What is the Best Shoes for Running?

A friend asked me recently what is the best running shoe to buy. I told her she asked the wrong person. I used to believe that there is such a thing as a “good” running shoes and some brands are better than others but I no longer believe in that. Apart from not believing in so call “branded” shoes, I also do not follow the conventional advice like a shoe is good for only XXX mileage. Cannot buy warehouse shoes because the foam will have dried up blah blah blah….. 

Most people I know will go for the 4 big brand Nike, Asics, New Balance and Adidas. In recent years my choice of shoes have been getting a bit erratic. If I am lucky to get preview shoes, I will wear them. Like this pair of Puma Faas  which was given to me by Puma in November 2014. 

At this point in time, I don’t know any other runners who wear Puma shoes. Me? At of todate, 2 years 5 months later, I have clocked 903 km in it – more than the usual life span of a typical running shoes. Look at its condition now. And I reckon it still good enough for another 100 km or so!

And I wear Skechers running shoes as well. Oh, at least I know one other runner who wears a pair of Skechers. And the only reason I started wearing Skechers was because I read good review about it and I found one going for a discount. But since then, I grown to like it and am now into my second pair after killing my first with over wear.

And just by looking at the above 2 photos, one can tell I really make full use of my running shoes but this last one has broken the record. Tadah! 1008 km on my Saucony 4! Saucony shoes have a reputation of not being very lasting. But I think I certainly got my money worth considering I bought it a discount in 2015!

So long story short. I am not the right person to ask about running shoes. Go ask the people at Running Lab or read the very detailed review of one of our top local runners.

Review – Puma Ignite Dual Bolt

So I finally got some mileage into the shoe. To be precise, slightly over 40 km in 1 week of running and in 4 different circumstances putting the shoes through its pace comprehensively.
dsc_1788
But before going into that, the mumbo jumbo or the technical specs from Puma:
  • ENERGY RETURN: IGNITE Foam midsole has exceptionally responsive, energy-returning qualities to help make you faster
  • FLEXIBILITY: Mesh upper and deep flex grooves at the forefoot provide flexibility
  • CUSHIONING: IGNITE Foam provides step-in comfort and an extremely comfortable feel
  • Breathable and flexible mesh upper
  • Gold upper with Usain Bolt signature
  • Reflective detailing for visibility
  • Lace closure for a snug fit
  • Articulated chevron grooves at midsole sides compress and rebound for extra power
  • Carbon rubber outsole at toe and heel for extra durability
 Of course one always learn to take all these specs with a pinch of salt. As they say, the taste is in the pudding. Ok I not going to eat the shoe but put it through the grinder.
Design & Fit: The shoe is very stylish although the gold top is too outlandish for me especially with the size 12 which makes it very loud and visible. And not having the speed to match the name on it, I feel a bit paiseh when wearing it. But it is really a very stylish shoe and looks more like those limited edition sneakers than a proper pair of trainer.dsc_1785
Like the 2 previous Puma shoes that I had and still have one of them, the heel counter was also just the right size. Not too long to snag on anything and not too low to cause abrasion even with sock liner on only. dsc_1786 The only issue I have so far is that somehow my right ankle bone rubs against the edge of the shoe and cause a hot spot. But is fine on the left foot which probably means either my foot are of unequal height or the outer edge of the shoes are not of equal height.
Other than this, the shoe fits really well. Snug. There was good toe width even for me with my Morton’s toe.
Weight: Coming in at about 500 gm for my size 12, I must say this is probably the heaviest shoes I have in a long long while. And the weight did affect my running although it wasn’t as bad as I initially thought it could.
Cushioning: As this is a traditional shoe meant for heel striker, it has real good cushioning. In fact I will go so far as to say I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed so much cushioning in a pair of shoes. Of course to be fair, I ran mostly in semi-minimalist shoes nowadays so the difference was very apparent.
Traction: So far I did about 40 km in this shoe covering a fairly wide range of surfaces covering asphalt, tarmac, pavement and light sandy road.  Grip is good all round. dsc_1787
Flexibility: Unfortunately the thick cushion sole means the shoe is not as flexible as I like. Understandably as this is a heel strike shoe, it is rather stiff in the middle but there is some sort of groving system between the toes and mid foot which provides for good toe off.
Water Proofing: The upper is covered by the painted gold upper which means that water will probably run off it and not go into the shoe. There are breathable mesh at the side below the gold upper though so that could be entry point for water if running through puddles. Unfortunately for the 4 runs that I did, although it did rained once, it was only for less than 5 minutes, hardly enough to even make the shoe or me wet. So no chance to test this out.

