Kit Review: Puma FAAS 300
At 204g, the Puma FAAS 300 certainly is a lightweight trainer/racer – with a surprisingly lightweight price tag to match at just £65 recomended retail price. It would seem that sponsoring the fastest man in the world gives a manufacturer some freedom to develop a shoe that bucks the global price trend, throws splashes of outrageous colour to the shoe market and seeks design inspiration from 1970s steeplechase spikes.
I’m certainly a ‘less is more’ kind of runner. I’m a natural forefoot striker, but my feet are difficult. Put me in stiffer or more structured shoes and I land on the outside of my foot and I notice straight away that my shins are taking a hammering. A shoe too cushioned and I collapse on impact. I’ve been used to wearing racer/trainers since my athletics days, so I was thrilled to see a new lightweight shoe on the market. I was even more enthused when it fit like a glove, thanks to Puma’s KMS Sockliner. I love the styling and concept behind shoes such as New Balance’s Minimus range, but they don’t work with my foot shape.
Straight onto the treadmill and the FAAS 300 felt like running in socks. The fit was comfortable, the sparse weight welcome and the relatively soft midsole gave a surprisingly responsive feel. Since I am coming back from a knee injury, I use the shoes in the gym for strength and conditioning and for running drills and strides. Although far from flat, the heel to forefoot drop is less that 8mm, and feels less due to the overall low heel height of 24.4mm.
However, the shoe really performs best when taken out of the gym and into the realms of running drills and speed work. The responsiveness I noticed on the treadmill increased in the ‘real world’. Puma have kept things simple with the FAAS range. They use Rocker, Flex and Grove as the basis of their design. The Rocker gives the shoe a slight curved shape with the front curling up a little in order to provide a fast toe-off. The Flex groves across the mid and outsole give the shoe the flexible feeling, whilst being engineered to spring back into place – allowing what is essentially quite a soft shoe to act with a spring often found in a firmer midsole. The Grove is a slight cutaway in the heel designed to add stability on impact.
The FAAS 300 certainly isn’t for everyone. They are based around a slightly straighter last, although do still provide a generous toe-box. For anyone used to a stiffer, more structured or firmer shoe, these may well feel flimsy, unstable and oddly enough, lacking cushioning despite the softer feel. However, for neutral forefoot runners who want a go-to shoe for tempo sessions or shorter races, the FAAS 300 provides a grin-inducing option – particularly if you find it hard to get a comfortable fit in some of the other more ‘minimal’ shoes on the market.
Monday 2nd of April 2012