DISCLAIMER: Shoes were received from Puma South Africa and not returned.
While it’s easy for all the glory to go to the latest running super-shoes and their carbon-plated ilk, let it not be forgotten that the majority of runners are not out there racing for the win.
When lining up for a 10 km, 21 km or marathon here in South Africa, it’s clear that running is for all shapes and sizes, and for a lot of local runners, stability is the name of the game. Which brings us to the first of Puma’s Nitro line-up focussing on this - the ForeverRun Nitro.
It's easy to sleep on what Puma is doing in the running shoe space since not all the running gear shops stock it as an option. But their Nitro line-up, based on the nitrogen infused midsole, has been making waves. The ForeverRun Nitro is, yet again, a Puma shoe that does what it sets out to do really well.
A guidance system that works
Incorporating Puma’s new Runguide system, the ForeverRun Nitro is built to offer support and stability for runners, which during my three weeks of testing was certainly the case. It starts with the midsole which contains two layers of Nitro foam, the one in the centre being softer, surrounded then by a firmer rim.
What this does is guide your foot from heel to toe, allowing it to flow much better, especially if you have a tendency to overpronate. This is helped along by, amongst others, an asymmetrical heel counter and the insole raised on the sides of the heel, which locks in the heel without being overly restrictive. Even the insole contains extra padding in certain areas to assist support, alongside the raised edges around the heel.
The tricks do not stop there, with the ForeverRun Nitro providing a wide outsole for extra stability, extending quite a bit from underneath the foot. My size UK10 clocked 130 mm wide on the frontfoot and 106 mm on the heel, compared to its closest kin in the Nitro line-up, the Magnify Nitro (120 mm and 100 mm) and the Velocity Nitro 2 (115 mm and 94 mm).
The extra size of the midsole adds to the weight but less so than expected. At 306 g the ForeverRun weighs in below the Magnify Nitro’s 322 g, Under Armour’s Hovr Machina 3 at 354 g and surprisingly, even Adidas’ new and supposedly lighter Ultraboost Light’s 323g. So with stability the main focus of the ForeverRun Nitro, it competes really well in the weight department, but can’t compete with pacier shoes, such as the speedy Deviate Nitro 2’s 277 g or Adidas’ supershoe, the Adizero Adios Pro 3’s 272 g.
Pumagrip is used for the outsole, patterned, in my opinion, less grippy than other models, and it received a fair amount of wear on certain spots during testing. You can actually see the blue, softer Nitrofoam in certain areas through the outsole. While these bigger holes have received criticism for attracting small rocks, I never had to remove any debris, although the smaller holes did fill up with gunk.
As far as uppers are concerned, Puma's new Pwrtape system goes to work in helping to secure certain sections of the shoe slightly better. Is this noticeable on a run? Not really, which means it works, I suppose. These uppers are decently breathable.
On the road
I’ve got a tendency to overpronate and I could feel the shoes countering this starting from the heel when striking the ground. With the softer foam in the centre, the sides, as well as the medial rubber heelcage, cradle your foot to guide it towards a more central angle. This carries on to toe-off, with Puma not skimping on foam around the front foot, a problem on the Ultraboost Light.
For my tall frame and 92 kg weight, the cushioning was more than sufficient across the whole shoe, without being too absorbent or bouncy. The Nitro foam, of course, offers enough energy return and the ForeverRun can definitely go fast if you feel up to it.
After testing the ForeverRun Nitro, I went back to see how running feels in the Puma Magnify Nitro and Velocity Nitro 2, the ForeverRun’s closest rivals in the Puma line-up. What I immediately noticed was how much I missed the wideness of the sole of the ForeverRun, now requiring an more disciplined stride with the other models.
Two things that did bother me were the rather longish tongue that needed correcting when putting these on, while I also had a hotspot at the top of the foot on one of my first runs. This could have been due to overzealous lacing on my part, but from there I could not find a really comfortable secure fit. And that’s about that for critique.
ForeverRun for ever?
In my opinion, the ForeverRun Nitro might be Puma’s most appealing shoe for the South African market. While the US/UK market allows for runners to have both a training and race day shoe, a big part of the local market can only afford one shoe to do it all, especially with the cost of gear rising significantly over the past few years. With the ForeverRun Nitro, Puma did a great job in managing the weight of the shoe and their Run Guide System works a treat.
If it’s support, comfort and foot guidance you need during your runs, plus the ability to take on longer distances with a bit of pace, then the ForeverRun Nitro should definitely be on the shortlist. For R3200, you can go hunting for it in one of Puma’s brand stores or online.