It has been a long long time since I worn a pair of 12 mm drop traditional shoe. For all the runs, I worn it in its original condition – no lock laces and with the original Puma insole. My first run in it was a 15 km easy run in the morning paired with a pair of double layer Karimmor socks. Other than the discomfort on the right ankle bone, the shoe felt fine except that I was always conscious of its heavier weight.

The second run was a relatively short 5 km interval of 8 x 400 metres. This time I pared it with a pair of Adidas sock liner.  The test was to see how responsive it was for higher impact run. I actually quite like the rebound that I get from the shoe. I think this is something that Puma has actively built into the shoe with the Ignite foam and the mid foot grove which gives it the push when toe off. However, me being used to flats or bare minimum for faster training runs, the weight of the shoes dragged me down and overall I clocked almost 3 – 5 seconds slower per interval set.

The 3rd run was again in the evening. This time I have on a pair of Reebok Zig Zag socks. But barely 2 km into the 8 km tempo run, the sole started to burn up. Was it the shoes or the socks?

I switched back to the Karimmor socks for the next 15km hill run and I had absolutely no problem with the foot. So it has to be the socks then. Anyway, the shoes felt really good with the extra bit of cushioning while going down the hill.

One thing I noticed about the Puma Ignite is that it does not have a final eyelets which allow one to do a butterfly lacing to prevent heel slipage,  I suppose the Puma people think that with its snug fit, there is no need for such a feature but it actually can help for those who tend to run with the foot almost vertical when striding.

Overall, due to the 12 mm heel to toe drop and weight, I wouldn’t wear it for long runs or marathons but like my 2 previous pair of Puma, this will be a good reliable training shoes which will probably last me a long long time. By the way, my Puma Fass has clocked more than 800 km and it is still as good as new. The Puma Mobium lasted 734 km so by that logic, I expect this pair of Puma Ignite Gold to last at least 900 km if not more!

Pro: Responsive. Well Cushioned. Snug Fit.

Con: Heavy. 12 mm heel to toe drop. Lack of last eyelet

This shoe review is made possible by the people from Puma Singapore

Date of Purchase: 9 September 2016

From: Puma Singapore

Price: Review Shoes

Races:

Total Mileage:

Retired:

 

First Look – Puma Ignite Dual Bolt

Wow and then silence. Even my colleagues when quiet when I showed them this shoe. I never have a gold colored shoe before. And certainly not one with the name of a world class celebrity runner printed on it. But this was what I was staring at when I unboxed the shoe after receiving it from the people at Puma.

The Puma Ignite is a 12mm heel drop shoe. This is by far the highest heel drop shoes I have in the past years, the next highest being the 8 mm Puma Faas. How will that affect my mid-foot running? Will I be forced to switch back to heel strike? Will it heat up in our hot humid weather? How will it fare on wet ground?

But all the questions will remain unanswered for the time being. One week after getting the shoes, I have still yet to find time to wear it out for a run. Not that I am not trying but I have yet to find time to photograph the shoe in its pristine look before putting it through the grinder.

Until such time, happy running.

Puma Night Run 2016

So the haze situation became better and the Puma Night Run went ahead as scheduled. This is the 3rd edition of the race and so far each year they have managed to host it at a different location. This year, the race moves to a brand new running location in Seletar – the first time that a pure running event has been held there.

