Meaghan: Anyone who’s met me knows I’m a huge Ravens fan, so you can understand my excitement when a brand new pair of purple shoes showed up at my door on Week 1 of NFL season. For obvious reasons, I really like the look of this shoe. I loved the Puma Faas 500 V2, so I was hopeful for the latest version in the Faas family. Based on looks alone, I assumed this shoe would weigh about the same, if not more, than the V2. I was wrong. The 500 S is almost 2 oz lighter than the V2 and its noticeable (7.3 oz vs. 9 oz). They feel lighter, faster, and come with a new bounce that the V2 was lacking. The upper is constructed of a light mesh that’s nice and breathable. These shoes feel great right out of the box; the padding through the tongue and heel add comfort and stability. You could probably go sockless without any issues (although, I did not test out this theory). Similarly to the V2, the S is designed with a women’s specific last, so it’s more fitted through the heel and midfoot and open in the forefoot. One of the best elements to this shoe is the lower heel to toe drop. The 4mm drop gives the shoe a minimalist feel, while the sole provides plenty of cushioning and support. I tested these shoes on all sorts of terrain (the treadmill, pavement, dirt, grass, trails) and they fared well in all conditions.
Stein: These shoes are Faas, man! Seriously, I’ve had a lot of fun running around with the Puma Faas 500 S. Both asphalt and gravely fire roads felt great under foot with just the right amount of foot protection. I never hesitated to run a 20 miler with the knowledge that my feet would be happy. Conversely they made track workouts feel like I was running on clouds. The forefoot is slightly softer than the heel, and they provide a smooth transition through each stride.
Notwithstanding the dirt and abuse of a gritty section of Ragnar racing, the shoes still look great after 110+ miles. Red shoes always make me feel fast! The Puma Faas is fairly flexible and the 4 mm heel-toe-drop feels natural (I’ve also seen conflicting info stating the heel-toe-drop is 6 mm). The soles have held up well and grip to any regular surface, including wet road. Strategic tough spots were integrated into the sole for the high wear areas and the lightweight upper materials breathed well enough to wear them all day.
Thomas: Such an improvement on a shoe that was already good. The FAAS 500 S is lighter and has a better ride than the previous model. It is a great looking shoe too. The FAAS fit my foot with no hot spots, no heel lift, and the toe box was “Goldilocks” (just right.) The Puma FAAS V2 was a good shoe but lacked a little personality in the ride. The tweaks to the 500 S make this shoe feel less clunky through the stride, almost down right springy. Did I mention the shoes look cool? Almost retro compared to the other brands. By retro I mean they look like running shoes. Once I am done putting mileage on these I will wear them casually with street clothes.
Jenny: For its size, this is a stupid light shoe. Whatever FAASfoam is, it’s uh-mazing. It was super comfy right from the start and didn’t feel too stiff. Sometimes I feel like a shoe just needs to come with 100 miles on it, so it fit nice and soft. The seamless upper has a nice snug fit but still plenty of room in the toebox. With the low heel to toe drop (4mm), there was a very natural strike and had a nice roll to the toe off. Even after several miles, my feet weren’t fatigued, which can often happen within the minimal category. The external heel counter gave the shoe enough structure that it didn’t feel sloppy or loose where it matters.
Meaghan: There has to be something I don’t like about these shoes, right? I’ve been struggling to find something. Due to various injuries, I haven’t run more than 10 miles at a time in these shoes. I’d be interested to see how they fare on longer runs. [I will give an update once I’m logging serious miles again]
Stein: While my normal width feet felt alright, these shoes are not wide. Someone with extra wide feet might feel cramped in the toebox.
Thomas: The Puma FAAS 500 S need some rubber on the outer edge of the outsole. A lot of shoe companies ignore that outer edge. The original Kinvara 1 and 2 did not have it and either did the Asics Lyte 33. When purchasing a trainer I look for the rubber in the spots that I tear up. My stride is hard on that outer edge.
Jenny: I felt like they were pushing me to the outside. The back of the heel (midsole) is slanted in a way that encourages an overpronator to remain neutral (hence the “S” in 500 S). I already tend to supinate, so I was more aware of the slant. I would be more suited for the neutral version. I also could’ve used a little more carbon reinforcement on the outsole of the forefoot. The wear pattern on my shoes is right in the center of the forefoot and the Faas have most of the carbon on the big toe and close to the front of the front.
Meaghan: I’ve noticed more and more companies offering a low heel to toe drop in a more cushioned shoe. I’m a big fan of this trend. I love the “natural” feel from the lower drop and the confidence that some additional cushioning provides. I ran the Washington DC Ragnar Relay in these shoes and I was more than happy with my performance. I brought three pairs of shoes for the race (one for each leg), but I ended up leaving the Puma’s on for the last two legs. They were comfortable, felt light on the feet and never gave me any issues. The 500 S is a great addition to the Fass Family.
Stein: With a lot of miles on the Puma Faas 500 S, I can conclusively say “yes, these are good shoes.” They’re not minimalist but they are pretty light. Puma has found a good balance between weight, foot protection and performance. While the Faas is a great neutral trainer, I wouldn’t hesitate to run a marathon in them either.
Jenny: This is a solid, lightweight, mild stability, daily trainer for the bada$$ chick putting in the miles and doesn’t want the bulk of a traditional shoe. The midsole actually reminded me a little bit of Nike’s Lunarlon. It’s kinda spongy but not too soft and still very responsive. Light enough to race in but constructed well enough to withstand bigger miles.
Thomas: I have a lot of shoes that need to get mileage for reviews, so when I keep reaching into my quiver for the same shoe I know it is special. This is a great work horse shoe. Light enough for tempo runs, cushioned enough for long runs. If you can only have one shoe in your closet The Puma FAAS 500 S would be a good choice.
Puma provided Believe in the Run with the shoes for this review.