|So close, yet so far away|
Before I get too far into my review, first a few words from Puma:
"The Faas 250 is super lightweight neutral racer for tempo runs and racing, inspired by the rhythm of the world’s fastest country — Jamaica. It’s constructed with BioRide Technology, an integrated system that gives you a more natural and responsive ride. The moderate rocker shape allows for a biomechanically efficient stride with an effortless toe-off. The flex grooves built across the tooling increase responsiveness while the groove in the heel reinforces stability on impact. "
There you go. I purchased the Faas 250's during an awesome sale (Heads up - Super Sale at Puma.com Expires Tomorrow (12/15)), so my investment was minimal. Also, after looking at the style of the shoes, I figured that, should they not be the racing flat that I desired, I could at least wear them as a fashionable casual shoe.
I wore these shoes only for their intended purpose - tempo runs and speed work. They never touched my feet on anything but, except for a day or two running errands. They went on runs raning from a 3 mile test run (my first run in them) to an 8-mile tempo run (more on how this turned out later in the review)
Weight: 6.7 oz.
Heel to toe differential: Not published - but the stack height appears to be slightly lower than a typical trainer, but this is far from "zero drop"
I love bright shoes. If you are running fast, nothing highlights a quick turnover better than bright colored shoes. All of the available color combos are bright (save for the black/grey), and Puma lives up to its strength as a "lifestyle brand" in design. Good for you.
|Despite the lack of "nubs" or "waffle pattern", these shoes weren't slick in wet conditions|
I wanted to so badly to like these shoes. When Puma announced how they were developing their distance running shoes, I loved that they indicated the amount of cushioning with the number behind "Faas". I knew what type of stride I would need to have if I wanted to run in these.
However - and it is a big however, these shoes are an absolute wrong fit for my foot. I've indicated in past reviews that my foot is narrow at the heel with a large forefoot, and these shoes would seem to fit an overall narrow foot much better. On any run longer than about 45 minutes I would get blisters on the inside of my feet below my big toe.
The width of the upper runs very uniform, midfoot to toe. I felt like my heel sat comfortably, but my midfoot felt loose and my forefoot was a bit cramped. I've found the roomy midfoot to be common in both racing flats that I have purchased (Brooks Green Silence Review). I have another pair on the way from a different manufacturer, so we will see how that works out.
The ride is, shall we say, rough. I have a pair of New Balance MT20 that have less cushion and ride closer to the ground, and my legs don't feel beat up at all after running in them. When I run the Puma Faas, my legs feel really beat up. My stride during a tempo run is towards the midfoot-forefoot, so I should be OK. Alas, the shoe is not very flexible, which is a key component to any shoe with minimal cushioning. The foot needs to be allowed to move so it can provide the body with the natural cushioning the foot-leg-hip system was designed for (just ask my friend the Barefoot Chiropractor). With a stiff sole and firm ride, this is not possible.
On the 8-mile tempo run I did in these: For one of my longest and fastest workouts of 2012, I did an 8-mile tempo run, which was set to be more of a progression tempo run. The Puma Faas 250 came along for the ride. I began at X seconds slower than 10k pace, and every ten minutes I stepped down 20-30 seconds a mile. I ended slightly slower than 10k pace. I then proceeded to take one full day off, and the day following some rest I did a short, easy run. Why? My legs were kind of mad, but I developed an intense blister - only the second blister I have developed in training for 8 marathons and several thousand miles in training runs. That does not bode well for this shoe - my feet have been great to me over the years.
And My Final Answer Is...
This is not a bad shoe. BUT, you will not see me wearing them for my tempo runs again (which won't dip under 45 minutes again until after a fall marathon this year), or any run for that matter. They are moving from my "running shoe harem" and will become casual shoes primarily. Not a bad buy for $25, but I would not buy them again.
If I had one bit of advice for Puma, it would be add more flexibility as your remove more protection from the shoe. That way the "system" can work more naturally. I can roll my MT20 into a ball, but there is not much give to the Faas 250's
Rating: 4 out of 10 - they could move up to a five with a better fit, and a 7 with more flexibility, but without those two, I'm afraid to say I would not recommend this shoe for even the most efficient runners.
Next Up: New Balance MR 00 - the minimalist/cushioned zero drop shoe on its way from New Balance.
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