Those of us who have run or cycle in the area previously will know that the area especially around the new aerospace hub can be super hot but fortunately for runners, the race starts in the event at 6 pm for the 12km and 7 pm for the 6 km. That effectively takes care of the heat. The staggered start time also means the majority of the 2 group of runners will not meet and the route will not be congested.

The only problem with this race is also the location. It is too remote and the runners can only take the shuttle service from Punggol MRT to the race site. There is no parking facilities and getting a taxi there and subsequently back out is a nightmare with the pick and choose attitude of our taxi drivers. Other than that, it looks like one of the perfect race.

14102807_1146151285433142_3660773959774469891_o

Photo Credit: Epalite of Running Shots

As per the past 2 editions, Puma has invited some celebrities to join in the run attracting the attention of their young fans though I must say a lot more runners were probably more interested in catching Pokemon than Stars.

Photo Credit Daniel from Running Shots

At the race village, Puma has thoughtfully provided entertainments with live concert, activities booth and food and drinks. Nice touch. The only puzzling thing was the lack of isotonic drinks along the route. In our weather, hydration is important especially as the race distance is 12 km.

Nevertheless, despite this small hiccup, kudos to Puma for daring to stage this race here and having something that is literally a breath of fresh air for runners more used to racing along the Marina Bay or East Coast Park.

I wonder where will they think of next? Pulau Ubin?

The Haze is back!

The haze is back!

And this weekend races looks to be in danger of getting hazed out.

First off the block is Puma with its advisory for the Puma Night Run on Saturday evening.

“If the overall Singapore 24-hour PSI falls between 100 to 200, PUMA Night Run Singapore 2016 will be converted into a 6km walk for both 6km and 12km categories. Flag off timing will remain the same. The haze situation will continue to be monitored closely leading up to the flag off. If the overall Singapore 24-hour PSI exceeds 200, PUMA Night Run Singapore 2016 for both 6km and 12km will be cancelled. Should the overall Singapore 24-hour PSI exceed 200 at 6pm, PUMA Night Run Singapore 2016 for both 6km and 12km will be cancelled and activities at the race village will proceed as plan.

Let hope this doesn’t happen. This will be the first running race at a brand new location and hopefully Singapore runners will get a chance to run here.

At this point in time of writing, the organizer of the Safra Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon to be held on Sunday 28 August 2016 has not make any announcement. Probably they either too busy with the state funeral of the late President, Mr Nathan or they figure they still have 1 more day to make any announcement. Again while I am not running this or covering the event, I do hope the race can carry on and not end up like last Sunday when a heavy downpour forced the cancellation of the NUS Run and a truncation of the MetaSprint Triathlon into a Biathlon.

Puma Night Run 2016 returns to a new location

When it comes to local races, inevitably one thinks of Marina Bay or East Coast Park. Occasionally we have  races at Sentosa or Punggol but Seletar Aerospace? The bikers are going to be real upset but yes the Puma Night Race now in its 3rd year is going to be at a brand new race site at Seletar! Taking participants along the fringe of the Seletar Airport and through clusters of preserved black and white colonial houses, runners can look forward to sights and sounds that are different from the usual cityscape at the first-ever run held at the industrial park, including the occasional takeoffs and landings of private jets.

Can’t believe that the last time I ran there was way back in 2008 when the Seletar still comprises of East & West Camp and there was only a small aerospace industry then.

“The PUMA Night Run series has always been known to incorporate an element of fun and thrill and we’re thrilled to bring the night race to a brand new location,” says Mr. Gabriel Yap, Head of Marketing PUMA Southeast Asia. “With new race categories and an interesting backdrop for this year’s race, we’re really excited and I’m sure participants will enjoy the experience we have installed this August!”

Not just a new route but new race categories. Early bird registration for the PUMA Night Run Singapore 2016 is now open and interested runners can sign up via www.puma-nightrun.com.sg. So what are you waiting for?