SHOE: PUMA’s Run XX NITRO
WEIGHT: 46% lighter than standard EVA
ENERGY RETURN: 74-80%
Genders striving for equality have faced challenges over the ages, but as far optimally-fitting running shoes go, they can finally take a step closer.
Today, more females than males are showing up to distance races from 10Ks to marathons, a trend which has earned overdue attention from performance running shoe designers like PUMA, who are recently investing heavily in research, fit and design of footwear for women. In 2022 they released their for-females-only shoe, the Run XX NITRO.
Industry-wide, only moulds of the male foot were traditionally used to craft performance runners – even though one shape obviously doesn’t fit all. Women’s running shoes have simply been made as scaled-down versions of men’s, even though it is clear there have always been obvious differences in shape and proportions in the female foot compared to men’s.
For too long women have been a second thought and excluded from research, PUMA acknowledged, and responded by leading new product development in the industry so that women would be supported for their long runs equally. PUMA observed that even the scientific literature published about the biomechanics of running traditionally took its data from male athletes only.
Named after the double-x chromosome of women – Run XX NITRO is PUMA’s first shoe without an equivalent model made in men’s sizes. It is engineered from fit moulds from the female foot to enhance the enjoyment of women’s running experience and bring higher performance, comfort, fit, cushioning, and support underfoot.
Compared to their men’s moulds, female moulds created by PUMA feature heels, arch and instep that are more tapered.
Their new design for women will offer greater hold and support in these areas. Previously the old fits were likely too roomy, resulting in downgraded comfort and performance for women.
Women also average 70% of the mass of men. Women’s hip angle to the ground is also different and influences how their feet hit the ground – tending to pronate more than men.
When PUMA asked focus groups of women runners what they wanted, it was not surprising that most wanted stability, especially if their training saw them hitting 10 km distances or more.
PUMA engineered a newly-designed one-piece foam midsole component from their female fit moulds that is firm and light and establishes a base of cradling support that when tested by PUMA among female users, receiving an 81% preference score compared to a control shoe. Its shape and structure are designed to perform for pounding the pavement during a longer run. Its lightness is from the use of injected nitrogen in the making of its foam – giving it the NITRO name. Its firmness comes from high-quality raw materials, and a process that creates an optimum density that protects against impact by absorbing vibration, without feeling too soft. Overly bouncy materials can sometimes lead to runners overcompensating in response to the unstable sensation and cause them to stiffen against the feeling, running less efficiently versus fluidly, say some experts.
In the Run XX NITRO, women runners will find that the narrower heel hold and narrower fit at the arch and instep will keep them centred over the support base with a better chance for proper alignment. The shape provides a welcoming and comfortable feel without heel slippage, but a roomy toe box. It is also categorized as a stability shoe, meaning it limits side-to-side foot motion (aka pronation) with its features, including an external support rim component the PUMA designers dubbed “Run Guide.” It creates lateral stability because it wraps from the midsole up around the back of the ankle and down to the outsole. High-traction rubber will also take runners over wet pavement with confidence.
Run XX Nitro will be a fit also for women runners’ fashion sense whether they’re looking to grab attention on the running paths with bold statement colours or want to represent a classic aesthetic with neutral options.
Testing the Run XX NITRO became one of the industry’s biggest and most recent women’s running research undertakings, where in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Biomechanics Lab, PUMA studied the responses from 224 runners who logged more than 36,000 miles over eight weeks. In a huge majority, 81 percent of women in the study preferred the experience in the Run XX NITRO over the control shoe, citing responsiveness, stability and better fit.
The study is also part of PUMA’s big push to support women’s causes and events within the running space.
For instance, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Boston Marathon’s official opening of their women’s division, PUMA donated funds to Girls Gotta Run, an organization that invests in girls’ house running and education to empower themselves and communities in Ethiopia.
PUMA also launched a She Moves Us campaign to create content around how the brand’s female ambassadors were inspired to become who they are today. They also partnered with the global women’s fund Women Win, which utilizes port to advance gender equality. PUMA is one of the world’s leading Sports Brands, designing, developing, selling and marketing footwear, apparel and accessories. For more than 70 years, PUMA has relentlessly pushed sport and culture forward by creating fast products for the world’s fastest athletes. PUMA offers performance and sport-inspired lifestyle products in categories such as Football, Running and Training, Basketball, Golf, and Motorsports. It collaborates with renowned designers and brands to bring sport influences into street culture and fashion. The PUMA Group owns the brands PUMA, Cobra Golf and stichd. The company distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs more than 16,000 people worldwide, and is headquartered in Herzogenaurach/Germany. https://about.PUMA.com/
TECHNOLOGY & FEATURES SUMMARY
CUSHIONING: NITRO – LIGHT & RESPONSIVE Advanced foam technology providing superior responsiveness and cushioning in a lightweight package
FOOTSTRIKE GUIDANCE: RUNGUIDE A firm density rim, promotes proper alignment and keeps the foot centered through each stride
GRIP: PUMAGRIP – HIGH TRACTION RUBBER Durable rubber compound provides multi-surface traction.
FIT: A midsole engineered specifically for the female form
- Low boot construction
- Mesh upper
- NITRO Foam midsole
- PUMAGRIP high-traction rubber outsole
- Mesh tongue
- Lace closure
- PUMA Cat Logo at tongue
- PUMA Formstrip at medial side
- PUMA Cat Logo at toe
PUMA is one of the world’s leading Sports Brands, designing, developing, selling and marketing footwear, apparel and accessories. For more than 70 years, PUMA has relentlessly pushed sport and culture forward by creating fast products for the world’s fastest athletes. PUMA offers performance and sport-inspired lifestyle products in categories such as Football, Running and Training, Basketball, Golf, and Motorsports. It collaborates with renowned designers and brands to bring sport influences into street culture and fashion. The PUMA Group owns the brands PUMA, Cobra Golf and stichd. The company distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs more than 14,000 people worldwide, and is headquartered in Herzogenaurach/Germany.