Puma Fuse is a workout shoe that benefits from an association with Lewis Hamilton. However, far from being extravagantly overpriced as you might expect from that, Puma Fuse is actually an affordable gym shoe that can be bought without needing to be the highest paid driver in the world. So that's a plus.
Over the past decade or so, the functional fitness industry has exploded and with that, we’ve seen a surge in the release of gym shoes by well known trainer companies, constructed especially for the high impact activities that a HIIT class, CrossFit, or heavy weights sesh might bring. There is now a large number of worthy contenders vying for the title of best workout shoe.
Making shoes like this is not the same as trying to construct the best running shoes. They need to be stable enough for lifting, light enough to enable agility during sprints and gymnastics, and durable enough to take on heavy friction from rope climbs, burpees and the like. First came the Reebok Nano in 2011, then the Nike Metcon in 2015, and now Puma has gone and launched its first ever sneaker dedicated to functional fitness, the Fuse.
Boasting a low-slung design based on insights from Puma’s very own athletes, including Lewis H, these kicks focus on stability and shock absorption. How do they fare on the foot during workouts? We put them to the test to find out.
PUMA FUSE REVIEW: PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Puma’s Fuse gym shoe was launched in January this year and is available to buy now from the official Puma store in a choice of three different colourways (back, white, and black with pink accents), none of which are all that appealing, to be honest. Nonetheless, they can be picked up for a very decent price of £80 / $110.
PUMA FUSE REVIEW: DESIGN
First off, let’s get the negatives out of the way. Puma is known for having flair as a sportswear brand, with some designs earning it some serious credibility in the street fashion world. So that’s why we were a little surprised by the Fuse’s design. Yes, there’s some great construction going on in terms of support, but it seems like Puma was trying too hard to be cool when designing the Fuse and it looks a bit ‘busy’ as a result.
Our review shoe was the black/white/pink model, which probably chalks up one colour too many. When it comes to training, we’re all about minimal shoe designs, and there’s a lot going on in the Fuse. Saying that, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so we can’t score it too poorly in that respect. We just can’t help but feel the company has let itself down a little here. Keep it simple and you’re less likely to offend, is our motto.
The Fuse makes up for its frantic design with a nice solid construction. The shoes do a great job at ticking most of the boxes when it comes to features you’d expect from a CrossFit-style shoe, especially considering it’s the first model in this line. Take for instance the internal midsole, which features more shock-absorbing rubber than your bog-standard running shoe. This helps take away some of the impact during weightlifting and jumping exercises, which is always a massive bonus. Meanwhile, there’s PUMAGRIP technology on the outsole, which ensures top-notch traction for any activities that involve friction, like rope climbs. Overall, the design is practical but it’s not pretty.
PUMA FUSE REVIEW: SIZING AND FIT
Sizing and fit is something you’ll have to pay close attention to when purchasing a pair of Puma’s Fuse workout shoes.
Unlike the claims on the firm’s website that they boast a wider cut, these shoes are actually rather narrow in the midfoot. While not uncomfortable, this does mean that they fit slightly on the snug side. Puma recommends going up half a size for this very reason, but we’d suggest going up a full size if you’re the proud owner of wider-than-average feet.
PUMA FUSE REVIEW: PERFORMANCE
So how does Puma’s fresh Fuse shoe fare during a hot and sweaty workout session? Really well, is the answer to that question.
Function fitness shoes are known for sacrificing cushioning for stability, which can make them feel a little stiff. The Fuse, however, does a good job at offering balanced performance. For example, the shoe feels cushioned enough to support you on short runs and powerful bodyweight exercises such as jumping lunges, but not too much that they feel squishy. The lack of heel squish also works a treat during weight lifting, remaining stable while giving your feet that good connection with the ground - which is exactly what you need when you’re pushing a barbell that’s close to your own body weight towards the sky.
Another great feature is the four-millimetre drop on the heel. This is a lower-than-average heel rise but it really does help to keep you on your toes while still being stable enough to handle more dynamic movements. The toe box is notably wider, too. This is an advantage as this additional space gives your toes the freedom of movement they need for control and steadiness, while still having stability in the midfoot and heel.
Overall, you’ll find some impressive levels of performance in the Fuse, especially for the price.
PUMA FUSE REVIEW: VERDICT
Despite a narrow midfoot and a design that will make the minimalists of this world feel exceptionally uncomfortable, Puma’s first foray into the functional fitness shoe market is a corker.
At just £80 for the pair, these competent gym shoes represent awesome value for money thanks to their versatile design, which offers an all-rounded approach to fitness. There’s stability where you need it for lifting, and a good level cushioning that should see you get all the support you need for short runs. If you’re a fan of the eclectic and somewhat overbearing design, then you’re onto a winner.