Puma sent us the BioWeb Elite to review as a X-training shoe not a running shoe. We enlisted Alex and Bobby to put them through their workouts and let us know what they thought.
Alex: When I got the shoes from Puma I wasted no time in putting them to work. In fact, I didn’t even open the bag before going straight from the pickup to my gym, the Under Armour Combine Training Center. In the locker room I unbagged them and was immediately impressed by their style and appearance. Even sitting in the plain cardboard box there was definitely a “wow” factor. The first thing I noticed on my Black and Puma Silver colored pair was all the subtle details brought on primarily by its WebCage and nicely executed color fade from heel to toe. On close inspection this shoe has a lot going on in the aesthetic department but not so much that came off as being overdone or too flashy. A deft hand designed this shoe and the result is definitely sexy looking.
I laced them up and instantly noticed how much more cushioning there was in comparison to the Rogue Do-Win’s I’m used to wearing. They were soft on my feet all around and from the first step they provided a nice, confident spring to my gait. Another thing that’s nice about this shoe is that it laced up higher on my heel than both the running and lifting shoes I normally wear, but did so in tapered, supportive way that gave the effect of being an extension of my lower leg while still providing a full range of movement around my ankle.
This first day I took them to the gym was actually my heavy day. The workout routine I follow is a powerlifting program developed by Mike Ruggiera and this day’s main lifts involved both squats and deadlifts. I had sets of 3 reps on the schedule thinking it would provide a good test of both repetitions and exertion. Considering I am used to wearing a shoe with a stacked wood heel that feels like a rock against the floor, designed to maximize force transfer from the ground, I was a little bit wary of the amount of spring in the heel at first as I dialed the weight up to a heavy load on both of the lifts. However in both cases it felt as though a minimal amount of downward pressure was required before the structure and support in the heel engaged to provide a firm base and foundation for the lifts. I was pleasantly surprised with how they performed.
Over the next two weeks I wore them to the gym four more times, took them on a couple low mileage runs and even wore them to help two of my friends move apartments. Each time I put on this pair of shoes the comfort stood out to me. What’s more, I found there to be a nice balance between support where it mattered (in the heel and around the ankle) and roominess in the toe box that makes it a nice candidate for all-day wear, regardless of what you plan to put it through.
Bobby: There are a few things you look for in a CrossFit shoe / running shoe. Things like a flexible construction, comfortable fit, attractive styling, and performance that is conducive to these activities are typical the most common.
When I first saw the PUMA BioWeb online I was intrigued by the interesting technology Puma was touting. This BioWeb construction looked cool and the shoe’s profile looked pretty good. I was a little concerned about the stack height being higher than I prefer but the seemly spongy sole would be worth giving them a go. When I received the box of shoes I was pleasantly surprised about the accompanying shoe bag and minimal box. As I pulled the BioWebs out and first thing I noticed how heavy it was. This is a classic case of over construction and I was reminded of the age of too-much-shoe we seem to have just moved out of. Second thing I noticed was how rigid the entire shoe was. There wasn’t much flex when I manipulated the shoe in my hand, this can sometimes mean a break in period is required. Over the next four weeks I put the PUMA BioWeb trainers to the test.
The first time I walked into PUSH511 with the Puma BioWeb on I thought the coaches would suggest I switch to a more minimal shoe. Rightfully so,. The stack height alone is cause for concern if you try to do box jumps, power lifts, and even jumping rope. If I lost my footing on any of these exercises I would run the risk of injury due to the height of the sole. So, to be safe I limited which WODs (workout of the day) I wore the BioWeb. The BioWeb performed OK while rowing, bench press, and dips. But the rigid sole really limits the foot’s role in biomechanics and exercise. Jumping is challenging in the BioWeb and kipping pull-ups felt awkward because of the added weight on my feet. I never felt stable while working out in the BioWeb. A strong foundation, which starts with the foot on the floor, was never confidently executed. The narrow toe box added to the unstable feeling and risk of injury. I wore them during a bench-mark week and I fell the BioWeb worked best during Lynn (bench press and pull-ups), but a zero drop and wider toe box would have been ideal.
The design is interesting and I do like the color scheme of black-silver pair I have. The BioWeb keeps your foot very secure and wrapped up tight. They are very durable and do not show wear and tear much at all. The rigid sole and narrow width remind me of the old way to design running shoes & trainers. My feet felt secure in the shoe, but the big heel to toe drop and large stack height had me feeling unstable and weary of rolling an ankle. The webbing looks like it will eventually fray, but my pair are holding tough. I feel like these are more of a casual shoe and if they fit your taste, give them a shot.