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PUMA Faas 500 TR trail running shoe review: Traction, cushion and protection

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The original PUMA Faas 500 is a lightweight, cushioned, neutral trainer. With its bright colors, retro styling, and Cadillac-like ride, it’s a great shoe for zippy road runs.

Now PUMA has come out with a trail version of the shoe, and quite honestly, the new Faas 500 TR looks like it could eat the road version for breakfast.

With its durable upper, protective midsole and aggressive lugs, the PUMA Faas 500 TR goes from zippy to grippy. It’s built trail tough, with a ride as smooth as its pavement happy sibling.

When I first took the PUMA Faas 500 TR out of the box, I was a little surprised. While the road 500 screams “fun,” the trail version roars “tough.” The multi-directional lugs protrude from the outsole like teeth just waiting to take a bite out of the trail.

I tested the PUMA Faas 500 TR for five weeks on both smooth and technical trails, and was impressed with its comfort, flexibility and protectiveness.

Because of the minimalist and barefoot trend, most of the trail shoes I’ve tested lately have been 7 ounces or less, with barely anything between my foot and the ground. While these shoes are great for short and fast trail runs, they don't provide some people with enough cushion or protection for two hour plus runs with lots of rocks.

The Faas 500 TR weighs in at 9 ounces in a women’s size 8, with a 4 mm heel to toe drop. The outsole is much stiffer than the road version, but the famous Faas flex grooves work surprising well, making the shoe feel much more flexible than I expected. And like the road version, the midsole of the Faas 500 TR provides a lot of cushioning.

The multi-directional lugs dig into the ground, and deliver excellent traction on both ascents and descents. They even took on mud and loose rocks with ease. But you’re not going to want to take the Faas 500 TR on the road. The lugs make the shoe feel clunky on pavement. This is strictly a trail shoe.

The tightly woven upper doesn’t breath as well as shoes with looser woven mesh, but the Faas 500 TR makes up for it with durability. After five weeks of hitting the trail, the upper doesn’t show any wear. The lugs also still look good, but again, I stuck to the trails. Pavement would most likely wear the lugs down quickly.

Overall, I really like the Faas 500 TR. It’s a great shoe for longer runs, where minimalism doesn't always cut it. It’s also a perfect trail runner for those looking for a little more protection and cushioning on the trails.

The PUMA Faas 500 TR is available online from PUMA for $110.

(Disclaimer: PUMA provided the Faas 500 TR for testing, but in now way influenced the content of this review.)

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