Friday, June 7, 2013

Puma Mobium Elite

Recently, Puma Malaysia introduced the Mobium Elite running shoes through Mobium Challenge.

The month-long Mobium Challenge is a series of events held at various locations-shopping mall, gym and even running parks that had attracted many runners - mostly out of curiosity as the theme sets its focus on efficient and correct running method.

I found the concept quite interesting as opposed to just running far or running fast, here is all about running the best speed but not getting overly worked out. So everyone had plenty of fun and surprises too, when they found out that sometimes people whom don't run faster than you can actually run more efficient than you!

And so lots of conversation went on and on about running efficiency, and how to go about winning the grand challenge prize. Others had technical discussion about proper running gaits and forms. But for many hardcore runners, there was also plenty of discussions about the shoes.

One of the best thing that about this challenge is that the participants get to tryout the shoes and I mean they  really get to try them. Some almost 'trashed' the shoes at their top running speed and in multiple times. Where else can you get to run/test 800 meters at your best speed before buying the shoe?

The first time I tested the shoe was during the launching of the Mobium Challenge. And when the challenge was set up in my favorite running park at TTDI, I took the opportunity to try the Mobium Elite again, and this time I did both on and off the treadmill.

And running on the hard ground was great too! Nevertheless, when I asked around, a number of the elite runners who participated in the challenges shared my opinion that the Mobium Elite works really well on the treadmill. Stride by stride, the runners bounce back effortlessly once they get their running rhythm on.

The design of the shoes are somewhat different from the conventional cushioning shoes. Through some research I made in the PUMA websites, I found out that there are quite a few technologies involved in the design.

I found out that the design is inspired by the cat paw. Big cats like the puma are known for their efficient running. When the cat runs, their paws open and close with each steps, providing natural cushioning and propulsion.

Here it is. Really look like a paw!  These are called Expansion Pods - and like the cat's paw their working mechanism is that they expand upon contacting the ground. These will provide dynamic cushioning and therefore providing necessary protection plus flexibility at the moment when you need it the most. Clever idea, don't you agree? In simple term the out sole will provide a good amount of 'cushioning' through physical mechanics instead of bulky cushions.

The another unique feature that you will not missed about the shoe is the elastic Mobium Band in the out sole. When you turn the shoe over, you can see a cord in an almost figure eight that is at the middle of the out sole. According to Puma, this Mobium band is inspired by the foot's tendon, which act like a spring, returning energy whenever there is a force applied to it.

I also learned a new term - Windlass Mechanism, which refers the way the foot size change i.e. expands and contracts with each touchdown and toe-off.

The Mobium Elite incorporates the Windlass Chassis feature to accommodate changes in height, length and proportion as you run and your foot expands and contracts.  Engineers will love this.

In terms of wearing comfort and fit, the physical design of the shoes provide a snug fit feeling from the heel to the mid foot area, almost wrapping around the arch of the feet, but I must say that the shoes is quite roomy at the toe box area.

And PUMA calls the Mobium Elite the Adaptive Footwear because instead of your foot being forced to adapt to the shoe, the Mobium adapts to you, changing and expanding as your feet move.

The shoes has no thick cushioning and wrap around your feet almost like a minimalist shoes but, unlike minimalist shoes that allow the foot to do what a bare footer does, the Mobium Elite uses technology to work with your foot's natural movement.  Seems like the designer of Mobium Elite has taken the natural running to a whole different level.

I have tested the Mobium Elite both on roads and on the treadmill, and it work well in both conditions. But I noticed that they work particularly well on the treadmill. The out sole seems to be very much at risk of fast wear and tear especially if your favorite running ground is made of rough grime but nevertheless I always find shoes that wear off faster grips better too.

I think the Mobium Elite will work well for neutral runners with a mid or forefoot strike and are definitely great workout shoes for speed development.

And finally to conclude this review with a video that shows the working mechanics of the Mobium Elite.

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