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by Michelle Carnegie
28 August 2017

The PUMA Ignite NETFIT shoe landed on my desk for review exactly one day before a scheduled 10km race. I’ve been running too long to make the mistake of running in brand new shoes. But the shoe felt so great on, and of course looked fabulous! The temptation was just too great. Race morning I slipped them on, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Think broad, and then add some more. Those are my feet. Add into the mix a bunion on my right foot, and you have a recipe for frustration when it comes to finding the right pair of running shoes. I’ve been running in the same shoe brand for a couple of years as they are the widest on the market, but even with these I sometimes still struggle with a bit of a tight feeling across my feet, especially over longer distances. The shoes actually eventually end up tearing on the sides where my foot is the broadest.
So when the Global Sports Brand PUMA recently introduced its Ignite NETFIT with a unique lacing system where you can literally lace the shoe the way you like it, I was very interested to find out what this shoe is all about. And after all, my hero Usain Bolt wore shoes with NETFIT technology at the recent World Championships held in London.
The Look
Say what you want, most runners can’t resist a good-looking running shoe! And did PUMA get it right with this shoe. It truly is a very cool looking shoe, and at first I actually considered just wearing them as everyday sneakers. The shoe has a sock-like upper with a nylon fish netted mesh that wraps around the entire shoe, which makes it looks fantastic. I had loads of compliments as I walked around in them the day before my race.

The Lacing
Simply put, you basically lace this shoe the way you like it. The lacing system offers five different strategies: Wide foot lacing, standard lacing, narrow foot lacing, stability lacing and heel support lacing. But the beauty is you can do whatever you want. Maybe you are like me, and have wide feet, then keep the lacing narrow by starting at the first button hole, and lace down as close as possible to the eyelet-stay. This helps to provide a lockdown that secures your foot to the platform, help reduce irritation points, and allows extra room. Maybe you have narrow feet, then you begin at the first normal lace position, then extend the lacing, keeping it close to the outsole to create a wider lacing option. There is a lacing system for each and every type of foot/runner. The great thing is you can play around until you find the fit that works for you.
The Feel
The day before my race I just walked around in the shoes and they felt super comfortable, but as we all know the proof is in the running, so the next morning – race day - I slipped them on. Despite their comfort I was definitely hesitant running a race in a brand new pair of shoes without even having run a kilometre in them. Though it was only a 10km race, I knew that shoes could sometimes hurt you so badly that you need to stop in your tracks. The only thing that bothered me about the shoes was the ‘collar’ of the stretchy type sock. I was quite aware that it was rubbing against my heel when walking, so race morning I wore a longer pair of socks that seemed to sort this out. I learnt later that one could also turn the collar down, which I have since done on some of my runs.
Throughout the race I kept on waiting for the moment that my feet would start hurting or get tired because of the new shoes. But it never happened. My feet felt super comfortable and I did not experience any feeling of tightness across my broad feet as I usually do in the first couple of days with other new shoes. When I took the shoes off after the race, there was no redness across the broadness of my feet as I usually have, which means the shoe was definitely wide enough for my feet.
The Technology
Off my feet the shoe bent easily, and it snapped back just as easily. PUMA’s EverTrack outsole rubber gives durability and traction from heel to toe, with flex grooves allowing for full flexibility at toe off. PUMA’s proprietary PU foam is a soft bouncy high-energy return material. The outsole definitely has enough traction and is built to last. The heel is reinforced by PUMA’s TPU Heel clip, locking the heel into the platform of the shoe for ultimate stabilization. The shoes felt great under the soles of my feet.
The Verdict
Since my 10km race I’ve done a couple of training runs in these shoes, with my longest run in them being 15km. I felt there was enough cushioning in the shoe when out on this longer run. The thing I love most about these shoes is the obvious, I can lace it the way I like it and it gives me the room I need. More so, I love the fit of the shoe, your feet feel snug and comfortable. And of course it is a really - and I mean really - cool looking shoe. You can also be quite creative with these shoes, as you can choose different colour laces, widths and styles to customize your shoe. Mine came with light blue laces, which I absolutely love. The PUMA website makes it easy for you to see how to lace the shoes, so you can’t really go wrong.
Available at PUMA stores and selected retailers nationwide.
R2 599 (Women) R2 799 (Men). 

Article Keywordspuma ignite netfit

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