LT: Lightweight, high traction rubber compound designed for the ultimate race-day performance
- Sock-like fit
- Mono-mesh upper
- TPU heel fin
- Best for: Neutral pronators
- Heel-to-toe drop: 0mm
- Cushioning level: Max
- PUMA Formstrip on the lateral side
The design and aesthetics of the PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite is unlike anything that has ever been seen in a running shoe before. PUMA design team has single handedly created a look that is certain to be emulated. At the same time, its components introduce a series of new footwear technology features that are sure to be seen across footwear genres.
The Fast-R NITRO Elite’s launch colorway is a combination of what PUMA describes as Sun Stream and Sunset Glow. The result is called Fireglow because of the flamelike look produced. This alone is extremely eye-catching and certain to elicit stares and questions from admirers wherever you wear these kicks!
The upper on the PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite is the lightest that we’ve seen on a shoe. It is made of a thin yet sturdy mono-mesh material with key areas on its inside and outside reinforced with steps PUMA’s new PWRTAPE. The PUMA Formstrip is placed on the outside of the upper in black and gray while the unmistakable PUMA Cat logo is applied on the area of the upper above the where the big toe sits. TPU fins are placed on the outside heels of the shoe. These come in handy for slipping the kicks off.
The tongue on the Fast-R NITRO Elite is slightly angled to the outside of the foot. We’re not sure if this is for aesthetics or function but it looks brilliant. The tongue itself is relatively thin but offers a perfect level of padding that lets you feel when the lacing system is tightened to your liking. The tongue / lace assembly is a clever loop system outlined with a strip of synthetic that is extremely responsive to even slight adjustment in tautness.
The key and most visible part of the PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow is its groundbreaking two part sole.
While the sole is built for functionality its gradient color scheme is an important part of the Fast-R NITRO Elite’s spectacular look. PUMA’s design team has thrown in contours and ridges for what we think can best be described as a muscular look. It is also cleverly slimmed at its front and rear to minimize weight.
The Fast-R NITRO Elite sole is made of PUMA’s world class NITRO Elite foam as its name might indicate. The company’s new energy-maximizing PWRPLATE composite plate midsole and also new PUMAGRIP-LT lightweight, high traction rubber outsole make their first debuts via the Fast-R NITRO Elite .
The PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow is as true to size in fit as a running shoe comes. Therefore, we suggest getting it in your normal training shoe size.
Slipping on the shoe is intuitive and effortless with your feet feeling like they are gliding into them from the first wear. Some adjustment of the laces is necessary to get the degree of tautness that you prefer. Once done you’re ready to break the Fast-R NITRO Elite in.
The shoe’s upper provides the much-desired running shoe sock-like fit with no hotspots or unwanted rubbing. There’s no padding but the upper is extremely comfortable. We think that the supporting PUMA PWRTAPE helps with it feeling so good on the feet.
The PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow is tempting to take off running with off the bat because of its high comfort level. We recommend a one-day break-in instead because of the shoe’s unique forefoot.
As seen in our pictures, the sole at this area of the shoe is thinner than on most modern trainers and designed for a quick toe push off. This results in heel to toe strides that do take a little getting used to ever for walking. The feel is indeed novel but is one that you can get used to from wearing the PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite for everyday activities or at the gym.
Our tester finished our break-in with a 400m treadmill walking warm-up followed by an easy 800m run at a 10-minute mile pace. Once done he said that he was ready to run a 5 miler in them.
On the Run
Our tester ran distances ranging from 5 km to 10 km in the PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite over a two-week period after breaking the shoe in. The runs were on concrete paths, rubberized tracks, and treadmills. Here’s what he experienced in them along the way.
Cushioning and Support – The cushioning and support provided by the sole of the PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow is the best that we’ve seen in a running shoe for 2022. PUMA has used its lightweight yet very propulsive NITRO Elite foam to create soles that cushion the feet while molding to them with each step. The molding effect is from the heel to the toe and is perceptible with every stripe in the Fast-R NITRO Elite.
The sole support gives great shock absorption for the knees and lower back when running. At the same time you definitely feel a good degree of energy return on your toe-off and after your heel hits the ground.
Weight – The PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow that we tested weighed 7.5 oz. for the US men’s size 10. This is definitely on the lighter side thanks to the shoe’s low weight material. As such it is a great shoe for faster runs, speed work, or long runs up to marathons where lightweight shoes provide an advantage.
Our tester likened the feel of the Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow to being barefooted above its bouncy sole.
Ride – Each step with the PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow is comprised of a heel strike in which the energy returned by the sole is very perceptible, a midfoot strike that feels like a well-supported roll forward, and a minimal toe strike. The extra push-off and sole energy transfer of the Fast-R NITRO Elite can definitely be felt with each stride as the shoe lives up to its billing of being extremely responsive, propulsive and providing maximum running efficiency and stability. While these kicks are good for walking they are built for and best experienced on the run. Using them for anything less is underutilizing them!
Ventilation – The lightweight mono-mesh, PWRTAPE-supported upper of the PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow works well at keeping your feet cool on the run. Our tester ran in the shoe in temperatures ranging from 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit without any discomfort because of heat or moisture. The thin material used for the upper dissipates moisture quickly to keep your feet dry on the move like PUMA’s high end soccer boots do.
Our pair of the PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow shows no sign of wear even after 40 miles of running. The upper holds its shape remarkably well despite being ultrathin while the sole is quite scuff resistant and has not lost any noticeable amount of its rubberized outsole. The upper is extremely easy to clean and requires nothing more than a wet cloth for wiping debris off with. We expect this shoe to withstand every day running use for at least a year.
In the Gym
The PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow transitions well from gym workout to runs and vice versa. It provides good stability and support for every upper body exercise that we tried with it. This included standard weightlifting moves with dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells along with TRX suspension trainer, battling rope, and machine exercises.
We recommend against using the Fast-R NITRO Elite for leg exercises and sled pushes. The shoe’s sole is too thick to give you the flat-footed surface contact that you need to properly and safely execute these training moves. A cross training shoe such as PUMA’s new Fuse 2.0 is better suited to working on your legs in the gym.
The PUMA Fast-R NITRO Elite Fireglow is definitely a shoe to consider if you’re looking for a new pair of running shoes. It is suited for runs of any distance up to a marathon’s 26.2 miles and for cadences ranging from speed work to slower, long runs at slower paces. The Fast-R NITRO Elite’s technology is the latest and greatest in the running field and will definitely make its way into future PUMA releases. Be on the lookout for its upcoming drop!