Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat Review Facts
While they may not have the same level of acclaim as some of the most popular athleisure brands, Puma has a dedicated following of individuals who appreciate what they have to offer. This urban brand is known for designing visually appealing products that also provide a high level of performance, making them ideal for athletic individuals with an eye for fashionable apparel. The Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat is a running shoe very similar to another product that they have released in the past with one major difference: they have been enhanced with reflective materials in order to increase safety by improving the wearer’s visibility in low-light environments.
Puma designed the Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat’s outsole as an effective footwear component that offers performance
comparable to popular products from other brands while showcasing a visual style that is fundamentally different from said brands. Referred to by the manufacturer as EverTrack+, this design is intended to provide high-performance features, such as a quick toe-off, without adding a great deal of weight to the rest of the shoe as a consequence. Some elements have been added to other parts of the shoe in order to further enhance the benefits of its underfoot, creating a consistent and cohesive package to the benefit of serious runners.
The most common implementation of a midsole in traditional running shoes simply involves adding several millimeters of EVA foam, usually compression-molded for the purpose of cost efficiency, so that the wearer’s foot has some cushion
and springiness. With the Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat, however, considerably more effort was put into its design. This shoe’s midsole offers two layers of density in order to ensure the dual benefits of underfoot protection and lightning-fast responsiveness. Thanks to the top layer of Ignite technology, wearers will spend less time touching the ground as its responsive material promotes a much faster running cadence. Furthermore, rubber elements around the forefoot enhance the aforementioned responsive properties of its outsole, creating a Propulsion Zone for even greater energy efficiency and speed.
The impressive and high-performance technology isn’t limited to the bottom half of these Puma shoes. Thanks to their use of evoKNIT material, the Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat has an upper with excellent stability and a very comfortable fit. This level of comfort can even be achieved without wearing socks
, which can come in handy when running in extremely warm weather conditions. Another impressive element of this shoe’s upper design is its water-repellent coating, which will prevent moisture and dirt from accumulating on top of it. However, the most obvious and high-profile feature that was added to this version of the Speed 500 Ignite’s upper is the reflective elements that improve visibility when natural light is absent.
The Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat may have plenty of impressive features built into its design, but they all come with a major caveat. As a result of all these technological implementations, these shoes weigh a bit more than the average running shoe. Ordinarily, this would come at the expense of a shoe’s responsiveness, since increased weight
inevitably leads to increased effort in order to drive the wearer’s next step forward. However, the midsole and outsole combine forces to offset any such issue, causing the wearer’s response times to drastically increase instead. Ultimately, the extra weight is well-used and shouldn’t be noticeable for the vast majority of runners, although those who are used to lightweight Nike products will likely feel the difference.
The material used for the Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat may offer high resistance from moisture
, but it does allow for air to circulate throughout the inside of it without much resistance. This is due to the predominantly knit material that it is made from, which naturally lends itself to high breathability. This is an important and extremely necessary design aspect since these Puma running shoes are intended for use in sprinting and general speed work. A shoe designed with such an emphasis on speed will need to maintain a comfortable internal temperature since the strain placed on the runner’s body when sprinting can lead to overheating without it.
Although it may not be explicitly mentioned in their sales copy as a focal point in their design, the Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat places considerable emphasis on providing the wearer with a comfortable ride. Starting from the top, the upper portion of these shoes has a molded DSC Supreme sock liner intended to supplement the evoKNIT external design in a manner that mimics the same level of comfort as a soft pair of socks, even while the wearer is barefoot
. The midsole offers decent comfort as well thanks to its dual-density EVA design, allowing it to provide cushioning and high responsiveness without sacrificing the effectiveness of either. Finally, the outsole encourages a comfortable run by ensuring decent flexibility and traction without going overboard and potentially leading to injury.
The most obvious comparison to Puma’s style is Adidas, although many of their products and stylistic accents are reminiscent of Nike
as well. Strangely, Puma’s products aren’t as popular or widely recognized as these two brands despite having a great deal in common with them. This may be because these two athleisure titans beat Puma to the punch, forcing them to play catch-up instead of trying anything new. With the Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat, this unfortunate fact still applies, meaning that their visual style tends to look derivative. However, there are elements that help these shoes to define themselves from their competitors, such as the impressively intricate design work that went into their outsoles. Additionally, the reflective elements added to this version of the Speed 500 Ignite ensure that their style is an important safety feature as well as a fashion statement.
The average running shoe will last the wearer somewhere in the range of 150-200 miles before needing to be replaced. In the case of the Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat, however, its lifespan is slightly longer due to a few design factors. One is the use of waterproofing for the evoKNIT upper, which will significantly increase the length of time in which these shoes can be used. The second is the dual-density midsole, which offers a large portion of reinforced cushion as well as a smaller top layer for increased responsiveness. Finally, the outsole for these shoes offers considerable reinforcement against ground hazards, and the multiple plates provide increased flexibility that improves its resistance to cracking.
Usually, a shoe that provides high durability will also offer excellent protection for the wearer’s feet. The Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat is no exception since its many durable properties also naturally lend themselves to foot protection. As previously mentioned, the evoKNIT upper’s waterproofing does a fantastic job of protecting the wearer’s feet from being exposed to the elements. Additionally, the reflective accents added to this version of these popular Puma running shoes ensures that the wearer is protected from pedestrians and drivers if they choose to run at night
since these accents will improve their visibility. Finally, the resilient and versatile outsole/midsole combo will protect the underside of the wearer’s feet from any harmful debris.
