Clinical Analysis of Running, Running Footwear, and Injury Prevention/Performance. The Doctors of Running, using knowledge of human movement, clinical biomechanics and performance, bring you cutting edge articles, reviews, and research reports.

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

Puma UltraRide Review

Matt: My first introduction to Puma running shoes was the FAAS line. This was a big push for Puma at that point and occurred long ago during my time working in running retail. Advertised by some fantastic commercials with Jamaican music and Usain Bolt, these proved to be unique shoes. Since that time, there have been inconsistent debuts of Puma shoes. Finally, 2021 is here and we are seeing some incredible Puma Nitro shoes coming along with new foams and plates (stay tuned for some incredible racing shoes coming). For those that find these a little pricey, Puma also has some running shoes that debuted quietly. One of them was the UltraRide, which we purchased prior to getting our hands on the Nitro line to see what Puma was up to. While an interesting budget shoe, the UltraRide didn't exactly match my mechanics (or the mechanics of most people for that matter).



Specifications (per Puma)
Weight: 8.6 oz  (men's size 9) not provided  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 26 mm / 14 mm
Drop: 12 mm
Classification: Lightweight Trainer





RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

Matt: The Puma Ultraride is a lightweight trainer featuring a TPU polymer plate, PROFOAMLITE and (EVA) and a narrow performance fit. Those with stable mechanics and narrow feet will enjoy the snug fit and tapered toe box. A cut out under the midfoot reduces weight while a TPU plate that is thicker in the midfoot and more flexible in the forefoot helps with a forward transition. The EVA and plate work well when picking up the pace, but the sole is not the most stable due to the narrow outsole and midsole design. A nice attempt for Puma that can be found for $50, but some biomechanical errors keep this shoe from being as good as it could be.




FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

Matt: The Puma UltraRide fits slightly short in my normal men's size 10. This is secondary to a thick toe guard and a tapered toe box. The upper is a thin and very breathable open mesh with both over and underlays. These underlays around the toe box and the puma logo overlays are very noticeable and make the upper feel thicker than it is. The midfoot and heel are fairly normal to slightly snug in width, while the forefoot is fairly tapered. The addition of the thick guard makes this feel even narrower, so those with normal to wider width forefoot will feel like your toes are being squeezed. There is both a heel counter and an external heel cage, which makes the rearfoot very stiff. For those with sensitive heels, this shoe may not bee a good idea. The tongue is free floating and is very thin. It sits very high up and I noticed that when wearing socks it pushed into the anterior aspect of my ankle. This caused some chaffing when I tried to take this shoe up to 8 miles (not a great idea). The internal aspect of the mesh is very rough. I made the mistake of attempting to run sockless in this shoe and resulted in a great deal of discomfort after only a mile, so I highly suggest at least a thin pair of socks with the Puma UltraRide.




PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

Matt: The Puma UltraRide has a ride that is good up front and rough in the back. The PROFOAMLITE EVA is actually slightly soft and has some bounce to it. The ride in the forefoot is a bit stiff thanks to the forward aspect of the TPU plate. This feels better running at higher speeds as it engages better. The toe off feels nice and snappy, providing a little pop when you push off. There is some toe spring, which does help with the transition forward despite being a bit stiff. The midfoot is problematic. The "bridge" system of the plates creates an empty space in the midfoot below the plate that collapses under the foot as you transition here. There is no joint in the midfoot like this, so it feels like the shoe bottoms out every time you transition over this part. This is noticeable and has slowly progressed as the shoe has broken in. The heel is also fairly bulky and clunky. Although there is a heel bevel, it is fairly small and aggressive. Despite this bevel, heel landings feel very clunky. The plate does not start until farther forward, so landing feels soft initially on the PROFOAMLITE, then abruptly hits the plate. This is likely due to the fact that the plate sits right below the foot.




     There is a 12 mm heel drop that feels a bit lower (10mm) but is still very noticeable. This adds to the clunkiness, as most of the weight of the shoe is situated in the back. So for those that land a little farther forward, this shoe will work better. For easy runs this shoe felt very clunky and borderline uncomfortable. For uptempo efforts it started to feel a bit better, but since I tend to land farther back it was still clunky. It wasn't until I started to really pick up the pace with intervals that the shoe felt smoother. Getting off the forefoot feels great, but as soon as fatigue kicks in and I start landing farther back, it feels clunky. The durability of the outsole is actually quite good. I have almost 30 miles in my pair and have only some slight wear on the posterior lateral heel. The midsole is holding up quite well. However the plate is continuing to relax, which is increasing the collapse at the midfoot. So good outsole durability, not great plate durability.




STABILITY

Matt: The Puma UltraRide is very much a neutral shoe. However, there are a few elements that add stability in certain areas. The plate does add some torsional rigidity to the shoe (even if it splits in the midfoot). At the heel, there is a large amount of medial and lateral sole flare. Combined with the stiff heel counter and TPU external heel counter, the heel is very stable (to the point of clunkiness). The forefoot, with the TPU plate (that does have flex grooves in it) has a very smooth stable progression forward. The flex grooves in the plate do seem to emphasize forward motion in the front. However, the midfoot is not very stable. The extremely narrow midsole underfoot combined with the collapsing plate provide a very poor transition forward. The torsional rigidity of the plate somewhat compensates for this, but overall the midfoot is not a stable place to transition through.





THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Matt: The Puma UltraRide features a TPU plate with what they call a "dynamic bridge" design. This involves the plate traveling from the anterior midfoot to the forefoot, with a cut out for the midfoot. The challenge with using a TPU plate is that even when brand new, it is not strong enough to prevent this design from creating a flex point in the midfoot. This is VERY evident when running and even more when bending the shoe. The plate clearly flexes right in the middle of the "bridge." This is an even worse version of the old trusstic systems with a no ground contact midfoot. While the Puma UltraRide has a full ground contact outsole, the lack of materiel under the midfoot means that this rather flimsy plate collapses and attempts to create extreme motion where there are no joints for sagittal plane (front to back motion). I have discussed previously that this is a risk factor for those with sensitive plantar fascia or midfoot joints, again given that instead of working with the body's natural joint motion, you are forcing motion into a place it doesn't normally move. This will not be noticeable for anyone sprinting or landing very far forward on their forefoot. Unfortunately over 70% of the running population lands at the rearfoot first. So this shoe is not a great option for a majority of people.




RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: The biggest offense here is the bridge design. This causes a flex point in the midfoot, which may be troublesome for a large population of runners. Also it is a major biomechanical flaw. That needs to be changed. Plates are better when they are embedded in the midsole. So my suggestion is to fill in that midfoot. Secondly, I would widen the midfoot. As mentioned above, the midfoot is unstable due to the narrow platform. I would widen it just a bit an make a more consistent width last for the shoe. The toe guard is also way too thick and is extremely uncomfortable. I have only been able to do one run to 8 miles in this shoe and it resulted in blisters on my toes. The toe box is narrow and not in a good way, so working on some better material and shape up front would be helpful. The tongue is a little too long and thin. I would shorten this and round the edges a bit to make sure it doesn't dig into the foot. Finally, the heel is very clunky. With the heel counter, external heel cage and large amount of foam in the rearfoot, the shoe feels like it is weight posteriorly. That kind of weighting is very unpleasant when trying to run fast, which basically defeats the purpose of this shoe. Puma has some great potential here and I am seeing it already in the Nitro line, but the UltraRide has a long way to go.




WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

Matt: The Puma UltraRide is a lightweight trainer for those who land at the forefoot, have narrow feet and want a smooth toe off for uptempo or interval paces at a discount price. For anyone else, this is not a great shoe. The narrow fit combined with a heavy toe guard, irritating tongue and overly stiff heel counter/cage made for an uncomfortable fit for me. The ride is extremely clunky at the rearfoot and midfoot. The midfoot "bridge" collapses and creates a flex groove where should not be one. This shoe is one that those with a history of midfoot or plantarfasciitis issues should avoid. So an absolute fail in the biomechanics department. The plate design in the forefoot is interesting and the forefoot ride is the only good thing about this shoe (other than the fact that you can buy it for $50). For most people, I would highly suggest looking at the Speed 500 2 as a lightweight trainer instead. It has a full ground contact outsole, better upper, a similar weight (8.9 oz men's size 9) and a really nice split proplate design. It currently is not that much more expensive, yet is a significantly better shoe in every way. Especially in the biomechanics department. The Puma Nitro series looks fantastic and we are excited to get our hands on them, but some serious work needs to be done on the UltraRide if it is to continue to version 2.





GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Matt
Fit: C- (Narrow fit, uncomfortable toe guard and tapered forefoot. Excessively stiff heel counter. Breathable though...)
Performance: C (Extremely clunky heel, collapsing midfoot. Toe off is really nice. Better for uptempo efforts) 
Stability: B- (Plate and measures in heel provide good stability. However midfoot bridge collapses and narrow midfoot midsole unstable) 
DPT/Footwear Science: D- (I would give this an F if not for the flex grooves in the forefoot TPU plate. Horrible midfoot collapse of "dynamic bridge"  Extremely bad idea for anyone with sensitivity at the midfoot or a history of plantarfasciitis, Borderline posterior flare with poorly placed heel bevel) 
Personal:  C- (One of the more uncomfortable shoes I have run in, will be better if you land farther forward) 
Overall: C- (Clunky heel, uncomfortable/poorly thought out midfoot, narrow stiff upper. Saving grace is a nice forefoot transition and heel stability, but that's about it.)              


Thanks for reading!

FURTHER READING

Compare
Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0:
Third edition of Reebok's affordable trainer continues to impress
ASICS Hyper Speed: Huge value racing flat returns for Asics
Saucony Ride 14: The constant cruiser returns with quiet improvements
GoRun Razor + Hyper: Light, nimble and hugely versatile

Recently at Doctors of Running
Saucony Freedom 4 Q&A
Podcast Episode 36: Karhu's Jordan Kinley on the Past, Present, and Future of the Brand
Jaunary Roundup: News, Updates, and More
Saucony Freedom 4 Full Review


TESTER PROFILES:
Dr. Matthew Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up. IG handle @kleinrunsdpt

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased for 50% off their full US retail price  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Like and Follow Doctors of Running
Facebook: Doctors of Running Youtube Channel: Doctors of Running 

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!

Bottom Ad [Post Page]