GEAR CHECK: Puma Speed Orbiter

The Speed Orbiter impressed testers with its ability to both stabilise and propel their feet forward.

Amanda Furrer |

The RW Takeaway: Puma’s Speed Orbiter delivers a propulsive, supportive ride.

  • A decoupled midsole provides stability and lessens impact
  • Testers raved about the plush cushioning
  • The weight may be a hindrance for some runners, especially on long runs

Price: R2599 for men and R2499 for women
Weight: 337g (M), 274g (W)
Type: Road

The midsole may look like a funhouse ball pit, but there’s a reason for all that noise going on around the border of the Speed Orbiter and Puma’s other shoes in its Hybrid line. Those colorful TPU pellets are Nrgy beads, which provide cushioning and responsiveness. They’re encased in the PU-based Ignite Foam, a more durable material compared to normal EVA midsoles. Because of this hybrid platform, the shoe is considerably heftier than your average road shoe; too heavy for running intervals, according to one of our wear testers. In spite of its huskiness, testers were surprised with how much they liked the Speed Orbiter, including those new to Puma and those who’ve had unfulfilling runs with the brand’s offerings in testing cycles past.

Lakota Gambill
  • PROS
    Decoupled midsole and heel counter provides stability
    Proplate in the shank delivers a propulsive, smooth ride
  • CONS
    Heavy weight compared to other shoes in its class

Running in the trainer, we experienced a smooth ride with powerful toe-off. The Proplate is partially responsible for these surges. The Y-shaped plastic piece you can see on the outsole helps you acquire that propulsive edge when you want to increase the tempo. The shoe also has a sock-like feel and reliable stability. Of all the shoe’s traits, however, cushioning was a standout, especially for one tester who said it was their favourite feature that provided impressive rebound on her runs. “I am obsessed with the foam coil in the soles,” she said. “It was a game changer for me.”

puma speed orbiter
Lakota Gambill

Supportive Structure

Instead of incorporating stability tech that’s found commonly in other shoes – medial posts, guide rails – Puma constructed the Speed Orbiter with a decoupled midsole to reduce impact and provide midfoot support. Paired with the external heel counter, the shoe achieves a stable ride on uneven surfaces and hilly courses.

puma speed orbiter
A decoupled midsole ensures a smooth ride, lessens impact, and provides stability (women’s shown).
Lakota Gambill

Not Too Wide or Too Narrow

The Speed Orbiter has a surprisingly comfortable fit and doesn’t discriminate the narrow or wide foot camp. Our testers declared the fit and feel of the Speed Orbiter just right; there were no hot spots, no blisters on the heel, and no comments on cramped toes in the toe box. With the exception of some overheating due to the knit structure (and the hot temps during the testing cycle), the shoe was deemed supremely comfy.

puma speed orbiter
The Nrgy beads embedded into Ignite foam lend support and energy return (men’s shown).
Lakota Gambill

Wear Tester Feedback

Tiffany V., tester since 2012
Arch: Flat | Gait: Neutral | Footstrike: Midfoot

“Running 100 percent on road is not always smooth, but these shoes made it feel like I was running on a new mattress. The soles felt like foam coils giving just the right amount of support/give/pressure with each stride. I love how you felt propelled into your next step (something I have never felt before in any other shoe). It made me want to run farther each run. I also felt like my pace picked up a little.”

Beth L., tester since 2015

Arch: High | Gait: Underpronator | Footstrike: Heel

I’ve never worn a Puma shoe before but overall was really impressed with the comfort and stability it provided during a 25-kilometre road run. My legs felt great after, no soreness from the heavier shoe and would recommend to someone who wants a shoe that will last for many kilometres. The durability of this shoe seems great and I plan on getting as many kays as I can out of this shoe.

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