Puma Mobium: This one is a lightweight

I bought these pair of Puma partly because red is the colour of my running club, and because I was sold on the idea of running on minimalist shoes.

What I should have considered, however, prior to splashing out on a great-looking pair of Puma is my endurance as a distance runner, and the reputation of the brand.

Puma Mobium replaces the shank with the elasticised band for support and shape. Photo: ©GLUE/Holmes.cc
Puma Mobium replaces the shank with the elasticised band for support and shape. Photo: ©GLUE/Holmes.cc

If you are an accomplished endurance runner who are into your half-marathons or marathons, or a triathlete who needs a pair to train in, a minimalist pair might suit you. Your thighs and calves would have been strong enough to prevent you from succumbing to heel-strikes when you are feeling sluggish. Even so, I would recommend a pair of Adidas Adizero or Asics Lyte rather than a pair of Puma Mobium, to be safe.

Although the upper part of these Puma are soft and accommodating to a wide-footed runner like me, the female models are really of the normal B width, not D which is much wider in fit for women. My reservations, though, are not to do with the toebox, which fits snugly around my toes, or the heel counter, which is comfortable enough, given that the heel support, combined with the chassis, is designed to sit outside the shoes instead of within the upper material.

It is the minimalist mid- and outsoles that I find not particularly kind to my knees. Of course, specialist shoe sellers would advise beginners to start with generously cushioned models, but I purchased the Mobium with 5k races in mind. I expect to sustain my front footed strikes long enough more than halfway into a short distance race, and I also need a very light model for that end.

“What is there to say about the midsole?
Nothing. Because there is none.”

The Mobium caters to this need for speed by restricting the chassis to two stripes only, that are glued on either side of the shoes, with no seams whatsoever. That is very considerate. No seams to rub against my feet. However, the battering that my knees took after a few short-distance races meant I have to reserve my Mobium only for track sessions.

What is there to say about the midsole? Nothing. Because there is none. With Mobium, you have the outsole merged with the upper material. The heel drop is 4mm, give or take. Perhaps this is the way all shoes are going with their design: the chassis printed over – not sewn against the upper material – using nanotechnology inspired by biomimesis, with the heel drop going lower and lower. The Mobium offers expansion pods that Puma says looks like cat’s paw. But really, most running shoes for racing would have a similar wide distribution of blown runner pods on the front foot of the sole. But I’ll give Mobium a design credit: the model incorporates the black carbonised rubber cleverly into the pods, however, making the sole looks a bit feline.

A great-looking pair, no doubt. Photo: ©GLUE/Holmes.cc
A great-looking pair, no doubt. Photo: ©GLUE/Holmes.cc

As for the x-shaped Mobium band that holds the shoe’s elasticity, I can assure you that mine has not snapped yet. A runner did comment about the reliability of this rubberized band. Having said that, I much prefer the sturdy, if not boring, plastic or gel shank that major brands such as Asics, Brooks or Mizuno meticulously put halfway or across the sole of the shoe. It might not look as great as the Mobium band, but I know what support my arch when I overpronate like mad during my speedy scramble.

puma.com/mobium

Performance: ★★☆☆☆
Design: ★★★☆☆

All opinions are GLUE’s own, and that of a runner’s point of view, that are not related to any other brand’s interests.

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