The downside to any running shoe with a great deal of weight is that it tends to comparatively suffer when it comes to responsiveness. A heavy shoe is going to take longer and require more effort to move when compared to something lighter. However, the Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat sidesteps this issue through the design of its midsole. This dual-density component contains a softer cushioning underneath with the titular Ignite material placed on the very top. Thanks to this topmost layer, these shoes are able to provide the same benefits of a thinner midsole without sacrificing any comfortable cushioning. Additionally, a small band wrapped around the forefoot helps to increase the speed at which runners can toe off, thanks to coordination with the outsole.
Aside from rudimentary supportive features that accompany the basic components making up a traditional running shoe, the Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat offers little else for runners who need additional foot support. To be fair, the evoKNIT upper can provide some support due to its form-fitting design, and the outsole offers much more underfoot support that can be gained running barefoot. However, there is no support for overpronation or sensitive arches, meaning anyone who needs shoes that specifically address these needs will want to purchase a different pair than these.
Puma is a brand of athletic apparel that almost exclusively specializes in products geared around casual running. In addition to a major focus on style, this is made clear through their manufacturing of footwear specialized for use on traditional running surfaces. Much like its predecessor, the Speed 500 Ignite, the Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat is designed to perform at its fullest potential on low-intensity running environments. These include running tracks and grassy fields as well as other man-made forms of terrain like sidewalks and roads. In regard to running on those last two surfaces, the reflective materials added to its upper which inspired the Nightcat in its title are intended to improve visibility when running in urban environments at night. This makes these shoes more viable for these terrains than many others, even if they have similarly designed outsoles and midsoles, simply due to its improved safety features.
When these Puma running shoes were first released, they were sold at a premium rate. Most casual running shoes are sold below $100, although the majority of these products are of an inferior quality to these. The initial suggested retail price for the Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat is closer to that of a low-end pair of trail running shoes. At the time, this price was certainly justified when considering all of the impressive features Puma implemented for the sake of comfort, responsiveness, and protection. However, the passing of time has caused these running shoes to significantly drop in price to the point where it is currently well below $100 for a pair; in fact, some sizes will even go for less than $50. It goes without saying that these are incredibly good prices for this product.
There’s a delicate balance struck by a good running shoe when it comes to traction. Too little traction will cause the wearer to lose control when running at high speeds, but too much traction will offer excessive grip on running surfaces and prevent them from reaching high speeds in the first place. The Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat was designed for faster running first and foremost, so it makes sense that their outsole and midsole approach this problem elegantly and effectively. The outsole provides traction on most casual running surfaces through the use of various patterns that range from large X’s to horizontal and vertical lines. These are etched onto small plates that are able to move independently from each other, allowing for selective traction based on limited contact with the ground. This is how they manage to provide the perfect amount of grip for extremely fast running, provided the wearer runs on appropriate terrains.
As previously mentioned, the Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat offers impressive flexibility underfoot through its use of separate plates to comprise its outsole. However, the thick midsole made from two different forms of EVA cushioning counteracts this through sheer volume. Fortunately, the upper portion of these shoes compensates for this by being made almost entirely from a highly pliable synthetic knit material. Because of this, the result is a shoe that feels extremely flexible on the very top and very bottom, with a fairly sturdy middle portion that keeps it from feeling too wobbly and uncooperative. It isn’t the most elegant way to strike a balance between these polar attributes but it is effective nonetheless.
While the Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat’s evoKNIT upper is more flexible than it is stable, one portion of its construction that does provide some stability is the internal sock liner. This particular component was designed to offer form-fitting comfort, which comes with the tangential benefit of increased control due to a lack of slippage while these Puma shoes are worn. Additionally, the aforementioned stability from this shoe’s midsole is caused by the multiple layers that comprise its dual-density construction. The natural consequence of a thicker and more complicated design is an increase in rigidity, which leads to greater stability.
These running shoes feature a heel-to-toe drop of around 6 millimeters, which is located in its midsole. This is around the average amount of heel elevation found in casual running shoes since the increased rearfoot padding provides wearers with the benefit of increased comfort and shock absorption when striking the ground with their heels. While this may make it seem as though the Puma Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat was intended for use in this way, there are also a few features added to its design that emphasize forefoot striking. Because of that, these shoes are extremely versatile and can be effectively used for both styles of ground striking.
- Highly flexible and resilient Evertrack+ outsole
- Dual-density midsole with highly responsive Ignite top liner
- evoKNIT upper is highly breathable, comfortable, and lightweight
- DSC Supreme internal sockliner provides stability and comfort
- Waterproofing on upper ensures protection from moisture and inclement weather
- Reflective accents for improved visibility in low light
These are some seriously impressive running shoes that are ideal for anyone interested in attacking the track or pavement with their full energy. It’s because of products like the Speed 500 Ignite Nightcat that Puma deserves more recognition as a competent footwear designer. They have been consistently playing second fiddle to more recognizable brands such as Nike and Adidas, but they truly bring something special to the table that makes them worth consideration by prospective customers.