Road Shoes

Shoe of the Week: Puma UltraRide

Puma's UltraRide delivers more than flashy, futuristic styling; this speedy shoe fits superbly and produces powerful strides.

Puma UltraRide Review

Weight: 8.6 oz. (M), 7.6 oz. (W)

Heel-Toe Offset: 12mm (24mm heel, 12mm forefoot)

Price: $90

Puma UltraRide road running shoe

Photo: 101 Degrees West

Top Line

A fast-day shoe, the UltraRide provides the powerful feel of a track spike with cushioning.

What’s New

Puma joins the plate war with a different take. Rather than one made of rigid carbon fiber, the UltraRide features a flexible TPU polymer plate that is thicker from heel to ball, where it bridges and supports, and thinner under the toes, providing flex and pop.

Puma UltraRide plate

The UltraRide’s TPU plate Photo: Puma

This Shoe is for you if…

You prefer a shoe that engages your feet in powerful push-offs and you don’t mind attracting attention.

First Runs

From the first run in the UltraRide, I was surprised and impressed. What looked like an attention-seeking gimmick turned out to deliver a unique and enjoyable ride that lures you into going faster. I ended that first run with a few pick up 200s, and have been reaching for these shoes every day I have a speed workout on the docket or just want to feel fast on a moderate-length run.

Fit: With all that is going on underfoot in the UltraRide, it might seem strange to start with talking about fit, but the fit is what you notice first. “Fit was the standout feature of the shoe, especially the midfoot security,” said one tester. “It felt like a cummerbund or girdle—maybe corset?—for the foot, and held soundly even on steep declines, which encouraged confidence to pick up the pace.” Forward of the secure midfoot, the toe box widens out enough to let your forefoot splay comfortably and flex with unrestricted power.

The upper fabric is a thin, see-through, breathable mesh that wraps flexibly but is not at all stretchy. Combined with strategic underlays that tie into the unique lacing system that spans the top of the shoe, it locks you securely down the to midsole—or, more accurately, to the plate that runs across the top of the midsole and bridges the large cut-out under the arch. That gap under the foot and the big cut-aways in the bottom of the sole allow for 360° foot ventilation and save weight.

Puma UltraRide cut-out bottom

Photo: 101 Degrees West

Ride: The combination of plate and light, bouncy midsole produces a distinctive ride. Directly under your foot, you feel the plate cradling and surrounding from heel to ball, providing a strong proprioceptive connection to the ground and a stable platform. Underneath the plate, a layer of bouncy EVA foam allows for smooth, comfortable touch-downs. That foam is rather thin, particularly in the forefoot, so don’t expect much squish and cush. Most runners won’t want to go very long in these either, but for short to moderate runs they provide what one tester called “a fine balance between feel and shielding.”

The shoe transitions quickly over the midfoot and loads the ball, where it flexes quite easily and then rebounds, enhancing the foot’s recoil and toe off. It’s not a fast-rolling shoe like the many rockered models on the market that try to get you off your toes quickly—instead, it encourages hip extension and long, powerful pushoffs. The ride works at any speed, but it shows off when you’re forward-balanced, over-your-feet, grabbing the ground and throwing it out the back.

One tester summed up his experience: “The UltraRide, even with its cutouts and plates and other novelties, flows smoothly through the gait cycle and provides excellent toe-off and snap. A fun and spry shoe, for sure.”

If you’re looking for something fast and airy for summer speed, the UltraRide is fun option, and, at $90, a relative bargain. The UltraRide will be available in the U.S. in June.

Puma UltraRide heel

Photo: 101 Degrees West

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