Puma FAAS 500
Puma's FAAS 500 running shoe combines all mod cons with an aesthetic appeal
Last Updated: August 17, 2011 4:20pm
Given most people take up running when they discover they've more spare tyres hanging over their belt than in the boot, it's no surprise that the phrase 'all the gear no idea' has become synonymous with wheezing joggers the world over.
As someone who's in the fortunate position of being sent all manner of sporting gadgets and equipment to test it's fair to say I often fall into that very trap when I take my daily/weekly/monthly (*delete where appropriate) run.
Which is why on receiving Puma's new FAAS 500 running trainer I was the proverbial pig in manure. On first viewing they don't appear to have been conceived in one of NASA's laboratories and are as close to a lifestyle shoe as you're going to get.
Inspired by the world's fastest athletes, the Jamaicans, the Puma team have taken a similarly laid back approach in their design. That said, it's far from slip-shoddy - as you would expect it's all clean lines and complementary colourways - but rather they're not laden with gadgetry that so often, in all reality, is superfluous.
That's not to say the technology isn't there (it is and more of that later) but rather Puma have decided against showing it off. In their own words they've removed 'bells, whistles, and traditional running shoe reinforcements' to better reflect the Jamaicans' simple approach to running. On a purely aesthetic level it works a treat.
Were you to wear a pair of FAAS 500s to the supermarket you wouldn't feel compelled to tell the checkout worker you'd come straight from the gym to excuse your Sideshow Bob-sized footwear.
Enough of the vanity. The technology of the shoe is what really sets it apart from the competition; combining as it does technology which has 3 integrated parts - Rocker, Flex, and Groove.
The rocker part, which as someone who suffers from sore feet after running I definitely noticed, allows the foot to find its natural rhythm. As it's shaped like a rocking chair it means the centre of gravity is focused more towards the centre of the shoe rather than the heel; thus preventing the latter from taking a pounding on impact. It proved a God-send for me.
The flex element to the shoe 'allows your foot to flex naturally as you roll off through your forefoot, giving you added responsiveness that you don't get with traditional running shoes' and from a layman's perspective I had no complaints on this score.
Likewise, the groove element might not give you the rhythm of a Jamaican but its aim is to give the runner maximum cushioning. While running, the material along the Groove is free to compress according to your natural footstrike. Again, in terms of comfort it delivers on all counts.
Puma have pulled off somewhat of a masterstroke with the Puma FAAS 500 in combining all mod cons with an aesthetic appeal that will entice the casual runner, loath as they habitually are to shell out decent money for crap looking trainers....